Berwin Leighton Paisner keeps 13 out of 20 qualifying trainees

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By Thomas Connelly on

International law firm froze pay earlier this summer citing “political and financial uncertainty” created by Brexit


Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has revealed a disappointing autumn retention figure, hanging on to just 13 trainees from a cohort of 20.

The firm, which is best-known for high-end real estate work, confirmed that 20 wannabe lawyers started the training contract process, but only 18 saw it through to the end. Sixteen were eventually offered full-time associate positions, of which 13 accepted, equating to a final 2016 autumn retention figure of just 65%.

BLP — which offers around 45 training contracts each year through two intakes — has 12 offices in eight different countries, and currently pays its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers £66,000.

Eleven of the firm’s new recruits will be based in the firm’s London office. Finance, real estate and corporate will receive three each, while one will be heading into litigation and corporate risk. The final London-based NQ will be based within BLP’s tax team. Two new associates have qualified abroad, with one heading to the firm’s Abu Dhabi office and the other based out in Hong Kong.

Commenting on today’s result Anthony Lennox BLP’s training principal, said:

Qualifying is a huge milestone for lawyers and we’re pleased to welcome the 13 NQs who have joined our Firm. The quality of individuals coming through is outstanding and these new lawyers will boost our five main practice teams with two also moving internationally. Hong Kong trainees will now be a regular addition to our firmwide trainee intake and from September 2017 we will also have a Myanmar trainee on our programme.

Today’s news marks a drop from the firm’s spring performance. Again from a trainee cohort of 20, the international firm kept 70% or 14 of its NQs.

Earlier this summer BLP revealed it has pressed pause on pay increases for its London-based lawyers.

Pointing the finger firmly at Brexit, citing “political and financial uncertainty”, BLP’s managing partner Lisa Mayhew fired off an email to staff telling them that after “much thought and consideration” the firm had opted to “defer” salary reviews for a period of four months.