Clifford Chance’s spring retention score slumps to 67%

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By Thomas Connelly on

Magic circle colossus keeps just 31 trainees


The London office of Clifford Chance has unveiled a disappointing 2017 spring retention result of 67%.

The firm, which is a member of an elite group of outfits known as the magic circle, received 43 applications for associate positions from a spring qualifying cohort of 46. Clifford Chance confirmed it made just 33 offers, with 31 accepting. This equates to a final retention score of 67%.

Today’s less than magic result marks a notable drop on the firm’s spring 2016 performance. On that occasion Clifford Chance — which offers around 80 City-based training contracts annually — notched up an 80% result, retaining 43 of its 54 trainees.

According to Legal Cheek’s Most List, the fresh-faced associates — who now have billing targets of 1,800 hours each year to aim for — will pocket a very respectable £85,000 a year.

Despite today’s disappointing outcome, Clifford Chance performed well in Legal Cheek’s 2016 Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey. The firm achieved A* for its office (it must be the swimming pool that swung it) and international secondment opportunities. It also racked up As for training, quality of work, peer support, partner approachability and its canteen.

Back in December, fellow magic circler Slaughter and May kicked off another exciting spring retention season. Having upped base salaries to £78,000, as well as throwing a host of additional sweeteners at its lawyers, the firm revealed a perfect 100% retention result, keeping hold of all 25 of its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers.

And late last month the London office of US titan White & Case confirmed a retention figure of 88%, with 15 of its 17 newbies — who will trouser a cool £90,000 a year — opting to stick around post-qualification.

Other firms to reveal their 2017 spring scores include Mayer Brown and Trowers & Hamlins, which chalked up 100% and 93% respectively.

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