Dentons’ NQ retention rates plunges to 14 per cent, while Clifford Chance’s also falls

Denton Wilde Sapte is shedding 86 per cent of its spring 2010 qualifiers giving it the lowest newly qualified (NQ) retention rate in the UK 200 so far.

Jeremy Cape

Jeremy Cape

The top 25 law firm has announced that it has only managed to offer one of its NQs a job in the real estate department out of a cohort of 7, giving it a disappointing result of just 14 per cent. The result is much lower than the 79 per cent Dentons managed in Spring 2009.

Dentons’ graduate recruitment partner Jeremy Cape said: “Our focus is still very much on the productivity of our fee earners and improving the profitability of the firm in a market that remains challenging. We examined whether the departments were sufficiently busy to justify a business case for recruiting extra NQs in those departments.”

Elsewhere, Clifford Chance is losing 30 per cent of its spring 2010 qualifiers, giving it one of the lowest NQ retention rates in the magic circle. The other magic circle firm with a retention rate in the 70s is Linklaters, which has achieved a slighter higher 73 per cent.

Clifford Chance is retaining just 44 of the 63 trainee solicitors due to qualify in March 2010 giving it a retention rate of 70 per cent – much lower than the 84 per cent it achieved in March 2009.

Meanwhile, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has reported an 80 per cent retention rate after it only managed to retain 40 NQs out of a cohort of 50. Last year it managed a rate of 86 per cent.

Freshfields’ graduate recruitment partner Simon Johnson said: ”We worked very hard to retain as many people as we could and have looked for as many opportunities within the firm as possible.”

At Lovells, meanwhile, 32 out of the 38 spring 2010 qualifiers applied for an NQ position. However, only 26 are staying with the firm thereby giving it a retention rate of 68 per cent.