Linklaters has kept on 93% of qualifying trainees in its latest cohort, up on the 86% spring 2014 retention rate.
The Magic Circle firm made offers to 54 of 57 qualifying trainees, with 53 lawyers accepting a position, up on the 50 trainees in a 56 lawyer cohort that were kept on earlier this year.
Linklaters upped its salary bands for junior-level solicitors earlier this year, increasing first year pay 1.26% to take it to £40,000 and second year pay to £45,000. The firm also boosted newly-qualified (NQ) lawyer salaries by 1.6% to £65,000 earlier this year. Slaughter and May was the first Magic Circle firm to post its reviewed pay for junior solicitors this year, upping trainee, NQ and first to third year PQE by 3.2% as rival Allen & Overy froze pay for junior lawyers.
Top tier firms have been preparing to up their associate levels after restrained intake following the financial crisis. Linklaters’ retention rate dipped to 73% in March 2010 but the firm has stepped up its hiring, with a retention rate in March and September last year standing at 86% and 87%, respectively, while this latest round represents the Magic Circle firm’s highest retention rate since September 2011.
Of the Spring 2014 qualifying trainees, Freshfields achieved an 80% retention rate, keeping on 35 of 44 trainees, while Clifford Chance retained the highest number of trainees, offering roles to 45 of 48 lawyers, or 94%.