Newly qualified lawyers at Allen & Overy are brushing up their CVs after the firm announced that 30% of them could find themselves without a job on qualification.

In a meeting with trainees last week, training principal David Campbell said that only 70% of the September 2009 and March 2010 qualifiers were likely to be retained. Even given the firm's recent redundancy announcement,  it is shocking news. A&O kept on 86% of its 2008 qualifiers and nearly 90% in 2007. The fact that it's looking to ditch such a large chunk of its future talent is clear evidence that A&O believes that it must slim down substantially in response to a prolonged downturn.

     A&O's trainee retention rate... and not in a good way
A spokesman for A&O said that the firm had wanted to let trainees know their prospects as far in advance as possible - but that the figure was merely "an assumption" of what might happen in the forthcoming months and that more trainees might be retained if the economy recovered.
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