Attention: don’t mention retention

Herbert Smith Freehills has become the latest firm to release its retention rates, revealing that it will keep on 75 per cent of its spring 2013 newly-qualifeds. The firm had a pool of 32 trainees, of which 24 were given jobs. None of the trainees turned down an offer, which is hardly a surprise in this environment.

That’s not to say it’s unheard of for trainees to knock back a firm. It happened at Jones Day and Clifford Chance this year. On the whole, though, retention rates from firms for spring 2013 have not shown any alarming trends. Norton Rose kept on 76 per cent, Addleshaw Goddard kept 100 per cent, and Olswang kept 78 per cent.

But, as one curious commenter asked on Lawyer2B’s website earlier this week, do retention rates really matter?. Responses so far seem to amount to, ‘they’re not the be all and end all’.

Still, as was demonstrated by Clifford Chance and Addleshaws in 2012, with little attrition higher up the ladder, firms are increasingly faced with blockades of senior associates that prevent new blood coming through, resulting in redundancies. Junior lawyers with an eye on the long term might want to pay more attention to those numbers instead.


Also on

  • Linklaters’ former US co-managing partner Larry Byrne has joined Pepper Hamilton as part of a six-lawyer team move to the American firm’s New York office
  • DLA Piper has laid off six capital markets fee-earners in Hong Kong
  • Cheekily known as the ‘Sicilian Enforcer’ inside Dewey & LeBoeuf, executive director Stephen DiCarmine was one of the firm’s most influential figures. In the latest update, DiCarmine has been summoned to appear in court next week and produce evidence relating to partner payouts and communications between the defunct firm and its banks
  • And, K&L Gates has bared all by producing a full financial report to SEC disclosure standards