Burges Salmon and Shearman & Sterling reveal strong autumn retention scores

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96% and 85%

Corporate duo Burges Salmon and Shearman & Sterling have posted strong autumn retention results.

First up, Burges. The Bristol-based outfit confirmed that 26 of its 27 final year trainees had accepted permanent positions, handing it an impressive autumn score of 96%.

The group of soon-to-be associates — made up of 13 women and 13 men — will qualify into a range of the firm’s key teams including construction and engineering; projects; corporate; real estate; banking; employment; dispute resolution; planning; pensions; and private client.

Burges’ managing partner, Roger Bull, said:

“One of our strategic objectives at Burges Salmon is to be an exceptional place to work for our people, in an environment that seeks to maximise their potential. We are focused on attracting, retaining and motivating bright and talented people — it is with great pleasure therefore to announce another year of very high trainee retention rates. Many congratulations to each one of them.”

Over the past five years, Burges has recorded an impressive average retention score of 94% — a solid 91% (20 out of 22) in 2014, 100% (24 out of 24) in 2015, 85% (23 out of 27) in 2016, and 100% (28 out of 28) in 2017. Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows Burges’ lot will start on a salary of £48,000.

Meanwhile, Sherman has posted an autumn score of 85%. From a cohort of 13, the New York-headquartered player — which offers around 15 training contacts annually — confirmed that 11 have accepted newly qualified (NQ) positions.

The new associates will be spread across a number of Shearman’s key practice areas including mergers and acquisitions; finance; tax; international arbitration; project development and finance; and antitrust. The outfit confirmed that of the 11 rookies staying put, two will be relocating to international offices in Abu Dhabi and Brussels.

Shearman’s NQs will start on a very impressive salary of £105,000, while trainees currently earn £45,000, rising to £50,000 in year two.

The 2018 Firms Most List

Matthew Readings, head of Shearman’s London office, said:

“We are pleased to be welcoming the next generation of lawyers and potential Shearman & Sterling leaders into the firm. Retaining the best talent is something we focus on and our emphasis is on providing our colleagues with the best possible skills to achieve their career aspirations. We are confident that this group of lawyers will make a considerable contribution to the firm.”

Today’s result is a notable improvement on the firm’s autumn 2017 score. On that occasion, it posted a result of 75% (13 out of 16).

So what’s life like as a lawyer at Shearman and Burges? Well, in our Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, Shearman scored an A* for perks as well as As for quality of work and peer support. Meanwhile, Burges bagged A*s in categories including peer support, office and social life, and went on to secure the gong for ‘Best Law Firm Canteen’ at our awards ceremony earlier this year.

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Life strategy: train at Shearman, do a couple of years post-qualified, enjoy the money and London life. Then move to Bristol. Partner track at Burges Salmon. Nice house, wholesome air, gorgeous wife and delightful kids. Occasionally hanker after the old days in London but not that much and overall you’re happy. Retire at 55. Travel the world.



ROFL, you’re delusional.



Not far off to be fair only you’ve found yourself a lawyer wife and the two of you bore the hell out of each other and your kids are brats. You take the noble way out at 55 committing harakiri in your massive west country garden


Financial Services Trainee

Why do people have such boring life plans?
I’m lowkey into coke and hookers and loving it.



How is that a life plan? Loser


Financial Services Trainee

Why don’t you tell me what is, with your enlightened outlook?




You sniff coke and presumably pay for sex because you couldn’t pull a muscle. None of this means you have a more interesting life plan than someone hoping for early retirement and a quiet life in Bristol.

That is all.

Financial Services Trainee

“Pull”? I didn’t know people still talked like that.

Easy cowboy – I’ve had more than my fair share of long and short term relationships. When one pays they’re actually paying for the other person to leave.

Perhaps the early retirement and quiet peace appeals to you and, who knows, maybe even the majority of people? I’d rather live with sparks of decadent and salaciously indecent pleasures from all kinds of tastes before I drop dead.

Don’t get bored now.




Having done work experience at the firm, I’ve found Burges Salmon Lawyers will shove their ‘friendly open culture’, ‘great work life balance’, ‘major national and international deals’ and ‘high retention rates’ down your throat. But getting paid £48k in Bristol whilst your course mates in London get £80k plus (some £100k plus must be depressing). It’s an absolute wetwipe of a firm that trys way to hard, if its staff just accepted that it was a regional powerhouse then maybe they would feel better rather than pretending they compete with firms like HSF, Hogan Lovells, NRF etc



I don’t think that anyone believes these claims as to parity



People not believing their claims as to parity with the likes of HSF, PM, NRF and the rest are yet another reason that they should quit making them



What claims to parity? Can you provide some evidence or at least a link to back up your assertion? Think this may be in your head.



trys way TOO hard**

Little wonder you could only bag work experience at BS.

Chin up!



You spotted to/too but not trys/tries?

If you’re going to pick up on spelling, do it properly or you’ll look stupid.



Quite. Regional lawyers are, by definition, failures.



“26 of its 27 final year trainees…” Clever wording as 28 started the job in 2016. One person sacked it off in first year.



BS is a lovely little morsel



Shearman will work you like a Spanish donkey. Be prepared to put in regular 16-18 hour days, with a few Saturdays thrown in for good measure each month.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



I see what you did there.



Burges Salmon can f*ck off with their arsey attitude and shitty salmon pink paper



So true, it’s a truly sad and pathetic outfit.


The Appold Assassin

What a load of guff.

I have a friend at Shearman who knows that one trainee was asked to leave.

This trainee’s departure has not featured in the statistics.

Apparently a few more trainees are also planning on departing so I would be surprised if this artificially inflated retention rate remained accurate after August.


Queen of Appold Street

That’s hardly the only inaccuracy here, my dear Assassin. My most loyal subjects are no doubt aware that “from a cohort of 13…11 have accepted NQ positions” is creative journalism at its finest, and ignores the existence of basic contract law…



Including Burges Salmon and Sherman in the same sentence is simply laughable.


Trainee Bob

Training at large firms like Sherman give you the advantage of deciding the City is not for you and becoming an Associate in the regions knowing you have trained at an elite place; however, some people simply don’t want to train in the City and that’s fine too. Training in the regions at an international firm like DLA, CMS, or Addleshaws is also a good alternative if you can bag an overseas seat.


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