The $144K dollar question: should UK lawyers go to US firms?

The $144K dollar question: should UK lawyers go to US firms?

Around 100 US law firms have opened offices in the UK, notable examples including Latham & Watkins and White & Case. The salaries reportedly paid by these firms for newly qualified lawyers are truly eye watering: £101,000 ($144,000) by the former Californian heavyweight and £90,000 ($128,000) by the latter New York headquartered giant.

By contrast, the highest NQ salary offered by Magic Circle firms currently stands at £80,000 (Allen & Overy) followed by £70,000 (Clifford Chance and Slaughter & May). Big pay from the Big Apple undoubtedly provides a certain degree of leverage when it comes to choosing the cream of the crop of young aspiring legal minds, and threatens the dominance of the Magic Circle and other leading UK based firms which lack such deep pockets.

Super-size pay packets offered by American firms is a fairly consistent story across the board and hardly surprising; top salaries on the other side of the Atlantic have traditionally been far higher than European equivalents across a whole range of industries. But does this mean that lawyers trained in UK firms are all being lured to US firms which have established a presence on this side of the pond, solely by the prospect of earning more money?

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About the author:
Alex Heshmaty is a legal copywriter and journalist with a particular interest in legal technology. He runs Legal Words, a legal copywriting and marketing agency based in Bristol.