Retention rates offer ray of hope for NQs

White & Case’s retention rate for August qualifiers has added further evidence that the market for newly qualified (NQ) lawyers is finally beginning to improve.

The US headquartered firm posted an impressive 94 per cent retention rate after offering NQ positions to all of its 18 trainees due to qualify. This exceeds the 89 per cent achieved by White & Case in February 2010 and 87 per cent in August 2009.

Other firms that have achieved a retention rate in excess of 90 per cent include Baker & McKenzie (95 per cent); Slaughter and May (93 per cent) and Shearman & Sterling (92 per cent).

The magic circle meanwhile has performed less well with Allen & Overy and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer posting retention rates of 80 per cent and 89 per cent respectively – although both figures are an improvement on 2009. Clifford Chance and Linklaters are yet to announce their retention rates.

Elsewhere, Berwin Leighton Paisner has posted a 90 per cent retention rate for September 2010 qualifiers, which also exceeds the 75 per cent and 68 per cent it achieved in March 2010 and September 2009.

The worst performer has been Olswang, which is shedding a whopping 42 per cent of its September 2010 qualifiers, as reported by last month (read more).