Trainee retention results for March have started to be released and, despite widespread fears about the fragility of the economy, it currently looks like a pretty good round.

A rare perfect score was achieved by SJ Berwin, which will keep all eight of its March NQs. That's particularly good given its not-very-impressive 67% score last time round.

Amongst the Magic Circle, Allen & Overy scored well with 89% (51 out of 57 trainees remaining with the firm) and would have hit the magic 90% had one associate not spurned the firm's offers. The figure marked a return to form, the firm having posted only 72% last September. Freshfields didn't do too badly either with a score of 85% (41 out of 48).

    Some happy trainees. Weeping unemployed NQs not pictured.

Next up is Berwin Leighton Paisner where 88% of trainees will stay with the firm. Which is fortunate given the number of gaps in the banking department that need plugging. Stephenson Harwood, will keep five out of six qualifiers (83%), and Norton Rose retains 18 of its trainees, a rate of 78% - that's 10% down from last September.

But for every small glass of sparkling wine quaffed before returning to the serious business of billing, there's normally also a cup of cold tea. And there are rumours that at least one big firm will be retaining under half its trainees, and possibly as low as 20%.

You can send in your firm's trainee retention numbers - good or bad - here.

UPDATE: Clifford Chance's figures are just out. Notching up the worst Magic Circle score so far, CC is taking on 39 out of 51 of its trainees, giving it a score of 76%.

Tip Off ROF


Roll On Friday 27 January 12 11:25

Don't believe the hype - some firms (including MC)massage the figures by offering NQ posts they know won't be accepted (eg NQ-to-be wants to work in another dept/has a job elsewhere).

Real figure is not higher than 75% at any large firm in this market. Trust in me on that, mates.

Anonymous 27 January 12 14:47

Roscoe P. Coltrane:

The article says that 51/57 A&O's (for example) trainees are staying with the firm. Not that 51 got offers. So your comment doesn't ring true

Anonymous 30 January 12 12:44

Yeah, but semantics aside, I suspect that 'X staying with the firm' is probably just the writer using a bit of creative phraseology to avoid saying 'advertised retention rate of X' about a dozen times in a single article.

Trust me, I know people who trained at magic circle sweatshops who got given the "We're keeping you on... in Kazakhstan!" offer when they qualified. BigShop HR then writes that offer up as a retention (even though the NQ leaves and goes to work in Banking HR), because even though all the big firms have similar (lower than advertised) figures nobody likes having their brand image tarnished by being labelled as having a (relatively) low retention rate.

If you work at a BigShop and got kept on in London (or hope to be kept on in the future), then you probably don't like to think that happens because it likely challenges your positive perceptions of your employer's ethics. But it's a very poorly kept secret that the advertised BigShop retention figures don't accurately reflect the actual rate of retention of NQs.

Anonymous 09 October 12 22:32

Not bad! Heard some firms are not keeping anyone (such as Orrick)