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Magic circle retention rates hold up
Magic circle firm Clifford Chance has retained 48 of 62 trainees, a retention rate of 77%, it revealed this week, in a clutch of announcements of trainee retention figures at City and international firms.
Rival magic circle firm Slaughter and May reported an 88% retention rate (42 trainees retained of 48), closely followed by City firm CMS Cameron McKenna, which retained 26 of 31 (84%), and City firms Ashurst and SNR Denton (each retaining 24 of 29, both 83%). City firm Olswang retained nine out of 14, a 64% retention rate.
Three firms reported 100% retention rates: US firm Debevoise & Plimpton (six trainees retained), US firm Jones Day (11) and City firm Farrers (10). US firm Shearman & Sterling retained seven out of eight (88%), and City firms White & Case and RPC retained 13 of 16, and 12 of 15 (81% and 80%) respectively.
Although most firms have still to post this summer’s trainee retention results, there is cause for optimism, with one firm - SNR Denton - showing a 23% improvement on figures it reported in March. Clifford Chance was stable showing a 1% improvement. Farrers showed a 10% uplift on this time last year, while Ashurst was 5% and Olswang 9% up on March 2012. In contrast, White & Case dropped 13% from March, from 94% to 81%.
Junior Lawyers Division chair Hekim Hannan said firms expect a reduction in graduate vacancies over the next few years and are offering fewer contracts in anticipation. He said: ‘Firms are taking no chances with trainee numbers and are just taking on the minimum in the expectation that, where necessary, they can recruit qualified lawyers who have been made redundant elsewhere.’
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