Slaughter and May, which is well known for its high retention rates, has kept on 33 out of its 34 qualifying trainees, giving it a retention rate of 97%. In March, the firm retained 36 people from a cohort of 38, a rate of 95%.
Corporate partner Robert Byk, who helps lead the firm’s graduate recruitment, told Legal Business: ‘Most firms significantly reduced training contracts three years ago, so it’s logical that their retention rates have improved, we didn’t do that. For us the lowest we’ve ever been is 88%. For us it is important to retain people and recruit for the long-term.’
Byk added that the firm’s recruitment policy, which does not screen out applicants based on A Level results, supports diversity at the firm, which has also added to the complexity of its written tests carried out on the day of interview, a policy introduced two years ago and then shared with partners that had not interviewed the candidate.
Berwin Leighton Paisner has retained 15 of 18 newly qualified lawyers, posting an 83% retention rate in a year when some of its City rivals have increased the number of lawyers they are keeping on.
The firm, which posted bumper financial results this year including a 35% rise in profit per equity partner to £542,000, retained 15 out of 18 final-seat trainees. In the Spring the firm kept hold of 16 out of 18 newly qualified lawyers, a retention rate of 89%.
Anthony Lennox, BLP’s trainee principal, said: ‘We are very pleased to once again be able to retain such a high percentage of our trainees. They are the future of the firm and we are committed to their development and career progression. The calibre of trainees at BLP is extremely high and this reiterates our ambition to recruit only the very best into our trainee programme.’
Elsewhere, US firm Jones Day will keep on eight newly qualified lawyers from an intake of ten. This follows on from when the firm kept on one out of a group of three in March this year, giving the firm a retention rate of 82% for 2014 in London.
Three of the newly qualified will take up positions in the firm’s global disputes practice, while two will join real estate, and the remaining three will be split between corporate, banking and intellectual property.
Of the two trainees that are not staying on, one is leaving to launch his own business, while the other chose to specialise early.