US firms announce trainee retention rates, while NQ solicitor salaries continue to rise

updated on 10 July 2023

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US firms White & Case LLP, Vinson & Elkins RLLP and Covington & Burling LLP share their trainee retention rates for autumn 2023, while Baker McKenzie and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) bump newly qualified (NQ) solicitor salaries as the competition to attract the best future talent continues.

White & Case revealed that 19 out of 24 (79%) of its trainee lawyers had accepted permanent positions with the firm and are due to qualify into practice areas such as capital markets and international arbitration in September 2023. Earlier in the year, the firm revealed a retention rate of 83% for its spring cohort, putting its average retention rate for 2023 at 81%. Recognising the “global importance of English law expertise at White & Case”, two of the firm’s trainee are also due to join its Abu Dhabi office.

US firm Vinson & Elkins has retained five out of six (83%) trainees who are due to qualify later in the year. The NQ solicitors will be qualifying into the firm’s M&A/capital markets, projects and energy, and litigation practices, and can expect to receive an annual salary of £173,822. Plus, all eight trainees at Covington & Burling accepted positions at the firm and are set to join practices including employment and finance, corporate, arbitration and tech/regulatory/competition.

Mishcon De Reya retains 86% of its autumn 2021 trainee cohort, find out more via LCN’s News.

Meanwhile, NQ solicitors at BCLP were awarded a £10,000 pay rise, putting the NQ salary at the firm’s London office at £105,000 – a £50,000 hike on qualification. Associate salaries at the firm have also seen a bump with the firm explaining that “the salary is an important part of compensation” in a competitive talent market, as well as the firm’s other benefits such as its new parental leave policy.

Baker McKenzie has also revealed that its NQ solicitors in London will receive an £8,000 increase in pay from £110,000 last year to £118,000, effective as of 1 July. Discretionary bonuses are also available for all earners, with Ed Poulton, the global law firm’s managing partner in London, explaining that the firm is determined to build an inclusive workplace for all, while also rewarding “in a consistent manner”.

Find out more about the ongoing pay war and drive to secure the best talent as magic circle firms up NQ pay.