Freshfields keeps 34 of 37 spring qualifying trainees

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Freshfields has recorded a spring retention score of 92%, with 34 of its 37 newly qualifying (NQ) trainees committing their futures to the magic circle firm. All rookies received an offer.

“We are very pleased that many of our March qualifying intake will be continuing to progress their careers at the firm,” said Craig Montgomery, partner and training principal at Freshfields. “This is a testament to the talent and determination demonstrated by our trainees, and the learning and development opportunities afforded at Freshfields.”

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The firm did not reveal whether any of its new associates are on fixed-term contracts as apposed to permanent deals.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows those sticking around will see their salaries jump from a trainee rate of £55,000 to an NQ one of £100,000.

Freshfields becomes the third member of the magic circle to confirm its spring result, with Slaughter and May and Linklaters recording scores of 85% and 94% earlier this week.

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Fixed terms contracts and 100k base , what’s going on at Bishopsgate?


Remote Work Is The Future

Must be the sky high rent at 100 Bishopsgate 🤔



The other 3 probably moved to firms with *at least* SC pay rates, compared to this

“✨🪄🌟Magic Circle Firm🌟🪄✨”

which only pays £100,000 at NQ



If you are solely looking for money, go to a US firm?



I agree.

But, the issue with Freshfields (a genuinely full-service large international Magic Circle firm) paying £100,000 at NQ is that similar firms who aren’t even in the MC (Ashurst, HSF, etc.) are paying more. Furthermore, the charge out rates at the aforementioned SC firms is nowhere near the likes of Freshfields. Consequently, Freshfields enjoys a PEP of £1.91m, which is higher than all the other MC firms (excluding Slaughter & May, which doesn’t disclose PEP and has a radically different business model to Freshfields). Simply put, the issue here is that of NQ salary to the PEP figure.

Let me use an example to make things clear. Let’s take another firm, Simmons & Simmons. The PEP at Simmons & Simmons is £980,000, per legal cheek. That’s nearly £1,000,000 lesser than the PEP at Freshfields. Yet, both firms have an NQ salary of £100,000. Sure, the salary progression will be much better and quicker at Freshfields, but it doesn’t make up for this radical pay differential at NQ level.



Don’t forget you’re only at NQ level for a year. Freshfields have upped their PQE pay scales which will mean far more to any NQ planning to stay at the firm for longer than a year than a minor NQ salary increase. Most of the firms that have upped NQ pay to the same or a greater amount than Freshfields have probably just created salary bunching further down the line which might help retain NQs but will lead to more experienced lawyers leaving when they realise they’re only paid a small amount more than the NQs they’re having to supervise.



PEP doesnt mean anythingt. Macs has the highest UK PEP. It doesnt correlate that they must therefore pay the most. Law firms will pay what they need to, Freshfields obviously doesnt believe it needs to increase yet in order to attract or retain talent.

Nevertheless, I do suspect Freshies will increase soon and is actually just biding its time. Its had a history of always paying the most in the MC for years.


You’re friendly Kirkland NQ

If anyone wants to move to Kirkland give me a shout. 215k plus 25k bonus.


Sarcasm 🤌

Bro please link me I want to work at Kirkland. I’m desperate to work there – I’ll do anything I swear.

I don’t care about having a life – I just want to dedicate all my energy to the private equity industry. All I care about is getting a fat mortgage and loan on a Lamborghini, nothing else in life matters. It’s Kirkland or bust for me bro.



This round of NQs at Kirkies apparently only got £135k because of the bad exchange rate. I worked half the hours of that sweatshop this year for £130k so no thanks.


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