Mayer Brown and Akin Gump announce autumn trainee retention results

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By Aishah Hussain on

70% and 83%

The London offices of US firms Mayer Brown and Akin Gump have announced their autumn 2020 trainee retention results.

Mayer Brown has retained 70% of its September-qualifying cohort. Seven out of ten of newly qualified (NQ) solicitors will stay on at the firm, with one retained in the firm’s employment practice on a fixed-term contract. This hands the firm an autumn retention score of 70%, or 60%, depending on how you interpret its figures.

Mayer Brown was not in a position to offer everyone a permanent role in the practice of their choice, a spokesperson said.

Three of the six permanent hires join its litigation and dispute resolution team, with one each in corporate and securities, employment and intellectual property.

“Our retention record reflects our ability to attract and retain the very best talent, and we are delighted that six of our qualifiers have accepted a permanent role at the firm,” said Stuart Pickford, training principal at Mayer Brown, continuing:

“We always aim to match the needs of the business with the first choice of our trainees; however, we accept that this is not always possible. Congratulations to our 2020 autumn qualifiers, who have thrived over the past two years and I wish those pursuing opportunities outside the firm every success.”

In the last autumn round the firm kept nine of its 11 qualifying trainees, or 82%, on permanent deals. It retained four out of five (80%) spring qualifiers earlier this year.

Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows that Mayer Brown’s new recruits will start on a salary of £90,000 — an approximate 77% jump on year two pay which is £51,000. First years at the firm earn £46,000.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Meanwhile, Akin Gump has recorded an autumn retention result of 83%. Of the six final-seat trainees due to qualify next month, five will stay on in NQ positions at the firm. None are being retained on fixed-term contracts.

Two NQs will join the firm’s investments funds practice, with corporate finance, international trade and tax, receiving one new qualifier each. The class of 2020 will be London-based bar one rookie who is qualifying in Dubai.

Vance Chapman, partner and London training principal, said: “Akin Gump is delighted to welcome an exceptional group of newly qualified solicitors into the firm this year.”

He continued:

“We are very pleased to have been able to retain nearly all our trainees on qualification since the start of the Akin Gump trainee programme in 2014. We look forward to welcoming our diverse and high calibre class of 2020 and are proud as always to have supported them through the early stages of their career in the law.”

Akin Gump new associates can expect to earn a market-topping £150,000 ($190,000) upon qualification, after the firm confirmed that it has “no plans” to make changes to its UK salary scale in spite of the economic headwinds brought on by the coronavirus. That’s around a mighty 172% uplift on year two pay which sits at £55,000 (also unchanged). Other MoneyLaw outfits have adopted a similar approach.

A number of law firms have announced their autumn retention results in the past months.

Fellow US firms Covington & Burling, Jones Day, Ropes & Gray and Sidley Austin have all posted pandemic-proof scores of 100%. Their City cohorts tend to be much smaller than their UK-headquartered rivals’ and the biggest of the bunch, Jones Day, is taking on all 20 NQs.

Earlier this week Baker McKenzie posted a score of 82%, keeping 14 of its 17 soon-to-be associates.

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