Linklaters keeps 36 out of 41 spring NQs

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Further four rookies deferred TC start dates

The London office of Linklaters has confirmed a spring 2020 retention score of 88%.

From a qualifying cohort of 41, the magic circle firm confirmed that 36 had put pen to paper on permanent deals. Links revealed a further four trainees, omitted from today’s result, deferred their TC start dates and are currently six months away from qualifying.

“We are delighted to once again retain a high number of outstanding lawyers from our March qualifiers,” said trainee development partner, Richard Hodgson. “This figure demonstrates our ongoing commitment to attracting, developing and retaining talented people and we look forward to seeing their careers progress at our global firm.”

Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows those staying put will start on a salary of £100,000 (base rate and discretionary performance bonus combined), while trainee pay currently sits at £47,000 in year one rising to £52,500 in year two.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Historically, Linklaters is a solid retention performer, especially given its sizeable intake of around 100 rookies each year. In the most recent three rounds the firm posted results of 91% (49 out of 54), 80% (41 out of 51) and 73% (43 out of 59).

But how does today’s 88% result stack up against Links’ magic circle rivals?

Earlier this month Freshfields confirmed a spring score of 90% (35 of of 39), while Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance revealed results of 94% (29 out of 31) and 85% (34 out of 40) respectively. Allen & Overy is the only magic circler still to reveal its spring 2020 score.

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Super Senior Partner at Duncan Lewis Solicitors

my firm is so much better than linklaters wow


Apparently the founders of the firm picked the name “Duncan Lewis” not because there were ever any partners to the firm with those names, but because it sounded right. I suppose it does sound better than “LegalAid4U”.

US Sep 19 NQ

Presumably the other 5 all secured elite US firm roles in any event. Good on them – the US firms are here to stay in London.


Proper phat firm, thicc wadds of cash and lines of pure crystal powder.*

*Obviously I’m talking about a Wall Street firm, not this poxy English bucketshop.

All seeing

Best magic circle law firms (in order of excellence):

1. Linklaters
2. A&O
3. Slaughters
4. CC
5. Freshfields

LLB Student

Serious question, do people agree with this ordering? I’ve often seen Links and Slaughters mentioned as the 2 “dying” members of the MC, but I’ve also read that CC is the least prestigious one of the five. A&O also recently dropped the OMM merger talks, so FF, with its PE offering (kinda unique outside of the US circle) and the recent lateral poach in NYC from Cleary, would seem to be the only one not struggling at the moment. But here they’re listed as number 5?

Rusty Trombone (LLB, LLM)

Lmao you better focus on getting an actual TC before spaffing such tosh on LC. Go back to your first year Introduction to Contract Law you cock.

LLB Student

Why do you have to be an arsehole? I may have a TC at a top US shop for all you know. Knocked that grin off your face right?

Rusty Trombone (LLB, LLM)

You didn’t actually. Back to your textbooks you go, exams are only three months away.

LLB Student

Whatever. By the way in a couple of years when you’re sat at your desk at your high street firm paralegal job, read the Legal 500 and look out for a top corporate associate at a top US firm tipped for partnership. That’ll be me. And you’ll still be an arsehole.

Truth u kno

Looooool we’ve got a meltdown lads

LLB Student

Yeah yours. Go settle some road accident claims now, leave the smart kids alone.

LLB Student (the real one)

First of the guy at 1:20pm wasn’t me. Second, I asked a question based on hearsay from this site and others. I’m entirely open to being corrected, interested in it in fact. Do you disagree with the list? How would you rate the 5 MC firms? My TC or lack thereof has no bearing on the question.

I can only assume you work for one of the “lower” ranked MC firms and I touched a nerve there. Afraid Eve Cornwell might steal your preferred NQ spot?

Top Kek

Looool what are you still doing here? Didn’t they tell you to go hit the Introduction to Torts textbooks you turd?

LLB Student

Fuck off

LLB Student (the real one)

LC’s comment section sometimes yields useful information. This is not one of those times I see.


FF have a huge potential exposure due to the ongoing criminal proceedings in Germany which genuinely has the potential to kill their German business (and it remains to be seen what wider impact that might have). Already there are reports of clients refusing to use them because of it.

Reality check

Obviously all of the MC are very good law firms. Broadly:

Links, FBD, Slaughter, HSF for corporate.
Links, A&O, CC for finance.
A&O, CC, HSF, FBD for litigation

HSF easily competes with the others in size and quality (certainly in terms of litigation) so should really be in there too. Slaughters is tiny compared to the others so arguably shouldn’t – despite being an outstanding (if extremely stuffy) firm.

None of the MC are “dying”. That’s ludicrous. What the other guy said about FBD’s tax issue is serious, but isn’t going to bankrupt the firm. All 5 of them (plus Slaughters) are increasing both turnover and profitability year on year and have been for years.

Check the list

Lol what a list… Here is the order for MCs
1. Freshfields (by far)
2. A&O – CC (better than the two below but still certainly behind FF)
3. Slaughters – Links (former if you’re into tragic government work – Links is just below average with the worst culture i.e. full of posh pretentious plums who think their first in legal theory and law&history makes them better than everyone else)


True, Freshfields has the most power players and big ticket work


Compared to the ‘Land though?

LLB Student

So FF is the best of the MC? Why f*ck did my previous comment get so many downvotes then?


Coz you’re an entitled twat mate. Also you keep trying to get out of comment you made pretending it wasn’t you.


Slaughters is easily the worst of the bunch. Besides from M&A what else do they really do? And don’t try and tell me that multi specialism rubbish because that’s just a way of covering up that there isn’t much else to the firm

ex-MC now US

FF is the worst no questions asked. Would put Links and SM at top, but can’t differentiate between the two.


Wait, no update on Eve Cornwell?

Are Legal Cheek ok?

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