Clifford Chance ups training contract numbers from 80 to 95 in first magic circle increase since 2008 financial crisis

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Exclusive: TCs soar by nearly 20% 🎉

Clifford Chance has become the first magic circle law firm to increase its training contract numbers since the 2008 financial crisis — upping trainee places by 19% from 80 to 95.

Five of those additional 15 spots come in the form of CC’s new lawtech trainee solicitor scheme, which it announced yesterday, while the other ten are conventional training contract places, Legal Cheek can reveal. Unusually, applications are open already, giving CC a headstart on other firms which typically don’t allow students to start applying until autumn.

The rise means that CC leapfrogs magic circle rivals Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Slaughter and May to become the second highest offerer of training contracts in the land. Only Linklaters hands out more: currently it awards 110 training contracts each year.

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But this is about more than inter-law firm bragging rights. In the wake of the economic turmoil wrought by the collapse of Lehman Brothers ten years ago, law firms across the UK slashed their training contract numbers as growth stagnated. The falls were greatest at A&O, CC, Fresfields and S&M, which dropped their trainee intakes down from an average of 120 to 80 — a reduction of a third. And there they languished for several years.

Now, as growth returns to the world economy, and the UK finally prepares for an interest rate rise, CC at least is making a graduate recruitment comeback — fuelled by a sharp increase in its wider profitability figures. With most top UK corporate law firms also posting strong financial results this year, the expectation has to be that others will follow.

Commenting on the news, CC’s regional managing partner, Michael Bates, said:

“We’re delighted to be expanding our training contract programme, following several years of strong financial performance. Investing in a strong pipeline of talented trainees is essential for us to continue to serve our clients well, and launching a new training contract focused on law tech will help to bring new thinking into the firm.”

The Law Society Annual Statistical Report shows that overall training contract numbers have exceeded 5,700 for two years running now — the highest level since 2008, but are still down significantly from a high of 6,300 a decade ago.

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S&M? Spank me, daddy.


Don’t believe project fear!

Look forward to the post-Brexit boom!




That increase my chance of securing a training contract at CC by 0%

BPTC student

I’m pretty sure that’s true. You missed out a final “s”.


They were at about 120 in the golden days before the 2007 crash.

redde rationem

CC – last intake: 80; partners 17/18 (ldn): 7
Links – last intake: 110; partners 17/18 (ldn): 10
A&O – last intake: 90; partners 17/18 (ldn): 4

think about this, not increase in intake numbers


…. what exactly is your point?


What you see in MC firms is large intakes, and very small partner rounds.
The fact they now recruit more people will not mean anything for people joining, if they keep appointing these few partners.


So what? You’re very unclear.


I am not even sure you are serious. In case you are, I explain this again.

The message conveyed by the article is “”CC is in good shape, because they are increasing trainee intake”. This message is mostly targeted to the people thinking of applying.
To this people, I say look at the partner figures. A firm is really in good shape when you have increasing PEP and large partner rounds. There is a chance out ten (not even) that you make partner in a MC firm.

In fewer words:
large intake & large partner rounds = good
large intake & small partner rounds = bad


Why couldn’t you have said that before? Please learn from this experience how to make a point clearly. It’s an important skill s a lawyer you know.


Seriously? The fact you did not understand does not mean the point was unclear.


Is that not the definition of clarity, whether someone else can understand? Anyway, I was simply offering friendly advice. You’d do well to listen and not get defensive about your deficiencies. Perhaps you should work on that too.


“Is that not the definition [..] on that too”

I cannot understand this, so it is not clear. Can you explain it to me again?


Your inability to accept helpful advice without bitterness is galling. I’m sorry that your multiple failings are holding you back, but I urge you to take time to address them before you cause yourself harm.


seriously now: I will take your advice in due consideration, as listening “It’s an important skill s a lawyer you know”


Good. I’m glad you have calmed down and seen the error of your ways. Usually in such circumstances an apology and a thank you are customary. I’ll leave that with you.


When a wise man points at the moon..
the 10:51am comment centred on you patronizing on solicitor skills while misspelling (the quote is from you Aug 2 2018 11:44am).

I’m sorry, thank you.


We got there in the end. Good. I do hope you learned a lesson.


I got you with irony, and you troll back? Is really this the best you can do?

However, I propose we find a common ground on this: I do not want to have a LC article with 40 comments, 15 of which are mine.
See you around here


Most people don’t want to be MC partners. It’s a vast sacrifice in hours and comparatively not that much money when you look at pre-2008. The pressures to bring in business are huge. You can earn a very respectable amount as a partner at a smaller firm or in house without giving up your entire life.


Is this because everyone’s leaving for US firms

US Associate

ROFL, how about the pay “soaring by nearly 20%”?


Arguably, they should have kept roughly the same intake number, giving more money to NQs/trainees.
I see that not everyone can leave for the Ams, but at least the temptation would have been slightly weaker.


But I thought that trainees were dead and paralegals & robots were the future?


They can increase TC numbers to 200+ if they so choose, but as long as the NQ pay remains this low, they will keep on steadily losing their best and brightest Associates to US firms, no matter what.

Good luck building a future partnership with the dregs that stay on getting beasted for £60k less.


US firms do not have a large UK presence. Increase the trainee numbers enough at MC firms, they cannot all go to US Firms. There will be at least some good fledglings that stay on.


Lol at ‘Exclusive’.


The CC press release he was forced to rewrite insisted on the word “exclusive”.


Hope they like cleaning pools. Another floater spotted recently.


they have to increase their intake, because so the best Associates leave for US firms (and other better firms) and they have to recruit from the silver circle. Sad times for CC


Jesus christ recruiting from the silver circle?!? Surely not. What dross they must have to suffer.


*”Jesus Christ, recruiting….”

Just in case anyone thought I meant the messiah was suddenly working for Taylor Root.


Anyone know how much Vinson and Elkins pay NQs in London?


£120k NQ


Is it true they raised their NQ rates to match W&C?


no, they raised the base salary to 87k and added bonus on top of that to make it max 91

daily reminder

that 87k is not enough

Back to Reality

What about number of NQ positions?

Join the conversation

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