RPC has announced a pandemic-proof trainee retention rate of 92%.

The firm is keeping 11 out of its 12 UK trainees who qualify in September. A spokesman for RPC said the remaining trainee opted out of the qualification process to pursue a career outside of law. 9 of the NQs will be based in RPC's HQ in London with the other two in the Bristol office. Although with changing attitudes to work, their office space could also include WFH in the kitchen, whilst wearing pyjamas.

RPC's score is a marked improvement on the firm's retention rate last year of 42%, in supposedly easier times. And it also beats the firm's decent score of 82% in both 2017 and 2018.

"We have a very strong group of trainees qualifying in September and it is testament to their quality and commitment over the last two years that every single one of the eleven trainees who applied was offered and accepted a permanent role with the firm," said RPC's training principal Simon Hart.   

Travers Smith also posted an impressive retention score of 89%. The firm will be keeping 17 out of 19 trainees. It has had a good retention run over the last few years; scoring 81% in 2019, 100% in 2018 and 90% in 2017.

Clifford Chance announced a reasonably solid retention score of 78%. 45 out of 46 trainees applied for positions, with the firm offering 36 full time roles. The firm also offered two six month fixed contract roles, which were accepted. The Magic Circle firm posted a score of 85% in spring this year, and 90% in both spring and autumn 2019. 


The NQs returned in their now customary work attire

Fourth-seat trainees at DWF have had to wait until last week to find out what Autumn NQ roles were available at the firm. The firm usually posts the positions between March and April, but a DWF spokeswoman said that "due to the difficulties presented by COVID-19, we pushed back the publishing of the NQ job list in order to evaluate the business needs and what we could offer." The firm may also have been sidetracked with its big change in leadership last month.

DWF has published 25 NQ vacancies for the firm's 37 trainees set to qualify this autumn. If all 25 NQ roles are filled by the firm's trainees, that would represent a retention rate of 68%; slightly up from its score of 63% last year. 

Any trainee who leaves DWF on qualification could be hit in the pocket, as their training contract dictates that they would have to pay back their LPC fees to the firm. DWF's spokeswoman confirmed that it "reserves the right" to claw back fees, but that the firm would review individual circumstances. She also said that DWF had waived the clause this year for any trainees who had accepted an external job before the delayed NQ list came out. The firm threatened an ex-trainee with court action over the repayment of LPC fees in 2016.

"We have always maintained open and honest communication with the trainees throughout the process," said DWF's spokeswoman about the delays, adding the firm looked forward "to watching the bright and promising futures of our qualifying trainees."


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Anonymous 10 July 20 09:01

RPC is an insurance litigation firm. Business as usual or slight uptick there, I imagine.

rough 10 July 20 09:04

That's some harsh shit from DWF, seems weird to incentivise getting rid of your own trainees. 

Ex-DWF 10 July 20 09:39

You best believe DWF actively do try to recoup fees for leavers. Despite the fact they're offering considerably less jobs than current qualifying trainees, they will ask for fees to be returned.

Anonymous 10 July 20 10:28

@ 09:39

They probably let you go for failing to appreciate the difference between less and fewer.

Anonymous 10 July 20 14:28

Does anyone know what the position in Scotland is? I’ve seen Brodies proudly plastering their NQs’ faces over LinkedIn but haven’t heard anything officially from other firms up north. I hear that Davidson Chalmers have retained all trainees and Harper Macleod are considering delaying qualification until later in the year? Anderson strathern and Thorntons each only able to offer about half of their trainees jobs. Are those figures normal for Scotland? 

ex-RPC 10 July 20 14:36

RPC's retention is 92% compared to 42% last year. The uproar in comments on RoF last year about RPC's retention was popcorn worthy. 

RPC has now confirmed what we all thought:

"We have a very strong group of trainees qualifying in September and it is testament to their quality and commitment over the last two years that every single one of the eleven trainees who applied was offered and accepted a permanent role with the firm"

Guessing the same couldn't be said about last year's cohort!  

Anon 10 July 20 17:45

Harper MacLeod do not have the right to blanket delay qualification for all trainees on economic grounds (as much as they will likely dress it up as being for reasons that they have not yet been able to deliver the requisite training due to Covid). Hopefully the law soc will not stand for it.

Anon 10 July 20 18:02

Back in 2016 when DWF threatened an ex-trainee with court action over repayment of LPC fees, their contract reportedly required repayment unless the borrower stayed with the firm until 2 pqe. Wonder how that was drafted, given that a TC is a fixed term contract and, upon qualification, another (typically) permanent contract is concluded. On qualification, the NQ could offer to take the NQ job only if they're paid 10% more than DWF is offering, and then argue that DWF's refusal is the intervening cause of the failure to "stay with the firm"? 

Anonymous 10 July 20 21:59

@Anon 10 July 20 17:45 a couple months more of certain employment would be nice about now.... Doubt they’ll miss out on many NQ roles this side of the new year - if something did arise I’m sure Harpers would be pragmatic and let them second. Due to complete my traineeship next month with no NQ job on the horizon (dozens of well researched spec apps sent out - lots of “sorry but goodluck” replies back). 

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