Trainee retention rates defy economic gloom

Magic circle firms are continuing to take on high proportions of trainees despite the economic turmoil and the growing number of redundancies.

Linklaters, which is cutting up to 120 City lawyers and up to 150 support staff from its ranks, is set to retain 84 per cent of trainee solicitors due to qualify in March this year, excluding those who resigned before the qualification process started. If those trainees were included, then the number drops to 79 per cent, or 59 out of 75.

That said, although managing partner Simon Davies confirmed that no trainees will lose their jobs as part of the redundancy consultation, he would not confirm whether the number of people being offered training contracts in the future would be affected.

The firm takes around 130 trainees each year. Clifford Chance, which is currently in redundancy talks aimed at cutting 80 lawyers from its London office, has announced that it will retain 85 per cent of its spring qualifiers.

At Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, 42 of the 49 trainees qualifying in spring are being kept on, or 86 per cent.

Allen & Overy will boast a 91 per cent retention rate, with 51 out of the 56 trainees being offered positions.

One trainee decided not to apply for a newly qualified position.

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