King & Wood Mallesons and Eversheds reveal contrasting trainee retention performances

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By Thomas Connelly on

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.