Camerons’ NQ rate drops to 60 per cent

CMS Cameron McKenna’s retention rate for London-based trainees due to qualify next spring has plummeted to just over 60 per cent.

Thirty final seat trainee solicitors are competing for just 19 jobs when they qualify in February 2011, with more than 10 per cent of the newly qualified (NQ) roles based between the firm’s Aberdeen, Bristol and Edinburgh offices.

Graduate recruitment partner Simon Pilcher said: “Traditionally, we’ve had a high retention rate and in an ideal world we’d like to offer every trainee a role. However, in such challenging times we need to be prudent and we can only offer roles for which there’s a business need.”

The new figures have tumbled from previous qualification rounds at Camerons, with almost 82 per cent of NQs being retained in September 2010 and 79 per cent in March.

Camerons is the first firm to reveal its spring 2011 qualifier statistics, with previous announcements in August and September showing improved results from most firms.

Magic circle firms Allen & Overy and Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer, for instance, reported NQ retention rates of 80 per cent and 89 per cent respectively.

Other firms boasted over 90 per cent, including White & Case, Baker & McKenzie, Slaughter and May and Shearman & Sterling.

A spokesperson said Camerons’ trainees have until Monday (29 November) to make their applications and therefore no decision has been reached as to who will be offered the positions.