Retention rates at the majority of magic circle firms have slipped this spring, with Clifford Chance posting the lowest figure across the group.

The firm posted an 80% spring retention rate, keeping 43 out of a cohort of 54. This is much lower than both its spring and autumn retention figures last year, when the firm posted rates of 91% and 96% respectively.

Retention figures also slipped at Linklaters, Allen & Overy and Freshfields. Linklaters kept 83% of a total cohort of 54; a rate rising to 94% excluding resignations.

Allen & Overy kept 91% of its trainees, giving newly qualified roles to 39 out of 43; last year’s retention rate was 93%. Freshfields posted a retention rate of 82%, compared with 85% last spring, after 31 of its 38 trainees stayed at the firm.

Meanwhile Slaughter and May was the only magic circle firm to increase the number of trainees it kept on, after it retained 95% of its spring cohort, with 38 of its 40 trainees accepting positions at the firm. Last spring it kept on 37 trainees, an 88% retention rate.

Outside the magic circle, Weil, Mayer Brown and Macfarlanes all posted 100% retention rates.

White & Case reported that it was keeping 87% of trainees qualifying in March, after 13 out of 15 accepted offers to stay on at the firm.

Herbert Smith posted a retention rate of 94% after keeping on 33 of its 35 trainees; Trowers & Hamlins kept six out of its seven, an 86% retention rate, while Hogan Lovells kept 93% of its 29 trainees.

Berwin Leighton Paisner retained 70% of its spring cohort, after it made 16 offers to its 20 trainees, with 14 accepting.