Clifford Chance records 88% trainee solicitor retention rate

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38 out of 43

Clifford Chance’s London office

Clifford Chance has recorded a spring 2021 retention score of 88%, with 38 rookies committing their futures to the magic circle player.

From a qualifying group of 43, CC confirmed 38 trainees applied and received offers. All accepted.

The firm, which offers around 95 training contracts each year, did not provide details of the practice areas or offices the trainees will qualify into. It did, however, confirm all are on permanent, full-time contracts.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows CC newbies will start on a salary of £100,000, compromising salary and bonus. Trainees receive £48,000 in year one and £54,000 in year two.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Today’s result is an improvement on the firm’s autumn 2020 score which saw it keep 36 of its 46 trainees (78%), with a further two on six-month deals.

The Canary Wharf-based giant is the third member of the magic circle to reveal its spring 2021 score, with Linklaters and Allen & Overy both recording results of 92%.

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Five trainees actually saw the prospect of going in to the job market in this climate more appealing than even applying to stay at CC…


Trainee at Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Really bad firm



This is .. alright I suppose? I’m confused, did the other 5 trainees not apply, or did they apply and didn’t get an offer ? It’s not clear



One hopes they bagged better offers and jumped ship into NQ roles someplace else. Qualifying without a job these days is the equivalent to the gulag archipelago, your chances are bleak.



This isn’t really true though is it, having qualified myself in September the overwhelming majority are working in a legal role, albeit perhaps not their desired practice area.



Majority of the 5 going to top tier US firms! In practice areas heavily recruiting this qualification round… e.g. funds and tax.
A few settling for areas they didn’t want, for the sake of qualifying and being retained



Why is Legal Cheek not covering the latest Hendron disciplinary? It’s the trial of the century!



This is correct (think all are going to top tier US firms, depending on your definition of “top tier”).



Haha, very true.
I suspect the departures would have been a lot higher had some other practice areas been recruiting externally. I know of a couple fellow trainees just playing the waiting game.



All US firms that have taken steps to open in London are top-tier (or almost all) by definition, surely? If a firm appears in the Vault 100 in the US it’s pretty top tier…


Ghost of Chambers Past

There’s a huge difference between V15 and V50-100.



I would consider “top tier” to only be the best: Cleary, Skadden, K&E, L&W, STB, Davis Polk, S&C, Debevoise, Quinn and Weil. Though in the grand scheme of things no one other than law students give a toss which law firm you work for, so if you’re getting minted elsewhere, good on you.



Better stat for MC firms would be how many are still there after a couple of years. Most will have either moved to US firms, been unable to handle the pace and trading down or going in house.
Intrigued to know, % of each cohort that end up making partners.



Difficult to compare at the moment because the cohort being made up trained and qualified in the post ‘08 bloodbath when trainee numbers were slashed, so they probably represent c. 20% of their intake.

Based on recent partner rounds, perhaps 10% of a current trainee cohort will get the nod. If we say 50% of qualifiers at the MC have a long term goal to make partner there (rather than move to a smaller firm, go in house or change career altogether) that gives you a 20% chance if you want it.


Joe Bloggs



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