Macfarlanes posts 80% spring trainee retention score

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One rookie leaves to set up healthcare business

Macfarlanes has posted its 2020 spring retention score.

The City player confirmed four of its five newly qualified (NQ) lawyers had stayed put, handing it a result of 80%. The one departing rookie has returned to his home country to launch his own business in the healthcare industry, the firm said.

Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows its latests recruits will start on a salary of between £98,600 and £110,250 when individual and firm-wide bonuses are applied. Trainees receive £44,000 in year one and £49,000 in year two.

Seán Lavin, partner and head of graduate recruitment at Macfarlanes, said:

“We are pleased to have retained four of our five trainees for the March qualification round and wish the fifth all the best for his new business venture. We select our trainees with the view to not only retaining them on qualification, but with the aspiration that they will choose to stay with the firm to progress their careers for the long term.”

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

He continued: “We take a long term view of our talent needs and have increased our investment in trainees over the past few years. These are uncertain times but the continued success of our firm demands that we have the talent to meet the sustained demand from our loyal clients when the market recovers.”

In the previous two retention rounds (autumn 2019 and spring 2019), the silver circle outfit posted perfect scores of 100%.

Macfarlanes was a strong performer in this year’s Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, scoring A*s for its training and quality of work, and As for peer support, perks, office, canteen and social life.

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George H. Jones-Smythe

Shet firm, Ashursts owns all of the SC



Said no one ever


George is a tw*t

Funny that^ because Uk reality Macfarlanes is far more prestigious, has a more elite client base, and has higher PEP. Who even are you?



Macfarlanes has the 2nd highest profit per equity, higher than Magic Circle firms



What does “launch his own business in the healthcare industry” mean? Does it mean that this person wants to earn $$ on peoples’ health during the pandemic? How inconsiderate.



How did you come to that conclusion? If he’s about to launch it, it doesn’t mean he just came up with the idea. It’s been in the works for a while, way before the pandemic.



Wow they are surprisingly transparent about the background story behind their retention figures.

Wish other firms took this approach. Particularly magic circle firms who notoriously manipulate their figures to appear more positive


Disgruntled Student

Meanwhile, Macfarlanes maintain complete radio silence on vac scheme plans..



Just email them you imbecile. Law firms aren’t going to reach out and individually email everyone they’ve had interacting with their firm in the past year, if you email grad rec I’m sure they’ll reply and they even posted on their social media to reach out to the firm if anyone had any queries about the recruitment process and if there are any changes. Also, if you have the time to write comments here, you could easily have taken a minute to get in touch with them.

Your lack of common sense shows just how unlikely you are to be offered a vac scheme or TC at a top city firm anyway.

Just so you know, they’re currently planning to go ahead with summer vac schemes for the time being. Hope that helps


Doc Schwartz

Apply ointment liberally to the burn.


Anxious candidate

Hey, just wondering how you know that they are planning to go ahead with the summer scheme? Thanks


Anonymous Again

Like I said in the comment above…. just email them!!

Email Carys from Grad Rec and she will tell you it’s still going ahead. My friend is doing the summer vac scheme and he got in contact with grad rec and they replied saying they have postponed the Easter vac scheme to summer and the summer ones are currently still going ahead but if they have to cancel them because of the Covid-19 situation due to extending the self isolation then they will implement a virtual vac scheme.

Honestly, if you can’t send an email to grad recruitment and have to come into the legal cheek comments section to find out info… good luck with your vac scheme and TC because you clearly lack common sense and the basic soft skills required as a lawyer. Why is everyone so scared of Grad Rec?

Anyway, hope that helps.



I have to question the character of someone who judges others for coming into the legal cheek comments section for information, when they themselves only seem to have come to the legal cheek comments section to put people down.

A slightly aggressive and degrading reply to an exceedingly polite question from a self professed anxious candidate isn’t a stellar display of basic soft skills from ‘Anonymous Again’ in my opinion. Telling someone you do not know anything about that they do not possess the skills required to succeed in their chosen profession seems unnecessarily unkind.

