Clifford Chance boosts US associate pay as Latham extends new top rates to London lawyers

Clifford Chance (CC) and Latham & Watkins have become the latest firms to increase associate pay on the back of Cravath Swaine & Moore’s move to hike base pay to $180,000 (£124,600) earlier this week.

CC’s US associates will also now receive $180,000, rising to $325,000 (£225,000) for those who qualified in 2007 or earlier.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “CC recognises its associates are among the most dedicated and skilled within the profession. The firm appreciates their commitment and dedication to its clients, and to its continued success.”

Fellow magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer matched the Cravath scale for US associates yesterday (9 June), while Linklaters and Allen & Overy have both said they are considering their US salaries in the light of the pay rises.

Meanwhile, Latham has also raised base pay for associates in a number of its international offices – including London.

The new associate rates, which begin at $180,000 (£124,600), will take effect as of 15 July, and will apply to the firm’s associates in London, the US, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, China and Japan for US- and UK-qualified associates. The increases will not apply to associates in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Russia, Singapore and Spain.

According to Legal Week sister publication the The American Lawyer, Sullivan & Cromwell, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges and Vinson & Elkins have all also upped their associate pay. It is not yet clear whether the pay increases at these firms will apply to their offices outside of the US.

Earlier this month, CC unveiled a new associate pay scale for its UK-based associates.

The firm’s most junior associates are now set to receive base pay of £85,000 plus a fixed bonus, as long as they meet their development goals, up from a maximum of £84,000 last year if they received their full discretionary bonus. According to the firm, the change means the vast majority of newly qualified lawyers will now take home £85,000.

Under the revised pay system, those with one year’s post-qualification experience (PQE) will now receive up to £95,000 – up from £90,600 in 2015-16 – as long as they meet their development targets.

Associates with two and three years’ PQE in the “good contribution” bracket will receive an average of £100,000 and £111,000 a year, respectively.

Meanwhile, those in the “excellent contribution” bracket with two years’ PQE will receive £119,000 per annum, while three years’ PQE lawyers in the same bracket will receive pay of around £130,000 a year.