Starting salaries for City lawyers soar as firms fight for top talent

Newly qualified lawyers can now expect to earn a minimum of £55,000 at the top City law firms after pay reviews were finalised last week.

Several of London’s major firms, including Norton Rose, Herbert Smith and Simmons & Simmons, set the starting rate at £55,000, a 10% increase on 2005.

One top firm, Linklaters, has increased its trainee salaries to at least £30,000.

Simon Firth, Linklaters’ trainee development partner, told Legal Week magazine: “The market has been picking up and all firms are chasing quality people. If you are competing in that market, you cannot be that far from the rest.”

Linklaters is also giving lawyers with four or more years’ experience a 12% pay rise, bringing their salaries to at least £88,600 before bonuses.

Another firm, Lovells, has increased its bonus package, giving all associates the opportunity to gain a bonus of up to 30% of their salary, up from 20%.

Ruth Grant, managing partner for Lovells’ London, said: “These things tend to go in cycles. The market has been quiet in recent years with salaries not increasing much. That has now shifted, so these rises reflect that.”

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