Mayer Brown cuts trainee intake from 2016 as it retains 55 per cent of autumn qualifiers

The London office of Mayer Brown will cut its autumn trainee intake by half from September 2016.

Instead of recruiting 20 trainees, the firm will take on ten trainees each September, while continuing to take on five in March. Its autumn 2014 retention rate is 55 per cent, with the firm keeping on ten of 18 trainees. Fifteen of those 18 had applied for newly-qualified positions. 

Graduate recruitment partner Dominic Griffiths said: “We are delighted that ten of our trainees will take up a permanent position at the firm and we look forward to seeing them progress as they continue to build their careers.

“A Mayer Brown we aim to match our trainees’ preferences with the needs of each department to ensure that there is a good fit and this will continue to be our priority. Some of our trainees will be leaving us in order to pursue opportunities outside the firm and we wish them all the very best for the future.”

Mayer Brown’s retention rate was low in spring 2014, when it kept on just 40 per cent, or two of five, trainees. A spokesperson said that although four trainees applied for newly-qualified (NQ) roles, “the reality is that we are recruiting four years ahead of demand and haven’t been able to offer all our trainees a position in the departments they chose.” (21 February 2014)

In 2013, Lawyer 2B revealed that the firm was offering trainees fixed-term NQ positions of three and six months. Fellow US outfit Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe is understood to have engaged in the same practice (11 March 2013).

Mayer Brown stated that it did not keep any autumn 2014 qualifying trainees on short-term contracts, although one spring qualifier was on a short-term contract, in addition to the two trainees that were retained on a permanent basis.

In the summer of 2012, the firm asked its prospective trainee intakes to defer their training contract by one year, compensating them with £10,000. Three of 47 future trainees across four intakes agreed to the deal. In 2009, the firm put back the start dates of half of its newly qualified solicitors to January 2010 without any financial reward (18 July 2012).

Mayer Brown is not the first firm to substantially reduce its trainee intake since the recession. Olswang has also halved its intake since 2008, while Allen & Overy’s trainee numbers have fallen by 30 per cent, to 85 from a pre-recession high of 120.

The news was first reported on legal gossip site Roll on Friday.

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