Freshfields keeps 35 out of 39 spring qualifying trainees

By on


Freshfields has confirmed it’s retaining 35 of its 39 trainees due to qualify this month, handing the magic circle player a solid spring score of 90%.

The firm, which dishes out around 80 training contacts annually, revealed it made offers to 36 soon-to-be associates, with all but one accepting.

Craig Montgomery, training principal and trainee development partner, said: “We are delighted that we are retaining such a high proportion of our February 2020 qualifying intake. This is a real testament to the strength of the lawyers who have qualified with us in this round and we are incredibly proud of their achievements. It also reflects our ongoing commitment to recruiting, retaining and developing top talent for the future.”

In terms of pay, Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows Freshfields’ latest recruits will start on a salary of £100,000 — a six-figure-sum that, unlike a number of its MC rivals, does not include a discretionary bonus. Trainees receive £45,000 in year one, rising to £51,000 in year two.

LAWYER EVENT: How to follow your dreams outside law while still working as a lawyer — with A&O Peerpoint: Find out more

Today’s result marks a slight drop on the firm’s autumn 2019 retention score of 93% (38 out of 41) but a marked improvement on its spring 2019 result of 78% (32 out of 41).

As for life at Freshies, it posted an A* for training and perks in our latest Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, as well as As for quality of work, peer support, canteen and social life.

Earlier this year fellow magic circle duo Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance confirmed spring retention results of 94% (29 out of 31) and 85% (34 out of 40), respectively.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub



What happened to the 4 who didn’t get retained?



They were taken out back and shot.



They likely jumped ship for swole US firms paying them top dollah. Seriously though, jumping ship isn’t as easy as people make it sound, especially as NQs. Maybe they just left law altogether.



No doubt at elite US firms in the City. They are dominating now in the relevant/sought after practice areas.



which r these relevant/sought after practice areas? Im starting my tc at Schoosmits and wd very much like to move to top US firms on quali . thx.


Kirkland NQ

One answer there mi amigo, private equity.

Not sure I have ever heard of a shoosmiths though, can you arrange a spit shine son?

CMS 4th Seat Trainee

Do not steal my idea! Anyway, you will never beat me – I have a foolproof strategy that will make me a partner in Kirkland in 8 years.


from Slaughters at least, none of the leavers went to US firms. It’s not as popular an option as you might think.



Why do you think this is?


It’s an annoying double edged sword isn’t it- Everyone knows training at somewhere like Freshfields will make you a better lawyer in the long run/have better career prospects, but then as you said its not then easy to suddenly hop on over to a London White Shoe.

So it seems its either train well at a MC/SC firm and be content with less pay, or just stick it out for the two years at a US firm, and then at least be quite confident you’ll be in with a good shot of the mega £££ (considering decent retention rates for many).



Hahah love that last comment. “Arrange a spit shine son”?! 🤣


MC Associate

Everyone simply assumes they went to the US firm, which is BS. MC firms have no problem kick you out on your ass upon qualification if you are not good enough. I am a mid lvl associate at MC firm (also trained here), when I qualified only 2 out of 9 ppl leaving went to US firms – one of them was the worst trainee we had and was obviously not retained, he ended up in the “top dollar firm” paying 144k…



Says everything about Freshfields’ culture that an associate gossips about a trainee no longer with the firm on a website frequented by law students.


MC Associate

Not sure where you got from my post that I am from freshfields, I am not. I am simply pointing out that 8/10 ppl who leave MC firms upon qualification do NOT end up going to US firms



Where do they go lad? Happy Valentines Day!


Comments are closed.