US firm Shearman & Sterling is to retain just 64 per cent of its London trainees who are due to qualify in September.

The firm will take on nine of the 14 trainees who are coming to the end of their contracts this year.

Marcus Franks, global HR director, said: “There was stiff competition for available places and we’re sorry to be losing some talented people.  We shall, however, try to help them as much as possible with their plans for the future.”

The news comes after the firm retained only two of the four trainee solicitors who qualified in March 2009.

Last year Shearman & Sterling retained six of the seven trainee solicitors who qualified in September as well as the single trainee it had taken on in March.

LG, meanwhile, is keeping on just nine of its 21 qualifiers and Allen & Overy (A&O) has warned its trainee solicitors that it may only keep on 70 per cent of its September 2009 and March 2010 qualifiers (18 May).