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Herbert Smith Freehills keeps 34 out of 37 trainees

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Elite City of London and Australian outfit posts 92% retention rate

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In the latest illustration of the rude health of the high-end of the legal market, Herbert Smith Freehills has announced a 92% retention rate today.

The firm London-based global law firm will be keeping 34 out of 37 of its trainees who are scheduled to qualify this autumn.

The news follows a host of decent retention rate results posted by, among others, White & Case, Jones Day and Slaughter and May. The former duo are keeping on 100% of their new qualifiers, while S&M is retaining 89% — not up to its high standards, but still quite good.

These figures, which evoke memories of the roaring pre-crash noughties, haven’t been matched by mid-market firms. Trowers & Hamlins and Nabarro recently released trainee retention rates of 71% and 77% respectively. Read into that what you will about the state of the wider corporate legal market.

But allied to the recent wave of pay rises sweeping the elite London firms, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the high end of corporate law is pulling away from the rest — a trend reflected in wider society, where the 1% seem to be doing rather well right now.

Anyway, back to those 34 retained Herbert Smith Freehills trainees. Fifteen will work in litigation, nine in corporate, four in real estate, two in finance, one in competition and one in energy. 32 will be based in London, one in Paris and another in Dubai. Following the recent pay rises brought in by the firm, they will earn £69,000.