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AMSS, Khaitan, Luthra, Trilegal hike pay by up to 50% beyond Rs 10L

Money money
Money money

Amarchand, Luthra & Luthra, Khaitan & Co and Trilegal have all ramped up their basic starter pay above Rs 10 lakhs, with offered packages including bonuses now running up to Rs 15 lakh at the top end.

Khaitan & Co's Mumbai office made the biggest leap to Rs 10.8 lakh per annum from Rs 7.2 and 8.5 lakh – an increase in base salaries by up to 50 per cent – for the batch joining in June 2011.

Last year Khaitan & Co said it had paid out bonuses of up to 60 per cent of base salaries, while for the batch joining in June 2011 offering a package of up to Rs 4 lakhs as a performance dependent bonus to freshers.

"Is there any other answer but to attract talent?" mused Khaitan & Co Mumbai partner Upendra Joshi about the reason for the hike in starter incomes. "Our philosophy is purely this – we perceive that we are growing and we would like to share the growth right from fresher to the senior most associate."

Khaitan & Co offered the new packages to a total of 12 students it had recruited so far: eight from NUJS Kolkata and four from Nalsar Hyderabad. Joshi said that the firm planned to visit between three and four more campuses, including NLIU Bhopal, GNLU Gandhinagar and the two Pune law schools Symbiosis and ILS.

"We want to visit more colleges but it really depends on what numbers we get at these colleges and it's practically impossible to visit each and every college each year," said Joshi.

"With a little bit of a difference here and there, and in the odd case it might be more accentuated, but most of these colleges are on par with each other. In that sense there's no real downside not being able to visit each and every college," he explained.

Luthra & Luthra upped its base fresher remuneration by 13 per cent to Rs 10.2 lakh, which also applies retrospectively to all freshers who joined in 2010.

Including maximum performance based bonuses the offered package is Rs 12.6 lakh per year and in addition Luthra & Luthra also offers medical insurance benefit contributions equivalent to Rs 3 lakh per year.

Luthra & Luthra senior partner Mohit Saraf said that the firm regularly reviewed its salary figures. "We are moving [the salary of] everybody in the firm and we do that every year with effect from 1 April. I think this year we did in July and then we gave everybody." The pay hike is understood to have been passed at the firm's partner's meeting in early July.

Saraf said that the firm had recruited 35 students so far, with the majority coming from NLU Jodhpur, followed by NUJS, NLSIU Bangalore and Nalsar.

Trilegal has also now offered its upgraded base remuneration of Rs 10.8 lakh per year to all 2011 joiners, a plan that was first reported in June's original Legally India salary survey.

Trilegal offered a maximum bonus of Rs 2 lakh. Mumbai partner Nishant Parikh explained that the bonus was "primarily driven by the number of billable hours and overall performance of the associate and typically internally we've told ourselves that 20 to 25 per cent [of fee-earners] should be between the 90 and 100 per cent mark".

So far this recruitment season Trilegal has recruited 14, said Parikh: six from NLSIU Bangalore, two from NUJS Kolkata, one from Nalsar Hyderabad and five from NLU Jodhpur.

Amarchand Mangaldas, where the previous base salary package was Rs 9.6 lakh, has also offered larger base packages that are understood to be between Rs 10.3 and 10.8 lakh per year, although offer letters have not yet been circulated to students and the figure could still be subject to revision.

The total package offered by Amarchand including bonuses is between Rs 14 and 15 lakh now, according to Legally India interviews with students.

Amarchand's Mumbai region recruited a total of 41 students so far this year, hiring 12 each from GNLU and Nalsar, followed by nine from NUJS Kolkata and eight from NLSIU Bangalore.

Amarchand declined to comment or confirm any figures.

Top bands here and there

AZB & Partners' Mumbai office remains the highest payer, offering a base package remuneration of Rs 11.4 lakh per month, including a "competitive bonus" that was equivalent to other firm's top bands, according to an AZB partner.

ICICI Bank increased its start cost-to-company package to Rs 9.05 lakh, which could be paid out on a retainer basis rather than as a salary to effect tax savings, as reported in July.

The top starting salary paid by a US firm to London trainees is £40,000 (Rs 29 lakh) by Bingham, while after two years upon qualification these increase to £100,000 (Rs 72.6 lakh).

Trainee salaries at London magic circle firms are up to £39,000 (Rs 28.3 lakh) in the case of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, increasing to up to £61,000 (Rs 44.2 lakh) after two years upon qualification, according to UK student publication Lawyer2B.

Please help us update this table with accurate information and leave anonymous comments below with tips on pay-hikes or if you receive different salaries from those listed below. Please write "PRIVATE" in your comment if you wish for us not to publish the comment.

2010-11 Indian legal recruiters' offered remuneration
Firm Base retainer pay (Rs lakh) Offered total package incl. max bonus (Rs lakh) / other
AZB & Partners (Mumbai) 11.4 "competitive bonus"
Khaitan & Co (Mumbai) 10.8 (7.2 - 8.5 for 2010 batch) 14.8
S&R Associates 10.8
Trilegal 10.8 (10.2 for 2010 batch) 12.8
Amarchand Mangaldas 10.3 - 10.8 14 - 15
Luthra & Luthra 10.2
12.6 (+3 insurance benefits)
AZB & Partners (Delhi) 9.8 "competitive bonus"
J Sagar Associates (JSA) 9.6
9.05 (salary with retainer option)
CTC* with other benefits convertible to full retainer after six months.
Wadia Ghandy 8.4
Talwar Thakore 8.4
Desai & Diwanji 6 - 8.4
Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) 7.2 (salary)
+4.8 fixed amount is paid out after three years with firm.
First-year CTC* figure therefore 12.
12 forms base for 2nd year increase
SAIL 6.6 - 6.8
Phoenix Legal 6 - 7.2
IFMR 6 - 6.5
Juriscorp 4.8 - 6
4 - 6 (5 - 7 for 2010-11) (CTC* incl. bonus at top 10 law schools)
Lakshmikumaran Sridharan 4.8
Crawford Bayley

Kochhar & Co
4.2 - 4.8

Supreme Court judicial clerkships
1.8 - 2.4 (under review)
Source: Legally India research: interviews with students and college recruitment committees and putting those figures to law firm or organisation for correction or comment.
*CTC: "cost to company" figure can include other benefits than just base salary.

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