Clyde & Co confirms 79% autumn trainee retention score

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Holds junior lawyer salaries steady

Clyde & Co has today confirmed an autumn 2021 trainee retention score of 79%.

The City firm said in a statement that out of 47 qualifying trainees, 37 will be staying on in newly qualified (NQ) solicitor roles. None are held on fixed-term contracts.

Clydes’ London office will take 29 trainees, whilst its Manchester office will retain four and its Scotland office two trainees. A further two London trainees are qualifying in the firm’s Middle East and Africa practice.

James Major, training principal, said: “We congratulate all of our newly qualified lawyers and look forward to the contribution they will make to the firm. Our early careers programme is central to our success as a firm and we regularly review our training programmes and development opportunities so that people can develop a long-term career with us. We are committed to investing in their continued development while broadening access to our schemes to those from all backgrounds and continuing to improve the diversity of our intake.”

In the last autumn round, Clydes kept on 36 out of 40 qualifying trainees. With one NQ retained on a fixed-term contract, this gave the firm a 2020 score of 90%, or 88%, depending on your reading of the numbers.

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Clydes also revealed early details of its offer and acceptance rate for its 2021 vacation schemes. It had 36 students join across two schemes, made 31 training contract offers, and has so far received 18 acceptances. Final acceptances are not due back until mid-August.

At the same time, Clydes confirmed it has held London junior lawyer salaries steady. NQ pay remains unchanged at £70,000, while trainees will continue on £40,000 in year one, rising to £42,000 in year two. Clydes raised salaries to these rates back in 2019.

In August 2020, Clydes cut junior lawyer salaries by £2,000 in response to the financial uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, but later uprated pay to previous levels in the autumn. The firm, in line with others, had deferred salary reviews and promotions in April 2020 for six months.

Clydes rewarded its lawyers and staff in May this year with bonuses of 3% (or £1,000, whichever was larger) “in recognition of the part everyone played in our success during difficult circumstances”.

Find out how other law firms performed in the autumn 2021 retention round here.

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Why is the NQ salary so low in London? They are a massive and elite international law firm and, I believe, also had a very profitable 2020/2021 running…

Anyone has info on this? Also, in general, about the firm. Thank you!



It means the senior management are extremely tight. 70k gross is well below market for London these days.



Clyde’s is still an insurance led firm. They do loads of volume, low margin work. They’ll be benchmarking against DWF, DACB, RPC etc. Are any firms in this bracket paying substantially more?


Forever Associate

It has to do with how insurance-heavy practices work in the UK. Lots of panel appointments which are the bread and butter. That means discounted hourly rates, lots of potentially-billable time written down for “value-added” services. E.g. high churn professional negligence claims of <£500k which probably means a fixed hourly rate of somewhere between £150-190 no matter which grade of fee earner and which office. Not to mention insurers typically refuse to pay lots of costs (travel, copying, reading in, all things normally excluded as both time and cost charges). They also offer claims handling services which are typically a loss-leader. With the resulting low profit margins there's no way they keep up with the current salary wars. I doubt senior associates (7~ PQE) in London make more than, if even, £90k base. But believe me, they still work the London hours… hopefully that's just me being cynical and someone can prove that's not the case.

The gearing in the UK therefore has to be much higher to make those PEP figures and it takes longer to get on the equity ladder. There's no way the equity partners of today will be willing to take a hit to profitability and finally making some respectable income by raising junior salaries, after they went through probably 15 years of below market rates themselves to get there (Trainee – salary/fixed equity partner). The North American market is significantly different as being a combined profession means fees all the way from notification of a claim all the way to closing statements at trial remain with the firm, so there's more profit per lawyer being generated.


Mel Gibbons

very Nice transparency here so as to see these figures RE offers/ retention. Interesting..


Not sure

Is 18/36 at this stage high in terms of TC acceptances?



Given that this was their most competitive application cycle, I wouldn’t say so. I hope they will respond to pay rises across the market. If OC can pay £81k, Clyde’s should be right up there too.



Weak sauce bruh


Future Trainee Solicitor at Clyde & Co (2022), top City firm

“NQ pay remains unchanged at £70,000”

What a generous, bulging pay packet soon to be trousered by those lucky souls blessed to be offered the coveted NQ spot at top megafirm Clyde & Co.

Amazing, congratulations all!!! Cannot wait to get into the thick of it and work on huge deals during my TC!!!!!!!!



Same PEP as OC who pay 80k NQ – shows how much clydes values it’s juniors



Salary isn’t everything if you genuinely enjoy and have a passion for your work- that will take you further in the longer term than a short term salary consideration








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