Exclusive: Latham & Watkins raised pay in London after associate revolt
29 June 2018
Latham & Watkins confirmed in a memo on Monday that it will match Cravath's salary raises and summer bonuses in the UK.
Insiders told RollOnFriday that partners at the US firm initially indicated to their London staff that Latham would not follow Kirkland and Akin Gump in paying UK lawyers at the new US rates set by Cravath
. But they are understood to have changed their minds after an "associate backlash
English-qualified associates in Latham's London office are more likely than most to notice disparities in pay between them and the firm's US counterparts, because a significant proportion of the office comprises US-qualified associates. They specialise in high yield bonds, a US product, and they are paid at US rates. To the sawing of tiny violins, a source told RollOnFriday that at some levels the English-qualified associates are currently up to £20K worse off than their US buddies down the corridor.
||Latham associates meeting with partners, yesterday.
Latham partners have also promised a review of the exchange rate used to convert dollar pay into sterling, said a RollOnFriday source. Latham still uses a longer term rolling average of about 1.4 dollars to the pound, whereas most competitors have moved to some form of shorter term floating rate which has seen the average FX conversion set at about 1.28-1.34.
Elsewhere in the US cashfest, ROF understands that leveraged finance and private equity specialist Kirkland has surpassed Cravath's payscale. The firm's end-of-year bonus grid has been set up to 1.75 times higher than Cravath's for associates (for whom the bonus is now $25k at 5PQE), and up to three times higher for top performing non-share partners.
The US firms declined to comment, because they were drowning in money and just needed RollOnFriday to pass them a pole and pull them in to the side where they coughed up gold coins and paid us to caper like monkeys for their amusement.