The unofficial financial performance indicator – “the Trainee Retention Rate”

August 31, 2012

It’s that time of year again when the larger UK law firms report their trainee retention figures for the year. As ever, these figures are greeted with a great deal of interest, as many tend to associate these figures with the current financial performance of the firm (whether rightly or wrongly).  We have listed a few firms’ figures below.


Linklaters – trainee retention rate drop to 78%, keeping 51 of its 65 trainees qualifying this autumn

Irwin Mitchell – is keeping on 76% of its 41-strong group of qualifying trainees, with the firm making offers to 32 trainees, of which 31 accepted.

SJ Berwin – is retaining 64% of its intake, with the firm offering 28 of its 42-strong round positions on qualification, with 27 accepting.

Herbert Smith – retaining 80% of their autumn trainees

Norton Rose – retaining 78% of their autumn trainees

Allen & Overy – 79% retention rate for its autumn qualifying round

Nabarro – retained 69% of its qualifying trainees

CMS Cameron McKenna -84% of its autumn trainees were retained.

Field Fisher Waterhouse – 17 trainees of 20 were retained.

Shoosmiths -100% were retained.

Dundas & Wilson – 26 of 33 were retained.


Overall these figures show a slight decrease on the same time last year, however are considerably higher than the average retention rate of 57% in September 2009. Whilst it is irresponsible to jump to the conclusion that such increases are the result of deep seeded economic growth, it is hard not to view these figures with optimism.

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