The hireback rate on Bay Street hits an all-time high

By: June 20, 2018

But as the number of articling positions continues to lag, the story is bittersweet

Hireback Watch

Let’s start with the good news. The largest law firms in Toronto have hired back 91 percent of their articling students as first-year associates, according to our annual Bay Street Hireback Ranking. This is two percentage points higher than last year’s overall hireback rate — which, at the time, was the highest on record. (We started tracking this number in 2009.)

Now for the not-so-good news. The number of articling jobs on Bay Street remains at a historical low point. For the 2017–18 articling term, the 16 largest firms took on 260 students. This is a steady hold when compared to the last year — when this number sat at 259 — but it comes nowhere close to the 325 students who worked at those same firms in 2009.

Here are three of the most striking facts from this year’s hireback data:

  • Seven out of Bay Street’s largest 16 law firms reported a 100-percent hireback rate of articling students. This is an all-time high.
  • Meanwhile, only two firms reported a hireback rate of less than 80 percent. This is an all-time low.
  • Two firms have had banner years. First, McMillan reported a perfect hireback rate for the first time. And second, Gowling WLG posted an 85-percent hireback rate, its highest since 2011.
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