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Skills Race Raises Roof on Lawyers’ Wages


Competition for top City lawyers has resulted in soaring salaries, with newly qualified employees earning a minimum of £55,000 at the top firms.

This is a 10% increase since 2005 by several of the major London firms, including Simmons and Simmons, Herbert Smith and Norton Rose.

Simon Firth, Linklaters’ trainee development partner, said the pay increases reflected a battle among the big names for the best legal skills.

“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,” he commented.

The firm is also keen to retain top talent by giving lawyers with four or more years’ experience a 12% pay rise. This will bring salaries to at least £88,600 before bonuses.

Managing partner for Lovells’ London, Ruth Grant said the market was producing this chase for skills.

“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,” she said.


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