Mills & Reeve kicks off autumn retention season with 100% score

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All 19 trainees to stay put

National law firm Mills & Reeve has fired the starting pistol on another autumn retention season, despite only being a few days in to June. The outfit confirmed that all 19 trainees due to qualify this September had signed permanent deals.

Three soon-to-be associates will join Mills & Reeve’s commercial, intellectual property & information technology team, while the corporate and private client groups also receive three newly qualified (NQ) lawyers apiece. The banking and regulatory, public & commercial groups gain two rookies each, while the final six will be split across corporate tax, employment, insurance, construction, planning and real estate.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

In terms of location, six qualify into the firm’s Cambridge office, four join the Birmingham branch, while Manchester, Norwich and London take three apiece.

Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows Mills & Reeve offers around 20 training contracts each year, with trainees earning £27,000 in year one and £28,000 in year two. Newly qualified lawyers receive £43,000.

Today’s result is an improvement on the firm’s autumn 2020 score which saw it retain 16 of its 18 trainees (89%), with one on a fixed-term deal.

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Mills & Reeves > Paul Hattings


Akin PUMP, BBC Deal Monster



^so hurt needs to impersonate Anonymagic

I’m sorry I hurt your feelings with my logic. Are you feeling better now? Hope end of year exams went well.


go away

What logic lol you sound like the dorky kid who sits at the front of the room at open days and asks dumb questions.



One of the most respected regional firms. They boast a £100m+ turnover to show for this. Not surprising they score so high on retention rate. If you’re working/living in UK cities outside of London, this is as good as it gets.

Can anyone share experience of what training/working at this firm is like? Would be very interesting to know.



Sounds turbo-obscure


Mills & Reeve Trainee

Hi there,

Glad to hear that you’re interested in our firm. Working at the firm is really great because of how diverse the intake was. We take people on from all walks of life and are willing to give people a chance. Personally, I didn’t do too well at school but I got into the University of Bedfordshire. After my degree, I didn’t have much success with training contract applications so I paralegalled for a year at a high street firm while applying for other firms. I was lucky enough to secure a TC at Mills & Reeve and am currently in my second seat at the London office. I would say that the atmosphere at the firm is very relaxed and honestly not dissimilar from the high street firm I paralegalled at. Everyone knows each other and we are more friends than colleagues. Actually, funny story – someone I knew from the high street firm had lateralled to Mills & Reeve before I joined so I automatically had a friend.



cool story bro, changed my life



Wtf is a University of Bedfordshire



Mills & Reeve is indeed a large High Street firm. A bit like Walker Morris but with more offices.


No chill

Damn bro. Legal Cheek did them dirty with that reference to their NQ pay being lower than 99% of firm’s first-year trainee pay.



Surely that’s their regional salary? If I remember right the Cambridge office was the epicenter of the firm for the longest time.

Anyways as a decent insurance-heavy firm I would be surprised if they are not level pegged with Kennedys and DWF in London, so somewhere between 60-65K. I doubt it’s closer to the lower tier insurance outfits that are still kicking around 50k for NQ. If it is, that would be pretty shocking.

Some quick maths show only 12-15% of all available NQ roles in England and Wales (which equates to somewhere just under a third of available NQ roles in London) each year pays more than 65K. If you have grand ambitions on making big bucks in the legal profession, an expectations adjustment may be needed. It’s just statistically not likely.



Most people on this site are probably at decent universities and are interested in pursuing a career in the city. The vast majority of the news is about London firms so it obviously attracts people who have those kinds of ambitions and at least have a chance of getting a solid training contract.

If you’re studying law at Royal Holloway, you won’t be on Legal Cheek reading about retention rates and NQ salaries. You’ll probably be banging rocks together for fun.

So the fact that it is “statistically not likely” to make money in law doesn’t really matter to people on here. The vast majority of law graduates are not from good universities and the vast majority of law firms are not based in London. It just so happens that the only relevant firms are located in a 5-mile radius in central London.

I honestly have no clue why people who either don’t want to work in London or would consider working at a firm like Mills & Reeve (Who?), DWF (Shipping lol) or Kennedys (Who?) are on this site in the first place.



Lol wrong, Mills and Reeve are known for paying ALL NQ’s the same rate. I think it’s shocking personally how you can pay 42k to an NQ in London but hey ho


Fact checker

Fake news. M&R NQ pay is c£65k in the London office.



Simply incorrect. Love from a lawyer at M&R x


God damn

When you’re described as a “national law firm” and have an office in NORWICH 😬



Norwich is nice. Near the beach and the broads, direct train to London, countryside all around it. When all the boomers have expired (and if not replaced by new ones) it’ll be a great place to live and work.


Norwhich way's the Honda dealership?

I love mingling with BTEC Barrys while I make under £50k in my late 20s at a meme firm.



