Norton Rose enters associate pay war putting NQs in line for £114k paycheque

Top-performing newly qualified (NQ) solicitors at Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) will be in line to take home up to £114,000 as the firm becomes the latest to increase its starting rates amid an escalating war for associate talent in the City.

NRF confirmed on 9 October a 9% rise to its NQ basic salary to £87,500 effective in January 2020, with bonuses of up to 30% on top of that.

A spokesperson said it was essential for the firm to ‘attract and retain high quality people’ and ‘ensuring our salaries are competitive is key to achieving this’.

NRF is the latest to confirm a six-figure pay package for NQs after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in May announced one of the largest real-term pay rises in the City for a decade amid increasing pressure for associate talent from US rivals.

A few weeks after Freshfields raised its starting rate from £85,000 to £100,000 plus bonuses, all four of its Magic Circle rivals followed suit. Clifford Chance (CC) announced a £100,000 package including bonus at the beginning of June, matched by Slaughter and May, Allen & Overy and Linklaters shortly afterwards.

The competition widened well beyond the Magic Circle over the summer, with Ashurst announcing a 9% pay increase to £105,000 after firms including Macfarlanes, Travers Smith and Herbert Smith Freehills made similar moves.

In July, Baker McKenzie announced an eye-catching 23% increase to its starting rates to a minimum of £95,000, with performance-related bonuses bringing earnings to over £100,000.

This story first appeared on Legal Business