Clyde & Co’s trainee retention rate plunges from 98% to 76%

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By Thomas Connelly on

Firm which has grown rapidly through mergers retains fewer trainees than in 2011


Megafirm Clyde & Co has revealed a sharp drop in its trainee retention figure — which is 22 percentage points down on this time last year.

The firm, which has grown rapidly since the financial crisis via a series of mergers, revealed that just 35 out of a trainee cohort of 46 — 76% — will remain upon qualification.

That means 11 newly-qualified solicitors, which the firm has gone to huge expense to support through law school and then train, are heading for the exit door.

The shipping and insurance-geared practice, where newly qualified pay is £61,000, will no doubt be disappointed with this situation, having posted an outstanding 98% last year, when all but one trainee stayed on. Prior to that Clydes’ retention rates in the autumns of 2013 and 2012 were each time over 90%.

Twenty-eight of the new qualifiers this year will be placed at Clydes’ London HQ, two in its Manchester office, two in Dubai and the remaining three will begin life as associates in Hong Kong.

In other retention rate news, Bond Dickinson has revealed that 18 of its 23 autumn new qualifiers will remain at the firm, resulting in a retention figure of 78% — placing the regional firm above Clyde & Co in the retention pecking order.

The national firm — which is a combination of Bond Pearce and Dickinson Dees following their 2013 merger — revealed that five NQs had opted to leave the firm on completion of their training contracts.

The commercial all-rounder announced that its Newcastle office would take six new lawyers, while the Bristol and Southampton offices would gain four lawyers each. The firm’s Leeds hub would receive two young lawyers and one NQ would be based in the outfit’s Scotland office in Aberdeen.

Bond Dickinson’s company and commercial practice will receive the lion’s share of the young legal talent with 12 NQs. Three will be heading to the firm’s dispute resolution team, two to private wealth and one to real estate.

The 78% figure marks a drop from last year when the firm retained 86% of its NQ lawyers, with 18 out of 21 opting to remain.

Retention rates at firms which have undergone recent mergers are often used as a gauge of the tie-ups’ success. In general, relatively steady figures year-on-year are a sign that the new combined firm is settling into its new identity, while wild fluctuations can suggest that there is still work to be done.

A spokesperson from Clyde & Co told Legal Cheek:

Clyde & Co is committed to attracting, developing and retaining world class people at every level of its business. Our trainee retention rate inevitably fluctuates from year to year but our average over the last few rounds is 90%.