Freshfields hangs on to 95% of its autumn qualifiers

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By Katie King 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.