Newly-qualifieds hit as firms feel the pinch

Recent retention rates suggest that newly-qualified solicitors are the latest victims of the UK’s economic slump.

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has said it is not offering positions to any of its March qualifiers, while Eversheds has admitted that it is only retaining two newly-qualifieds out of seven in its London office.

A number of top 10 firms have also refused to disclose their latest retention rates, fuelling fears of more widespread recruitment problems.

One legal recruitment consultant said: “Although firms are scrutinising the quality of their trainees more closely, in reality some very good trainees are also being let go. Over the past four or five years, the trainee retention rate has been around the 100 per cent mark. But recently this has dropped.”

A BLP spokesperson denied that there was any link between the low retention rate and the economic climate and claimed that the firm’s total retention rate was on a par with previous years once the September qualifiers are taken into account.

Meanwhile, an Eversheds spokesperson said there is still a chance that some of the five not offered posts may be offered jobs outside London.