Slaughter and May retains 38 of 41 spring qualifying trainees

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Result of 93%

Slaughter and May’s London office

Slaughter and May has become the latest magic circle law firm to reveal its spring 2021 trainee retention score.

Slaughters confirmed 39 of its 41 newly qualifying (NQ) solicitors received offers, and 38 accepted. This hands the firm, which recruits around 80 trainees annually, a solid retention result of 93%. It confirmed none are on fixed-term contracts

Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List 2021 shows its fresh faced associates will start on a salary £90,500 — down slightly from a pre-COVID high of £92,000. Meanwhile trainees receive a recently improved salary of £47,000 in year one, rising to £52,500 in year two.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Today’s result matches the firm’s autumn 2020 score, which saw it retain 38 of its 41 new recruits — or 93%.

Slaughters is now the fourth member of the MC to reveal its spring 2021 score, with Linklaters and Allen & Overy both posting 92%, and Clifford Chance recording a result of 88%. Freshfields is yet to go public with its spring outcome.

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Anyone who has done their TC, out of curiosity, what were the reasons that people in your cohort weren’t retained?

Besides from those who willingly accepted NQ offers elsewhere



Generally: 1) Having consistently poor appraisals which you’ve evidently not made an effort to learn from and self develop / still being work shy, or 2) wanting to qualify in to a team (usually a specialist team) which doesn’t need to take an NQ or which is only taking on 1 or 2 who are better than you and you’re adamant that’s the only team you’d accept.

Whilst it’s sad for the people who don’t get kept on, I do find it odd how lenient/almost paternalistic students (and some trainees) expect firms to be. It’s a business and some expect trainees to be kept on even if they’re just not good enough just so the firm can put out 100% retention and everyone on Legal Cheek can hold hands and skip around with glee. Even with the trainees who want to leave (eg to do human rights law or earn bank at a US firm), somehow the firm gets stick for not retaining them. You don’t really find this in any other career, it’s so odd.

Anything above 80% is decent, above 90% is very strong. If you’re good, you should be fine.



Also, some people leave because it’s not for them and once they’ve got the solicitor badge they head elsewhere.

A partner I worked with trained alongside two guys called Chris Millerchip and Rob Dow.

They never made partner at Slaughters. But they did set up PLC and sold out to Thomson Reuters for hundreds of millions each in 2013.

Not everyone wants to be a lawyer, but it’s a good platform to start from.


Not retained and proud

I wasn’t retained by my US firm after my first supervisor (who looking back bullied me and, like many toxic individuals, managed to make me feel like it was my fault) wrote me such an awful review no department was willing to make me a NQ offer. This was despite three subsequently positive reviews and generally doing well/working hard.

I didn’t complain about my first supervisor at the time, and looking back I now realise I should have. I would encourage any trainee in the same position to make sure they fight their corner, because as I found out meekly sucking it up and hoping it won’t kill your qualification prospects is taking a massive gamble.

It worked out ok in the end and despite repeatedly being told I was hopeless and should quit law and do something else by said supervisor I’ve gone on to do well at a decent firm.






As a recently not retained Nq having a fairly massive crisis of confidence, this is really nice to hear.



For anyone reading, I would say even having a review that damns you with faint praise can be harmful. If you had a written review that wasn’t as positive as an in-person review, I would say speak to someone to try to get it sorted out, as all people may have in 18 months’ time is the written review.



What firm



In a lot of cases firms don’t have a legitimate reason to not take on trainees after qualification. In the same way firms don’t always have a valid reason for rejecting you for vac schemes or TCs.

And to come up with some kind of ‘reason’ or explanantion they find minor mistakes you made on certain tasks and try and justify that as the reason you aren’t getting taken on.


One what knows some stuff

Who did the other 4 offend?



The biggest one I’ve seen is just not being a good ‘culture fit’ for the firm. This can result in bad reviews (I frequently was criticised for being too quiet or too shy, when actually it was just an incredibly intimidating and unfriendly place to work). If they want like ultra private school, rugby fan type people – thats who they’ll get. When I look at everyone let go from my intake – they were all just slightly unusual and didn’t really fit with the firm, even though they were really nice and super smart. This is why honestly I don’t recommend law as a career to anyone who would have been ‘weird’ in school, for lack of a better term.

