HSF records 93% trainee retention score

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By Bradley Fountain-Green on


27 out of 29 NQs stay on

Herbert Smith Freehills’ London office

Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has posted an impressive autumn trainee retention rate of 93%.

Twenty-eight of the 29 September qualifiers applied for newly qualified (NQ) roles, with all 28 receiving offers and 27 accepting.

The result is higher than HSF’s 2022 autumn rate of 84% when it retained 16 of 19 qualifying trainees.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2024 shows HSF recruits around 65 trainees each year, split across two intakes. Rookies earn a salary of £50,000 in year one, rising to £55,000 in year two. NQ pay currently sits at £120,000, excluding bonus, after the firm boosted rates by 14% last year.



Gosh legal cheek is boring these days. Is anyone even reading this anymore? Bring back Lord Harley


Might be biased but I feel HSF is probably the best overall law firm when it taking into account work/life balance, pay, and practice areas


A lot of students/juniors on here are weirdly culty when it comes to law firms – it feels like they view firms as if they’re football teams or video game characters, and weigh up anecdotal aggregated views of anonymous juniors as if they can determine which firm “wins” against another, then rush to disparage when someone else has a different opinion as to which firm they want to work for – hence their downvotes on your comment at the time of me commenting.

Having said that, I really enjoy working for HSF – they’re not absolute market-leaders in any of the criteria you mention, but they are right up there when judged against competitor firms (bar the megabucks US firms on pay), and as an overall package I don’t think I could find a better deal anywhere else while still being paid similarly.

Kirkland NQ

The problem is it plummets down the rankings when the crucial Lambo per lawyer ratio is included in the equation.

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