20% hike at Vinson pushes associate starting pay to £120k as US leaders heat up City talent market

20% hike at Vinson pushes associate starting pay to £120k as US leaders heat up City talent market

Vinson & Elkins (V&E) has increased its London associate and trainee solicitor salary levels, boosting newly qualified salaries 20% to £120,000 and first-year trainee salaries by 11% to £50,000.

The firm announced the rates this week (20 July), alongside its second-year associates pay. They will receive a pay rise of 15% to £127,000 (from £110,000 previously), while the firm boosted third-year salaries to £140,000, a 17% increase from £120,000 last year. Meanwhile, the firm hiked second-year trainee salaries 17% to £55,000.

All of the associate salary increases at V&E were implemented on 1 July 2017, while the trainee increases take effect from 1 September 2017.

In January 2017, when V&E published its financial results, its revenues were up 4% to $653.9m. PEP was $2.03m for the year.

The new compensation structure follows V&E’s move in January 2016 to increase all of its London-based associate salary levels and raise its newly qualified salaries to £100,000, then a 25% rise.

At the time, second-year associates also received an overall pay increase of 22% to £110,000, while third-year wages grew 20% to £120,000. The Texas firm last increased salary levels to £45,000 for first-year trainees in September 2015, and £47,500 for second-year trainees.

V&E’s London managing partner Alex Msimang said it is very important that the firm attracts and retains top talent at every level.

‘This is a highly competitive market, and we believe these compensation adjustments exemplify our appreciation for the hard work and excellent service that our associates and trainees provide to our clients every day,’ he added.

Earlier this month, Akin Gump also increased trainee salaries by 12% and 8% for first and second years respectively, raising incoming first-year trainee pay from £43,000 to £48,000, and second-year salaries from £48,000 to £52,000. NQ pay at Akin remains at $180,000 which is £140,000 at current exchange rates, as the firm last increased NQ remuneration levels in September 2016 from £100,000.

Also in this year’s pay review, Jones Day boosted their junior lawyers’ pay by 18%, rising to £100,000, £15,000 up from last year.

This article first appeared on The Lex 100‘s sister publication, Legal Business.