Latham & Watkins is latest US firm in London to trumpet high newly-qualified retention rate

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By Jonathan Ames on

Californians will keep 95% of current trainees, as Los Angeles-based practice follows Shearman & Sterling with early release of figures


An American east coast-west coast rivalry was being fought out in London this week — Wall Street white shoe firm Shearman & Sterling announced its autumn newly-qualified retention rate yesterday, so surfer dudes Latham & Watkins responded today.

But the Los Angeles-based firm fell slightly short of the 100% mark announced by the New Yorkers. Latham confirmed it was retaining 95% of its London trainees when they qualify this September.

Nonetheless, Latham’s current retention rate is an improvement on the 89% it turned in last autumn. The firm also pointed out that it has more than doubled its trainee positions over the last six years – from 10 to 21.

In the latest round, the firm is retaining 20 of 21 current trainees. However, Latham said that while it offered jobs to all trainees that applied, one had the outrageous temerity not to bid for a chilled and laid back California-style future.

A Latham statement said the greenhorn lawyers would be spread across the firm’s corporate, finance and litigation practices.

Apparently dissatisfied with the 95% retention figure, the firm’s London trainee principle and mergers acquisitions partner, Kem Ihenacho, attempted to gloss the numbers:

The 100% offer and acceptance rate reflects both the quality of our trainees and the fantastic opportunities available to talented junior lawyers here.

Clearly, the one that failed to apply is now dead to the firm.


Shearman & Sterling retains all 13 of its London trainees [Legal Cheek]