Despite the wave of redundancies and poor financials of late, firms are still posting high retention rates of junior lawyers who can almost all breathe a sigh of relief this coming September. However, not every firm has been as generous this year as they were last summer – a sign that supply is still outstripping demand in many areas.
The latest is Magic Circle firm Linklaters which yesterday (31 July) announced a retention figure of 87%, equating to 47 offers (of which all were accepted) out of 54 trainees. This figure is up considerably on last summer, where the rate fell to 79%.
Fellow Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May gave the most impressive results with a rate of 90% – up marginally on last year – offering placements to 46 trainees, while Clifford Chance confirmed 80% of its 60 trainees had been retained, up from 77% in 2012.
However, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer posted an 81% retention rate this year, down eight percentage points on a year ago, keeping 39 of its 48 trainees. DLA Piper, the world’s largest law firm by revenue, posted a sizeable gap between it and the rest with a rate of 73%. A total of 77 trainees applied for the job, 60 offers were made and 56 were accepted. Last year 83% of trainees were kept on.
Other City firms to illustrate positive retention rates last week included Herbert Smith Freehills, with an 88% retention rate where 30 out of 34 applicants received an offer, while Mishcon de Reya posted a rate of 86%, keeping six out of seven trainees at the firm. Ashurst came marginally behind with a rate of 80%, retaining 24 trainees out of 28 applicants.
And despite making job cuts following a sustained slump in market activity, top-20 City firm Berwin Leighton Paisner surprised many by posting a retention rate of 86%, offering positions to 18 out of 21 of its trainees.
Elsewhere, Mills & Reeve revealed a retention rate of 85%, or 17 out of 20. While Trowers & Hamlins will retain six out of seven newly qualified lawyers giving it a score of 95%. This despite the firm having to make four-fee earners redundant in May and follows the 332-lawyer firm’s announcement that global net profit slid by 21% this year, with PEP down to £307,000 and revenue down 3% to £78.3m.