Macfarlanes boosts associate pay and overhauls bonus system


Travers Smith and Macfarlanes have both boosted their associate pay, with newly qualified (NQ) lawyers at both firms now earning £71,000 a year.

Macfarlanes, which does not operate a strict associate lockstep, has boosted pay throughout its associate ranks.

Lawyers with one year of post-qualification experience (1PQE) will receive between £77,000 and £79,000, 2PQE lawyers between £80,000 and £88,000 and 3PQE lawyers between £85,000 and £98,000.

The firm has also overhauled its bonus schemes, with lawyers set to receive more if they perform well and the firm exceeds its annual revenue targets.

Macfarlanes has two bonus schemes, one open to all staff and one a performance-related scheme open to solicitors only.

The solicitors’ bonus, which pays out in July, was previously capped at 15% of salary, but has now been increased to a potential maximum 25% of salary.

According to the firm, last year the average solicitor received a 9.3% performance-related bonus.

The all-staff bonus scheme pays out in October, once the firm’s limited liability partnership accounts have been signed off.

Staff receive a percentage of their pay as a bonus, depending on if the firm exceeds its revenue targets and by how much.

Previously this bonus was capped, but the firm has now removed this cap, potentially increasing the bonus staff can receive, depending on the performance of the firm.

The firm said the average solicitor received a 14.3% bonus last year, when both bonuses were accounted for.

Travers Smith has also introduced a new pay scale, with NQs set to receive £71,000 a year, a £1,000 increase from £70,000 last year.

Lawyers with 1PQE will be paid £71,500, 2PQE lawyers will receive £91,000 and 3PQE lawyers £100,000.

Other firms to have increased their associate pay this year include Herbert Smith Freehills, which announced its pay increases last week, boosting NQ compensation to a potential £90,000 when bonus is taken into account; and Linklaters, where NQ lawyers receiving basic salary and median bonus will receive £81,000, but high performers can receive up to £91,000.