Breaking news: Shearman & Sterling retains all 13 of its London trainees

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By Jonathan Ames on

New Yorkers are first off the blocks for the “autumn” newly-qualified retention figures


New York “white shoe” practice Shearman & Sterling has retained all of its London trainee solicitors, the firm announced this morning.

That means the firm — which at the end of last month increased junior lawyer salaries by 6% to £88,000 — will keep 13 new qualifiers when they are handed their practising certificates this September.

A statement from the firm said the NQs will be spread across a range of departments at the Liverpool Street offices. Included will be finance, mergers and acquisitions, tax, anti-trust, project development and finance, asset management, and financial institutions advisory work.

This morning’s announcement represented a considerable improvement on the firm’s recent retention rates. Last year, it held on to 75% of its London qualifiers, which was down from 85% in 2013.


Shearman & Sterling’s London office has been offering training contracts for the last 16 years. Most trainees are given the option to complete one of the four seat rotations overseas.

The NQ salary rate at the firm puts it well ahead of magic circle competition by some £18,000. However, Shearman is still bottom of the table of elite US firms in London, trailing behind White & Case, which recently boosted NQ pay to £90,000.