Top 50 UK law firms’ assistant turnover rate hits 14 per cent

The average assistant turnover rate at the UK’s top 50 firms during 2004-05 was 14 per cent, an exclusive Lawyer2Bsurveyhas revealed.

Of the 41 firms that replied to the survey – the first of its kind – Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS)hadthehighest attrition rate. During the last financial year, 32.07 per cent of assistants left the firm.

DWS argued that the reason this figure was much higher than those of the two previous financial years was due principally to the departure of teams from the firm’s technology, media and telecoms and insurance departments.

Other firms that performed badly in the survey included Ashurst,whichhadan assistant turnover rate of 26 per cent. Meanwhile, Allen & Overy (A&O) and SJ Berwin each had an attrition rate of 25 per cent. A&O, Ashurst and SJ Berwindeclined to comment. /P>

Aspokespersonfor Hammonds, which had an attrition rate of 23 per cent, said: “There was a major firm restructure at the beginning of 2005 and unfortunately redundancies had an impact on our figures. However, since then staffing figures have remained stable and we expect retention rates to improve in the next financial year.”

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert scored a 22.5 per cent attrition rate. A spokesperson said: “The proportion’s a little higher than normal in the last financial year. The datawe collect from interviewingpeople that leave doesn’t suggest any pattern to this and we don’t believe that there are any adverse trends here.”

Bird & Bird and Clyde & Co had the fewest associates leave and boasted the lowest attrition rates – 2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.

Clifford Chance, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Dering-er, Lovells, Nabarro Nathanson, Norton Rose, Simmons & Sim-mons, Slaughter and May and Taylor Wessing all refused to disclose their attrition rates.

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