A&O retention rates predicted to plummet

Allen & Overy (A&O) has warned its trainee solicitors that it may only keep on 70 per cent of its September 2009 and March 2010 qualifiers.

The magic circle firm said that if market conditions do not improve by the end of the year a large chunk of its newly qualified solicitors may find themselves without a job.

A spokesman for the firm said: “It’s our intention to keep as many trainees as possible. We make working assumptions for our internal planning and budgets, and that’s where the 70 per cent figure comes from.”

A&O admitted the surprise prediction was due to the firm’s wish to be more transparent with its trainee solicitors.

“The actual retention figure will, as always, depend on the needs of the business and market conditions at the time, but we told our trainees the working assumption because we want to be as open with them as possible,” the spokesperson continued.

The news comes after the firm boasted a 91 per cent retention rate for Spring 2009 with 51 out of 56 trainees being offered newly qualified positions.