The arrival of US firms in London has radically changed the UK legal market with several American outfits offering newly-minted lawyers nearly double what their UK counterparts shell out. At the top of the list are Akin Gump and Kirkland & Ellis, both of which peg their UK salaries to the dollar, which resulted in some first-year lawyers being paid as much as £140,000 last year. Meanwhile, the highest salary on offer among the UK’s Magic Circle of leading firms is Clifford Chance’s £87,300. The difference in salaries is due to the fact that US firms pay their US lawyers, who are typically swamped with huge law school debts, the same as their UK employees.
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