Herbert Smith Lifts Pay to Graduates

Herbert Smith Freehills the Australian-UK law firm has increased its base pay for its graduate lawyers by 14 per cent from the beginning of July to fight legal talent battle.

The firm will pay graduates £120,000 per year as soon as they are qualified, as well as increasing London-based associate salaries and making investments throughout its associate salary bands.

This follows the LawFuel report about Akin Gump’s massive legal pay jump where associates, which is a new rate that will see NQ salaries start at the firm on £179,000 following the firm’s decision to implement a revised spot rate of £1 = US$1.2005 for the period July to September.

Herbert Smith Freehills raised junior lawyers’ pay to £105,000, plus bonuses, in December 2021.

“There is intense competition for talent in the international legal sector and, in line with other leading firms, we have taken steps to ensure remuneration for our associates remains competitive in our markets. We are investing across all our associate bands this year, ensuring high performance is recognised at every level,” a Herbert Smith spokesman said.

The highest-paying London-based legal firms for junior lawyers are Clifford Chance and Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer, which offer starting salaries of £125,000.

Clifford Chance increased its starting salary for newly qualified associates in May 2022 by 16%, to £125,000 per year in order to match Freshfields. This was the first pay rise at the firm since November 2021, when a 7.5% increase brought salaries up to £107,500. However, the firm has not increased trainee rates, with the first-year package staying at £50,000 and rising to £55,000 in the second year.

Slaughter and May and Linklaters pay starting salaries of £115,000 and £107,500 respectively.

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