Two magic circle firms have announced slight increases to junior associate compensation.
Freshfields is bumping associate pay by 2-2.6%, while Slaughter and May will have 1.5-3% increases.
It may not sound like much, but this is exactly the sort of pay increases that the legal industry needs to see. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for firms to sit at $160,000 (okay, back to the US scale, because no one wants to hear UK to £61,500!) for years, and then suddenly jump to $165,000 or $170,000, and sit on that number for years again.
Inflation happens every year. If you started at $160k this year, the people starting at $160k next year are earning less than you. The entire pay scale should get a bump of about 2% to match inflation. First years get $160,000 this year, next year's class gets $163,200, and the folks after them get $166,464. And of course, this adjustment goes for all levels of pay. If you're a first year making $160,000 this year, and the second year associates make $165,000, then when you get promoted, the new first years will be making $163,200, and you'll be pulling in $168,300.
But, just to really hammer home how ridiculous attorney salaries are, think about this:
Your pay is based more on keeping numbers round and pretty than what you're actually worth.
That's just stupid.