Latest trainee retention rates reflect a buoyant outlook among the magic circle with at least eight out of 10 qualifying this autumn staying on.

Clifford Chance leads the way with a 96% retention rate, keeping on 45 of its 47-strong cohort. This is an increase on last year’s 75% retention rate when it kept on 40 of its 53 trainees.

Slaughter and May reported that 89% of its trainees are staying on, as against 97% last year. The firm offered contracts to 35 of its 37 trainees after two decided to withdraw from the process before qualification offers were made. Of the remaining 35 trainees offered a job, two did not accept their offers.

Allen & Overy retained 86% of its trainees. Out of an intake of 44, 42 applied to stay on, 41 offers were made and 38 accepted. Last year it made offers to 43 of its 50-strong cohort, of which 41 accepted (82%).

James Partridge, partner and training principal, said yet another ‘pleasing result’ demonstrated ‘the consistently high standard’ of trainees at the firm as well as the firm’s ‘commitment to supporting their long-term careers with us’.

Linklaters made offers to 46 of its 55 trainees (84%). However, the firm said two trainees resigned as they were relocating to another country and one was considering leaving the law.

A further breakdown of Linklaters’ figures shows eight qualifying in the capital markets practice, seven in litigation, six in banking, five in corporate, five in projects, four in real estate, three in TMT/intellectual property, two in tax, and one apiece in competition, employment, FMG (financial regulation group), IMG (investment management group), Singapore corporate and Paris capital markets.

Linklaters partner Nick Rumsby said the firm’s retention rate remained ‘consistently strong’ over the last four qualification rounds. ‘We continue to be able to offer fantastic opportunities to our trainees and we believe that we continue to be an employer of choice for today’s students,’ he said.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer retained 83% of its trainees, a slight improvement on last autumn’s 82% retention rate. The firm made job offers to 43 of its 48-strong trainee pool; 40 accepted.