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Watson Farley to retain all its qualifying trainees as Mishcon’s rate falls to 64%

Watson Farley and Williams will retain 100% of its autumn 2017 qualifying trainees, while Mishcon de Reya‘s rate of retention has dipped below 80% for the first time in three years.

All of Watson Farley’s 15 final-year trainees will stay at the firm on permanent newly-qualified lawyer (NQ) contracts, marking a modest improvement over last year’s autumn trainee retention rate when 13 out of 14 or 93% of its trainees were kept on.

The NQs will be retained across Watson Farley’s practice areas; four in energy, three in asset finance and corporate, and one each in litigation, real estate, tax, employment and finance.

Watson Farley’s graduate recruitment and development manager Lucie Rees said that the firm’s 100% retention rate was ‘particularly exciting’ and that ‘we have always been pleased that we have kept on a high percentage of our qualifying trainees over the years.’

Mishcon’s trainee retention rates dropped from its autumn trainee retention last year, when all 11 trainees were kept on. This year, the firm has retained nine out of a group of 14, equalling just 64%.

In a statement, Mishcon said: ‘We are constantly testing and improving our recruitment procedures. It’s disappointing that retention is lower this year – in the previous three years it has been over 80%. But we are confident that our evolving strategy will help ensure that the matching of trainees to the firm works well on both sides.’

A number of UK firms have announced their autumn 2017 trainee retention rates, revealing that Mishcon’s 64% rate fell below both Trowers & Hamlins and Withers, who posted 70% and 73% rates respectively.

Watson Farley posted strong financial growth in its most recent financials, with global revenues rising above 20% to £159.8m. Mishcon also recorded a strong set of results this year, with 17% turnover growth to £149.4m. The firm’s revenues have doubled since 2011/12 when Mishcon’s top line was £73.1m.