UK Private Practice Salary Survey 2011


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Taylor Root are delighted to release our latest private practice salary survey for lawyers within private practice in the UK.

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UK Private Practice Salary Survey 2011

  2. 2. UK PRIVATE PRACTICE SALARY SURVEY - 2011ABOUT USBased in London, Taylor Root’s UK Private Practice team successfully places lawyers atall levels in law firms in the South and Midlands, ranging from large multi-national tosmall and medium-sized practices.We are truly expert in our markets and as such, we are well placed to deliver highlyspecialised advice to candidates and law
  3. 3. UK PRIVATE PRACTICE SALARY SURVEY - 2011THE LONDON MARKET PQ E Top-tier/International Medium sized - City West End NQ £59,000 - £61,500 £50,000 - £58,000 £35,000 - £55,000 1 Year £63,000 - £68,000 £52,000 - £65,000 £40,000 - £58,000 2 Years £69,000 - £75,000 £58,000 - £70,000 £45,000 - £64,000 3 Years £71,000 - £88,000 £63,000 - £76,000 £48,000 - £70,000 4 Years £85,000 - £100,000 £70,000 - £85,000 £52,000 - £75,000 5 Years £87,000 - £105,000 £71,000 - £98,000 £55,000 - £80,000WHERE WE WERE IMPACT ON SALARIESFrom the salary war that erupted in 2007 to the subsequent As a result of 2010’s overall prosperity, many firms reacted bystart and finish of one of the worst recessions in modern unfreezing their associate salaries and in some cases increasinghistory, the Private Practice recruitment market in London has the bandings of their salary reviews. Whilst magic circle NQs willcertainly experienced a volatile few years. City law firms were not collect the £66,000 salary they could in 2007, they willhit hard as early as mid 2008. As Lehman collapsed and new now be paid a respectable figure ranging between £59,000 andinstructions dried up, associate utilisation levels nosedived and £61,500. Although additional firms have now decided to dothe reaction was dramatic. Very few firms escaped having to away with lockstep associate salaries and adopt performanceimplement significant redundancy programmes and most related pay systems, many firms are sticking with the traditionallawyers who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs had to PQE banding approach for now. It will be interesting to seeswallow a pay freeze and, in some cases, a reduced hours which model prevails.working week. The magic circle reduced their NQ salary rates byaround £5,000 and most other firms followed suit. Firms MARKET CONFIDENCEbattened down the hatches and stringent hiring freezes were putin place: 2009 was truly the annus horribilis for the UK legal Many candidates remained understandably nervous aboutmarket. making a move at the beginning of 2010 but we found that confidence increased as the year wore on. The hire on massTHE ROAD TO RECOVERY ‘bums on seats’ approach that was adopted by several firms in 2007 is now a distant memory, but good quality candidatesAs 2009 ended, the green shoots of recovery began to soon came to see that they had a wealth of options on offeremerge and 2010 saw confidence gradually return to the when they came to the market. The junior end of the marketCity. The effect on the legal recruitment market was marked: remains the one area still yet to experience a full recovery.the first Corporate and Banking roles in over 12 months were Trainee retention rates remain low and while the external NQreleased and the momentum was maintained throughout the market is getting busier, it is still quiet in comparison with 2007.year. Clearly some of this recruitment was necessary in order However, there is no doubt that March / September 2011 willto replace those who lost their roles as a result of be a better time to qualify than the corresponding dates inredundancies once work levels picked up, but several firms 2009.were simply in expansion mode. With the exception of RealEstate, all practice areas picked up over the course of the LOOKING AHEADyear. At the time of writing in Q2 2011, the future looks promisingTHE EFFECT OF THE CHANGE TO VISAS but still a little cloudy. No-one can say with authority that the economy has fully recovered but there is a prevailing feeling inA sure fire indication of an improved market came in the the legal market that we are out of the woods. This is reflectedsummer of 2010 as international firms began to hire overseas in the stream of new instructions at the associate level that wequalified lawyers from Australia and New Zealand again. have already seen in 2011.However, the new coalition government has recently put amassive squeeze on the number of visas on offer to suchcandidates. Firms are going to have to be more and morecreative to satisfy their recruitment needs in the year ahead.Good news for UK
