Clifford Chance reveals lowest trainee retention rate of the magic circle

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By Katie King on

Spring figure doesn’t come close to dizzying autumn heights


Corporate law superpower Clifford Chance has announced its spring retention rate, and it’s the lowest of the magic circle bunch so far.

The global titan will be keeping hold of 43 of its 54 trainees, amounting to a disappointingly low retention rate of 80%. Though just shy of the 83% posted by Linklaters, this rate falls well short of those announced by its magic circle competitors Allen & Overy (91%) and Slaughter and May (95%).

Not only that, but the figure is particularly unimpressive when compared with the firm’s previous retention rates. The number of lawyers staying on at the firm post-training contract has tumbled by a staggering 16 percentage points since the notable autumn rate of 96%, and doesn’t even come close to last spring’s figure of 91%.

Clifford Chance sticks out like a sore thumb in what’s shaping up to be a very good retention rate season. Several big City firms — including Mayer Brown and Macfarlanes — have joined the 100 club, keeping on all of their newly qualified lawyers.

With just Freshfields left to release its figures, it remains to be seen whether Clifford Chance’s retention rate will keep its place at the bottom of the magic circle pile.