Eversheds Sutherland posts 80% NQ solicitor retention score

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39 out of 49

Eversheds Sutherland has posted a 2019 newly qualified (NQ) solicitor retention score of 80%.

Of the 49 trainees who qualified earlier this month, 39 have stayed put. The firm confirmed its new associates will be spread across its offices in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Cambridge, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and the Middle East.

Eversheds said the group comprises 70% female trainees, and 26% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), an increase on its 18% BAME trainee retention figure from 2018.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows that the firm’s NQs in London start on a recently improved salary of £75,500, while their counterparts in the regions receive £45,000. Trainees in London earn £42,500 in year one, rising to £46,000 in year two.

The 2019 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Lorraine Kilborn, HR director at Eversheds Sutherland, commented:

“We strive to attract individuals from a range of backgrounds and perspectives, unlocking talent that can provide us with a competitive edge in an increasingly global legal market. We are very proud of our NQs and wish them all the best for the future.”

In our Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2019–20 the firm scored A*s for peer support and social life, as well as As for training, quality of work, partner approachability, perks and office. It chalked up Bs for its canteen and work/life balance.

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70% female trainees!… might have to move.



What’s the retention rate at SPB ?



110%. Did you know the daughter of the Brussels MP is a trainee there? Surprised she didn’t want to/couldn’t go somewhere else.



Genuinely curious as to why this firm always seems to receive negative press on this website… Is it mostly due to trolling or are there valid reasons?

Would be nice to hear from people with experience at the firm!



Low quality of work (AIM listings and weak finance/funds practices.



How “weak” can these realistically be? I’ve seen the firm mentioned in a few articles regarding big-ticket work. Perhaps mid-tier work? That wouldn’t be so bad, it would put the firm on par with other established mid-tier practices such as Dentons, DLA, CMS?



If DLA is mid-tier, so is Bakers.



Sheds business model is to provide cost effective day to day legal services to large corporates. These services are offered on big RFPs, which are led by procurement teams with little if any board involvement. Inevitably, price gets crushed and the work isn’t that interesting, but you’re still working late in order to hit the tough SLAs the firm agreed to in order to land the work. It’s stable work and reasonably profitable for the firm if you have enough of it (which sheds does) but dull and unrewarding for associates who, due to the RFP processes, rarely get to do much if any BD. There are departmental exceptions, like employment, where a lot of the more interesting tribunal-type work comes through this kind of business model (rather than just supporting corporate transactions at a big firm).

There’s also a lot of offices and, inevitably, the Nottingham and Ipswich offices are hardly pulling in big ticket M&A work. London and the bigger regional offices do some reasonable corporate work on acquisitions by big plcs, finance is a graveyard.



Tha Shed is supa shet. Even CMS is better.


Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

CMS currently pays £73k on NQ. Supposedly the 6th largest firm in the world by headcount and the FIRA team quitting in droves.






Sounds shet, never heard of her



Another hotbed of remoaners. Yawnnnn. BREEEEEEXIIITTT NOWWWWWW



Shet firm with shet clients, no deals. Nq pay is decent as you won’t get pumped much.



‘the group comprises 70% female trainees, and 26% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)’

It is a mark of how perverse modern society is, that a firm feels justified in crowing about the ‘diversity’ of a cohort of individuals whose makeup is totally unrelated to that of their country (which is, of course, 50% female and about 10% BAME).



Even the US is more sane than these snowflakes here…



Indicative that there should be a balancing off trainees in future cohorts to be more representative of men. This flagrant sexism pervading the Eversheds’ intake bias appalls me.


City trainee

It’s just a reflection of the Law student population – my LLB year was about 4 girls to 1 guy.


Ex Sheds 3PQE

I left earlier in the year and found the firm OK. Not great, but OK.

I found it had exposure to good work and training was decent. However, given the unsupportive environment and bad culture it wasn’t worth the pay. Personally not for me but it ticks a lot of other peoples boxes.

One big gripe is the recent change in the bonus structure which is not black and white anymore with a heavy discretionary element.



Sounds pretty top. Where do I sign up?



If it doesn’t identify you, what team did you work with? The London Shed office appears to be pretty big and I wonder if your experience would be the same for say someone in projects or the litigation team?


Ex Sheds 3PQE

I worked in a large transactional department. I found the treatment in these areas were similar whether you were in London or the regions. Like anywhere, the senior people can shape the department and if a partner was more approachable that culture was felt throughout that team. However, I only really saw that in the smaller non transactional teams.



Thanks, considering a lateral at some point for a CV upgrade, and minor bump in wedge. However I don’t want to sacrifice a reputable and friendly boutique firm life for biglaw name recognition if it involves diving into a meat grinder.


Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

Serious question – why would a young, ambitious City lawyer with no real commitments by way of family etc. choose to stay long term (or certainly for the first 5 years of their career) at the Shed?



If you trained there and received an NQ offer? Job security.

There’s another recession looming in the UK – construction sector is continuously contracting already and that’s usually the Canary in the mineshaft.

The reality is unless you’re a highly reported success with a devoted following of clients, lateral moves around the City will become harder, especially around 5pqe. I imagine 2-4 years will become the new golden area for transfers to larger firms: 2 years PQE is usually the requirement for funded LPCs that receive NQ roles and then the burn outs will make room for laterals. After 4 pqe you will likely be too expensive (especially if you factor in the current wages war in the City with the impending recession).


Kirkland Trainee

The sweet spot for moving has always been 2-4 years. Surely the recession will only impact the “shit” areas of law practiced in the city – i.e. the low-value, churn and burn ones these sorts of firms compete for work in? Stick to the competitive, high value areas for high paying clients (i.e. PE sponsors) and you’ll be fine.


John boy

Out of interest, any concerns at your US firm in light of impending brexit/recession?


Kirkland Trainee

No. US firms are sufficiently plugged into the US (as well as the EU) market as well. Cash for PE is being raised in the multi billions which means the work will keep coming.

Future trainee

Would you mind giving some examples of the ‘low-value, churn and burn’ work? Genuinely interested.



Where are you now? US firm, SC firm, smaller boutique, in house…or escaped from the law completely?



Slightly pedantic point but I was originally told by a significant number of partner-level lawyers in the UK and North America that 3-5 years for the sweet spot for lateral moves. I guess my point is that the old range is starting to lean towards the more expensive side of things and it might shift down a year. That was the impression my mentors gave me.

In any event, any economic fallout will shape the recruitment market on the junior-end of the profession to some degree, just as it did following 2008.


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