Editor’s weekly: Hard knock life

It’s becoming all too predictable. Another week and yet another firm’s deferred its trainees.

As we reported on Monday (18 May) almost 40 firms have now asked their trainees to wait (see story).

As you probably know that’s really bad news for those of you who are thinking about applying for a training contract in the coming months. The knock-oneffect of deferrals is that firms are being forced to rethink their numbers of 2011/2012 and in a worrying trend some are scaling back.

Indeed, Allen & Overy isn’t accepting any more fresh applications for training contracts starting in Autumn 2011 and Spring 2012 while fellow magic circle firms Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters are reviewing their graduate vacancies (see story).

Other firms that have already closed applications for training contracts ahead of the traditional July deadline include Eversheds, Field Fisher Waterhouse, LG, Lovells and Norton Rose.

But not all firms are opting for deferrals. Addleshaw Goddard has decided to cut trainee salaries in favour of pushing back start dates. The national firm is slashing first year trainee pay by £1,000 from £36,000 to £35,000 in London and by £500 to £24,500 in Leeds and Manchester (see story).

Although this week’s newsletter makes grim reading it’s really important to stay calm because at least more firms than not have training contract vacancies, which is a lot more than can be said for other sectors.

Saying that, I cannot stress how important it is to really focus on your applications this year because even getting an apostrophe in the wrong place can be a costly mistake. And though it’s probably worth casting the net wider avoid the scatter gun and thoroughly research every firm you’re thinking of applying to.

By the way, the Law Society is hosting a free careers day at the College of Law’s Birmingham branch next Wednesday (27 May). I’ll be taking part in a panel session so do make sure you register to attend as I’d love to meet some of you.

And last but not least the Summer 2009 issue of Lawyer 2B is out so go and grab a copy!