Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Bird & Bird, SJ Berwin and Field Fisher Waterhouse have all confirmed trainee retention rates for their September 2012 qualifiers, with all but SJ Berwin keeping on more than 80 percent of their intake.
Freshfields is keeping on 89 percent of its September qualifiers, with the Magic Circle firm offering 43 of its 46 newly qualified (NQ) lawyers positions, with 41 accepting.
The percentage is marginally down on last autumn's intake, when the firm kept on 48 out of 50 trainees.
Bird & Bird meanwhile is keeping on 11 of its 12 NQs, resulting in a 92 percent retention rate, up from 75 percent this time last year, when 12 out of 16 lawyers stayed with the firm. Elsewhere, at Field Fisher, 17 NQs of a 20-strong round have accepted positions with the firm, putting retention at 85 percent.
In contrast, SJ Berwin is retaining 64 percent of its intake, with the firm offering 28 of its 42-strong round positions on qualification, with 27 accepting. Three chose not to apply. The firm took on all eight of its March 2012 NQs.
A spokesperson said: "Although the retention rate in September was lower than March, this was one of the biggest intakes we have had for a few years as we offered deferrals back in 2010. We offered deferrals back in 2010 to allow people to take time off before knuckling down to a career in law. Our overall figure for the year is more indicative of our normal trainee intake."
The figures are the latest in a string of retention rates confirmed by leading U.K. law firms. These include Clifford Chance, which is keeping on 48 (77 percent) of its 62 trainees, Slaughter and May, and Berwin Leighton Paisner, which will retain 80 percent of its 20 qualifying trainees.
Earlier this month, Slaughter and May announced it will keep on 42 of its 48-strong intake, resulting in an 87.5 percent retention rate. Two of the trainees chose not to apply.
Pinsent Masons meanwhile is keeping on 54 of its 74 NQs, resulting in a retention rate of 73 percent, while DLA Piper has a retention rate of 83 percent, with 75 lawyers in an intake of 90 accepting roles. Four trainees did not apply.