Pinsent Masons retains 57 of 71 autumn qualifying trainees

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80% result

Pinsent Masons’ City of London headquarters

Pinsent Masons has today revealed its autumn retention result.

Of the 71 trainees due to qualify this September, 68 applied for newly-qualified (NQ) solicitor positions at the firm, and 57 have accepted offers. This hands the firm a score of 80%. None of the 57 soon-to-be associates are being retained on fixed-term contracts.

Pinsent Masons has nine offices across the UK, including its City headquarters. The firm’s new recruits in London will start lawyer life on a salary of £72,500, according to our Firms Most List. NQs in the regions receive £44,000, while those in Scotland earn £43,500.

Deborah McCormack, head of early talent at Pinsent Masons, said:

“We are pleased that our retention of early talent continues to be healthy in what is a challenging market for almost every sector. As a firm, we remain committed to the development of junior talent, which underpins our succession plan. At Pinsent Masons we want to ensure that our business is operating at its best for both our clients and our people and are pleased to welcome them in to an environment where they have the opportunity to thrive.”

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Pinsent Masons has the largest qualifying cohort out of the firms that have so far published their 2020 autumn retention rates. CMS confirmed it will be keeping 44 out of 61 (72%) final-seat trainees from September, while Clifford Chance, with the third biggest group, announced last week it will retain 36 out of 46 (78%) of qualifying trainees.

Last autumn saw Pinsent Masons post a similar score of 79%, retaining 57 out of 72 qualifying trainees.

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Good for them. A signal of what’s to come…



An underrated firm. Excellent quality of work and clients with a very down-to-earth partnership and relaxed working culture.



Genuine question: please don’t troll, please give actual advice because I really need a second opinion. Thanks

So… I’ve been offered a TC at Simmons & Simmons but I can’t help but think maybe the grass is greener over at the Silver Circle/Magic Circle and evening US firms. The NQ salary is at 79k and I just keep comparing it to the six figure salaries and feel like I want more.

I have heard some people say that it’s possible to transition to those firms after qualifying but I personally feel it’s quite a big jump and those firms are more likely to recruit people who trained at firms with a bigger name and reputation.

But I have recently graduated and I know the legal job market is very saturated and it’s even tougher to get a TC right now, so I am confused?



Honest opinion: Simmons is a perfectly decent firm and when I was looking seemed to combine a “mid-sized” London office feel with a genuinely international network of offices. International and client secondment opportunities are also widely available. The firm is strong across practice areas and good enough in those that are “relevant” for the US firms in the market: PE, funds, restructuring, lev fin, fund fin, etc.

Simmons PE will not jump off the page on the CV in the same way that e.g. Freshfields PE does, but you won’t struggle getting interviews and the brand is still very respectable. Don’t underestimate the number of MC NQs who like the safe, English brand and will want to stick around. For further comfort check LinkedIn.


food for thought

Firms like Simmons and DLA Piper that are just under the 80k salary mark don’t offer six figures for a reason. You can have a comfortable working life there in terms of working hours and work/life balance and you can actually work your way up.

Its a bit more cut throat at SC/MC/US firms and sometimes I think it is better to be a big fish in a smaller pond than the other way around.



I work at a MC firm – take the Simmons TC. This isn’t because the MC isn’t good btw, but if you’re not already a US/MC offer holder waiting in this market is not wise. Majority of firms are likely to drop their cohort numbers in the coming years. If you reject the Simmons offer and don’t get another in a top firm you’ll kick yourself forever. Nothing wrong with training at Simmons.



Never underestimate that amount of luck required in securing a training contract. You obviously are well qualified etc. etc. but so are thousands of university students anxious about their future. Just because you got an offer this year does not mean you will get one from a different firm no matter how good your CV is.

Take the Simmons TC and do everything you can to reach optimum escape velocity when you qualify and enter into orbit of a superior firm. Work on committees, actually post stuff on LinkedIn, write articles for the firm about the practice area you want to qualify into, and nurture your hobbies so you don’t seem like a boring drone corporate lawyer when trying to sell yourself to the big boi firms.

