Ropes & Gray ups London NQ pay to £130k

US firms continue to dominate pay wars for London associates

Ropes & Gray ups London NQ pay to £130k

Ropes & Gray has hiked its pay for its newly qualified lawyers in London to £130,000.

Ropes & Gray had one of the most generous pay packages for City NQs even before this raise. The Boston-headquartered firm’s increase equals 8% and is £10,000 more than its previous package. Associates can also still earn bonuses on top of the basic package.

The pay raise brings Ropes & Gray level with rival firms like Covington & Burling, Latham & Watkins, Shearman & Sterling, Sidley Austin, and Weil Gotshal & Manges.

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Ropes & Gray’s package is still, however, significantly less than the biggest on offer to London NQs from US firms. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Kirkland & Ellis both pay out £150,000 to NQs.

Meanwhile, other US firms have also been raising NQ pay, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which boosted its pay for London NQs by £15,000 to £133,000 last year. Milbank offers greenhorns £132,000.

The pay packages of US firms in London far outdo those offered by UK firms, despite some notable raises given out last year by UK firms.

All Magic Circle firms boosted London NQ pay to six figures in 2019, led by the first move made by Freshfields last May.

That got the market rolling and other leading firms followed suit, including Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills, which both raised NQ pay to £105,000 and Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF), with £114,000. Those packages, however, are calculated to include bonuses.

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