5 out of 42 of Slaughter and May’s qualifying trainees leave firm

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By Alex Aldridge on

Retention rate at elite firm falls to lowest since 2013


Slaughter and May has released a significantly reduced retention rate of 88% for spring 2015 as it waves goodbye to five trainees who qualified at the firm.

The departures contrast previous retention rounds, with the magic circle firm keeping 97% of its trainees in autumn 2014 and 95% in spring last year. It is the lowest figure recorded by Slaughter and May since autumn 2013, when the firm also held on to 88% of its trainees.


Slaughters, which pays its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors £65,000 a year, made offers to 37 of its 40 trainees applying to be kept on. Two trainees opted not to apply for NQ roles at the firm which last year found itself caught out by social media when a former lawyer uploaded hilarious YouTube footage of his colleagues in the 1980s. In the fall-out from the video, a photo emerged of Slaughters’ former senior partner “blacked-up” as a Zulu Warrior.

The 88% retention rate places Slaughters below Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills (both 93%) but above Freshfields (85%) in the group of firms which offer 70 training contracts or more per year to have released spring 2015 retention figures.

Meanwhile, Mayer Brown and Addleshaw Goddard have also released data about their spring qualifiers, although the fact that they are only a handful of them at each firm limits its usefulness. Three stay and two leave at Mayer Brown, and two stay and two leave at Addeshaw.

Finally Linklaters announced their retention rate figure, with 91% of its former trainees staying with the firm. This represents a drop on last autumn, when 93% of NQs opted to stay.

Clifford Chance is the only remaining magic circle firm not yet to release its newly-qualified retention figures for the spring 2015 period.