King & Wood Mallesons and Eversheds reveal contrasting trainee retention performances

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Meanwhile, Simmons & Simmons accused of retention figure manipulation


City players King & Wood Mallesons and Eversheds have announced contrasting retention performances, as another spring window draws to a close.

International giant King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) — with 30 offices worldwide — confirmed today that it will hold on to 14 out of its 20 qualifying trainees, equating to a spring retention result of 70%.

KWM, which offers around 30 training contracts annually, revealed that four newly qualified (NQ) lawyers will be joining its corporate team. Real estate and the firm’s fund practice will gain three fresh-faced associates each. A further two young lawyers will be based in KWM’s litigation department, while planning and regulation will gain one NQ each.

All 14 new lawyers — who will start on £64,000 — will be based at the global firm’s London office.

Today’s result marks a slight improvement on KWM’s 2015 spring result, when the firm retained 66% of its trainee cohort.

Elsewhere in corporate law-land, mid-tier firm Eversheds has posted a perfect spring retention score of 100%, retaining all eight trainees due to qualify this month.

The firm — that offers around 60 training contracts annually — will scatter the majority of its new legal talent across its regional offices.

Two NQs will be based at the firm’s London headquarters. One associate will be heading to Eversheds’ commercial team and the other to financial services disputes. Eversheds’ Cambridge office will also gain two new lawyers, who will be based in the firm’s commercial team and HR practice group.

The firm’s Birmingham office will receive an additional two NQs, who will be put to work in corporate and restructuring. The remaining two associates will be split between the firm’s real estate department in Cardiff, and its international arbitration department in Paris.

Finally, international law firm Simmons & Simmons has been placed on the naughty step over accusations that it tinkered with its spring retention figure.

Almost two weeks ago the City firm trumpeted a respectable spring retention figure of 78%, claiming that eight UK trainees were offered full time positions, with seven duly accepting. However, in a suspiciously-worded press release, the firm would only confirm that nine trainees “went through” the qualification process.

Despite pressing Simmons & Simmons on how many trainees actually started the process, Legal Cheek was met — somewhat ominously — with a wall of a silence.

It would appear — almost two weeks later — that Legal Cheek’s suspicions have been confirmed.

Legal blog Roll On Friday has done some digging, and it is claiming that Simmons & Simmons actually had a spring trainee cohort of 13, and not nine as initially suggested by the firm.

This would mean Simmons actually achieved a spring result of just 54%, placing the firm firmly at the foot of the 2016 retention table.



Simmons & Simmons – the same law firm that had a 25% retention rate in March 2012, following 59% the summer before.

No smoke without fire, glad I’m not training with them.


Ol' Stanley Berwin, violently spinning in his grave

KWM are following the inexorable slide of their firm – first mass partner losses and high-profile resignations of management figures, then a cull of 15% of the equity partnership and now a sub-par trainee retention rate.

Looks like the merger of SJB with the Chinese chopshop clearly went well. Last one over at 10 Queen Street Place turn the lights off please…


Get over your obsession with KWM

The SJ Berwin merger may not have been the most well-planned but I am beginning to think this “Ol’ Stanley Berwin, violently spinning in his grave” guy is a fired former employee or student rejected from a vac scheme — you have continually posted remarks about KWM; I think you are obsessed with KWM haha

Partner exists are common after a merger, however KWM has experience a little more than usual but they have picked up a few partners from other reputable firms. Win some you lose some. Do you think partner exits are indicative of a failing firm–no? Look at Linklaters in Asia (lost 1/3 of their partnership) and Latham & Watkins in London — that firm is experiencing some instability but is still an extremely reputable across the world and a part of the global elite. If the merger was such a failure then explain the 10% increase in revenue in London? Or the overall increase in global revenue (if you eliminate the volatile currency exchange of their two major markets: Aus/China)?

Since SJ Berwin became KWM, their global reputation has increased dramatically in the Acritas Index, which measures awareness, favorability, consideration for multi-jurisdictional deals and for multi-jurisdictional litigation. The firm’s competency in transactional work is also evident in them being in the Top 15 in the world for M&A deal volume (and no 1 for M&A deal volume in Asia-Pacific).

You will accuse me, of course, for being a spokesman for Stephen Kon but I don’t work for KWM, I don’t even for work for any other silver circle firm but nor have I applied for one. Obviously, you did and have a bad chip on your shoulder. I mean critique it for sure, but I’ve seen way too many of your posts with the exact same disparaging remarks…get over it mate, apply for another firm.



Thanks for this sponsored content.



Yeah, coz KWM is exactly like Links or Lathams… Looooool, this made me laugh so hard I may have shit myself


Major Gagarin

Erm, I think you actually meant Kirkland & Ellis chief, not Latham.

Epic fail.


No surprises here folks

Oh look, another City firm has been caught fudging its retention rates! Move along everyone, nothing to see here.

If BLP had done it, others do it too, S&S are just another one to join the party of those who got caught.


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