A&O retains 36 of 44 autumn qualifying trainees

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Allen & Overy’s London office

Allen & Overy has become the four member of the Magic Circle to confirm its autumn 2022 retention score, with 36 of its 44 final seat trainees — or 82% — staying put upon qualification.

Forty rookies applied for newly qualified roles and 37 received offers. All are on permanent deals.

James Partridge, graduate recruitment partner, said: “These are strong retention rates, that speak to both the exceptional talent of this group and A&O’s consistent investment in the lawyers of the future. We’re always proud of our new qualifiers but those coming through now have had to face the challenges presented by the pandemic and so this is a particularly special achievement. I wish every one of them the very best with what I am sure will be outstanding careers in the law.”

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The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows the new recruits will move from a trainee salary of £55,000 to an NQ one of £107,500. Earlier this summer the firm opted against upping junior lawyer salaries in light of “challenging” economic conditions.

As for the rest of the Magic Circle, Clifford Chance and Freshfields have already confirmed results of 84% (42 out of 50) and 89% (32 out of 36), while Linklaters chalked up a score of 92% (47 out of 51). Slaughter and May is still to reveal its autumn ’22 rate.

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Congrats – enjoy the £107,500



I think only lawyers would read this comment and realise it’s sarcastic



“A&O’s consistent investment in the lawyers of the future” has to be the funniest statement there. What, by paying them less than silver circle lawyers just so the partners can buy a 9th house?



So despite all the hyperventilating about how every single human being was going to leave A&O for US law firms, it turns out that five people (the four people who didn’t apply for an internal NQ job, plus the one person who turned it down) actually left. Yes, maybe one or two will leave over the course of the next year – but that’ll be it. And of the people who left, I’d imagine some will be leaving law altogether, and others will be going to other similar firms for WLB or practice area reasons.

An awful lot of people on this site hugely misunderstand the factors underlying why people stay in or leave jobs, and also misinterpret grumbling (which lawyers *love* to do) as actually meaningful.



The decision on pay was made what, about a month ago? Recruiting processes usually take some time, and some may be ongoing. Do you seriously expect everybody who is disgruntled to be able to vote with their feet overnight? Even the interview process aside, not only do they first have to actually absorb the information and make a fairly substantive decision about their future that probably wasn’t in their contemplation for the several years of vac scheme + TC, but then there’s preparing their CV and experience, reaching out to recruiters, researching firms, actually scheduling interviews etc – none of which are massively onerous but in total may take some time. I assure you that people are not happy and the impact of A&O and Links decisions will be (economy permitting) more strongly felt in retention further down the TC pipeline.



I feel like this can’t actually be a serious comment. It must be a wind up. If it’s not there’s a seriously deluded A&O grunt posting today.

There are lots of reasons why people want to stay on after qualification. Firstly, it’s the mark which says to some future employers that we were good enough to be retained – it’s not always the case of course and some of that is optics. However there are lots of people who have left mid market and magic circle firms for US firms because they knew they weren’t getting kept on and had to make an active push – sometimes after qualification too sitting around for a month or two interviewing.

Second it gives you full employment rights – i.e. it’s harder to fire you, and when they do they’ll give you 3 months’ notice. Over 2 years service particularly at US firms, you have a threatened action after 5 minutes after a dismissal which always results in a settlement.

Very few people leave law after qualification. Very few. Trainees at many many firms, perhaps most, move on naturally between 0.5-2 years. They’ll move for various reasons, money often chief amongst them. Either they’ll go for more at a US firm or offshore, or they’ll go for a bit less with a better work/life balance proposition.

A&O’s money stagnation whilst hours are upped is well-documented in the market as a bad move which has damaged their reputation. Yes, lateral moves will happen. People will become more proactive about moving. Laterals will not want to come to A&O.

To be honest, a lot of the US pay differential is not as big as it seems at the junior end – and US firms are more attractive to mid levels and seniors as the pay discrepancy expands. At NQ to 2PQE or so, yes the MC vs Akin Gump, there will be a 50k differential pre-tax, but taking into account tax and pension contributions assuming both are maxing out to limit tax, the net differential is about 20k. Given the hours exchange on that, it’s not that great. But at 5PQE or so, it’s more like a 50k differential net of tax and pension. Point being is people who can do the maths as juniors above 1-2PQE will start very actively looking, if they haven’t already done, working out they’re not far from being a mid level.



A measured and accurate response.



In my experience, it’s good to qualify into a team at the firm where you trained and then look to move at 6-12 months post-qualification.

No suspicion from recruiters/firms that you weren’t good enough to be kept on. Gives you some NQ level experience under your belt (which helps at interview). *Less* (external) stress to deal with as you approach qualification (can’t imagine it’s much fun having to frantically fire out applications/CVs to recruiters/interview at other firms during your 4th seat).

I stayed with my firm for ~10 months and then moved on. Thankfully the non-contentious Construction market is pretty bouyant.


Just saying

Could not think of anything more boring than non-contentious construction…

Filing out forms about supplying cement and timber sounds so incredibly dull. Glad you made the move though!


Cement boy

Yes that’s it, you have described exactly what non-con constructions lawyers do. 100 % accurate.



If you weren’t a fresher and had some idea of what they do you might actually find it quite interesting. Take negotiating the EPC contract for the construction of a wind farm. How do you apportion liability if things go wrong and try to prevent disputes? What about interface with the finance documents and other construction contracts? What are the parties commercial goals behind the paperwork?



This is just what I needed to pick me up around 5pm on a Monday afternoon. I feel reinvigorated and ready to attack the day.


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