Linklaters’ NQ retention rate plummets to 73 per cent

Linklaters is shedding 27 per cent of its spring 2010 qualifiers, giving it the lowest newly qualified (NQ) retention rate in the magic circle so far.

The firm is retaining just 49 of the 67 trainee solicitors due to qualify in March 2010 giving it a retention rate of 70 per cent – lower than the 79 per cent it achieved in March 2009.

Simon Firth, trainee development partner, said: “It’s obviously lower than we ideally wanted but we’ve achieved high retention rates in the past and we hope we can maintain this next time.”

The only other magic circle firm to release its retention rate so far is Allen & Overy, which managed to keep on 83 per cent of its NQs. This was much higher than the 70 per cent the firm predicted last year.

Berwin Leighton Paisner has also announced it will only be keeping on 75 per cent of its NQs after deciding to keep 12 out of its 16 trainees who are due to qualify in March.

This is not as healthy as last spring’s figure of 84 per cent when the firm kept on 16 trainees from a cohort of 19.

Elsewhere, CMS Cameron McKenna has reported a 74 per cent retention rate for spring 2010 qualifiers, offering 23 out of 31 trainees jobs with the firm. Last year it retained 89 per cent after offering jobs to 26 out of 29 trainees.

The news comes after Slaughter and May announced spring retention rates of 87.5 per cent. Herbert Smith, meanwhile, has managed a 79 per cent retention rate but so far Baker & McKenzie has come top of the table after it offered jobs to 93 per cent of its trainees.