RPC is to retain 70 per cent of its qualifying trainees this autumn.

Of 20 final-seat trainees, 18 applied for newly-qualified roles at the firm, with 14 eventually staying on.

Twelve out of the retained NQs will be based in the firm’s London office, while two will work in Bristol, where RPC first launched a training contract in 2013.

Trainee recruitment partner Simon Hart said: “Competition for many of our practice areas here was fierce as it always is, with several vacancies heavily over-subscribed. We would have loved to have been able to accommodate everyone’s first choice but that was commercially not possible so we fully understand those who have decided to pursue their ambitions elsewhere.”

The retention rate is the firm’s lowest for several years. It retained 87 per cent of qualifiers in 2012, 81 per cent in 2013 and 100 per cent of qualifiers in 2014 and 79 per cent last year.

RPC retention 2016

RPC recently overhauled its pay structure for associates by axing bonuses in favour of higher basic salaries.

The changes come just months after the firm scrapped annual performance reviews for associates.