A&O and Links reveal disappointing junior lawyer autumn retention figures

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Several newly-qualified lawyers wave good-bye to magic circle players, despite one having showered juniors with cash only a few weeks ago


Two magic circle law firms revealed slightly disappointing qualifying lawyer retention rates this morning, with Allen & Overy keeping 86% of newbie solicitors this autumn, while Linklaters managed only 84%.

A&O’s figure was especially surprising — six NQs headed for the exit despite the firm jacking up salaries considerably within the last few weeks. The firm revealed that 38 out of a cohort of 44 autumn qualifying lawyers will remain at the practice after 41 job offers were made.

The firm — based in London’s trendy Spitalfields Market — said that two newly-qualified lawyers opted for pastures greener and did not apply for full-time associate positions.

The global giant — which offers around 85 training contracts annually — announced a major pay overhaul earlier this summer. Salaries on qualification were boosted to £78,500, an increase of £12,000. First-year trainees also received a modest cash boost from £40,000 to £42,000, while their second-year counterparts also received a raise.

A&O’s autumn retention rate is a drop on its previous spring figure; then it managed to retain 93%, or 43 of its 46 NQs.

Meanwhile, for this autumn magic circle rival firm Linklaters retained only 46 of its 55 qualifying solicitors. A Links spokeswoman pointed out that all those made offers had accepted. However, the firm is still losing nine young lawyers.

Linklaters — which is perched at the top of the Legal Cheek most list for training contracts in the City with 110 — said two of its qualifying lawyers those resigned from the firm as they were relocating abroad, while another was considering leaving the legal profession.

Last week, fellow magic circle player Clifford Chance announced that it will be keeping 96% of its autumn qualifiers.


The Judge Rules: Anything less than a 100% qualifying lawyer retention is a law firm fail [Legal Cheek]