Sidley Austin retains all 11 autumn NQ solicitors

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One associate-to-be is on a fixed-term contract

Sidley Austin has become the first major law firm to reveal its autumn 2020 retention score.

The US outfit confirmed that all 11 trainee solicitors based in its London office have opted to stick around post-qualification. With one associate-to-be on a six-month fixed-term contract, this hands Sidley a score of 100% or 91%, depending on how you interpret its figures.

The firm’s M&A and private equity team will receive four rookies, two will join banking and financial services, while the remaining five will be split equally between competition; global finance: investment funds; insurance; and restructuring. All will be based in London.

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Retention rates aside, our Firms Most List shows that Sidley’s new City recruits will start on a hefty salary of £135,500. Trainees receive £50,000 in year one, rising to £55,000 in year two.

“Our 2020 qualifiers are a strong group and the second cohort of trainees to qualify with us following the overhaul of the trainee recruitment process a few years ago,” a firm spokesperson said. “The main changes we made were to expand our vacation schemes (we now run five each year) and to try and recruit all (or almost all) our trainees from our vacation schemes.”

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Big d—k Lathy

Surprised Sidley is still going… what a crap, top tier wannabe shop.



But Obama interned there once, it must be an elite shop!


Joe’s Mum

And Dominic Raab worked at Linklaters, Your point is?



Suleyman the Magnificent was briefly receptionist at Greenberg Glusker LLP’s Istanbul office.


Big d—k Lathy

In the states it has clout, but I was really referring to it’s London office.
Trust me I know someone who recently paralegalled there-Pretty poor quality of work overall, they simply can’t compete with the big corporate/PE players in London.

Plus they’ve just wasted shit ton on a building that will be largely redundant post covid.


Old City Codger

Thank you for your comment son, now back to revising those tutorial notes on Land Law you go.

Leave the intellectual challenges of comparing law firms to us actual practicing lawyers, yes?


Grammar police




Thanks for your comment, but “practicing” is equally correct (it’s just American English)…


Legal Cheek's tip

Let nobody ever say that Legal Cheek commentators lack creativity. This is only the 1,254th time this joke has been used – still a lot of life in it yet!



Serious q TC offer at SA, CMS or NRF is better ?



Depends on the area of law you’re interested in. Generally if you’re going for happiness and wellbeing, go for NRF. For money, SA.


Big daddy K

Agreed, NRF are a decent firm and care about their staff- but shame about their overall lack of profitability… one to watch for potentially going bust imo



Harsh. It’s not a top, top, top tier titan like, say, Greenberg Glusker LLP, but still a decent firm.



Let’s leave the Greenberg Glusker meme back in 2017 where it belongs shall we?



Genuinely interested why one associate would be placed on a fixed term contract? Still don’t know whether they can hack it?



Often tends to be people who apply to smaller/niche departments, which will have more limited hiring/salary budgets and also less certainty of workflow.



Also happens with trainees that qualify into seats that were not their first choice (or even did not sit in that department) and the firm want to check if they can do it/are a good fit. Often happens with transactional departments.



Hefteh wedge



Elite US firm sending a clear signal to the market that they are thriving in the City. This is the sort of firm you want to be at for top practice areas, access to the US dollar, top clients.


Other side of the coin

Or just use retention scores as a way to blow smoke on gullible people



Sidley is loss making in London and subsidised by US offices.



they hired a huge super profitable PE/finance team from K&E doing towerbrook work…surely not loss-making…



Yes and in doing so they ruined the culture in the office by offering the PE/ Finance team higher pay than other associates at their level and trying to prioritise them at the expense of other departments.

It also also a Towerbrook relationship. It isn’t a booming practice and it’s not a team that has originated as much work as was expected outside of the confines of this relationship.


In the no

Sidley is loss making in London and is subsidised by its US offices.



No. It is loss making in London. The PE team doesn’t have much work and is usually v quiet before Covid. PE, M&A, finance is dead right now everywhere. It is not a slight on the firm which looks after its trainees and has protected them from this market, three of whom have qualified into advisory areas. You do not necessarily want to train at a super profitable ruthless firm which sacks all its trainees off at the first sign of danger.



Steady flow of PE and finance work where I’m at (US firm).



I’m currently at. US firm in London and our PE department is ticking along



I am at a US firm in London and PE is dead.

But that doen’t matter, what matters is this is not true of the market. M&A and PE M&A is quiet. No one is doing deals. Work is just finishing existing stuff off.

Now that may change in the winter, but given that I am an associate with friends at 4 other US firms saying the same thing is true for them, I’m a bit wary of the anon responses here.



I’m in M&A and we’re reasonably busy. Some are incredibly busy but for me it’s peaks and troughs. We are informed that our pipeline for the next few months is on the better of side of ok but not clear after that. Our PE team is pretty dead.



No one is hiring lateral M&A / PE NQs right now. In fact hiring at most US firms is suspended / frozen. But M&A / PE, it’s crickets. Doesn’t look like those teams are going to be hiring laterals for this September. We have M&A associates here who are busyish with peaks and troughs too – some weeks of a handful of billables, then fire drills and 4ams. But we’re not hiring internally into those teams when we would have otherwise have done.


Famous on TikTok

The whole SA restructuring team is moving though


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