Herbert Smith Freehills retains 80% of its autumn NQs

As national outfit Mills & Reeve posts 79% result

The London office of international heavyweight Herbert Smith Freehills has confirmed an autumn retention figure of 80%.

The outfit, which provides around 70 training contacts annually, has revealed that from a September qualifying cohort of 35, 31 had applied for permanent positions. With 28 soon-to-be associates getting the nod, this gives Herbies an overall retention result of 80%.

Four of the firm’s newly qualified (NQ) lawyers will be based overseas: two in Paris, one in Singapore and one in Dubai. The remaining 24 will be based at Herbies’ HQ in London.

Legal Cheek’s Most List shows that upon qualification, the outfit’s new recruits will earn an impressive £82,000 a year. Currently, year one trainees earn £44,000, rising to £48,000 in year two.

James Baily, training principal at the firm, said:

We are very pleased that four of our London trainees in this round are qualifying into overseas offices, which demonstrates the global opportunities that are available for our trainee solicitors.

Traditionally, the elite litigation specialist (which even has its own in-house Advocacy Unit) is a strong retention performer. Earlier in 2017 it posted a spring score of 77% (27 out of 35), while this time last year it racked up an impressive rate of 94% (31 out of 33).

So what is lawyer life like at Herbies? Well, according to Legal Cheek’s Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, it’s pretty good. The firm scored A*s for its training, perks and secondment opportunities abroad, as well as As for the likes of quality of work, peer support and that all important canteen.

Elsewhere, national outfit Mills & Reeve has confirmed that 16 of its 19 September NQs are staying put. With one newbie being placed on a fixed-term contract, this equates to a 79% autumn result. The firm — which offers around 18 training contract positions annually — revealed that eight newbies will be based in Cambridge, three in Norwich, two in London, two in Manchester and one in Birmingham. They will start on a salary of £40,000.

Today’s results round off a busy week for retention news. International law firm Watson Farley & Williams posted a perfect 100% result (15 out of 15), swiftly followed by Mishcon de Reya (64% or nine out of 14) and Stephenson Harwood (90% or nine out of ten). Yesterday, raising eyebrows across the City, Kirkland & Ellis revealed that just five of its nine NQs were staying on at the firm post qualification (56%).

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub.