Exclusive: Freshfields increases number of training contracts to 100

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By Aishah Hussain on


Magic Circle firm becomes joint-second largest provider following London office growth

Freshfields has increased the number of training contracts on offer at the firm to 100, Legal Cheek can reveal, making it the joint-second largest provider in the country.

The Magic Circle firm previously offered 90 training contracts across its spring and autumn intakes, but confirmed to us this figure will increase by 11% to up to 100 for this recruitment year.

Law firms typically hire two years in advance so the 100 new recruits will start in 2025. They complete their training contracts at the firm’s London office in 100 Bishopsgate, and can expect to earn £50,000 in their first year, rising to £55,000 in their second year.

Craig Montgomery, partner and training principal at Freshfields, commented:

“Our London office is growing, reflecting high levels of activity across our practices. Recruitment of trainee talent is a key investment to enable us to meet that demand and deliver excellent client services. We are also proud that the quality and diversity of our intakes are continuously improving and that, because of our balanced offering and long term approach, we retain high percentages on qualification.”

In spring 2023, the latest retention round, Freshfields kept 33 of 34 qualifying trainees, or 97%.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Magic Circle rival Clifford Chance currently offers the most training contracts in the country, providing up to 110 places as of August 2022. Linklaters, another member of the Magic Circle, a group of five elite UK-headquartered law firms, offers 100 training contracts a year, the same number Freshfields now offers. Slaughter and May and Allen & Overy, the remaining Magic Circle firms, offer 95 and 90 training contracts per year, our 2023 Firms Most List shows.

Outside the Magic Circle, CMS is the biggest training contract provider, offering 95 places a year.

In April 2022, Freshfields increased newly qualified (NQ) solicitor pay by a quarter to £125,000, setting down the marker for its Magic Circle rivals to follow suit. Clifford Chance did so a month later, whilst A&O and Linklaters did so in May 2023.

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