CMS records 80% autumn trainee retention rate

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By Emily Hinkley on


48 out of 60 rookies take NQ roles

CMS has announced that of the 60 trainees qualifying this autumn, 47 have signed permanent contracts, with a further one staying on a fixed-term deal. This hands the outfit a retention score of 80% or 78% depending on your reading of the numbers.

CMS confirmed 27 of the newly qualified lawyers (NQs) will be based in London; four will go to Sheffield and a further four to Glasgow; Bristol, Manchester and Aberdeen will each receive three; two will go to Edinburgh and the remaining one will head to Dubai.

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Eleven newly qualified (NQ) solicitors will join the energy, projects and construction team: eight will join the finance team; eight will join the corporate team; eight will join the real estate team; six will join litigation and arbitration; five will join technology & media; and the final one will join CMS Legal Innovation.

The retained rookies in the London office can expect to see their salaries increase from £55,000 as second-year trainees to £105,000 upon qualification. Meanwhile, Bristol trainees will see a more modest increase from £45,000 to £68,000 upon qualification, Manchester rates rise from £34,500 to £60,000 and in Scotland trainees jump from £31,000 in their second year to £60,000 on qualification.

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What kind of NQ lawyer role is legal innovation and they’ll pay you 105k for that 🤣😂


Those in the industry is retention rate good or not?


It’s not the bloodbath some were expecting but in general retention rates across firms haven’t been fantastic this year. If in previous years some firms might have been willing to keep a slightly-mediocre-but-has potential kind of trainee, this year they aren’t being lenient. The bigger reason is also that some departments are simply not hiring. In areas like competition and employment, the jobs are virtually non existent at the moment, litigation is quiet with the advice being for most trainees to do their utmost to stay at their current firms and banking and corporate teams have put a big pause on the gleeful hiring bonanzas they were on. The only practice area that seems to be hiring is construction but even that will slow down.

The market should improve for next year but there’s an exodus of decent trainees up for NQ jobs at the moment, all of whom will have trained at good firms which ramps up the competition even further.

Wanna-be Comp NQ

As someone trying to find an NQ role in competition or employment, I can confirm that these jobs are non-existent…


Competition litigation is absolutely booming at the moment with all the CPOs.

Earlier Trainee

From what I’ve seen and from what the recruiters I spoke to said, that doesn’t appear to be translating to jobs at NQ level. The recruiters I spoke to effectively said that the lateral comp market is dead at the moment. My firm didn’t advertise even a single NQ role in the team despite it being a popular seat. Would be curious to hear other final seat trainees’ thoughts.

early mover

Can confirm FS Reg market still booming at junior end


Post Lathams retention scores. Its been a bloodshed



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