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Exclusive: DLA Piper postpones pay reviews so it can match rivals
03 March 2017
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DLA Piper is postponing its lawyers' salary reviews by two months so that it can wait and see how much its competitors raise salaries, in a move which has been welcomed cautiously by staff.

Fee-earners received an email on Tuesday evening from UK Managing Partner Sandra Wallace. The email apparently began by stating that the market for top legal talent in the UK was competitive, and that while management felt that the firm's salary bands were in line with the market when they were set last May, "within a few months, when our competitors carried out their reviews, we were in some cases behind". Wallace informed staff that, as a result, DLA was postponing salary reviews until July, with increases backdated to May. The idea, said a source, was to "see where other firms come out and go from there". 

RollOnFriday understands that the firm was responding to feedback from new joiners, as well as to market intelligence and the results of an online Q&A between staff and its CEO. An insider said the implication that DLA would match or beat competing firms' pay was "obviously very welcome news".

  "Weil not Radcliffes, Weil not Radcliffes"

DLA's lawyers are now wondering which rival firms the management has in mind when it comes to benchmarking salaries. Apparently corporate lawyers in London have, perhaps somewhat hopefully, observed that they frequently come up against high-paying Travers Smith, where 2PQEs earn £91k as opposed to DLA's £77k. A source said, "it has not gone unnoticed that the feedback out of Travers' associates is so good and morale appears high there". They also told RollOnFriday that leavers in London often went to firms "like Dechert, Hogan Lovells and Sidley Austin to do exactly the same work for significantly more money". Of course, if they want the big bucks they should start chatting loudly about the offers they're considering from Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis (NQ = £125k), and members of the firm's successful five-a-side football team should mention David Silva (Manchester City, £200k per week) and Wayne Rooney (Manchester United, £260k per week).

A spokeswoman for DLA said, "attracting the best talent and retaining the many talented fee earners we have at the firm is extremely important to us. We believe that by waiting a couple more months to conduct salary reviews we can ensure we are better placed to reward our people competitively".
 

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