NQs celebrate while staying safe 

Defying the pandemic misery, Herbert Smith Freehills has announced a trainee retention rate of 94%, Clifford Chance posted a score of 88%, while Ropes & Gray hit a perfect 100%.

HSF offered positions to 28 of its 30 qualifying trainees for this spring, with all of them accepting. One of the spots will be in the firm's Tokyo office. “The high retention rate shows our continued commitment to investing in our people and attracting the highest calibre of future lawyers,” said Training Principal David Rosen.

HSF's score of 94% is a vast improvement from autumn when the firm blamed the "unprecedented uncertainty" created by Covid for a retention rate of just 66%. In March 2020 Herbies retained 84% of its spring qualifiers (27 out of 32 trainees).

In June last year, the firm took a cautious approach as it offered £8,000 to new trainees to defer their training contacts by six months due to the pandemic.

Clifford Chance has offered 38 positions to its cohort of 43 qualifying trainees - a solid retention score of 88%. The firm posted a retention score of 78% last autumn, and scored 85% in spring 2020.

Clifford Chance is the second Magic Circle firm to announce a good retention rate, after Allen & Overy posted a score of 92%

Ropes & Gray will be retaining both of its qualifying trainees in London, allowing it to boast a trainee retention score of 100%. It follows the firm's 100% retention rate in autumn when it retained its cohort of five qualifying trainees.

Unlike many firms, Ropes & Gray made no cuts to its staggering NQ salary last year, and will pay both its qualifying trainees £130,000 - plus bonus - handy for a lockdown online shopping spree.

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