Slaughters rounds off Magic Circle autumn retention season with 93%

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By Bradley Fountain-Green on


37 of its 40 trainees take NQ roles

Slaughter and May has posted an autumn trainee retention rate of 93%

The firm will keep 37 trainees at NQ level, out of a cohort of 40. All are on permanent deals.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2023 shows Slaughters recruits around 95 trainees every year. First-year salaries currently sit at £50,000, rising to £55,000 in their second year. The firm’s NQs earn £115,000.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The results complete the Magic Circle autumn retention round up for 2023 with Linklaters recently revealing a score of 86% (42 out of 49), while Allen & Overy recorded a rate of 93% (37 out of 40).

Freshfields confirmed a 90% score (36 out of 40) and Clifford Chance recorded 78% (43 out of 55).

Earlier this year, Slaughters revealed a spring retention rate of 100%, with the firm keeping all of its 47 qualifiers.



Slaughters produces the finest trainees in the city. I’m always surprised how few leave considering how many firms try and poach them.


Is it SM or CC that generally gives best training? (esp with regards to then moving to a US firm?)


From what I’ve heard, the CC lot are more disgruntled with their hours than SM trainees so it makes sense CC moves to firms with similar hours but higher pay. SM training is typically regarded as more comprehensive across the board, but CC trainees have greater depth of knowledge in a smaller range of topics.


Yes their ability to get pull together a checklist is unparalleled…

Patrick Bateman

Impressive. Very nice.

*holds hands together and points with both index fingers*

Let’s see Kirkland’s retention rate.


Well I guess status trumps money cos I know they ain’t staying for the money loool

Why why why

Anyone who is still working at an MC firm must be naive or mediocre. Why wouldn’t you move to a US firm for a higher salary on similar hours or a mid-level firm for better hours?

Anonymus Rex

it is so painfully obvious that you are a fresher (and if you’re not, that is just embarrassing for you)


How many trainees are not offered NQ roles?

Is it common in the MC to be sent packing, or do the 3-4 trainees simply turn down an NQ role and go elsewhere to another firm?


People usually just take up offers elsewhere. I don’t know why you’d stay at mediocre Slaughters though

US trainee

Its not as simple as that – there may not be any / enough availability in the department the trainee wishes to qualify in

US Trainee

Its not as simple as that, it may be that there is no availability in the department the trainee wishes to qualify in


Not so at Slaughter and May.

At Slaughter and May we don’t pigeonhole our lawyers – all are trained to be multi-specialists across a broad range of legal matters. This is in sharp contrast to the experience that you might have at other City firms where, as a trainee in, say, a finance group, you may well work in a very narrow area, repeating the same type of transaction many times over.

As a trainee in one of our groups, you will work on the full range of transactions on which the group advises. In a corporate group, for example, one month you could help guide a client through the defence of a hostile takeover and the next you could be advising that same client on an equity issue. In dispute resolution, you could attend a hearing on a civil litigation matter in the morning, then meet a client to prepare for a mediation that afternoon.

Simon Can’t Read

If a department that a trainee wants to qualify into has no space/isn’t hiring, those trainees might jump ship. This is a common scenario with specialist departments like competition/tax/pensions etc.

Slaughters’ multi-specialist training is irrelevant, although bragging about it for no reason at all is quite on brand!


how does your comment respond to the original point made? i.e. the one that spoke about trainees not always being able to qualify in the department that they want to qualify into

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