Editor’s weekly: No room at the inn

Imagine securing a training contract and then being told that you have to apply for it all over again.

That’s exactly the position some of the trainees who were due to join the collapsed firm Halliwells have suddenly found themselves in. As we reported earlier today Halliwells’ former graduate recruitment partner emailed all future trainees to tell them that their training contracts have been withdrawn (read more).

Thankfully, Hill Dickinson, which is taking over Halliwell’s Liverpool and Sheffield offices, has thrown a lifeline to the trainees who were due to join the collapsed firm in both cities. But sadly the rest who had training contracts starting in either London and Manchester have been told that they will have to re-apply after HBJ Gateley Wareing and Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, which are also picking up chunks of the defunct law firm, confirmed that they don’t have any room for the future joiners.

Although it’s a bitter pill to swallow I have some sympathy for everyone concerned. As one source at HBJ pointed out trainees need to realise that the legal market isn’t immune from the economic turbulence we’re currently experiencing. But surely Halliwells could’ve gone a bit further than simply send an email to its future trainees? Especially, given the amount of confusion surrounding the whole situation.

And then there’s the SRA, which is refusing to get involved by arguing that this is a contractual issue between Halliwells and its trainees.

You’d think that after all the negative press coverage received by the SRA in relation to the Shoosmiths’ deferral saga the regulator may have come out with something more original. But I guess that’s just wishful thinking.