Linklaters lags behind in magic circle NQ retention

Linklaters has revealed an 82 per cent newly qualified (NQ) retention rate for its spring qualifiers.

Simon Firth
Simon Firth

Linklaters’ results complete the picture of the jobs market for new lawyers at magic circle firms.

Linklaters’ 82 per cent rate is a slight drop from its autumn 2010 figure, when the firm kept on 87 per cent of NQs. But it is a big improvement on the same time last year, when the firm kept on just 73 per cent.

This year 60 trainees are due to qualify at Linklaters. Out of those, 54 applied for the 50 permanent positions, but only 49 accepted offers.

“I’m pretty happy with these figures,” said Simon Firth, Linklaters trainee development partner. “I think it’s about as high as we can expect. The standard of applications was incredibly high, but we rarely go above a certain number.”

The figure puts Linklaters at the bottom of the magic circle in terms of retention rates, although only by a small margin. Clifford Chance is at the top, keeping on 52 of the 57 trainees, or 91 per cent, who are due to qualify in March.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer comes second with an 89 per cent retention rate. The firm offered jobs to 40 of its 45 NQs. Allen & Overy is keeping on 84 per cent, or 56 out of 64, of its spring qualifiers.

So far only three UK firms – Osborne Clarke, Stephenson Harwood and Travers Smith – have posted retention rates of 100 per cent for March 2011.