Legal Business Blogs

KWM and Simmons clock poor retention rates as Eversheds hits 100%

The rough and tumble of trainee retention season offers contrasting images to future lawyers as Eversheds keeps on all eight trainees while Simmons & Simmons becomes the latest firm accused of tampering with its figures.

Simmons & Simmons, which recently released a 78% retention rate for its spring trainees, has been accused of altering its figures after a poor year for keeping its young talent. The firm announced that nine trainees had gone through the qualification round ending in February, with eight offered jobs and seven accepting. However, it has since emerged that there were 13 trainees on the intake, rather than nine, giving Simmons & Simmons a lower retention rate of 54%.

A spokesperson for the firm would not confirm how many people started in the trainee cohort, stating that ‘it’s not manipulation’ and that the firm only counts people who ‘go through the process.’ She would not detail how long it takes for a trainee at the firm to be considered ‘going through the process’.

Simmons & Simmons previously posted a poor retention rate for its autumn 2015 cohort, with just 64% of the 28 trainees that begun the programme still with the firm as a newly qualified lawyer.

King & Wood Mallesons, which recently cut 15% of its European and Middle Eastern partnership, has kept on 14 of its 20 qualifying trainees, or 70% of this round.

Eversheds, on the other hand, posted a 100% retention rate with all eight trainees set to continue at the firm. Three of these are based in London, qualifying into commercial and financial services disputes and investigations practices, with a further four trainees qualifying in Birmingham and Cambridge. The firm also took on a trainee in Paris, to be based in the firm’s international arbitration practice.

Firms in the Magic Circle all released their retention rates earlier this year, with the general pattern being that firms have achieved lower retention rates than the same time last year, although Slaughter and May has bucked this trend by keeping on 91% of trainees, up from the 88% it kept on in spring 2015.

Our sister website The Lex 100 has created a retention rate table which will be updated as more figures are announced.