Herbert Smith Freehills and Reed Smith both post retention rates of over 90%

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By Alex Aldridge on

International City giants will hang on to 93% and 91% of their trainees


The London office of US firm Reed Smith — which offers 24 training contracts a year — has revealed that it is to keep on 12 out of its 13 trainees qualifying this spring.

Meanwhile, in the last hour Anglo-Australian behemoth Herbert Smith Freehills has confirmed that its spring 2015 retention rate is 93%, with the firm — which offers 70 training contacts annually — retaining 39 of its 42 new qualifiers.

Herbies’ 93% retention rate places it on a par with Allen & Overy (93%) but below White & Case (100%), which released their spring retention figures last month. It is Herbies’ best retention result since the financial crisis, and represents an improvement on last year.


Reed Smith comes ahead of Osborne Clarke (89%), Freshfields (85%) and Trowers & Hamlins (82%), which make up the remainder of the seven-strong group of firms to have posted 2015 retention rates.

It is the third straight qualification round in which Reed Smith has hit 90% or above, having trailed around the 80% mark in 2012-13.


Herbies and Reed Smith’s new qualifiers will receive a salary of, respectively, £65,000 and £60,000.

At the former, 35 of the 39 will work in London, with the remaining four based in Belfast, Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo. 15 will qualify into corporate, 11 into dispute resolution, while five go into finance, three into real estate and one into competition.

At Reed Smith two each will go into the firm’s corporate, finance, real estate and shipping departments, with one each taking up roles in commercial disputes, employment, energy and media. 11 will be based in London, with one on secondment to Reed Smith’s Athens office for the year.

The news comes as Reed Smith prepares to make a major change to its graduate recruitment as it embarks on a joint venture with Queen Mary University of London to run a combined law sandwich degree. The course, which starts next year, will see between five and ten third year QMUL law students work for a year as paralegals at Reed Smith and be offered a guaranteed training contract at the end of the placement.

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