Law firms are reporting bullish retention rates, a snap survey by the Gazette shows.

Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, Fieldfisher, White & Case and Weil, Gotshal & Manges are among those to have announced they will keep 100% of trainees who qualify this autumn.

City-headquartered RPC said it will be retain all 15 trainee solicitors who applied to qualify at the firm this year, making it the second time the firm has achieved a 100% rate in the last four years. Last year it retained 13 of its 16 trainees (81%).

Managing partner Jonathan Watmough (pictured) said: ‘We invest a lot of time and money in our trainee recruitment programme, and set the bar for qualification very high. It’s always particularly pleasing, therefore, when we get such an outstanding group who make the grade, and doubly gratifying when we are able to offer them all positions at the firm.’

London firm Fieldfisher kept on all 11 of its newly qualified solicitors, an increase on the 71% retention rate last year when the firm retained 12 of its 17 qualifiers.

They will be spread among the dispute resolution, finance, funds, IP/IT litigation and enforcement, public regulatory and technology, outsourcing and privacy groups.

US firm White & Case kept on all 14 of its trainee cohort while US rival Weil Gotshal & Manges retained all 11 of its qualifiers.

National firm TLT retained all six of its trainees. Last year four out of its five qualifiers were kept on.

Of the magic circle, Slaughter & May offered jobs to all of its 34-strong cohort of trainees and all but one decided to stay with the firm. Its 97% retention rate was up on the 88% last year when the firm kept on 46 of its 51 qualifiers.

Linklaters offered 54 of its 57 final seat trainees jobs, 53 of whom accepted, reaching a 93% retention rate – one of the firm’s highest.

Fellow magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer offered jobs to 38 of the 45, with all but one accepting. Its 82% retention rate is roughly the same as last year, when it kept on 39 of its 48 qualifiers (81%).

International firm Taylor Wessing announced that it will retain 91% of its trainees as newly qualified solicitors. Twenty of 22 trainees will stay with the firm as newly qualified solicitors when their training contracts expire in September.

Three will qualify into the firm’s real estate practice; three into intellectual property; two into corporate, commercial and projects; two into disputes & investigations; two into private equity; and two into private client.

One trainee each will qualify into construction; corporate finance; corporate technology; finance; IT, telecoms and competition and tax & incentives practices.

Graduate recruitment partner Kirstie McGuigan said: ‘Having seen this group of trainees develop over the past two years it’s fantastic to see such a high number staying on with the firm.’

International firm Withers retained 10 of 12 qualifiers (83%), keeping the same number of the 14 (71%) who qualified last autumn.

Berwin Leighton Paisner offered roles to 16 of its 18 final-seat trainees, with 15 accepting, giving an 83% retention rate, slightly down on last year, when it kept on 18 of the 21 qualifiers (86%).

Training principal Anthony Lennox said: ‘We are very pleased to once again be able to retain such a high percentage of our trainees. They are the future of the firm and we are committed to their development and career progression.’

City firm Nabarro offered places to 14 of 16 (87.5%) and retained 13 (81%), slightly down on last year’s 83% retention rate when it kept on 15 of its 18 qualifiers.
Ten of the new trainees will qualify into the firms London office and three will work in Sheffield.

International firm Jones Day kept on eight of the 10 qualifiers, compared to last year when it retained nine out of 11 (91%).

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, created in May following the merger of Wragge & Co and Lawrence Graham, keeps 77% of its final-seat trainees – 30 out of the 39 cohort.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin announced it will retain 73% of its newly qualified solicitors. Of 22 trainees qualifying in September, 18 applied for roles with 16 of those retained by the firm.

Before its merger last autumn with Asia Pacific firm King & Wood Mallesons, SJ Berwin kept on 14 of its 19 qualifiers – also 73%.

Training principal Nicola Bridge said: ‘Over the past year, through our combination with King & Wood Mallesons, we have expanded our global footprint to become the first global law firm headquartered in Asia.

‘We offer our trainees the opportunity to get involved in large, cross-border pieces of work with lawyers from offices right across the firm. In particular we are already actively exploring trainee secondments in our new offices, in addition to those European and Middle Eastern secondments that we already offer.’

International firm Stephenson Harwood retained seven of its 10 autumn qualifiers (70%), slightly lower than last year when it kept on eight of the 10 qualifiers (80%)

Following its merger with Scottish firm Dundas & Wilson, CMS Cameron McKenna took on almost twice as many newly qualifieds as it did last year, retaining 41 of the 61 (67%).

Of the qualifiers, 21 will join the London, four will go to Bristol, 10 are in Edinburgh and three each will be based in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Graduate recruitment partner Simon Pilcher said: ‘As a result of the combination with Dundas & Wilson, we have a significant increase in the number of trainees qualifying in August compared to last year (61 trainees this year compared to 34). As a consequence, due to the volume of trainees the overall retention rate is regrettably lower than in previous years.

‘However we are in a strong position as a firm post-merger and were therefore able to offer more NQ positions than last year with 41 trainees accepting roles with us. This represents an increase of 46% compared to the number of roles offered in the August qualification round last year and a 64% increase in comparison to Aug 2012.’