Clifford Chance keeps 46 out of 51 spring qualifying trainee solicitors

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Magic circle outfit Clifford Chance has confirmed its spring 2019 retention score, revealing that 46 out of its 51 qualifying trainees will be staying put. The firm didn’t reveal the departmental destinations of its soon-to-be associates.

Today’s 90% result is a notable improvement on Clifford Chance’s autumn 2018 score. On that occasion, the Canary Wharf based firm retained 36 of its 47 newly qualified (NQ) lawyers or 77%. It posted a spring 2018 result of 92% (44 out of 48) and autumn 2017 score of 81% (42 out of 52).

In terms of remuneration, Legal Cheek‘s 2019 Firms Most list shows NQs can receive a salary of up to £91,000 (total compensation), while trainees earn £44,800 in year one, rising to £50,500 in year two.

The 2019 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The firm’s latest retention result follows news earlier this summer that it had become the first magic circle law firm to up its rookie intake since the 2008 financial crash — boosting training contract numbers from 80 to 95, a rise of 19%.

As we reported at the time, five of those additional 15 training spots were courtesy of the firm’s ‘IGNITE’ programme, a training contract scheme specifically tailored towards aspiring lawyers with a passion for tech.

By way of comparison, fellow magic circle players Freshfields and Slaughter and May currently offer 80 and 85 training contracts, respectively, while Allen & Overy takes on around 90 trainees annually. Linklaters tops the TC table with 100.

Elsewhere in the world of magic circle retention scores, both Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May confirmed results of 83% (39 out of 47) and 97% (34 out of 35) earlier this year.

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£91k is probably just about enough to keep people from jumping ship to US firms.

Unless Greenberg Glusker came knocking. Then I’d be off.



£91k ‘total compensation’ or as else they put it ‘up to £91k’… doesn’t sound dodgy at all



Still £40-65k less than most US competitors (including bonus)



Incidentally and for the purposes of transparency given this doesn’t seem to be fully appreciated on these threads, in the US there is a general expectation that *all* associates will be awarded the full bonus they are eligible for. These amounts are published on a scale of which all firms match and which is widely available (google “Cravath bonus scale”).

Some firms will exceed this scale for high-billing associates (eg Kirkland) and some will make this contingent on target hours being met. A surprising number of US firms don’t have target hours though and therefore the default position for associates *in the US* is that as long as they are not viewed as underperforming then they will get the full amount.

This approach has been translated in varying degrees to the London offices of US firms but as I understand it they are moving closer and closer to the US approach, where virtually everyone gets the full bonus.

Compare that with the general approach in most UK firms where a nice bonus is theoretically available but barely anyone gets it.



Correct. To supplement, the difference in compensation is particularly stark in my UK firm where US and English associates work side my side. It stings to see us doing the same type of work, pulling the same hours, but the US associates have an entirely different compensation arrangement.



How can that ever work??? People must be fuming

Newly taken on CC associate x

Anyone for a swim?

I hear that the pool is so luxurious that they provide floating chocolates in it!



Here at Greenberg Glusker we have a top, top retention rate of 200%, scarcely surprising when pay top, top, dolla and all of our trainees are titans to a man, or indeed, woman.



“Total compensation”. Rolls eyes.



Lmao I kno



The basic salary is only just under this?






Nope, base is just over £80k. Peanuts considering how sweaty CC is



Ooof that’s shyte



Bruv this includes a binary bonus, but it’s sill less. Cause you did all that overtime and its low



Undoubtedly the firm which boasts the most prestigious work in several (if not all) of the finance law areas.

Anyone who trains or is kept as a lawyer at CC can, in any event, decide to jump ship to any higher paying US firm at their whim.

Good for them!



What sort of person writes this? Presumably not a CC employee or anyone who has ever moved firms. If it’s a good shout to move then why stay? (Insert comments about the fluctuating exchange rate of prestige here)
The vague but creepy cheerleading of large firms by students has to stop, you’re weirding everyone out…


Analogies 'R' Us

To put it simply. These Firms are like vegetables. At a young age, some people do not like them. As one’s tastes and preferences mature and develop, they begin to develop a taste for them. What would have previously been unappealing, suddenly becomes so.

