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Research shows that top City law firms hardly recruit any trainees from their paralegals

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But lots of pretty good other firms do

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The leading corporate law firms only very rarely hire trainees from their ample pool of paralegals, new research has found.

However, a host of fairly well-renowned outfits have very different policies — and award training contracts to a hefty proportion of graduates already working in paralegal roles with them.

The findings — from the magazine Lawyer2B (registration required) — show big name pair Bircham Dyson Bell and DAC Beachcroft to have granted, respectively, a whopping 80% and 60% of their 2015 training contracts to their paralegals.

At the other end of the spectrum, magic circle giant Allen & Overy awarded just 1% of its training contracts last year to its paralegals. The figures weren’t much cheerier at Macfarlanes, Norton Rose Fulbright, Osborne Clarke, Jones Day and Ashurst, where former paralegals made up between 3-5% of trainees.

The exception to the rule was Trower & Hamlins, which unusually for a fairly high-level City player recruited 40% of its trainees from its paralegal pool. Irwin Mitchell, Shoosmiths and the London office of US firm O’Melveny & Myers were the other big name firms to allow a substantial proportion of paralegals to progress onto training contracts.

Honourable mentions also go to Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, whose 2015 trainee intake was made up of 18-20% paralegals.

The full list, which was topped by Midlands agricultural law practice Roythornes (all its trainees are ex-paralegals at the firm) is below, as compiled by Lawyer2B.

FIRMPERCENTAGE OF 2015 INTAKE RECRUITED FROM FIRM’S PARALEGALSTOTAL NUMBER OF TRAINEESNUMBER OF UK PARALEGALS
Roythornes1001430
Veale Wasbrough Vizards831642
Bircham Dyson Bell801112
Stone King80814
DAC Beachcroft6024Not disclosed
Paris Smith5076
Wright Hassall50835
Ashfords462535
Irwin Mitchell4295Not disclosed
Langleys401430
Trowers & Hamlins4040Not disclosed
Shoosmiths3542300
Kingsley Napley33.31144
O’Melveny & Myers336Not disclosed
Woodfines3357
Bevan Brittan281518
Browne Jacobson2518Not disclosed
Michelmores251330
Sidley Austin2519Not disclosed
TWM2543
Collyer Bristow2093
Fladgate20915
Orrick20107
Pinsent Masons20145250
Addleshaw Goddard1870130
Fieldfisher172454
Speechly Bircham1348Not disclosed
Penningtons Manches93010
Withers92311
Holman Fenwick Willan8264
Baker & McKenzie762N/A
Burges Salmon75510
Mayer Brown72815
Ashurst58010
Jones Day53713
Osborne Clarke54035
Norton Rose Fulbright4100Not disclosed
Macfarlanes35837
Nabarro347Not disclosed
Winckworth Sherwood2128
Allen & Overy117430
Kennedys136Not disclosed