Editor’s weekly: OK for some?

After spending months reporting on an increasingly gloomy legal jobs market we’ve finally found some good news for you!

Sheffield-based Irwin Mitchell has bucked the trend by unveiling plans to ramp up its September 2009 trainee intake from 27 to 32 (read story).

The move contrasts with most other major firms, which have significantly cut back their trainee openings. Allen & Overy, for instance, has reduced its places for September 2011, while Eversheds and Field Fisher Waterhouse have put their graduate recruitment programmes on hold until 2010 and Hammonds has cut its 2009 trainee count by half. Incidentally, with so many firms scaling back their training contract vacancies or bringing application deadlines forward I recommend checking on firms’ graduate recruitment websites to see if they are still hiring.

The drop in training contracts, however, hasn’t stopped some law schools from expanding and introducing more courses in response to the recent relaxation of LPC rules by the SRA (read story).

As LPC providers continue to jostle for supremacy, BPP announced earlier this month that it had secured a new site in Bristol – just days after its arch-rival the College of Law went public with its plans to open in the city.

So as law schools and students try to survive at one end of the food chain, newly qualified lawyers at Weil Gotshal & Mange’s London office have just been told they’ll have to live off £85,000 after the US firm cut their salaries by 5 per cent from £90,000 (read story).

The story sparked outrage amongst our online readers. And with the legal jobs market looking increasingly shaky one poster hit the nail on the head when he wrote: “I think anyone who’s newly qualified is lucky enough to have a job, let alone an excessive salary.”

I guess it’s okay for some.

corinne.mcpartland@thelawyer.com