Some people project what their preferences may be on the basis of those who have walked this journey before them. Hence, If you train at CC, you might see yourself liking the brocolli that is a US firm later down the line at 3PQE and plan accordingly.



What a pointless comment.



I liked it.


I didn’t



Analogies 'R' Us

As with knifes and the like, I believe the comment did have a point. There was clearly an in intended message that was conveyed.


“Vague but creepy cheerleading”… how about “objective assessment of a law firm” instead?

I don’t see how facts can amount to cheerleading. True, I don’t work at CC, but I’m well aware of the work they do and what kind of doors that opens (be it ultra high paying jobs or better work/life balance roles at equally reputable institutions).

How is stating any of this “creepy” or “subjective”?

Are you just jealous of not being at CC?



You sound like a student who shares their business card at graduate recruitment events

Go away



So what if I did? I’m sat on a fat TC offer what have you ever done with your life? Yeah thought so. Dick.


I would never reply in such a discourteous manner. I would just point out he is blatantly wrong and jealous…


Lmao u ok hun?

Make sure to revise for next week’s tutorials fresher.


Why are you so bitter? You’re being so unreasonable about someone else praising an objectively reputable firm…

Long week darling? 🙂


I am sitting*

Presumably the firm you’re joining doesn’t care that you don’t really ‘do’ grammar?


Fuck you. There’s some grammar you little bitch.


If you’re merely sat on a TC offer, then what exactly have you done ?
Wind your neck in you bumptious green twat, you have much to learn – shame we can’t all watch you doing so…


I threw a kettle over a pub.


Why doesn’t LC ever look at retention rates of chambers? Or investigate the revolving door of 3rd sixes, particularly amongst criminal sets? Rather tan yet another “ooh look, a firm pays juniors a lot of money and keeps most of them”?



Because they aren’t interested in the reality. They are only interested in their commercial relationships with the firms and sets that pay them. They will not tolerate even fair criticism of those firms and sets. The website is commercially-inspired hagiography, not journalism.




Chambers can be like black boxes. Really difficult to know what is going on inside. Really, most are only a few members leaving away from serious financial distress.



LC, this would be great



Firms should start administering employee incentive plans.

The reduced instant incentive might stop people killing themselves with obscene hours to be able to achieve the long term goal at more consistent pace.

You heard it here first.



Given that CC has used 6 month contracts before, how many of the 46 are going to be temping?



CC’s retention rates have never included NQs on fixed-term contracts. If any lawyers are staying on for a fixed period, they would count as not being retained.



Whats the basis for this claim?



Let’s be honest, if you had the academics you’d choose a US firm over a magic circle every day of the week and twice on Sundays



Nah, totally depends on which US firm. Only a select few worth taking over MC.



Yeah I think it’s fair to say Latham or Kirkland and then the magic circle firms is the top end hierarchy…



I would take Latham, Kirkland, Weil, Skadden, Cleary and perhaps White & Case over any of the magic circle.

Potentially Davis Polk or Sull Crom too, maybe even Gibson Dunn



Kirkland Latham Skadden, yes I agree.

DPW and SullCrom – fine, provided you know in advance you definitely want to do corporate or finance. If you want to try different areas, or have the option to become an employment or competition lawyer for example – or basically anything other than a deal monkey – as a matter of practicality, one cannot pick these firms over MC. Their scope in London is narrow and from the perspective of training, this will be a negative for many people. These firms are perhaps better propositions post qualification.

Cleary and Weil have major cultural and retention issues, associates leaving in droves. Not good environments to work, if you listen to the grapevine. The MC firms have these same issues of course, but they are large enough to absorb the impact (and also large enough that you can fly under the radar to a certain extent and avoid the really cunty people).

White & Case and Gibson Dunn – these firms are nothing special, better off going MC.


That’s roughly correct. Even partners in my MC firm acknowledge in private that Kirkland, Skadden, DPW, Sullcrom and Cravath are decent places to build a career and that the brand name of these shops are as strong as, or are in some areas stronger than, the MC.


^Didn’t happen. Cravath doesn’t even have any UK associates.


Not everyone wants to be private equity lawyers…



From the CC website:

Salary and benefits

First year trainee: £46,600
Second year trainee: £52,500


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