BTEC Barry never makes over 50k his whole life. 50k/year tips you into the Norwich elite with A-Levels Anya and successful-construction-company Cliff.


Mills and What

It is quite amusing that, according to the LC most list (dubious at best), the working hours here are 2 hours shorter per day compared to the MC/SC and even somewhere like Latham. Sure it’s not the complete truth at all, but still funny to think about.



2 hours less work per day for 30% of the salary. How can a law firm even pay so little? I swear even my high street conveyancers pays more.


go away

Yeah dude except it isn’t that simple. I doubt that Latham lawyers leave at 9 pm every day (12-1 am is closer). And there is an enormous difference between having your late evening and weekend to yourself and not having that in the long run. It’s called burnout.

I really do think that people on this site, being children, underestimate the hours and responsibility and stress that associates at US firms go through, and why attrition at these firms is so high.



Huh. I’ve always wondered what mediocre people tell themselves when they keep getting rejected and have to settle for a meme firm. I guess now I know.



Someone couldn’t get a US TC. Interesting how you omit any mention of large U.K. firms which work their lawyers just as hard. They also have very high attrition rates.
Also constant 9-12/1 is complete nonsense. They work hard but that’s a particularly bad week, not standard.



Constant 9-12 finishes are definitely the norm. I’m not saying every day or every week, but it doesn’t have to be a particularly bad week to have to do those kinds of hours.

“Go away” is absolutely right, and it’s stupid and immature to think that not wanting that life is a bad thing or makes someone inferior.

I wouldn’t necessarily attribute the attrition rate to this though – at my MC firm, lots of the leavers seem to be going to US firms or taking other moves which I doubt would be particularly different hours-wise.

The burnout point is absolutely a real problem though – working 10-14 hour days sounds fine in practice, and you guys have probably done that a few times to finish your first year essays, but it’s completely different when it’s always like that, you have little control over your hours or when you can rest, and you’re under enormous pressure as an associate. It becomes unsustainable.


Yes but you are safe in the knowledge that for PE, finance, funds and restructuring you are doing the best work, for the most money, with the best partners. You will also have the best exit opportunities in the PE world.


US Trainee

US trainee here. The hours reported on this website are basically meaningless (and even more so during WFH). We’re expected to be online by 8:30/9am, and then be available until our supervising associate logs off (which tends to be 10pm on a good day, and 1/2am on a bad one). Now we might not necessarily be working every minute of that period – in fact there might be whole hours of that time when there’s nothing to do – but if we aren’t two minutes away from our laptops we’ll have a very pissed-off associate on our case.

One of my friends from law school works at the London office of a regional firm. He clocks off at about 6pm most days, and sometimes earlier. He doesn’t check his phone compulsively until 11 in the night. Last weekend I had to let my associate know I’d be offline for two hours on Saturday; my friend didn’t even look at his laptop all weekend.

Yes the NQ salary is rubbish compared to what my firm pays. But I’m incredibly envious of his life, and I know which one of us has the better deal.



If it’s that awful and he has a much better deal, you could, you know, move…



I doubt that you’re a real US trainee. If you are, you’re either exaggerating how much you work or you’re at a sweatshop that isn’t representative of all US firms. Since you didn’t even name the firm despite being anonymous, I’d wager that you’re probably a student trying to cope with his US firm rejections.



It’s not a full-on sweatshop (there are firms which are considerably worse, such as K&E for corporate or Ropes for debt finance), but it does have an extremely high transactional workflow. It also has less than 30 trainees overall, and considering that everyone knows which department here is the busiest it wouldn’t take much deduction for people to figure out who’s posting.



So you’re saying the associates at your firm actually spend time reading the comment sections of Legal Cheek articles and would then care enough to do anything about it. Sounds believable.

I’m not sure how you can say that you work 13-14 hours on a good day yet not think it’s a sweatshop, especially when that’s on par with Ropes. You think people at Kirkland/Ropes are working 15-16 hours on a good day? There’s nothing inherently wrong with working at a sweatshop. i would say every US firm is one. It’s just worth the financial reward for most people who work there.


“Newly qualified lawyers receive £43,000”

Oof, even our document monkey paralegals earn twice as much.



Don’t be stupid, no kirks paralegal is earning 86k…lol 50k tops but more like in early to mid 40s.

And “monkey paralegals”, what do you mean by that exactly?



People on this website are an absolute joke and can guarantee that non of you idiots making these comments would have the guts to say this to other legal professionals in real life.

Realistically not everyone that becomes a lawyers works in the top firms in the country and not everyone wants to. Some are happy to slave away for money and some want a balance. Just because you don’t share the same views as others, it doesn’t mean you can dismiss their experiences.



True. Some want a balance. They went to a second-rate university and train at a second-rate firm to live a second-rate life. Perfectly balanced.


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