Slaughter and May posts perfect 100% spring retention score less than a week after boosting junior lawyer pay

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And it’s not even Christmas yet


Elite magic circle outfit Slaughter and May has revealed a perfect 100% spring 2017 retention score, just a week after it upped the salaries of its junior lawyers.

Slaughter and May — which offers around 80 London-based training contracts annually — confirmed that all 25 trainees due to qualify in March 2017 had put pen to paper on a recruitment contract. Becoming the first City outfit to reveal its spring retention result, a spokesperson for the firm said:

Slaughter and May is pleased to announce that all 25 trainees eligible to qualify in March 2017 have been made a qualification offer by the firm, all of which have been accepted.

Despite Christmas still being a week away, the spring-themed statement continued:

Our consistently high retention rates demonstrate that the long-term future of the firm, as well as its distinctive culture and ethos, is in good hands.

Back in September the elite outfit revealed a respectable autumn retention figure of 89%, with 32 trainees — from a cohort of 36 — opting to stick around post-qualification.

The latest retention news comes less than a week after the firm disclosed new remuneration packages and perks for its hardworking lawyers. As part of the new deal, Slaughter and May has chucked an an extra £6,500 (9%) at its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers, bumping base salaries to £78,000.

According to Legal Cheek’s Most List, the move put NQs £500 better off than their counterparts at Linklaters (£77,500), but a whopping £7,000 behind those at both Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (£85,000). It is worth noting however that Slaughter and May, unlike some of its close rivals, does not include a performance-related bonus as part of its base salary figure.

As for the perks, Slaughter and May confirmed that annual holiday leave will be upped to 30 days and that lawyers of more than three years post qualification experience (PQE) will be able to take advantage of “a four-week paid sabbatical”. Leaping aboard the flexi-working bandwagon, the magic circle firm also said its top legal talent will be able to “apply” to work from home one day a week.



I predict a recession!



I’m surprised! I’ve heard so many negative things about the firm from trainees perspective but hey….


Former MC trainee, now US NQ

They probably bought the S&M brand bs.


Reality Check

It isn’t surprising.

Retention rate is not always a good indicator of employee satisfaction. The reality is that the vast majority of people – happy and unhappy alike – given the option, are not going to turn down a job at S&M hastily. They have bills to pay, and a career to protect.

Almost all of the new NQ’s will leave the firm at some point – obviously some sooner than others. But moving firm has to make sense both personally and professionally. Where are you going to which is better than S&M? Honestly (and I hate to write it as much as you hate to read it), there aren’t so many options. NQ is an awfully early stage of your career to just sack off long hours and go to a West End firm, even if you are having a hard time of it at the top end.

People harp on about US firms – but apart from the fact they do not hire by the truckload, they also, for the most part, do not represent a departure from life in an MC firm in any substantial respect other than money. In other words, the negative shit you hear about S&M is likely also happening at K&E etc. The option to chase more cash is always there – I’m sure S&M NQs are fully aware that this is an option, and many will doubtless consider it if/when an attractive opportunity presents itself.

In the mean time, they are sitting tight and accumulating experience of a kind which is CV gold. What’s surprising about that? Naive to expect them all to bail on the firm at the first opportunity. Staying doesn’t mean they love it, it means they live in the real world.



Nailed it!



I hope they’re lubed up and ready for the beasting.


S&M trainee

Already lubed up bruh. Done 3.5 seats and pretty experienced taking it from partners already, two at a time doesn’t faze me either. NQ just means more cash for bending over, pretty win-win if you ask me.



25 trainees in the March 2017 qualification intake compared to 40 in the March 2016… How does that add up?


SandM March 2017 qualifier

We were a pretty small intake to start off with, with the majority opting to take the 6-month sabbatical. Additionally, at least five people that were due to start in Feb 2015 ended up deferring for medical reasons / flunking the Stage 1 exams. We are the smallest intake in a long while, but numbers after us will be up and more stable.



What happened to those who flunked the LPC stage 1 exams? Did they get booted out of their TC?



25 trainees in this intake, 36 in the last one = 61 trainees. That’s a pretty small cohort compared to the 80 trainees they claim to be recruiting each year, and have done so for sometime. If it is a smaller cohort than usual, is it really surprising their retention percentage is so high?



They were advertising 90-95 training contracts when this intake would have been recruited back in 2011/12.


Bick Diq

lower intake = higher retention



But I thought slaughters was calling a recession no?


Biq diq

They called an accession Mr. Anon



No, that was just Alex giving us his usual horsecock.



How do you know how hung Alex is?



They probably just recruit nauce people with low self esteem. Plenty of these at Oxbridge so it makes sense.






Just for the record – being one of the 25 trainees concerned myself. None of us have signed the offer letters yet, or have even received them. We have all been made offers but haven’t formally accepted them yet. Unusual for SandM PR to jump the gun like this.



Recruiters always advise trainees to accept a position within their current firm, even if they are looking elsewhere. What would be really interesting is to know how many are still there in 6 months time.



A lot will still be there



But maybe not 100%



Obviously a lot will. I simply mean that the published retention figures are rather meaningless.



Slaughter and May reminds me a bit of Santa Claus. People are really excited about it when they’re young. Then they grow up and realise that it’s just a relatively ordinary chubby man in a red costume.


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