Clifford Chance (CC) is to cut down its UK trainee intake for 2018 by 20%, reducing numbers from around 100 trainees each year to 80.
The Magic Circle firm’s intake is a significant drop on the 136 the firm took on in 2010. Retention figures at the firm have also dropped sharply, with the firm keeping on 40 of its September 2016 cohort, or 82% compared to 96% in 2015. The firm had 49 trainees for the intake, down from 74 in its autumn 2010 intake.
In March the firm also saw a major drop in spring retention figures, retaining only 80% of its cohort compared to 91% in 2015.
Other Magic Circle firms have also pulled back on the size of their trainee cohorts, with just 42 qualifiers at Allen & Overy in 2016, down from 66 in spring 2010.
While numbers are down at the Magic Circle firm, CC has revamped its remuneration for newly qualified lawyers. In May, the firm increased its pay bands for 2016/17 to see a rise, including bonuses, to £85,000 compared to £70,000 before bonuses in 2015.
Trainee retention rates from earlier this year have seen Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer post a reduced retention rate of 82% in spring 2016. In March 2015 the firm kept on 41 trainees, while in the same period for 2016 the firm offered just 33 places.
A CC spokesperson said: ‘In spring this year, the decision was made to reduce our trainee intake. Our trainee intake, like many other elements of our business, is constantly under review to ensure it is the right fit for the future needs of the organisation.
‘We remain one of the largest employers of trainees in the UK market and will continue to offer excellent opportunities to the highest-calibre individuals, supporting them to become great lawyers.’