Norton Rose reveals retention boost following training revamp

Norton Rose has announced an 89 per cent retention rate for its May 2013 newly qualified (NQ) solicitors.

The firm offered 18 NQ roles to a cohort of 19 trainees. Of those 18, 17 accepted NQ roles with the firm.

Duncan Batchelor,  graduate recruitment partner at Norton Rose, said: “At a time when the market continues to be challenging, we’re very pleased to report that we’re retaining 89 per cent of our trainees. I congratulate everyone on their hard work and look forward to seeing the new qualifiers take the next steps in their career with us.”   

Norton Rose is currently moving from a six-seat to a four-seat trainee system. This year, the firm will have three qualification rounds – in January, May and September. Next year, it will have May and September qualifiers before switching to March and September qualifying rounds from 2015.

The 89 per cent rate is higher than any Norton Rose retention percentage of recent rounds. In January, it announced a 76 per cent rate offering 13 NQ roles to 17 trainees, all of which were accepted.

Last spring and autumn, it kept 19 and 18 of its 23-strong trainee cohorts respectively. In 2011, it revealed a spring rate of 88 per cent and an autumn rate of 86 per cent.

Norton Rose announced in August last year that it would axe two of its six trainee seats, including its compulsory international seat.

The new scheme allows trainees to spend time in corporate, banking and dispute resolution and gives them a fourth option covering an international office, a client secondment or another spell in a London practice group.

Trainees previously typically undertook two banking seats, a corporate seat, a disputes seat, an international seat and an optional seat.

Norton Rose recruitment head Sarah Kelly said in a statement at the time: “In the last three years the business has seen a great deal of change and growth. Following an extensive review of our training contract programme we felt the time was right to make some positive changes to reflect that.

“The changes bring the London office into line with the training contracts in much of the rest of the group. It also allows trainees to spend more time in each seat, gaining a deeper understanding and experience of our core practice areas.”

Norton Rose and US firm Fulbright & Jaworski are set to merge in a £1.2bn tie-up that will go live on 1 June (14 November 2012).

Trainee secondments will be an important means for integrating the two firms, Kelly has said (26 November 2012).