With annual net pay of c.£63,740, six Eversheds NQs could club together to own this home outright; complete with immovable climbing frame.
Eversheds Sutherland is increasing NQ base salary from £82k to £95k in London, effective from May, while the firm's NQs outside London will be given a rise from £50k to £62k.
“Retaining and attracting the best talent is a key priority and salary and bonuses form an important part of our overall employee proposition, alongside culture, learning and development and quality of work," said the firm's Chief Executive Lee Ranson.
Squire Patton Boggs is also increasing London NQ salary from £82k to £95k, while its Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham NQs will have a rise from £50k to £55k.
“In a highly competitive market for talent, we remain committed to providing competitive pay and distinguishing ourselves with a culture that places the highest value on people’s development and well-being,” said the firm's European Managing Partner Jonathan Jones.
The NQ salary hikes at Eversheds and Squire Patton Boggs in London matches firms such as CMS, BCLP, Norton Rose Fulbright and DLA Piper. And puts them just a smidge below the £100k salary offered to NQs at Macfarlanes, Hogan Lovells and Simmons & Simmons.
Above that, Herbert Smith Freehills, Baker McKenzie and Ashurst have raised NQ pay to £105,000. And Magic Circle firms Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Slaughter and May pay their NQs £107,5000 (although Freshfields is sticking to its guns and paying £100k, for now).
In a different stratosphere, the £140k+ NQ club is a US-only affair, with a growing membership, and one of the top payers, Goodwin Procter, recently increasing its NQ salary to an eye-watering £161,500.
However, DWF's CEO, Sir Nigel Knowles, has spoken out against the strategy of spraying junior lawyers with cash, saying that “offering more and more money to young people is only a sticking plaster." Such hikes are "not a sincere, sustainable or healthy solution for anyone," he said.
"Failure to find better ways of incentivising people and building a healthier workplace environment means the British legal industry risks losing talent to more enlightened sectors,” said Sir Nigel in a letter to the Financial Times.
He opined that "progressive" firms "champion diversity and inclusion, encourage a modern work-life balance, and are creating physical environments and culture that are much more meaningful than relying on huge, but ultimately one-dimensional, starter salaries and ad hoc payments."
A DWF spokesman would not reveal the NQ salary at the firm, but said: "Each of our newly qualified solicitors receives a comprehensive reward package which also includes a share offering worth 20% of their salary".
Sir Nigel is not the first to warn against the huge hikes across the City. Charles Russell Speechlys (that pays its NQs a salary of £68k) told RollOnFriday last week that its approach was "not to make knee jerk reaction changes in response to these unprecedented labour market fluctuations, driven by US and Magic Circle Firms".
Is your firm raising pay by huge amounts, a fraction, or not at all? Get in touch.