Clifford Chance posts healthy retention following decision to slash trainee numbers

Clifford Chance has retained 80 per cent of its trainees in newly-qualified (NQ) roles, after taking the decision to reduce its trainee intake from 2015.

The magic circle firm offered 51 of its 60 second-year trainees an NQ job, and 48 accepted its offer. The rate is an improvement on last autumn when the firm retained 77 per cent of its intake. In spring 2013, it gave 54 jobs to 66 qualifiers, resulting in an 82 per cent retention rate.

Clifford Chance decided to cut its trainee intake for 2015 in December last year, trimming its yearly intake from 120 to 100 (4 December 2012). The firm’s rationale behind the cut was that it was aligning its future staff numbers with its future workload expectations. The news followed a redundancy round for London associates in March 2012 after newly-qualified lawyers were slow to move onto other opportunities, creating a low staff attrition rate.

A Clifford Chance spokesperson said in a statement: “The new target will be to recruit up to 100 a year. This follows more accurately the number of English-qualified lawyers we anticipate needing for our English law practice in the UK and the rest of the world in a few years’ time.”

The firm increased all of its trainee and associate pay rates in the annual review of its salaries bands, raising newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers’ remuneration to £63,500 (4 June 2013).

Trainees salaries are up from £38,000 to £39,000 for first years and from £43,000 to £44,000 for second years, while the NQ pay rate is up from £61,500, rising to a potential £76,200 with the maximum bonus.