The review thing still is probably a big one, which is a bummer because one bad review can fuck you over for tje rest of the TC. I had one bad one early on, the partner barely took the time to read the form, I had a horrible time on the team with no support. From that point on honestly I might as well have given up. I tried so hard to improve, had consistently improving reviews, in the end it didn’t matter. They all talk about you and how shit you are and you’re finished. I think in a normal job where you are always reviewed by the same person, its fair to fire someone. But with a TC, you’re relearning a new area and a new team everytime, new person reviewing you every time, no one ever sees all the work you’ve done. A lot of people will probably just say it’s not your firms job to pay you to not do the work, which is probably fair enough, but I also think TCs are an appalling way to train people and set a lot of people up to fail.



I think this is just the way it is unfortunately. I was retained, but the same occurred at my firm – it was pretty clear to me that those who weren’t kept on were amongst those who didn’t quite “fit in”. In most cases, trainees who fall into that category but are hard working, friendly and highly competent still qualify when they have good colleagues and pick a friendly team.

The problem is that they are also the ones most likely to get singled out and bullied by their less well-intentioned colleagues, which can derail their training contract, as I believed happened in one case at least in my firm.



Some firms just have shit retention rates but don’t publicise it – either because their trainees are fleeing the firm due to its culture or because the firm just doesn’t have enough jobs to keep its talent


William E

Pro: 93% retention rate

Con: you have to work at Slaughter and May



Find it so weird when (obvious) law students write comments like these. You aren’t getting into any city firm, buddy, let alone the MC and SC firms.


William E

I’m a 2PQE associate at another MC firm,. My student days are way behind me now but thanks for the concern, ‘buddy’.

We just don’t rate Slaughters like that


SM Trainee

If you’re 2PQE at another MC firm, doubt you’d have the time or need to write stuff like this.

You’re just salty and it’s obvious. Back to Leeds mate.



There’s actually a fair few Leeds graduates at magic circle and silver circle firms and considering it’s been consistently a top 10 uni for law the past couple of years and the people who go there actually have a personality (which goes down well with clients and colleagues), the snobbish tone on this is a little off the mark.


Was it a McFirm?


You clearly aren’t a FBD lawyer otherwise you wouldn’t come to the defence of a crappy second rate firm which doesn’t deserve a MC title.



Solid figures for a SC firm👍🏻


Non Russell Group Grad

Lol even Mayer Brown & Reed Smith offer the same whack

This firm is an overrated sweatshop



Travers, Macfarlanes, Baker Mckenzie too


100k or nothing

literally even Hogan Lovells nq pay is at 90 atm



When you compare the firms that offer around 80k and then the likes of Slaughters in the low 90s range, its pitiful.

I wouldn’t kill myself doing so many more hours and losing sleep over an extra 10k a year, its not worth it. People earn more than that from passive income.



Agreed. I wouldn’t even do it for 20k more to be honest. Especially for those with inherited wealth – what’s the point.


Kirk NQ

Lmao – don’t worry about any of those firms you’ve listed. CMS awaits you.



Lol what do you mean… every big firm is offering this amount now subject to the US exceptions (Latham, Kirk, White etc). I say exceptions because based on the number of trainees the £120k+ firms hire compared to the rest is a lot smaller (obviously for tax reasons the £100-120k bracket makes minimal difference on the end pay so no need to consider it and no firm pays within it anyways).

Also, MB and RS (and possibly HL) offer a lot higher bonuses, so not sure what’s your comparison alluding to…


They see me rollin, they hating

You hate us cuz you ain’t us (or evidentially, because you got rejected which seems to be 98% of commenters). Back to your essays, undergrads – your 2.2s await you.



looool some slaughters fanboy has gone and spam liked and disliked commens to suit their agenda. Says it all really



Slaughters or Macs for PE?



stfu m8

is it every single week in week out we have to have the same old debates?

discuss it with your friends if you really want to


second year warwick student with one AC

neither lol go to kirkland or latham xd im so hard


The man in the Uber Pool

Warwick eh? How’s perennial mediocrity treating you?


24/7 TCLA Maniac & Private Equity Enthusiast

Travers, my friend. Travers is the way to go.


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