Freshfields posts 84% trainee retention score

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Declines to say if any NQs are on fixed-term deals

Freshfields has become the third magic circle firm to reveal its autumn retention score, revealing 32 out of its 38 trainees due to qualify next month are staying put.

The Anglo-German giant confirmed it received 36 applications and made 32 offers. All were accepted, handing the firm a solid result of 84%. Freshies declined to confirm whether any of its new associates are on fixed-term contracts as apposed to permanent deals.

Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows NQs will start on a salary of £100,000 after the firm took the decision in June not to cut pay in response to the uncertain financial climate brought about by the pandemic. Trainees currently earn £45,000 in year one, rising to £51,000 in year two.

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Training partner Craig Montgomery said:

“We are thrilled that so many of the newly qualified associates in our September 2020 qualifying intake are staying with the firm. Attracting, retaining and developing the best talent for the long-term remains a key priority for us and we are extremely proud of what these lawyers have achieved so far.”

Last week fellow magic circle player Allen & Overy posted a score of 93% (38 out of 41), while Clifford Chance confirmed earlier this month a result of 78% (36 out of 46). A further two CC rookies accepted six-month deals.

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Akin Simp more like

Can confirm a number of the bros are on fixed-term deals, ain’t great but gotta do what you gotta do in this market….



“Declines to say if any NQs are on fixed-term deals”

Lol – so basically some are, otherwise they would say no.


Akin Simp more like

Bigger number than you’d expect too. Won’t stop the weirdos who’ve never step foot in FF defending the firm with their lives though, as if that’ll get them TCs…


Oh wise one

What’s the number then


Akin simp

Low double digits


Freshfields… sounds like a fricken chain of grocery stores. Sort it out LOL


MC associate

Just goes to show that maintaining the NQ salary is already harming FF retention rate.

I do suppose that MC trainees prefer greater job security than £5-10k difference.



Not to mention a proportion of those NQs will only be on that salary for 6 months before they finish their FTC and are on £0. FF retention score likely lower than CC and they’re (poorly) trying to cover it up. Shameful.


Top journalism, top maths

2 people didn’t apply for NQ in the first place, not Freshfields’ problem. 32 out of 36 is 89%.






Not disclosing FTCs is deliberately misleading. We have NO idea what their perm retention score is.

Can anyone shed light?



None are on FTC.


Retained FBD NQ with no salary cut :D

Correct – FF hasn’t offered FTCs. This is an accurate reflection of retention rate. 89% (read up) is a very solid result and anyone who disagrees is prob jealous bc their firm dropped their NQ salary.

Love being at global no1 law firm tbh


Reality Check

Mate FF isn’t even no1 in the UK

Also from FBD

We would prefer not to give the image in these comments that we’re a bunch of narcissistic bell***s mate. And as someone else has already explained, on that maths everyone’s retention rate rises and A&O retained 100%.


On that metric A&O retained 100% and CC 80% excl fixed term contracts. So not sure FF is winning here.



Yikes – not disclosing the FTC numbers is very telling.

Where are all the ‘Freshfields is king/elite’ commenters after the poor retention and drop in revenue has come to light? Were you in fact basing all your opinions solely on their decision on salary without a clue what you’re talking about?

Well? We’re waiting!


Freshfields isn't king but...

It’s PEP which has dropped – not revenue… i.e the same as every other MC firm except for CC which had increases in both.

Anyway, unless you are an equity partner (so no one on here), salary is the only thing that matters. Who cares if revenue or PEP has gone up – you don’t share the upside:
CC: PEP and revenue up – NQ pay cut
FBD: Revenue up, PEP down – no NQ pay cut

84% retention is hardly poor regardless of whatever the number of FTC contracts is. Being on a permanent contract doesn’t guarantee anything – they can still turn around 6 months later and make your position redundant if they want.



Speak for yourself son, times are hard over here.

Had to hold off on getting a ski chalet over in Canada and can’t get my daughter the horse she wanted.

Makes you realise why people use gofundme



Zero are on fixed term contracts. There’s the scoop.


Get a grip

When retention rates have been in the 70%s or even 66% before, 89% is high especially given the climate. Some people on here really live for the drama zzzzzzzzzz….



I’m at Freshies and can confirm none of those detained are on FTCs.



None of you LC commentators know anything about FBD. Our pay is titanic and our retention figures are solid. I challenge anyone who thinks otherwise to debate me in the comments! Watch over the next year, FBD will increase the gap at the MC level and come out clearly at the top!


89%, 0 FTC

“Declined to comment on FTC” aka the email to Legal Cheek stating 89% that didn’t mention FTC because they have never been a thing at Freshfields has been hyped up for clicks. I work at Freshfields and can confirm none are FTC.



The Lawyer article on this says that FF “refused to comment” on whether any were retained on FTC – implying it has been asked….



Even if it was asked, it doesn’t matter that they ‘refused to comment’ tbh. Everyone’s assuming ‘refused to comment’ means that they are trying to be sneaky, but as far as I’m aware it’s fairly standard. If you openly answer yes or no to every question you’re asked, you eventually run the risk that if you don’t answer someone, they will try to say it implies something because usually you answer the question, so you must have a reason for ‘refusing’ to this time.


Come on Legal Cheek

This is seriously lazy journalism and especially bad considering students (for reasons unknown to me) read articles like this when deciding on firms. The retention rate is 89%, you can’t retain those who don’t apply.



You can’t be serious? The other legal publications are reporting the same 84% result.



Multiple trainees have not been offered a role, which is unacceptable.

Other firms have managed, so Freshfields should do too.

Just look at RPC – they offered a role to everybody that applied. If RPC can do it, Freshfields can do it.


RPC who

RPC who?



the Freshfields circle jerkers all panicking ?


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