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Trainee Retention

In most (but not all) cases, the autumn qualification period is nearing an end. In the world of legal recruitment, August can be a painful month where progress on existing matters drops to a snail’s pace and new matters are pushed back. It happens very year yet I continue to be shocked by its arrival. As partners and practice heads cover for their comrades off on annual leave legal work continues unabated as such the focus of recruitment often takes more of a back seat.

August however remains an active period for trainees as firms conclude their internal allocation for their September intake.

For some this is a process that concluded some months before and for others it can happen right at the death!

Not all retention rates become available but most will in time reveal their autumn intake. As things currently stand many of the bigger players have highlighted their retention. As this attached article from the lawyer shows, it has been a season of fairly high retention and as an external recruiter it remains that there have also been significant numbers of external NQ roles both in London and nationally.


Corporate and Real Estate remain areas of high activity in addition to much improved areas such as banking and finance. All to be expected in some respects but it is always encouraging to have that backed up empirically.

As more information comes in we will update and report but for now details of current retention stands as follows:

Trainees retained Total number of qualifiers Percentage retained
Burges Salmon 24 24 100
Jones Day 15 15 100
White & Case 14 14 100
Shearman & Sterling 13 13 100
Weil Gotshal 9 9 100
Cripps 8 8 100
Sullivan & Cromwell 4 4 100
Covington & Burling 4 4 100
Clifford Chance 45 47 96
Latham & Watkins 20 21 95
Walker Morris 13 14 93
Herbert Smith Freehills 34 37 92
Slaughter and May 33 37 89
Mills & Reeve 14 16 88
Taylor Wessing 20 23 87
Allen & Overy 38 44 86
Linklaters 46 55 84
Freshfields 40 48 83
Foot Anstey 5 6 83
Hogan Lovells 23 29 79
Fieldfisher 10 13 77
Nabarro 10 13 77
Berwin Leighton Paisner 17 24 71
Trowers & Hamlins 5 7 71
Ince & Co 9 15 60

It remains that just because internal processes have concluded this does not mean that the NQ market has closed its doors. If you are an NQ either in a role that perhaps wasn’t your first choice or indeed have not yet secured that role on qualification then please send your CV in for a confidential discussion.

If you would like any more information please contact Paul Warburton at BCL Legal.


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