King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin continues below-par retention with 73% rate

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin has revealed that it will retain 73 per cent, or 16 of 22, of its autumn 2014 qualifying trainees.

Of the 22-person cohort, 18 applied for roles with the firm. The firm did not disclose which practice areas the newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers would join, or whether all trainees would stay in the London office.

The rate matches legacy SJ Berwin’s retention for autumn 2013, when it kept on 14 of 19 qualifiers. The firm merged with Asia Pacific giant King & Wood Mallesons in November last year, combining to create a firm of 2,700 lawyers in 30 locations with a turnover of $1bn (31 October 2013).

In spring 2014, it kept on 71 per cent of its NQs, with 12 of 17 remaining, after all 17 had applied for roles (26 February 2014). This contrasted with the largely high retention rates revealed by most firms. Legacy SJ Berwin enjoyed mixed retention results in recent years. High points include autumn 2011, when 15 of 17 qualifiers (88 per cent) stayed on in NQ jobs, and spring 2012, when all eight were retained (18 January 2012).

Training principal Nicola Bridge said the firm was considering launching trainee secondments to its new offices, in addition to the European and Middle Eastern secondments already on offer.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s recent retention

Spring 2014: 12 of 17 (71 per cent)

Autumn 2013: 14 of 19 (74 per cent)

Spring 2013: 11 of 14 (79 per cent)

Autumn 2012: 27 of 42 (64 per cent)

Spring 2012: 8 of 8 (100 per cent)

Autumn 2011: 15 of 17 (88 per cent)