Trainees try to make it to qualification

As fourth-seat trainees take the plunge to become solicitors, CMS and Clifford Chance are the latest City firms to post their retention rates.

CMS is giving permanent roles to 47 out of 60 qualifying trainees this autumn - a retention score of 78%. The firm will also take on one qualifying trainee on a fixed term basis.

It follows a 68% retention rate for CMS in the spring, when 19 out of its 28 qualifying trainees were kept on.

This year, CMS had a total cohort of 88 qualifying trainees (for spring and autumn combined). A quick browse through the archives reveals that this number sits roughly in the middle of the firm's cohort sizes over the decade: the firm's highest yearly intake over the last ten years was 122 trainees in 2018, with a lowest cohort of 55 trainees in 2015.

CMS has raised NQ base salary in London from £100k to £105k this month, putting pay on a par with Norton Rose Fulbright and BCLP. Although pay higher up the chain at CMS is unknown, as the firm was unable to provide RollOnFriday with salary at other bands.  

Clifford Chance has also announced its trainee retention results. The Magic Circle firm is retaining 43 out of 55 qualifying trainees this September, all in permanent positions, matching CMS' retention rate of 78%.

CC had a retention score of 69% in the spring, as 29 out of 42 qualifying trainees were taken on in March.

The firm had a total cohort of 97 qualifying trainees this year. Whilst this is one of the largest cohort sizes for UK firms, it is not at the higher end for CC, when looking over its intake numbers over the decade. The firm’s biggest cohort (in the last ten years) was 126 trainees in 2013, with the lowest being 92 trainees in 2015.

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Anonymous 28 July 23 09:37

"CMS is giving permanent roles to 47 out of 60 qualifying trainees this autumn..."

What happens to the rest, do you think? Thirteen people, all just gone without a trace.

I've always been a bit suspicious about where the frankfurters in the canteen come from, if I'm honest.


Regional Hack 28 July 23 10:01

CMS now paying more in London than rivals but a chunk less in the provinces. Bet their northern lawyers are delighted.

Anonymous 28 July 23 11:34

“…putting pay on par with Norton Rose Fulbright and BCLP”. 

What happened to Norton Rose? Not too long ago it used to pay 1-2k less than the Magic Circle.

Weil associate 28 July 23 20:32

@Anonymous 13:33

Only wasters work in the regions while we make decent bangers and mash in the City. Nuff said.