Editor’s weekly: Keeping positive

For those of you who haven’t been glued to Lawyer2B.com it’s been yet another terrible week for the junior end of the legal profession and indeed those trying to get their foot in the door.

Midlands-based law firm Shoosmiths kicked off the bad news stories after asking its future trainees to defer or cancel their training contracts without a single penny in compensation (see story). This is huge news because as I’m sure someone of you already know Shoosmiths is the first major firm to take the radical step of withdrawing training contracts.

Meanwhile, further up the pecking order Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May have both frozen associate pay, a move I’m sure that will be followed by other leading law firms.

As first reported on Lawyer2B.com on Tuesday (31 March) Clifford Chance is effectively slashing the salaries of those trainees who are due to qualify in September from £66,000 to £59,000 because current newly qualified lawyers will have their pay frozen at £66,000 despite gaining one year’s experience (see story). Similarly, Slaughters is essentially doing the same as Clifford Chance (see story).

But hey, we at Lawyer2B.com towers are trying to stay upbeat. In fact, amongst all the bad news there have been some positive stories. For instance, I was at the House of Lords on Tuesday at a reception to honour students who scooped prizes in the Attorney General’s Student Pro Bono Awards (see story). I know it sounds a bit cheesy but I did feel very positive being surrounded by students who are doing so much good for the community and not just thinking about which firm pays the most.

Meanwhile, as our sister magazine The Lawyer reported on Monday (30 March) though major City firms are preparing their staff for financials at 2003 levels all are predicting a medium-term recovery. All this suggests that business confidence is perhaps higher than the raft of law firm redundancies would suggest (see story).

Finally, there’s one other bit of good news – we’ve revamped the Lawyer 2B website bring it bang up to the 21st Century. Not only is it more appealing to look at it should be a lot easier to navigate so that you don’t miss a single thing.