The candidate in question may not be “scared of Grad Rec”, but
1) May have emailed and not been lucky enough to receive a response like your friend (I myself have had this experience with another firm).
2) May be patiently awaiting news from the firm, under the assumption that when a decision is made all of the candidates will be informed, but is still curious upon seeing information in the legal cheek comments section.
3) May have worked incredibly hard for their place on the vacation scheme and doesn’t want to risk standing out for hassling Grad Rec for information that they will inevitably give out in due course during what is probably an incredibly hectic and busy time in the office.

Please try to support people more at this stressful time.

Anonymous Again

@saddened… you are right, I apologise.

It is just that I have seen a common theme of macfarlanes vac schemers and future TC candidates asking questions in the comments that they could easily just ask grad rec, not just under this article but in other LC articles too. For example, under one of the previous ones a future Macfarlanes trainee (I won’t say her name as her comment name was changed to anonymous after she revealed her name which was a silly mistake) was asking if she would still be taken on for the 2022 intake of trainees or if her TC would be cancelled. She was asking Questions on the standing of her TC from strangers in a comments section instead of asking the firm. Not only does that look bad on Macfarlanes but it reflects more badly on her – especially as it is a small intake and they know who she is.

I take back the harsh comments I made on their ability to be a good lawyer. That was unfair and uncalled for. I was trying to get across the point – how is someone going to be able to communicate about difficult things which they might not want to with clients or senior partners if they are afraid of how they will look? Similarly, grad rec won’t see it as hassling but if anything it will do the candidates some good as it shows the firm that they are taking an interest and feel comfortable enough to ask for help on something they are unsure about. Grad rec are also more likely to remember their name and it will help them stand out in a good way. And it is a busy time in the office – but that is their job.

Also, you said you weren’t lucky enough to receive a response from another firm… well that is a different issue. Macfarlanes has posted all over their social media to make it clear that if anyone has questions they should definitely email Carys or Catherine Morgan Guest and they will receive a response so it’s not as if they will not reply.

Still, I fully accept your points in it being an unnecessarily unkind and condescending tone and it could have easily been written in a more friendly way, especially during this stressful time. I thought it was a sarcastic tone when I wrote it but I can see where you are coming from now.

Macfarlanes isn’t a firm I’m applying to or have done but I hope those Macfarlanes vac schemers and TC holders will start to communicate with their firms more openly. I wish Macfarlanes as a firm and grad rec is creating a culture where candidates feel like they can actually get in touch with them. better yet, I hope Macfarlanes will keep those with incoming vac schemes and TCs or other aspiring solicitors in the loop more than they are currently doing so they are not left anxious or concerned about where they stand.

Anyways, I’m sorry.

Mark x

TC Holder

I have an offer for 2021 and I had a call from Graduate Recruitment two/three weeks ago to check how I was coping and to reassure me that my TC offer was safe. I don’t know when your friend posted but if she is an offer holder she will have had a call. Speaking to others I know that they called all future trainees.

I hope this helps.

voice of reason

It’s a trick ! No one likes a chaser.


TC Holder

I have a TC with Macs to start in 2021 and I received a call from Graduate Recruitment two/three weeks ago to check how I was coping with everything and also to reassure me that my TC was secure. Speaking to others I know that they phoned every future trainee. I don’t know when your friend posted on LC but she should have had a call from them.

I hope this helps!



It was more recent that 2/3 weeks ago.

If you look at the ‘Will coronavirus cost me my magic circle TC?’ comments section, the anonymous asking about her TC is the future ‘22 Macfarlanes trainee and she exposed her own name and many people saw but LC removed all the comments with her name to protect her identity I guess.

In the original comments (before most of them were deleted) many people were responding saying that it would look bad on her that she didn’t just ask the Macfarlanes grad rec and came on the comments asking for reassurance from random people who know nothing about the standing of her TC. It also put worry into aspiring solicitors looking to apply to Macfarlanes as it looks as if the firm has done nothing to reassure those currently with offers, when that is not clearly not true as you mentioned you received a call.

To put simply, it seems as though she received a call from Macfarlanes but then went to the comments looking for further reassurance and that’s where it became an issue. A rookie mistake I guess and in such a stressful time where there is so much uncertainty over jobs I’m assuming she did it out in desperate measure in wanting to be 100% sure.


TC Holder

Sorry for the double post!


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