The city’s insurance firm is giving newly qualified lawyers a 60% pay rise – taking salaries to £80,000

Newly qualified solicitors at a city firm have been offered a 60p raise – bringing their annual salary to £80,000.

Bosses at Kennedys increased the salary of his junior solicitors from £50,000 to £80,000. It also increased salaries for London apprentices from £41,000 to £44,000.

Kennedy’s raised his salaries after two of the world’s wealthiest law firms — Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins — increased wages for their juniors, setting a new record high for junior attorneys in the city.

Kennedy's insurance firm has offered its junior lawyers a 60 percent pay rise as Londoners face rising wage inflation

Kennedy’s insurance firm has offered its junior lawyers a 60 percent pay rise as Londoners face rising wage inflation

Kennedy’s reported the “latest and most dramatic” percentage pay rise for junior city attorneys this year, an analysis has found.

The increases came after the 19th-century company announced it had surpassed its annual sales record with an 8 per cent year-on-year increase and reported worldwide sales of £286 million.

Senior partner Nick Thomas acknowledged the increase was drastic but will also help with recruitment and retention.

“That’s the market,” he told the Times. “We don’t want people to come and pinch our newly qualified attorneys after we train them.”

Kennedys did not immediately respond to MailOnline’s request for comment.

Despite the dramatic wage increase, Kennedy’s still lags behind other companies in the city.

Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins increased junior solicitor salaries to £182,000 a year, beating a record set earlier this year by Akin Gump, who paid £179,000.

The top three paying firms – Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins and Akin Gump – are international law firms headquartered in America.

Akin Gump originally set the salaries of his newly qualified London lawyers, who are generally in their mid to late twenties, at £164,000 in April. But their wages are set in dollars.

Sterling has fallen in value since April and Akin Gump has now adjusted its conversion rate for London salaries to reflect this.

Similarly, Anglo-Australian law firm Herbert Smith Freehills – one of the city’s ten highest-paying law firms – increased its base salary for newly qualified lawyers by 24 per cent in July. It now pays graduates £120,000 a year once they qualify.

Companies headquartered in the UK tend to pay less than their US competitors. The most generous, Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, pay their newly qualified solicitors £125,000.

Allen & Overy and Linklaters, the second highest payers among London offices, are offering £107,500 to juniors.

Allen & Overy revealed its equity partners’ pay rise in its July financial results. The company said revenue was up 10 per cent to £1.94 billion and profit up 9 per cent to £900 million in the year to April 2022.

It attributed the strong results to record deals last year as law firms rake in mammoth fees from advising companies looking to buy a competitor, sell themselves or merge with a competitor.

UK law firms Holman Fenwick Willan and Clyde & Co also recently increased wages for junior barristers, paying £85,000 and £80,000 respectively.

Salaries for junior solicitors at London’s best-paid law firms – Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – are £125,000 a year.

Analysts note that US law firms in London pay their juniors higher salaries than their UK counterparts. They are said to be trying to bring wages in their London offices into line with those in their main US offices.

Indeed, because of this practice, American companies are “regularly blamed” for “fueling” the city’s wage inflation.

But despite recent wage increases, the fate of Britain’s leading corporate lawyers is in stark contrast to that of criminal lawyers, many of whom rely on legal aid.

The Criminal Bar Association claims specialists in the sector are taking home just £12,200 a year for their first three years on the job after cuts to the legal aid scheme have prompted barristers to go on strike.

Meanwhile, Brits are scrambling to cope as the cost of living crisis deepens and pundits fear inflation could hit 22 per cent this winter. The city’s insurance firm is giving newly qualified lawyers a 60% pay rise – taking salaries to £80,000

Emma Colton

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