Dundas cancels summer vac scheme and places blame on market conditions

Dundas & Wilson has cancelled its London vacation scheme for 2013 just weeks before it was due to start.

The Scottish-headquartered firm told students due to spend two weeks at its London office in July that they could no longer attend the scheme blaming “changes in the structure of the legal market” for its decision.

The firm’s website advertises 24 places for its London summer vacation scheme, spread over one month.

It comes as the firm deferred its next two trainee intakes, telling all of its 2014 intake and eight of 13 of its 2013 cohort that their contracts would be deferred for a year (4 June 2013).

There will also be a scramble for permanent positions for the firm’s current crop of 11 trainees after Dundas told them that there would only be three NQ positions available, giving the firm a retention rate of just 27 per cent (24 May 2013).

Commenting on the cancellation of Dundas’ vacation scheme, prospective vacation scheme participant Rob Morgan said: “Feel a bit left out in the cold, as I was only told 10 days ago, so not massively impressed!”

He added: “Just a bit gutted about the whole thing”.

In May co-managing partner Allan Wernham said the firm was pushing to secure a London merger following a string of exits in the City and failed talks with Bircham Dyson Bell in 2011 (13 May 2013).

In 2011 the firm called off talks with London’s Bircham Dyson Bell after failing to get partner backing (10 October 2011).

At least 15 partners have left the firm, primarily the City outpost, in the last year (7 February 2013), while in February it confirmed that it had not held any merger talks with rumoured suitor Eversheds (15 February 2013).

In spite of the exits, Dundas’ co-managing partner Caryn Penley insisted in February that its London office was still at the heart of its growth strategy (7 February 2013).

Penley said at the time: “We’ve been open about our plans to manage our business. We’re focusing on our strengths in both Scotland and London.”

The firm declined to comment.