With only a few weeks to go before trainees disappear into the nearest stationery cupboard to emerge as qualified lawyers, firms have begun releasing their trainee retention figures. The results, so far, are pretty solid.

It remains to be seen whether the final scores will rival last year's, when nine firms achieved 100% retention rates. At the moment only Sidley Austin, which is keeping all nine of its trainees, is in the everyone-welcome club. Three cheers and a small flute of sparkling wine for each trainee.

   
Don't care, got tenure
 


Slaughter and May has been the kindest of the Magic Circle firms to its brood as it keeps on 46 of its 51 trainees, a 90% retention rate. Linklaters follows with a respectable 87%, while Freshfields (83%) and Clifford Chance (80%) bring up the rear. Although there's change afoot at CC, which has said that from 2015 the firm will slash its annual trainee intake from 120 to 100. Allen & Overy, which only managed a 70% retention rate in spring, has not yet released its figures.

The results outside the elite are, broadly, steady but not spectacular. BLP clearly thinks it has sufficient work in the pipeline, despite rumours its profits and partner drawings have taken a tumble: it has offered jobs to 18 of its 21 trainees (86%). Trowers & Hamlins also released poor financials this summer but it, too, has found room for 86% of its admittedly small intake.

White & Case is bottom so far, but 79% is still some way ahead of the woeful retention rates posted by some major firms last year (Simmons & Simmons: 25% yeowch). So far the biggest fuss hasn't been about the numbers, but the uncomfortable revelation that all Ashurst's culled trainees are from black or minority ethnic backgrounds.

However, it is still relatively early days. If you know your firm's score, get in touch anonymously.

Firm
Total trainees
Trainees retained
Retention score Sept 2013
 Sidley Austin
 9  9  100%
 Slaughter and May
 51  46  90%
 Herbert Smith Freehills  34  30  88%
 Linklaters  54  47  87%
 BLP  21  18  86%
 Mischon de Reya
 7  6  86%
 Trowers & Hamlins
 7  6  86%
 Mills & Reeve
 20  17  85%
 Shearman & Sterling
 13  11  85%
 Freshfields  48  39  83%
 Jones Day
 11  9  82%
 Clifford Chance
 60  51  80%
 Ashurst  30  24  80%
 White & Case
 14  11  79%


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