Norton Rose Fulbright has managed an excellent retention rate of 95%.

The firm is retaining 19 out of 20 of its qualifying trainees this spring. 95% surpasses the firm's decent 90% retention in autumn last year and its meh score of 75% in spring 2018. The starting salary for NQs will be £77,000.

Although the firm can boast a stellar retention rate, its performance in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2019 survey was less impressive. The firm placed 60th in the table with a dismal score of 49%. Lawyers complained of a poor work/life balance, with one associate saying that there was "a creep towards squeezing fee-earners more and more", while another said that they were "working Magic Circle hours for schmuck pay". 

Hogan Lovells is taking on 26 out of 29 of its qualifying trainees, a very commendable score of 90%. It follows a retention rate of 93% in autumn 2018 and 78% in Spring 2018. The latest batch of NQs will be paid £78,000.

HogLove came 21st in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year survey with a decent score of 72%. A lawyer at the firm said that there are "very few pricks" in the office and reported that lessons have been learnt as "wanking at desks is now actively discouraged given last year's epic fail".

Linklaters has found jobs for 41 out of 51 trainees, a retention rate of 80%. However, the figures should be treated with caution as the firm would not divulge whether any of the positions were on a fixed-term basis rather than permanent roles. Last year, the firm managed a retention rate of 73% in autumn and 84% in spring 2018. The NQs will start on a salary of £83,000.

The Magic Circle firm came 47th in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2019 survey with a score of 61%. One lawyer said that while there was still "too much face time" but that the firm was "getting better with flexible" options including "working from home once per week".

Fellow Magic Circle firm Freshfields announced a retention rate of 78% this Spring. Of the 41 trainees in the cohort, 32 were retained. However, as was the case with Linklaters, the firm refused to tell the ROF data bods as to whether any of the qualifiers will be on fixed-term contracts.


C'mon Links and Freshfields

Freshfields achieved a 83% retention rate in autumn 2018 and 74% in spring 2018. NQs can look forward to a starting salary of £85,000.

The firm came 55th in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year survey with a score of 56%. One member of staff said that there are "some fantastic, brilliant, hugely intelligent people to work with". However, he also noted that there are "stereotypes everywhere" including partners "so rich they don't need to work, associates who never see daylight" and also "seniors in little glass boxes" who "patronise anyone from north of Watford".

12 out of 16 trainees at White & Case will be kept on this spring, a retention rate of 75%. It has been a good run for the US firm having posted a 84% retention last autumn and 81% in spring 2018. As is the case with the major US firms, White & Case's NQs will receive an eye-watering salary, starting on £105,000 (to the sound of the world's smallest violin, this is not quite as high as Ropes & Gray).

White & Case came 15th in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year survey with a score of 75%. Satisfaction with salary boosted the score, as one lawyer said "while we have not kept pace with some of the U.S. firms, the bonus system is very generous and busy people are well rewarded" adding "the chargeable targets are humane."

Retention table

The earlier round-up of this spring's retention rates is here

If you know your firm's retention rate (or know that they are offering fixed-term rather than permanent roles) do write in.  


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