21 Jul 2021

BCLP overcomes pandemic disruptions with solid autumn trainee retention rates

Firm retains 86% of its autumn cohort in London, Manchester and Hong Kong


Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has successfully retained 86% of its autumn trainee cohort across its UK and Asia businesses, with 19 of the 22 trainees remaining at the firm.

The trainees were based across its London, Manchester and Hong Kong offices, with 21 job offers being made and 19 accepting. One trainee withdrew from the programme before the assessment process took place and another two trainees accepted roles elsewhere. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has made traditional recruitment processes harder for firms over the past year given many offices have been shut due to government-imposed lockdowns and efforts to limit the spread of the virus. A number of firms last year ran their summer internship and training programmes online.

Grace Ambrose, senior graduate recruitment and development advisor at BCLP, said: “We are thrilled to see such a high retention rate and be able to extend offers to all of the autumn qualifiers who pursued a newly qualified position at the firm. Our ability to attract, develop and retain such a high-calibre group of future lawyers remains a key priority and this figure demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing in our junior talent. During these extraordinary times we are incredibly proud of the resilience our trainee cohort has shown.”

Seven of the firm’s newly-qualified solicitors will join the corporate and finance transactions practice, with one of those joining in Asia. Four will move into litigation and investigations, while seven will join the real estate practice and one joins BCLP’s general counsel office. 

Last year BCLP was the highest-ranked law firm in the Social Mobility Foundation’s 2020 UK Employer Index, which ranks employers by their efforts to boost social mobility, such as how they find, recruit and advance the careers of employees from different social backgrounds. 

BCLP was fourth overall, underscoring the importance of its social inclusion and ethnicity group, which focuses on activities such as schools outreach, work experience and opportunities for school leavers to improve social mobility at the firm.

Speaking at the time, co-chair of the firm’s social inclusion group Tim Smith said: “This year more than ever, it is vital that organisations remain true to their commitments to improving social mobility in the workplace and ensuring access to opportunity for everyone regardless of social background and socio-economic factors.”

A recent report from the Association of Corporate Counsel Foundation found that lawyers from underrepresented communities have seen their career progression harder hit by the coronavirus pandemic than their peers from other groups. Respondents cited a lack of in-person contact, a heavy workload and caregiver responsibilities as the main reasons why Covid-19 had hindered career development.