“Maybe they can buy my yacht.”
Akin Gump lawyers in London have been given raises across the board in line with their American colleagues, RollOnFriday understands.
It would mean newly qualified lawyers in the firm's UK branch are being paid £159,000 ($215,000), making them among the best-paid in the country along with NQs at Fried Frank (£160k) and Goodwin Proctor (£161k). Kirkland & Ellis and several more US firms are understood to pay in the same region.
A source provided RollOnFriday with a breakdown of the firm's complete new salary scale, which provides an envy-inducing insight into the giant sums Akin Gump is bestowing on its junior lawyers - though the likes of Kirkland
The salary increases are retroactive to 1 January 2022, said the insider, and the GBP sums are calculated on the basis of a conversion rate of £1 = $1.3553, applicable until March.
The alleged scale reveals that 4PQEs are now being paid a cool £247k, with leaps of around £30,000 to 3PQE and 4PQE.
NQ: £159k ($215k)
1PQE: £166K ($225k)
2PQE: £184k ($250k)
3PQE: £217k ($293,500)
4PQE: £247k ($335k)
5PQE: £266k ($360,500)
6PQE: £281k $381k)
7PQE: £293k ($396,500)
The sums paid by US firms, which are pulling up those offered by top City firms, has prompted public expressions of concern from law firm leaders.
DWF's CEO, Sir Nigel Knowles, warned that "offering more and more money to young people is only a sticking plaster", and that massive hikes are "not a sincere, sustainable or healthy solution for anyone".
Charles Russell Speechlys, which pays NQs a salary of £68k, said it would resist, telling RollOnFriday 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".
Akin Gump did not respond to a request for comment.
RollOnFriday's keen to pull together pay scales across the US firms, and the rest for that matter - so feel free to send them in.