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Exclusive: Boom! Kirkland brings New York salaries to London
10 June 2016
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Kirkland & Ellis has raised newly-qualified pay to £125,000 and given all its associates a 25% salary increase.

The firm sent an internal memo round its London office yesterday morning announcing that associates would now be paid New York rates. At the current exchange rate, that means that a Newly Qualified lawyer will jump from an already chunky £100,000 p.a. to an eye watering £125,000. More senior associates will also see their salaries rise by 25%. A lawyer who qualified in September 2010 will now be paid $280,000 p.a., roughly £194,000. Bear in mind that bonuses will be paid on top of that.

Kirkland's pay rises match the rates Cravath announced for its New York office last week, and which Weil followed a few days later. However neither firm has said whether there will be parity for its London associates.

    Kirkland's London office, yesterday

Kirkland's introduction of New York wages for its London lawyers means it is now as good as certain that the top US firms will follow suit in the coming days. Expect big hikes at the likes of Debevoise & Plimpton, Skadden and White & Case. And at Shearman, which will have to go back to the drawing board only a week after announcing its NQs would be paid £95,000 p.a..
 
STOP PRESS: Latham & Watkins has indeed announced this morning that it is matching Kirkland's pay in London.

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anonymous user
10/06/2016 08:55
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Kirkland will no doubt find itself inundated with CVs from other US firms in the coming days....
anonymous user
10/06/2016 10:36
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Shearman surely need to redo their review? You can't have your senior associates being paid £40k less than all your rivals and expect any of the decent ones to stick around.
anonymous user
10/06/2016 10:42
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Clifford Chance is paying its US associates the same rates but not its English associates.
anonymous user
10/06/2016 10:44
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Kirkland's salaries are calculated on a floating exchange rate so they won't be as high post referendum and Latham's are calculated on a fixed exchange rate - NQ salary equates to around £114,000
anonymous user
10/06/2016 10:48
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@anon 10:36. I doubt Shearman will have a do over although it may depend on what White & Case do. Either White & Case match Shearman like normal, or they match K&E. If the latter, Shearman associates are going to be a pretty unhappy for a year.
anonymous user
10/06/2016 10:57
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I think this has been coming for a while. Lathams, Cleary, SC etc. all pay full NY rates, now KE are added to that list (probably because their London office has been decimated recently and they're desperate to hold on to people). Shearman, Skadden and WC don't pay full NY rates and won't start to unless they feel they absolutely have to. Their pressure is not keeping up with the top tier US firms, but rather keeping their pay significantly above Magic Circle firms. The interesting thing is the Magic Circle firms have caught up...
anonymous user
10/06/2016 11:15
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My boss bought me a coffee this morning (first time ever) and I thought it was a really nice gesture. Then I saw this story. I now feel like an idiot. I should have thrown the coffee in his face and screamed "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"
anonymous user
10/06/2016 13:18
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What about places like Jones Day or Dechert?
anonymous user
10/06/2016 14:17
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Anon 13:18 - I wouldn't hold your breath, they didn't pay top whack before. More interesting will be to see what Weil, Latham, Akin do now. I expect them to match the NY rates, but to continue using their fixed 1.6/1 exchange rate, so you won't see the same figures.
anonymous user
10/06/2016 17:46
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Jones Day - for the uninitiated - is not a "white shoe" US law firm: its London off is legacy Gouldens (which all of its exciting nobbly bits) bought out in 2003 by the US equivalent of Eversheds which used to be headquartered in that renowned global business hub, Cleveland, Ohio.
anonymous user
10/06/2016 18:06
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I knew the price of souls will go up as soon as Dark Souls III is released...
anonymous user
10/06/2016 21:05
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If Skadden and White & Case don't announce hefty pay rises soon, I imagine they'll find themselves losing a lot of talent this summer
anonymous user
11/06/2016 00:09
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@anon 13:18: what about Jones day? That is the key question ! I am waiting for it to die a slow painful death bleeding out partners and associates as it has been for the last 18 months. Such an irrelevant firm with a third rate real estate practice
anonymous user
12/06/2016 13:35
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Lol at Kirkland London being "decimated". A couple of old, lazy share partners left with their teams and were replaced pretty much instantly. We made up more share partners than Clifford Chance the year and have more boots on the ground than ever.
anonymous user
13/06/2016 11:44
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"Lol at Kirkland London being "decimated". A couple of old, lazy share partners left with their teams and were replaced pretty much instantly. We made up more share partners than Clifford Chance the year and have more boots on the ground than ever. "

---

so nice to hear how excited you are about starting your training contract there!
anonymous user
13/06/2016 17:50
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I think it would be incredibly cheeky of US firms, like Weil, to announce pay raises for all associates in the US and not to match English associate salaries in London. They'll lose everyone to their market competitors!
anonymous user
14/06/2016 09:33
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"cheeky"? No, sorry, it's the market. It's always been apartheid between US and locally-qualified associates.

just a fact of life.
anonymous user
18/06/2016 08:49
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Higher fixed costs mean a bad year will be expressed through job losses rather than smaller bonuses. I hope firms playing copycat have thought it through.