It is an extremely competitive time for legal juniors at the moment and will be for at least the next few years of this early stage of the business cycle and you would be mad to give up your offer now.

Take the Simmons TC, work hard and do well, then be humbled by the job search in a few years. (:

(Also bear in mind that work in law firms is changing massively because everyone has realised that work from home is possible and preferable. Training will have to change as well so there is no guarantee that TCs will be the same next year.)



Simmons & Simmons hands down!

Mind you dare go for training at a US firm, the training is really bad / non-existent and the IQ of their lawyers is much lower. Only go US when you have no other choice, especially in this market where US firms are getting rid of the juniors. Don’t let them fool you with six figure salaries and great career prospects for partnership because it’s not true. I wouldn’t even suggest a US even once you qualify as an Associate.



I assume that you didn’t just apply to Simmons for a TC, but to other firms too. Since you seem most keen on Simmons’s TC offer but unhappy about the lack of prestige, that would suggest that either you didn’t get any other TC offers, or else the offers you received were from firms you saw as being less good than Simmons.

If you didn’t get MC/US training contract offers first time round, what makes you think you’d be so much more successful this time?

Unless you have a very, very good answer for my question, I’d suggest you take the TC with Simmons. It’s a perfectly good firm, pays well for anyone not looking at MC salaries, seems stable. The risk of rejecting it in the hope of another TC somewhere else seems a bit high, in my opinion.

In terms of transferring later on in your career, Linklaters and S&M don’t really do lateral hires until partner level. US firms are more likely to, and can’t say about the rest of the MC.



That’s not at all true re Links and S&M. They hire plenty of people at NQ (particularly Links).



Yeah Linklaters hires a LOT of people laterally…



80% retention in ordinary times is fine because those not retained should be able to find an NQ elsewhere reasonably easily.

In current circumstances though, the 20% are going to really struggle. Bear in mind too that they will compete for jobs with those not retained in Spring 2021.

A lot of people will be forced to give up on law, just because they are a victim of circumstance. Life sucks sometimes.


Life sucks

The people who arent being retained have decided to go elsewhere for more money or for different careers.

No one is kicked out onto the streets ffs



68 applied for NQ roles and 57 have accepted offers..

It doesn’t say how many offers were made, so I don’t think you can say that all those who are leaving the firm are doing so by choice..(without the offer list)



Not true… if you read the article it says 11 of those who applied for positions weren’t given an offer – they will definitely struggle to secure a role in this NQ market.



Or they can just persist and find another job for a couple of years until they are hired and the markets bounce back (if they are actually committed to law)



Definitely accept the TC. There is a lot of movement in the legal market during good times. If you’re genuinely excellent at your job and working in the practice areas that US firms focus on, then training at Simmons is not going to prevent you from moving to a US firm later in your career. The suggestion above to look on LinkedIn is a great one, you’ll see that there are people who will have moved on to larger firms.

You might even find during your training contract that you don’t want to move on. If say, the hours at Simmons feel gruelling then you’ll know moving to a US firm could be a nightmare. £79k NQ is a good deal considering you’ll be working less than at a MC which pay base rate around £87k NQ Post-Covid.

Lastly, whilst having the MC name on your CV is always going to get you a foot in the door (it’s a mark of quality), working for a mid-sized firm might allow you to have greater level of responsibility than those at a MC. Deals at mid-sized firms, like at profit-maximising US firms, are run more leanly than at MC firms. That means fewer lawyers on each deal and more opportunities for you to do real work as a trainee. Not only is this better for your own personal development as a junior lawyer, but it will mean you’ll have more to show on your CV to other firms. Later in your career, you’re also more likely to have been involved in business development (going out and winning new clients) at a mid-sized firm, which US firms value highly.

These are not favourable economic conditions for TC-hunting. I think you should definitely accept the great offer that you have.



Linklaters have numerous lateral hires among their ranks, from associate to partner level. A quick browse through their lawyer directory on their site will corroborate this.


Big Rich

Coffee on my guys


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