Slaughter and May will take on just 29 trainees this spring as associate intake at magic circle firms continues to dip.

The magic circle firm posted a retention rate of 94% in its spring retention round, with 29 of its 31 qualifying trainees staying on. This is one of the firm’s smallest associate cohorts in several years. Last July 37 trainees were kept on, while 34 were retained this time last year. A total of 67 trainees were retained in 2018.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘We would like to congratulate all of our newly qualified associates, who will be integral to the continued success of the firm. This year’s figures are in line with those of previous years and we are proud of our consistently high rate of retention.’

Earlier this month, Clifford Chance announced that it is taking on 34 of its 40 newly qualified trainees (85%), a significantly smaller number than last year, when 46 trainees were kept on in the spring and 41 were retained in the autumn. In 2018 a total of 80 Clifford Chance trainees progressed to become associates.

Linklaters, Freshfields and Allen & Overy have yet to post their retention figures.