Newly-qualified solicitor retention at Hogan Lovells takes a hit amid practice area logjam

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By Judge John Hack on

Anglo-US firm blames lack of openings in popular practice areas as only 66% of rookie lawyers stay on


Transatlantic giant Hogan Lovells is to keep only 66% of its qualifying solicitors this spring.

The firm confirmed that it offered roles to 26 newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers from a group of what had been 32 trainees. But so far only 21 have accepted jobs at the firm, with two more pondering offers of NQ roles in the firms’ international offices. If they accept, the retention rate would increase to 72%.


The 66% figure puts the firm a few percentage points ahead of the worst performer of the spring round so far, Berwin Leighton Paisner.

There were red faces all round the BLP management table when the firm was accused of inflating its retention rate by nine percentage points to 70%. The firm claimed that three trainees did not reach offer stage. Nonetheless, it has kept on 61% of qualifying lawyers.

Back at Hogan Lovells, training principal and energy specialist partner David Moss acknowledged that the firm’s current retention rate was not as high as it would have liked.

Indeed, the number has dropped considerably over the last year. In spring 2014, the firm retained 78% of NQs, with that figure dipping only by one point in last autumn’s round.

According to Moss:

“The roles on this occasion were not always in areas that our people wanted. The majority of those leaving us did so to work in practice areas where we were not hiring. ”

Moss said the firm’s current growth in the corporate and finance fields would continue this year, continuing:

“Trainees currently in the firm and joining us can expect to spend the majority of their time in these practice areas, which are growing following significant partner promotions and strategic hires in these areas. It is likely that most of our qualification vacancies will continue to be in these core areas of our business.”


Berwin Leighton Paisner hit by claim that it doctored trainee retention rate [Legal Cheek]

Clifford Chance completes magic circle retention report by rejecting 9% of its NQs [Legal Cheek]