Allen & Overy has revealed a retention rate of 70 per cent for its March 2013 new qualifiers.
A&O offered 38 places to 53 trainees, with just one trainee rejecting the offer.
It is the firm’s lowest rate in the last four years. It posted a 79 per cent autumn 2012 rate and a 89 per cent rate at this time last year. In autumn 2011, it announced a 72 per cent rate and in spring 2011, 88 per cent of trainees stayed on at the firm.
In autumn 2010, 80 per cent stayed on while 83 per cent were retained in spring 2010. Autumn 2009 saw 77 per cent of trainees stay on and in spring 2009 91 per cent were given positions at the firm.
David Campbell, training principal and partner, said: “Profits are stable but the environment is not one of growth. We can only offer the number of jobs the market sustains.” He said A&O was not considering reducing trainee intake.
The firm had long been the smallest magic circle firm by revenue by a significant margin. However, it overtook Freshfields this year in terms of global revenue, as ranked by The Lawyer.