Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and CMS have increased their pay for newly qualified lawyers in London, as the pay war continues to rage despite some major players sitting out the fight.
Akin Gump has upped its newly qualified lawyer pay to £179,000, making its NQs the best known paid in the City, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
CMS has increased its own NQ base rate to £100,000, a person at the firm confirmed.
Akin Gump previously paid £164,000 to its NQs. The firm has increased its other associate pay bands, meaning its seven years PQE lawyers will now take home £345,000.
U.S.-headquartered firms provide some of the biggest pay packets in London. In March, three firms also hiked NQ pay, but Akin Gump’s still stands above them all. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher boosted its pay packet by 11% to £161,700, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s rose to £158,000 and Covington & Burling increased its NQ salary to £151,000, a 17% rise.
CMS’ increase is its third uplift in just over a year. It previously increased its NQ base rate to £82,000 in July 2021, and to £95,000 in December.
The increases follow Allen & Overy’s announcement that it would not immediately seek to boost its own NQ base rate, and instead maintain salaries at £107,500. Key rival Linklaters also made the same decision earlier this month, despite fellow Magic Circle law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance hiking their rates to £125,000 in April and May respectively.
Both Linklaters and Allen & Overy now offer their NQs less than Herbert Smith Freehills, with the firm announcing earlier this month that it has increased its NQ rate to £120,000, up from £105,000.
Roll on Friday and Legal Cheek first reported the news.