Freshfields and Herbert Smith Freehills reveal spring retention scores

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By Thomas Connelly on

74% and 92%

Global duo Freshfields and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) have revealed contrasting spring retention performances.

First up, Freshfields. From a hefty March-qualifying cohort of 42, the magic circle titan — which dishes out around 80 training contracts each year — confirmed it made 32 offers. Thirty-one eventually accepted, handing the firm a spring score of 74%.

Freshfields’ trainee development partner, Farah Ispahani, said:

“As ever, our retention rates vary across each intake as we balance a number of different factors when determining the offers that we make to individuals.”

Today’s news marks a modest improvement on the firm’s uncharacteristically low autumn 2017 result. On that occasion Freshfields retained just 27 of its 41 final seat trainees or 66%. The Anglo-German giant posted a result of 84% (31 out of 37) in spring 2017 and 95% (40 out of 42) in autumn 2016.

The 2018 Firms Most List

Meanwhile, HSF has confirmed an impressive 92% score. From a 37-strong intake, HSF revealed 35 rookies applied for full-time positions, with 34 eventually receiving offers. All accepted. Commenting on the strong score, HSF’s training principal, James Baily, said:

“This has been a fantastic qualification round for us, with a very strong retention rate reflecting both the quality of our trainees and the firm’s commitment to developing home-grown talent. As with our last round, a number of our London trainees have qualified into offices overseas which is also good to see because it shows the extent of international opportunities at the firm.”

HSF, which offers around 60 training contracts annually, is traditionally a solid retention performer. Last year it posted results of 80% (28 out of 35) and 77% (27 out of 35).

But what can the fresh faced associates at both outfits expect to receive in terms of remuneration? Well, Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List 2018 shows newly qualified (NQ) lawyers at Freshfileds will receive a salary of £85,000, while their HSF counterparts will start on £82,000.

Freshfields is now the fourth magic circle player to reveal its spring score.

Last month, Allen & Overy confirmed 32 of its 40 NQs were staying put, handing the firm a spring retention score of 80%. Meanwhile, Clifford Chance announced an impressive 92% spring result in mid-January, keeping 44 out of 48 newbies, while fellow magic circle player Slaughter and May revealed a 95% result (35 out of 37).

Other firms to unveil their spring results include White & Case (81%), Macfarlanes (100%), Trowers & Hamlins (86%) and Mayer Brown (100%).

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