Fast-expanding White & Case loses retention crown as trainee retention drops to 87%

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By Thomas Connelly on

US firm’s London office fails to replicate perfect 2015 results


New York-based megafirm White & Case has announced a spring trainee retention figure of 87% in London, failing to continue the 100% results it achieved across 2015.

In a break from the perfect retention scores regularly enjoyed by US outfits in the City, White & Case has revealed that 13 of its 15 March qualifiers will remain, with two heading for the exit.

The practice — which now offers around 50 training contracts annually after dramatically increasing its intake last year — confirmed that 13 trainees were made offers, all of whom duly accepted.

The fresh-faced associates will benefit from a 20% pay boost that was awarded earlier this summer by the firm, taking yearly pay packets to a cool £90,000.

White & Case — with 39 offices worldwide — reports that the newly qualified (NQ) lawyers will be split across mergers & acquisitions, financial restructuring and insolvency, project finance, commercial litigation, international arbitration and capital markets.

Responding to the news, W&C training principal Justin Benson reflected:

As a firm, we are committed to offering our lawyers the support they need to thrive in their careers. This starts with trainees and continues through our lawyers’ careers.

Today’s announcement leaves White & Case in unfamiliar territory, languishing at the foot of the 2016 retention table, due a series of very strong performances elsewhere in the City.

Fellow New York-headquartered outfit Weil Gotshal & Manges announced a perfect UK retention result of 100% earlier this month, keeping all 15 of its London trainees. Meanwhile, City firm Nabarro posted a spring 2016 retention result of 89%, seeing off national outfit Trowers & Hamlins, which revealed that 88% of its March qualifiers were staying put.

Magic circle player Slaughter and May got this spring’s retention round under way, with a strong 95% performance, and Herbert Smith Freehills continued its impressive run of retention form by posting a 94% rate last week.