Freshfields increases trainee cohort to match magic circle counterpart

updated on 05 June 2023

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has announced that it’ll be increasing the number of trainees it takes on to 100, an increase of more than 35%. This decision indicates that the magic circle firm remains confident in its practice, despite the current difficult economic climate. 

The move will take Freshfields’ trainee recruitment numbers above that of magic circle counterparts, Allen & Overy LLP and Clifford Chance, and to level with trainee frontrunner Linklaters LLP. Each firm has seen trainee numbers steadily rise in recent years, moving firms away from the previous trend of declining trainee recruitment following the 2008 financial crisis. 

Partners at Freshfields are aiming to lift the number of trainees at the firm for its autumn qualification round in 2025.

Lead training partner at Freshfields, Craig Montgomery, told The Lawyer website that the firm was expanding, therefore increasing its numbers of trainees is “a key investment to enable us to meet that demand”.

The move plays into the so-called ‘war for talent’ which has thus far seen Linklaters and Allen & Overy each increase newly qualified lawyer salaries to £125,000 to match its magic circle counterparts Clifford Chance and Freshfields. The battle to retain talent and increase salaries is only increased by US firms in the City, as junior lawyers at the London office of US firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld reportedly receive starting salaries of nearly £180,000.