US firm offers top trainee pay in London

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An elite American law firm has broken the record for second-year trainee pay in London.

Davis Polk & Wardwell has confirmed that it has increased second-year trainee pay by 9% to £60,000 for its 2021 intake, the Law Society Gazette reported. .

The move follows other elite US firms increasing pay for newly qualified lawyers in the City last June to a scale that Davis Polk is yet to match.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy kicked off the raises for junior solicitors in London in June, increasing its NQ pay to match its associate pay in the US of US$190,000, or £143,000. Fellow New York-headquartered firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett quickly matched the figure, followed by Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis.

In June, litigation powerhouse Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart & Sullivan increased its junior lawyer pay in London by £10,000 to £125,000.

Davis Polk, which pays its NQ solicitors £120,000, takes only four trainees every retention season. The two-year training scheme features six-month cycles, with one period dedicated to a rotation in the firm’s New York headquarters.

On its website, the firm says that the trainees will be selected from the firm’s summer 2019 vacation program. They will share an office with a senior lawyer, receive tailored training to develop personal and legal skills, and have extensive access to partners.


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