Law firm Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy is offering starting salarys of £143,000
A top law firm has hiked its starting salary for junior staff to £143,000, sparking fears of a wage war in the City.
The pay packet for lawyers joining Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy straight out of university dwarfs what is offered by the best British firms at the top of the profession.
Experts believe it will trigger a round of pay hikes that could push legal wages – and firms’ fees – into even higher territory.
Milbank, which is a US firm, has boosted junior lawyers’ starting pay by £7,500. It also announced they will get another £7,500 bump at the end of their first, second and third years.
Associates on the next rung of the ladder will get annual pay rises of £11,200 in their fourth to eighth years.
It means that a Milbank lawyer in their early 30s and relatively low down the pecking order could be taking home almost £250,000 a year.
UK law firms in the so-called Magic Circle typically offer lower starting pay.
For example, Linklaters pays £90,000 a year to junior staff while Slaughter and May recruits take home £80,000 plus a bonus of up to £12,800.
Partners in American firms tend to be the best paid, with a senior lawyer in London working for a US business raking in around £7.5million.
Freddie Lawson of recruiter Fox Rodney Search said: ‘The money will go up in London without question.
‘The other US law firms will be scrabbling around right now to react, and they will have to react. It puts more pressure on the Magic Circle.’