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MacRoberts has revealed the lowest newly qualified (NQ) retention rate for September 2012, keeping just 18 per cent of its qualifying solicitors.
The Scottish firm is retaining two of its 11 trainee solicitors due to qualify this autumn.
A spokesman said: “Last year MacRoberts retained nine of 15 trainees and this year we’re retaining two of 11 trainees. This is due to a combination of the high retention the previous year and the fact that market conditions continue to be challenging in many sectors.”
Latham & Watkins, meanwhile, is keeping 12 out of 13 trainees, giving it an NQ retention rate of 92 per cent.
The result is fairly steady on the September 2011 qualification round, when the firm achieved a 93 per cent NQ retention rate, holding on to 14 out of 15 trainees.
Elsewhere, Finers Stephens Innocent posted an NQ retention rate of 43 per cent, after holding on to three out of seven qualifying trainees.
The news comes as the West End firm agrees terms for a £45m merger with Howard Kennedy. The combined firm, Howard Kennedy FSI, will have 351 staff including 88 partners and 125 fee-earners (8 August 2012).