Freshfields posts reduced September trainee retention rate as just two in three stay on

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has announced a September trainee retention rate of just 66%, with 27 out of 41 qualifying trainees staying on with the firm.

The magic circle firm made job offers to 29 qualifying solicitors, but only 27 chose to accept.

In contrast, the firm’s March retention rate was 84%, with 31 out of 37 qualifying trainees accepting jobs on qualification.

The firm’s trainee development partner Farah Ispahani said: “Our retention rates across each intake vary as we balance a number of different factors when determining the offers that we make to individuals. We are committed to our existing level of training contracts in London and we expect our medium-term average for retention rates to be upheld.”

Freshfields’ retention rates are also significantly lower than those recently announced by magic circle rivals Allen & Overy (A&O) and Slaughter and May.

A&O’s September retention rate was 85%, with 40 out of 47 qualifying trainees accepting offers, while Slaughter and May retained 91% of its September qualifying cohort, with 29 out of 32 trainees taking jobs at the firm.

The poor September retention rate comes against a background of disappointing financial results at Freshfields and the exit of managing partner Chris Pugh from the firm’s executive team.

The firm posted revenue of £1.33bn for 2016-17, a marginal increase of just 0.3% on the previous year, while net profit fell by just under 1% to £612m.