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NQs: The Salary War!

Word on the street is: “NQs starting in September are going to be very pleased”.

It’s increasingly looking like 2021 is going to be the year for newly qualified solicitors! First of all, it seems that every firm is in search of NQs. In addition to a myriad of opportunities available (more information here), NQs can expect a well-deserved increase in salaries.

Why are salaries increasing?

The salary war started with US firm Milibank offering to pay NQ solicitors an outstanding $200,000 (£141,000) for those who work in their London offices. Naturally, law firms took this move as a trigger to compete and thus the domino effect started.  It’s always a simple question of supply v. demand, and demand outstrips supply, it leads of wage inflation.  There is nothing magical in this formula, though many have got it wrong over the years!

How much are salaries increasing by?

Consequently, this move was followed by an increase in pay by Shearman & Sterling (£135,000, up £15,000), Linklaters (£92,500, up £2,500), Slaughter and May (£90,500, up £3,500) and Clifford Chance (£100,000, up £7,000).

While these salaries are for the London offices, the Regions also set to gain, with Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard already coming out of the traps strongly. For example, Pinsent Masons has confirmed that they will be increasing NQ salaries to £45,000 in regions and £75,000 in London.

The real reason for such financial optimism is twofold: the economy never fell off a cliff post lockdown and Covid and a vast number of firms are about to record their best figures ever, and law firms postponed in some cases taking trainees on and retaining the majority to their trainees on qualification, ergo creating shortfall, ergo creating this war.  Simple, really.

Are we finally out of the woods?

While it’s difficult to confidently say that we are out of the woods, it is definitely pleasant to see NQs being paid well for their long hours and hard work.

Are you an NQ looking for a new job and an increase in salary?

QC Legal have a plethora of NQ opportunities available right now with salaries of up to £130k plus benefits (Magic Circle and White Shoe). What are you waiting for? Find out more here.

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