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How much do lawyers earn after qualifying?

As a newly-qualified lawyer it’s likely you’ll enjoy a considerable jump in your earnings.

As a member of a Magic Circle firm you can expect an impressive salary. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer recently boosted its salary for newly qualified solicitors to £100,000 making it the highest paying Magic Circle firm. Other Magic Circle firms pay salaries of £91,000 (Clifford Chance) and £83,000 (Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Slaughter and May).

USA-based firms also offer some of the highest remuneration packages to their newly qualified lawyers.

  • Kirkland & Ellis pay their London-based newly qualified solicitors £143,000.
  • White & Case offer £105,000 to qualified lawyers at its London office.

As well as higher rates of pay, working for an international firm opens you up to opportunities for travel and work abroad.

Working at a City firm your work/life balance may be compromised but your salary is sure to reflect your hard work. For example:

  • Ashurst pay new lawyers £82,000
  • Hogan Lovells offer a salary of £78,000
  • Norton Rose Fulbright pay £77,000
  • CMS provides a £70,000 pay packet to newly qualified solicitors.

You can expect these figures to rise year-on-year as you gain post-qualified experience (PQE). If you become the partner of a firm your salary could potentially reach in excess of £100,000.

To find out more about Magic Circle, USA-based and City firms, see top UK law firms.

You’ll earn less elsewhere in the country and at smaller firms, but will likely progress up the ranks quicker and be given more responsibility earlier on in your career. Salaries for newly-qualified lawyers across the rest of the UK are in the region of £26,000 to £55,000.

As a newly qualified solicitor in Scotland, you can expect to be paid around £30,000 rising to £38,000, depending on your area of private practice or whether you’re working in house. This can increase to around £45,000 after three years’ experience.

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