‘Confident’ Collyer Bristow in training boost

Collyer Bristow is to boost its training contract allocation by 25 per cent in 2012, despite voicing concerns about financial risks being faced by the firm.

This month (October) Collyer ­Bristow and two ex-partners will appear as joint defendants in a case being brought by 500 investors in a complex investment scheme known as Innovator One, that Collyer ­Bristow is said to have promoted.

There are concerns that if the firm loses the case it will have insufficient insurance to cover the potential losses. Indeed, in a separate move the firm has brought a case against its insurance broker Lockton Companies International, alleging that it failed to place adequate insurance cover in the market for the year the claim affects.

The full hearing of the firm’s claim against Lockton will be played out next May, but earlier this summer Collyer Bristow argued before the court that the insurance hearing should be heard prior to the Innovator One case to establish whether it will be left without enough insurance.

The firm’s counsel, David Edwards QC of 7KBW, told Mr Justice Blair at the July hearing that the firm saw the risk of bankruptcy and the LLP’s ­collapse as “very real” and “a cause of discomfort and concern”.

However, in an interesting twist to the story, Collyer Bristow has delivered a vote of confidence in its future, increasing the number of trainees it will take on next year from four to five.

Head of HR Jan Dalgleish said: “The increase in our trainee intake numbers for next year is ­consistent with the confidence of the partners in the future of the firm. We remain focused on delivering excellent legal service to all our clients.” 

She added that the increase in trainee numbers is also attributable to a 48 per cent increase in applications in the past year.

Meanwhile, the firm is looking to widen the pool for recruitment and realign itself with the rest of the graduate recruitment market by reverting to recruiting trainees 24 months in advance from 2012.

Collyer Bristow will recruit both one and two years in advance, and continue running the same assessment process, including reasoning tests, a work-related exercise and an interview.