Herbert Smith Freehills increases newly qualified lawyer pay by 14%

Herbert Smith FreehillsAnglo-Australian law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has increased its base pay for newly qualified lawyers by 14%, effective from 1 July.

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.

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

A Herbert Smith Freehills spokesperson said: “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.”

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.

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