Freshfields hangs on to 95% of its autumn qualifiers

By on

King & Wood Mallesons retains just 57% of its legal talent


Freshfields is the magic circle firm to beat this autumn qualification season, announcing an impressive trainee retention rate of 95%.

Forty of the 42 lawyers who started training at the firm two years ago were made offers to stay, and can now change their LinkedIn headlines to ‘Freshfields associate’.

This is a big step up on the international heavyweight’s 82% spring retention rate, and is considerably higher than the 86% autumn retention rate announced just last month by magic circle rival Allen & Overy.

Maybe, just maybe, this result has something to do with Freshfields’ recent mammoth pay rise.

In May, the global titan announced it was boosting its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers’ pay by a staggering 26%, to £85,000, in an attempt to stave off staff attrition to US firms (which tend to offer fatter pay checks). This makes Freshfields and Clifford Chance the highest paying firms in the magic circle, a factor we’re sure influenced its soon-to-be NQs’ decision to stay.

Elsewhere in the city, King & Wood Mallesons has announced its — comparatively underwhelming — retention result of 57%. Of the 14 trainees that started up at the rapidly globalising firm, just nine associate offers were made. Eight of these were accepted.

This is a fair bit lower than King & Wood Mallesons’ last trainee retention rate of 70%, but we’re sure the newbie NQ lawyers won’t mind. They’ll be walking away with a cool annual salary of £70,000 a year.


2PQE Associate

Well done on the KWM puff towards the end Katie.

I’m afraid it’s a sinking ship though, and even the latest £70k raise didn’t manage to stem the tide of departures. Associates are bolting almost daily and practically all big-ticket partners have left for US shops and took their clients with them. A partner in my department was asked a few weeks ago to chip in £150,000 to help keep the firm afloat.

The end sadly seems to be nigh.



Ye, but I wonder if the US firms are doing so bad, then how come their silent partners are walking away with millions in profits after tax every year? Greed perhaps? 🙂


JonesDay 1PQE

Come again?



Partners ar being asked to chip in more because historically they have not been chipping in as much as other firms. It is usual practice to ask partners to chip in more. Please get your facts straight.



Looks like KWM’s HR paid us a visit.


Or Katie it could be Freshfields top notch work & M&A dominance that keep them at the firm? Do you read the legal press at all?



How depressing! After all that hard work over the years to get a TC, to then not be offered a position! Let alone rejecting a place! If it is the fault of firms, they need to do better


Comments are closed.