23 out of Macfarlanes’ 25 qualifying trainees given permanent jobs

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The other two accepted fixed term contracts; each can expect to earn at least £81,300

City of London law firm Macfarlanes has announced a 92% autumn trainee retention rate.

While all 25 of the qualifying rookies will stay on with the firm as full-fledged solicitors, just 23 have been handed permanent contracts. Two are on fixed term deals.

Thanks to Macfarlanes’ substantial newly qualified pay rise last month, their salaries will soar from £46,000 (the firm’s second year trainee rate) to a new base rate of £75,000. When bonuses are factored in, each can expect to earn at least £81,300, and as much as £90,000 if they perform really well.

They will work across the M&A-geared practice, joining the six trainees who qualified earlier this year in Macfarlanes’ smaller 100% spring retention round.

It has been a good year for the firm, with revenue up 4% to £167.6 million and profit per equity partner up by 8% to £1.38 million (which is magic circle territory). Macfarlanes also got good results in the key categories of the 2016-17 Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, scoring an A* for training, while netting As for quality of work and peer support. But it’s a hard-working place: according to our data, on average trainees and junior associates leave the office at 7:51pm, having started work at 9:04am.

Seán Lavin, the firm’s head of graduate recruitment, said:

We recruit trainees of the highest quality and we do so with a view to offering them long-term careers with the firm. We try very hard to ensure that we can offer a role to each trainee on qualification in order to keep that talent within the firm.

The news follows some widely fluctuating retention rates at rival firms. On Friday Freshfields posted a disappointing 66%, with Dentons (68%) and Taylor Wessing (62%) also announcing figures in the 60s. However, Latham & Watkins managed 95% while Allen & Overy hit 85%. Let us know your firm’s retention rate by emailing

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