A&O and Freshfields publish autumn trainee retention scores

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Magic circle law firms Allen & Overy and Freshfields have published their autumn 2021 trainee retention scores.

Allen & Overy confirmed 36 of its 41 newly qualifying (NQ) solicitors are staying on. It made offers to all 38 trainees who applied, 36 of whom accepted. With one on a fixed term deal, this hands the firm a retention score of 88% or 85%, depending on your reading of the numbers.

James Partridge, graduate recruitment partner at A&O commented:

“Congratulations to all those qualifying in September, who have successfully undertaken training contracts during really challenging times due to the pandemic. I’m really pleased we’re continuing to see high retention rates, which speaks not only to the calibre of the upcoming talent at the firm but also our continued commitment to investing in our future lawyers. I look forward to seeing their careers continue to flourish.”

Secure your place: The September 2021 UK Virtual Law Fair

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows A&O’s new recruits will start on a freshly uplifted salary of £100,000 — a six-figure sum which includes a £10,000 sign-on bonus.

Meanwhile, fellow MC player Freshfields is set to retain 34 of its 42 NQs — or 81%.

Craig Montgomery, training principal and trainee development partner, said:

“We continue to be impressed by the talent and ability demonstrated by our trainees, and are pleased to once again retain a significant proportion of our September 2021 qualifying intake. The strong and diverse cohort reflects our ongoing commitment to develop, invest in and retain the very best talent for the future. I look forward to seeing the individuals thrive in the next stage of their careers at the firm.”

Earlier this month, Linklaters confirmed a score of 94% — or 45 out of 48.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List



A fixed term deal? What is that?



If you’re aspiring to go into law and can’t work that one out god help up



Lol Derp, I know it’s not a permanent contract but hot damn that person will need to find some other place to work at quick.


LLB student detector

*Beep Beep Beep Beep*



When are CC releasing figures?? Hearing that the floodgates have opened with lots of departures


SM Trainee

Heard the same re Slaughters. Six or seven trainees voluntarily leaving the firm upon qualification. Doubtless they will choose to delay announcing as long as they can (they’ve known since early July).


SM Inside Scoop

Interestingly I don’t think any of those leaving are going to rival / US firms but just doing a complete career shift: one to the Army, a couple in-house, one doing an MPhil, one switching to human rights / asylum. Everyone who applied got an offer except one.


SM Trainee

While you are right, it’s no secret that Slaughters have handled Covid terribly and that Covid has really shown the firm for what it is – a glorified Macfarlanes. People are starting to realise this and leave – especially at the junior end.



Legal cheek, NQ “salary” is not £100,000. Salary is 90k + 10k sign on bonus.



Freshfields rétention score is terrible given the market, what’s going on there – departures to US firms or lack of offers?



Lack of offers – I’m serious


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