CMS has announced its long-awaited retention rate, keeps 43 NQs

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66% for newly-merged firm

New firm CMS has unveiled its first retention rate since its three-way merger went live in May.

After months of speculation about its trainee and newly qualified lawyer (NQ) capacity, the international outfit has now confirmed 47 solicitors will be staying on. With four of these on fixed term contracts, we’ve calculated CMS’s retention score as 66%.

The firm, which says it has a total of 65 trainees in the intake, told us 34 new solicitors would be starting lawyer life in its London office. Four are Edinburgh-based, four more are in Sheffield and three will be practising in Glasgow. Of the two remaining lawyers, one is in Aberdeen and the other in Bristol. The newbie solicitors will be working in departments including real estate, human capital, corporate, and litigation & arbitration.

This is the first post-merger retention result the firm has shared, though in March it did reveal a combined pre-merger spring score of 76%. To break this down by firm, CMS Cameron McKenna chalked up a score of 64%, while Nabarro and Olswang did notably better with 100% and 88% respectively.

Speculation about the firm’s trainee and NQ capacity began in the weeks following its merger announcement. With firms usually recruiting at least two years in advance, a three-way tie-up means three firms’ intakes would coming together under one roof.

In a seeming attempt to combat this, we revealed in November that the firm was offering its future trainees a cash incentive to defer their training contract start dates by a year. Twenty-five future solicitors jumped at the chance of a £10,000 gap year, meaning CMS dished out a total of £250,000 in deferral payments.

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