How satisfied are you with your financial remuneration?

A career in law is often associated with a high salary potential. It’s easy to see why this is an attractive prospect for recent graduates who have accumulated a mountain of student debt during their time at university and law school. It’s certainly true that at City and US firms the starting salaries can be very competitive, especially when compared with those in other sectors. But it’s at the NQ level that remuneration can really sky-rocket and this is something many prospective lawyers consider when drawing up a shortlist of firms. NQ salaries at US firms can be particularly lucrative and it’s not uncommon to see six-figure pay packets on offer. At smaller and more specialist firms, the pay may not be as eye-wateringly high but there may be a better work/life balance or a higher level of involvement in client matters. Ultimately it is down to personal preference and it’s important to bear this in mind before being swayed solely by the numbers. Perhaps unsurprisingly all of the firms which have made it into this year’s Lex 100 Winner salary chart are US-headquartered. The ‘well-paid’ training contract and subsequent NQ roles drew in Akin Gump trainees and at Debevoise & Plimpton ‘the pay was an obvious draw’. Covington & Burling boasts a ‘good salary’ and Latham & Watkins’ ‘high NQ salary’ attracted many a recruit. Milbank; Sidley Austin; Vinson & Elkins; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Goodwin Procter and Cooley all offer impressive remuneration which went a long way to motivate trainees, especially during busy work periods when the hours can be arduous.

Firm Score
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 96.3
Milbank LLP 94.8
Sidley Austin LLP 93.8
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP 93.5
Covington & Burling LLP 92.6
Vinson & Elkins RLLP 92.5
Cooley (UK) LLP 90.4
Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP 90.4
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP 90.4
Latham & Watkins 89.3
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) 89.1
Jones Day 87.9
Baker McKenzie 87.8
Morrison and Foerster (UK) LLP 87.4
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton 87.0
Hogan Lovells 86.8
Clifford Chance 86.7
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP 86.4
Mayer Brown International LLP 86.0
Slaughter and May 84.7
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP 84.3
Osborne Clarke LLP 84.1