Linklaters keeps 48 of 51 spring qualifying trainee solicitors

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One further NQ on fixed term deal

Magic Circle law firm Linklaters will keep 48 of its 51 London trainees — or 94% — due to qualify this March. A further newly qualified (NQ) associate will remain at the firm on a fixed term deal.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2023 shows Linklaters is the City’s second largest TC provider, recruiting around 100 trainees each year. Rookies earn a salary of £50,000 in year one, rising to £55,000 in year two. NQ pay currently sits at £107,500.

“We are committed to being the firm of choice for the brightest talent and are very pleased to have retained another high-performing and diverse group of talented junior lawyers,” said Chris Stevenson, trainee development partner at Linklaters.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

“We are looking forward to seeing their careers take off at Linklaters, with opportunities to work with market-leading clients and colleagues, whilst supported by an environment that empowers our people to succeed as a team,” he added.

The figures provide continuity with last spring, when the firm also recorded a retention score of 94%.

Other firms to publish their spring rates so far include Freshfields (97%) and White & Case (78%).

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Why would anyone stay at a MC firm when they could jump ship to an elite us firm for more money and more interesting work/bigger clients?



– Not everyone wants to work in PE / Lev Fin
– Not everyone wants US hours (in areas where they vary)
– Not everyone wants to leave a business they’ve made friends and started to build reputation in
– Not everyone chases money

I’m sure the list goes on.


Kirkland NQ

Not everyone gets to drive a hot Lambo.



Given that 70-80% of MC associates *do* in fact stay at UK firms, and given also that for better or worse these are some of the smartest people in the City, surely it’s more likely that you’re missing something and not them?


George Washington

Lol. 70-80% of MC associates stay at UK firms because there aren’t enough jobs at US firms for them to all move. Enjoy your 2 bedroom Zone 3 flat.



More money? Yes. More interesting work? No.

Add to that that a lot of lawyers will be better served building up their practices as an MC associate before being offered a US partnership; see The Lawyer article titled, “If you want to make partner at Kirkland, train at Linklaters”.


Senior gherkin-master

Far better opportunities and remarkably more bees and honey working in a top US firm.

Linklaters have lost star partners to Weil and Paul Hastings in two days, and many have left for US firms in pursuit of professional success and £. IMHO, if you wanna work for/with the best, US firms are the place to be.

My two penn’orth.


MC ass

Key point here is that they are seniors or partners before leaving. They don’t leave at NQ. US firm associates get paid more but at most firms they miss out on training and development, which means by the time they’re 7-8 PQE and looking for partnership they are overtaken by their MC peers who are just better than them at most things. People moving at NQ are mostly stunting their long term careers.


functional brain

commercial law, famously a career where many people make it to 7-8PQE and set their sights on partnership

If you go to some dodgy US shop with no established training program maybe it’ll hold true, but somewhere that has atleast something going for it? I’m not so sure.


Objective US observer

Spot on. There are only a handful of serious US firms, namely K&E, Latham, STB, Milbank, Weil, PH, Akin and Ropes. Any other US firms, irrespective of the remuneration package, are not worth your time.


The people who claimed that half the cohort would leave to US firms are pretty quiet now. Clearly there’s more to firms than NQ salaries (shock).


Don’t be confused - im here to help

Contrary to popular belief US firms are awfully selective and have high standards. Only the best of the best can set foot in a US firm (shocking fact).



A perfect response to demonstrate the kind of firm culture a significant amount of people wish to avoid.


Kirkland big boy

To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to work at a US law firm. The work is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical copy and pasting, most of the drafting will go over a typical lawyer’s head. There’s also the firm’s nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into each partner’s characterisation- their personal philosophy draws heavily from Narodnaya Volya literature, for instance. The US firm associates understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of the psychological abuse, to realise that it’s not just pointless – it says something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike US firms truly ARE idiots- of course they wouldn’t appreciate, for instance, the genius in copy and pasting the same sponsor precedent five times a week, which itself is a cryptic reference to Turgenev’s Russian epic Fathers and Sons. I’m smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as each incomprehensible, poorly drafted financial covenant unfolds itself on their television screens. What fools.. how I pity them. 😂

And yes, by the way, i DO have a Kirkland & Ellis tattoo. And no, you cannot see it. It’s for the ladies’ eyes only- and even then they have to demonstrate that they’re within 5 IQ points of my own (preferably lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid 😎


Naive trainee

What does it mean if someone remains on a fixed term deal? Is it like they have 6 months/a year to prove themself?


Good one Fresher

“Trainee” – yeah, OK.. Someone definitely offered you a TC when you don’t even know what a fixed-term contract is..



In fairness, it’s pretty clear that the question is not what a fixed-term contract is, but why law firms use them for some NQ roles.


No dog in this fight

Let’s not be silly now and start hyping up MC firms… a real reason that so many have stayed is because the lateral market for NQ associates is atrocious right now given the state of the markets.

Expect the exodus to continue once the economy has started to recover in 12-18 months time.


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