  4. 4. UK PRIVATE PRACTICE SALARY SURVEY - 2011SOUTH WEST & WALES P QE Large Medium Small NQ £35,000 - £43,000 £28,000 - £36,000 £24,000 - £30,000 1 Year £38,000 - £47,000 £32,000 - £39,000 £26,000 - £33,000 2 Years £41,000 - £51,000 £35,000 - £42,000 £30,000 - £37,000 3 Years £43,000 - £58,000 £37,000 - £45,000 £34,000 - £40,000 4 Years £46,000 - £63,000 £40,000 - £50,000 £38,000 - £45,000 5 Years £47,000 - £70,000 £43,000 - £55,000 £42,000 - £50,000The South West and Welsh legal markets were adversely hit by the economic downturn. Whilst the market is slowly recovering,the pace of recovery within the region is lagging somewhat behind London. On a more positive note, salaries are on the rise again,though in many instances have not surpassed the heights reached in 2007/2008 before the crash.Demand for contentious lawyers remains steady, and encouragingly there has been a bounce back in contentious commercialdisciplines, particularly IT/IP, outsourcing and franchising, all of which have displayed a real resurgence as the financial markets gainincreasing strength and momentum.Despite the recent adverse market conditions, demand for lawyers in Bristol continues to compete with the other major legal centresoutside London in terms of the quality of work on offer and the calibre of lawyers that they seek to recruit.SOUTH EAST & THAMES VALLEY P QE Large Medium Small NQ £34,000 - £55,000 £31,000 - £37,000 £24,000 - £35,000 1 Year £36,000 - £58,000 £32,000 - £40,000 £27,000 - £38,000 2 Years £40,000 - £59,000 £33,000 - £42,000 £29,000 - £39,000 3 Years £41,000 - £65,000 £35,000 - £45,000 £34,000 - £42,000 4 Years £42,000 - £68,000 £40,000 - £49,000 £35,000 - £43,000 5 Years £43,000 - £70,000 £42,000 - £55,000 £37,000 - £46,000Towards the back end of 2010 the legal market in the South East and the Thames Valley slowly began to pick up – something whichhas continued in to the new year and looks set to build momentum throughout 2011. Perhaps as a consequence of these more costconscious times, many firms outside London have capitalised on their lower cost base and are continuing to see new instructionsincrease. In particular, since the beginning of this year, there has been a noticeable increase in demand for commercial lawyersthroughout the region.One of the key attractions to this region for lawyers looking to move out of London is that they no longer have to compromise on thequality of work that they are used to doing. True, deal values are generally lower, but the quality and complexity of work as well as thecalibre of clients and work colleagues are excellent and often comparable to that found in the City. At the same time, the same lawyersare able to enjoy improved quality of life benefits, better prospects for advancement and relatively high regional salaries – whilst stillhaving all the trappings of the capital on their doorstep when wanted. Many firms have recruited excellent talent at partner level andbelow over the past
  5. 5. UK PRIVATE PRACTICE SALARY SURVEY - 2011MIDLANDS P QE Large Medium Small NQ £33,000 - £39,000 £28,000 - £35,000 £21,000 - £30,000 1 Year £37,000 - £41,000 £29,500 - £36,500 £23,000 - £32,500 2 Years £39,000 - £44,000 £32,000 - £39,750 £26,000 - £33,750 3 Years £41,000 - £48,000 £35,000 - £44,000 £29,250 - £38,000 4 Years £44,000 - £52,000 £38,000 - £48,500 £31,000 - £39,500 5 Years £48,000 - £60,000 £43,500 - £54,250 £35,000 - £43,000After a turbulent couple of years during which salaries have stagnated somewhat, the market is starting to show signs of recovery, andwith it firms have looked to upwardly review fee earner salaries. Over the last couple of years we have seen junior lawyers bear thebrunt of salary cuts as firms sought to balance the books and maintain a sensible financial gap between the earnings of NQ, Assistantand Associate level lawyers. Many firms have looked to rely on bonus schemes to reward star performers as well as looking atperformance related pay as a method of incentivising fee earners and avoiding the standard one size fits all approach of reviewingtotal remuneration.Retention rates at the NQ level improved in 2010 