Editor’s weekly: Staying optimistic

For those of you on the hunt for a training contract there are an increasing number of reasons to be optimistic.

Economic prospects are looking rosier with a string of retailers, including John Lewis and Next for instance, reporting record Christmas sales. What’s more, according to the Institute of Economic and Social Research the UK recession is officially over after the economy grew by 0.3 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2009.

There are also green shoots emerging in the jobs market for graduates. As we reported last week graduate recruitment partners from some of the UK’s leading law firms we interviewed recently are cautiously optimistic about 2010 as the legal industry begins to show some signs of life (read article).

Another sign of positive things to come are retention rates for trainees who are due to qualify in March. Allen & Overy, the first magic circle firm to disclose its newly qualified (NQ) retention rate for Spring 2010 qualifiers, exceeded its own expectations by holding onto a healthy 87 per cent. Slaughter and May and Herbert Smith meanwhile posted NQ retention rates of 87.5 per cent and 82 per cent respectively (read more).

Though compared to previous years the most recent retention rates are less healthy, they’re not as bad as they could’ve been.

But what about you? Do you feel optimistic about your chances of securing a training contract this year? Let us know by voting in our latest poll.