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Retention rate row: Simmons & Simmons remains tightlipped over NQ temporary contract accusations

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International heavyweight trumpeted an 80% spring score last week

Simmons & Simmons is remaining tightlipped over accusations that “several” of its newly-qualified lawyers (NQs) are on fixed term contracts.

On Friday the international heavyweight proudly unveiled a 2017 spring retention score of 80%. Putting a series of poor performances behind it, the firm stated that from a 15-strong qualifying cohort, 12 offers were made, and subsequently accepted.

Simmons, which offers around 35 training contracts annually in the United Kingdom via two intakes, has now been accused of placing a number of NQs on six-month fixed term contracts. An unnamed source has told weekly legal blog RollOnFriday that this was an attempt by the firm to “boost” its retention rate.

Simmons — which retained just half of its trainees in autumn 2016 — has so far refused to disclose how many of its newbies, if any, are on fixed term contracts. A spokesperson for the firm has, however, told Legal Cheek:

Out of respect and legal obligation for our employees, trainee or otherwise, we do not reveal the details of employee contracts. We would once again like to congratulate all of our trainees on completing their qualification and wish them every success at Simmons & Simmons.

Unfortunately this isn’t the first time the firm has been at the centre of a retention rate row. Last year Simmons confirmed a so-so spring result of 78% from a trainee cohort of nine. However it was later suggested that Simmons had actually started with 13 trainees. If correct, this would have given the firm a retention rate of just 54%. Like today, a spokesperson at the time declined to comment.

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