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Everything You Need To Know About Magic Circle Law Firms

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Magic Circle law firms are the creme de la creme of law firms. Regarded as the most prestigious firms across the globe, the Magic Circle is made up of five law firms that are headquartered in London. 

Whether you’re a Paralegal or a Solicitor, you’ve probably heard of the Magic Circle firms. If you’re an aspiring Solicitor, you’ve almost certainly heard of the Magic Circle law firms.

But what distinguishes them from the other law firms? What’s the salary and what are the benefits of working for a Magic Circle firm? And how do you get your foot in the door of one of these five firms? 

At IDEX Consulting we’ve helped many candidates take the next step and secure roles in these highly sought after firms. Here’s everything you need to know. 

What are the five Magic Circle Law Firms? 

There are five law firms in the UK that are thought to be elite - these are: 

  • Allen & Overy

  • Clifford Chance

  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

  • Linklaters

  • Slaughter and May

2022 Salary Guides - Download Now

What sets Magic Circle firms apart from other law firms? 

There are several factors that distinguish Magic Circle firms from other legal firms, including: 

  • Consistent and guaranteed highest earnings per Lawyer and Partner in the UK.

  • Client base - mainly focused on corporate law.

  • Number of Lawyers in employment.

  • Reduced staff turnover rate.

Where did the term ‘Magic Circle’ come from? 

The Magic Circle firms originated from the ‘Club of Nine’ in the late 1990s. The Club of Nine included Lovells, Herbert Smith, Norton Rose and Stephenson Harwood. However, the Club of Nine was disbanded in 2000. 

According to Henry Raine, former Investment Banker and Corporate Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, the term ‘Magic Circle' was, “coined by a legal magazine and referred to firms which were very strong in corporate or international work.” 

How much can you earn in a Magic Circle law firm? 

Salaries depend on how many years post qualified experience you have. For example, a newly qualified Lawyer can earn a base salary of £110,000 and this can increase to over £225,000 if you make a salaried Partner.

Find out more in our Legal Expertise Salary Guide for 2022.

What skills do Magic Circle firms look for? 

Whether you’ve always aspired to become the next Jessica Pearson or Harvey Specter, or you’ve always wanted to secure a role in one of the most prestigious firms in the world,  you’ll need to strengthen the following skills:

  • Develop strong team working and communication skills 

  • Show your drive, passion and motivation to succeed 

  • Have commercial awareness about law 

  • Have commercial awareness about the specific law practice 

  • Demonstrate excellent attention  to detail 

  • Show strong time management skills

  • Have a strong academic background 

  • Show you’re an ambitious individual 

Speak to the recruitment experts at IDEX Consulting today 

If you’re working in legal and you’re aspiring to work at a Magic Circle firm, you may find our advice on writing a career progression plan really useful. If you know what you want to do and would like some advice on how to get there, speak to the recruitment specialists at IDEX.

Download IDEX Consulting’s 2022 Legal Expertise salary guide today.