Macfarlanes is riding out the storm, announcing that it will retain 80% of its qualifying trainees.
Four out of five of the firm's trainees will qualify this spring. The sole trainee not being taken on by the City firm is "moving back to his home county to start his own business" outside of law, said a spokeswoman for the firm. It is a solid retention score, particularly in this nervous time.
All 25 qualifying trainees were retained in September 2019, which means that 29 out of 30 trainees have been kept on from the 2019-2020 intake.
"We take a long term view of our talent needs and have increased our investment in trainees over the past years" said Sean Lavin, partner and head of graduate recruitment. "These are uncertain times but the continued success of our firm demands that we have the talent to meet the sustained demand from our loyal clients when the market recovers."
Jenny had some adjustments to make when lockdown finished
The firm has performed excellently in recent RollOnFriday Firm of the Year surveys. In the 2020 survey, the firm was filled with happy people. There was a lot of praise for the "genuinely friendly" collegiate atmosphere, the "very bright people" and the "interesting and challenging work from trainee level up". And the firm is "not nearly as 'stuffy' as its external reputation would suggest" said one lawyer. Although another felt the firm still was still a bit "old school despite trying to pretend it's not by introducing a casual dress policy."
Freshfields is another firm that is taking the stance to support its trainees who are due to qualify this year. "Our people are at the core of our business," said Craig Montgomery, the firm's training principal. "We are committed to hiring and retaining trainees again this year and to investing in our people for the long term."
Not all firms have adopted this approach, as Gateley has said it may delay the date for its Autumn qualifying trainees from from September until the 31st December.