HSF’s qualifying trainee retention rate falls as Stephenson Harwood keeps 90% of intake

HSF’s qualifying trainee retention rate falls as Stephenson Harwood keeps 90% of intake

Herbert Smith Freehills‘ (HSF) qualified trainee retention score has dipped to 80% while City-headquartered firm Stephenson Harwood recorded a significant increase in its autumn 2017 trainee retention rates for this autumn.

At the same time last year, in contrast, HSF retained 94% of its autumn qualifying trainees.

The firm offered 28 out of 35 final-year trainees a qualified role this autumn, which all 28 accepted. Four of those NQs will be based overseas, two in Paris, one in Singapore and one in Dubai.

HSF training principal and dispute resolution partner James Baily said: ‘We are very pleased that four of our London trainees in this round are qualifying into overseas offices, which demonstrates the global opportunities that are available for our trainee solicitors.

Meanwhile, nine out of City-headquartered firm Stephenson Harwood’s ten (90%) qualifying trainees have been offered and accepted positions at its London office, marking an improvement over last autumn when 77% of trainees were retained.

The shipping and insurance-focused international firm said newly-qualified lawyers (NQs) will take up roles in the firm’s corporate, marine and international trade, commercial litigation and finance practices.

Stephenson Harwood finance partner and trainee principal Neil Noble told Legal Business that the increased retention was due to demand: ‘We have to look at which practice areas of the business were in need of recruitment. Luckily there was widespread demand across the firm so we had spaces for everyone.’

Noble also stated that commercial litigation was the main practice area at the firm that was in need of added depth.

Stephenson Harwood posted a mixed financial year, with revenues up 11% to £176m but profit per equity partner falling 9% to £708,000. HSF similarly reported unusual results 2016/17, as its revenue grew also by 11% to £920.5m but profit per equity partner fell 3% to £760,000.

In comparison, autumn trainee retention rates at Trowers & Hamlins were 70%, while Withers kept 73% of its final-year group.

This article first appeared on The Lex 100‘s sister publication, Legal Business.