and there is cautious optimism that these figures will improve further over the courseof 2011 as workflows and the general financial landscape improves. The fact that numerous firms took steps to reduce their traineeintakes means there will be a dip in the number of trainees qualifying over the next 18 months, which may give those approachingqualification options, both internally with their training firms and externally.Midlands lawyers remain amongst the best remunerated outside the capital; a fact that reflects the calibre of work and client base thatthe region’s leading law firms service. Birmingham is the most mature of the region’s legal markets and also the most saturated withlaw firms. Accordingly, salaries in the second city are unsurprisingly the highest in the Midlands, with newly qualified pay peaking thisyear at £39,000 (down from £41,000 the previous year). Other major centres in the West Midlands such as Coventry, Wolverhampton,Worcester and Leamington are less populated by top-tier commercial law firms and so salaries lag noticeably behind those paid inBirmingham.Historically, the East Midlands legal market has operated in the shadow of its counterparts in the West, but Nottingham in particular nowboasts a number of generous-paying household name law firms and with practices such as Eversheds, Shoosmiths, HBJ GateleyWareing, Browne Jacobson and Freeth Cartwright now having offices in both regions, the pay differential of old is diminishing.EAST ANGLIA P QE Large Medium Small NQ £33,000 - £39,000 £28,000 - £34,000 £23,000 - £30,000 1 Year £35,000 - £42,000 £32,000 - £37,000 £26,000 - £32,000 2 Years £38,000 - £46,000 £34,000 - £40,000 £28,000 - £35,000 3 Years £40,000 - £51,000 £35,000 - £44,000 £31,000 - £38,000 4 Years £42,000 - £56,000 £37,000 - £48,000 £35,000 - £43,000 5 Years £48,000 - £60,000 £45,000 - £55,000 £38,000 - £50,000East Anglia retains a remarkably strong legal market. The region continues to be a hotbed of leading technology companies, thriving SMEsand major agricultural concerns and this, combined with its proximity to London, has led many of the UKs leading national and regionallaw firms to establish a base here. Cambridge in particular boasts a number of premier legal practices and there are still opportunities forthose looking to relocate to the area. The region’s property and corporate departments, both large and small, were greatly affected bythe slowdown in economic activity in 2009.Whilst many of the smaller firms in East Anglia put a temporary freeze on recruitment, we are starting to see signs of recoveryas they take the tentative steps towards hiring again. A number of the leading practices have continued their steady growth withareas such as commercial, IT/IP and litigation remaining particularly in demand. Competition remains high amongst firms for top quality,ambitious fee-earners and although salary levels have not seen an increase for the last couple of years, talented lawyers continue to betempted away from the Big Smoke in search of a City-style firm that can offer an improved quality of life and more immediateprospects of career
  6. 6. UK PRIVATE PRACTICE SALARY SURVEY - 2011CONTACTS FOR LONDON FOR MIDLANDS / EAST ANGLIA DARRYN HALE JUSTIN GYPHION London Office London Office E: T: +44 (0) 20 7415 2828 E: FOR SOUTH T: +44 (0) 207 415 2828 GEMMA HAMSHAR London Office E: gemmahamshar@taylorroot.comABOUT TAYLOR ROOTTaylor Root is a specialist legal and compliance recruitment consultancy with a wide network of international offices. We have beenestablished in Asia since 1998 and have assisted a broad range of clients source the best legal talent across the region at all levels fromGeneral Counsel to junior lawyers. If you are seeking to hire into your team or looking to make a career move, please do not hesitate tocontact one of our consultants.For further surveys & publications visit – taylorroot.comLONDON HONG KONG MELBOURNE95 Queen Victoria Street 1918 Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Road Level 2, Rialto North Tower, 525 Collins StreetLondon EC4V 4HN Central, Hong Kong Melbourne, VIC 3000T: +44 (0)20 7415 2828 T: +852 2973 6333 T: +61 (0)3 8610 8400DUBAI SYDNEY SINGAPORESuite 614, Liberty House, DIFC Level 12, 25 Bligh Street Level 15, Prudential TowerPO Box 506739, Dubai, UAE Sydney, NSW 2000 30 Cecil Street, Singapore 049712T: +9714 448 7770 T: +61 (0)2 9236 9000 T: +65 6232 2932TAYLOR ROOT IS A MEMBER OF THE SR GROUP: