The labour market data used in this press coverage was extracted from Vacancysoft Analytics. For more information, or to book a demo, click here.

Jan 10, 2022 | In the press

Law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman has raised its pay for London associates by some £10,000 for each experience level today, as the competition for applicants soars in London.

The new salary pay-grades, which also accompany potentially lofty bonus’, will see junior lawyers on a £108,000 annual salary.

Associates with one year post-qualified experience (PQE) will have their pay bumped from £105,000 to £115,000 – while those with five years will enjoy a new £152,500 wage packet.

The pay for the highest level of associates lies somewhere within the realms of £160,000, which Katten said has potential to rise.

The move follows a number of law firms in the City, amid a parched pool of talent.  

Fellow City law firm Simmons & Simmons lifted its base salary for junior lawyers to £100k in late December, While Ropes & Gray’s salaries for new lawyers rose to an eye-watering £147k in early November.

“The legal market in London is fast moving in every direction including in terms of salaries.  We always benchmark ourselves against our peers and are constantly seeking the best ways to attract and retain the very best talent out there,” London-office managing partner Christopher Hitchins said.

“Our team in London has performed to the highest standard over the pandemic, and we continue to serve our clients seamlessly without disruption, so they certainly deserve the recognition for all their hard work.”

Climbing vacancies

London-based law firms have been struggling to fill job vacancies during the pandemic, as demand for legal services has climbed alongside the number of lawyers handing in their resignation.

The shortage of associates has seen more than 2,300 job vacancies in London, according to data from BCL Legal and Vacancysoft, as private practice jobs for lawyers in the capital surge 131 per cent year on year.

BCL Legal director Matthew Porter said: “This has been an incredible year for legal recruitment. Hybrid and flexible working, increased salaries, retention bonuses; these are all elements that contribute to a highly competitive jobs market in which candidates have more power than ever.

“A combination of Brexit and the pandemic meant many foreign lawyers went home and haven’t yet returned. With Australia and New Zealand still having very tight borders we have not seen the usual antipodean migration.”

Some firms have reportedly been pushed to turn to temporary staff in a bid to fill vacancies.

Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance posted the most associate openings last year, some 103 in London, up from 63 jobs in 2019.

The City firm, which secured the advisory deal with the European Super League last year, before it was scrapped amid controversy, has also been enticing lawyers with swollen pay packets.

Clifford Chance confirmed in July that the average take-home for full equity partners had jumped nine per cent to £1.85m each over the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, its highest earning lawyer raked in more than £3m in earnings last year.

First published in City AM. Read the article here.

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