Firms reveal 2020 trainee retention rates

updated on 05 August 2020

Global law firms Ropes & Gray and Sidley Austin have retained 100% of their trainees.

All five of Ropes & Gray’s London-based trainees have accepted newly qualified (NQ) solicitor positions at the firm, with the NQ solicitor salaries set to remain at £130,000, plus bonus. City firm Sidley Austin has retained all 11 of its trainees who are due to qualify in September, with one associate confirmed to be on a six-month fixed-term contract.

Clifford Chance was the first magic circle firm to announce its autumn retention score. The multinational firm revealed a 78% retention rate, as 36 out of 46 of its trainees accepted NQ positions, with a further two new recruits accepting six-month deals.

While Allen & Overy revealed a 93% autumn retention score – 38 out of the 41 final-seat trainees who were due to qualify in September applied and accepted NQ solicitor roles at the international firm.

The new associates will not be on fixed-term contracts, according to a spokesperson.

Allen & Overy Graduate Recruitment Partner James Partridge said: “To be able to put forward a 100% offer rate in such an uncertain market is testament to the quality of our upcoming lawyers and demonstrates our commitment to continuing to invest in the future of legal excellence at A&O.”

A retention rate of 80% was announced by Pinsent Masons, with none of its NQs taking on fixed-term contracts. The international firm has 71 trainees due to qualify in September, of which 68 applied for NQ solicitor roles with 57 accepting offers.

Head of early talent at Pinsent Masons, Deborah McCormack said: “We are pleased that our retention of early talent continues to be healthy in what is a challenging market for almost every sector. As a firm, we remain committed to the development of junior talent, which underpins our succession plan. At Pinsent Masons we want to ensure that our business is operating at its best for both our clients and our people and are pleased to welcome them in to an environment where they have the opportunity to thrive.”

Meanwhile, CMS is due to retain 44 out of 61 final-seat trainees, making its autumn retention score 72%.