DLA postpones pay reviews to give management more time to assess moves by competitors

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has delayed pay reviews for its lawyers by two months, to allow management more time to assess moves made by competitor firms.

The firm’s pay reviews usually take place in May, but it will now wait until July to make a decision on next year’s rates.

According to UK managing partner Sandra Wallace, the decision has been taken to allow management “as much market information as possible” when making pay awards.

Any pay decisions made in July will be backdated until May.

A partner at DLA said the pay review had been delayed as “we were out of kilter with the market – we would review in May and then the market would react and move ahead of us”.

The partner added that the intention of the delay is to allow the firm to make its pay decisions in a more informed way. “The more data we have, the better the decisions we can make and we feel we would have more data if we pushed that timing back,” the partner said.

A DLA Piper spokesperson said: “Attracting the best talent and retaining the many talented fee earners we have at the firm is extremely important to us. We believe that by waiting a couple more months to conduct salary reviews, we can ensure we are better placed to reward our people competitively.”

Lawyer compensation has been a hot issues in recent years, with US firms dramatically increasing salaries last year after elite US firm Cravath Swaine & Moore boosted first-year associate pay to $180,000 (£150,000).

Domestically, a host of UK firms have recently increased junior lawyer pay including Macfarlanes, which increased newly qualified pay to £70,000 last year; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which hiked pay for its newly qualified lawyers by 26% to between £85,000 and £97,500; and Slaughter and May, which increased pay for its associates by between 2% and 4.6%, with newly qualified lawyers receiving £71,500.