City firms reveal strong trainee retention rates amid pandemic

updated on 11 February 2021

Multiple City firms have announced high retention scores despite the covid-19 pandemic.

Magic circle rates held especially strong with 94% of newly qualified (NQ) solicitors at Linklaters (47 out of 50) accepting roles, while Allen & Overy revealed that 92% (34 of 37) of trainees are staying on post qualification, as reported by the Law Gazette. International firm Clifford Chance announced that 38 of its 43 strong qualifying group have taken up offers – a retention  rate of 88% – all of whom will be on permanent, full-time contracts, according to Legal Cheek.

Meanwhile, Herbert Smith Freehills has retained 28 of 30 (98%) of its NQ solicitors. This is a marked improvement on the 66% recorded in Autumn due to what the firm termed the “unprecedented uncertainty caused by covid-19". Elsewhere Ropes & Gray announced that both London-based trainees will be taking up roles on qualification, giving the firm consecutive rates of 100% following the hiring of all five NQs in September 2020.

The spring numbers follow cut backs and pauses in recruitment and advertised vacancies during the summer as detailed in the Financial Times and discussed in LCN’s Oracle. It remains to be seen what impact the pandemic will have on future trainee recruitment rounds, but the numbers posted should be positive news for those who do secure a traineeship.