Salary wars: America's Golden Handcuffs vs Britain's Magic C

by Vault Law Editors | February 24, 2010

  • My Vault

It’s the Yanks against the Brits, as UK firms sound off on the increasing disparity between salaries for newly qualified lawyers at US-based firms in London and those paid by the homegrown elite.

American firms in London are well known for paying more than their British counterparts, although when it comes to training and overall prestige, City firms tend to outshine the US. (See Vault’s UK Law Firm Rankings for details.) Salaries for newly qualified lawyers at Magic Circle firms hover around £60,000, whereas many US firms in London pay more than £90,000. Now, with Bingham’s recent NQ salary bump to £100,000, some worry that the Magic Circle might lose its luster if more top graduates seek traineeships at American firms.

However, all those extra pounds might weigh you down, cautions one partner at a Magic Circle firm, according to The Lawyer:

“There are concerns that when you start paying those amounts you’re locking young people into a career that they might not enjoy,” he says. “You’re almost creating a golden handcuff scenario whereby people can’t leave the profession because it would mean a massive lifestyle change.”

Of course, that very scenario might represent the culmination of some graduates’ dreams.

- posted by vera

Filed Under: Law

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