FFW cancels 2009 recruitment programme

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has become the latest in a string of firms to call a halt to its graduate recruitment programme until next year after asking its trainee solicitors to push back their start dates.

Matthew Lohn

Matthew Lohn

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has become the latest in a string of firms to call a halt to its graduate recruitment programme until next year after asking its trainee solicitors to push back their start dates.

The firm is compulsorily deferring its entire September 2009 and September 2010 intakes for 12 months in return for a cash payment of £5,000. Although the money comes with no strings attached FFW is actively encouraging trainees to participate in pro bono or CSR-related activities.

Matthew Lohn, partner responsible for graduate recruitment, said in a statement: “This was a difficult decision for us to come to, however, in the light of the current economic conditions we have been reviewing all areas of the business including our trainee recruitment. We believe that deferring our September intake is a prudent course of action under the circumstances.”

FFW confirmed that it is not planning to hire any new trainees for 2011 and will resume recruitment activities next year for 2012 starters. The firm has also cancelled its summer vacation scheme programme.

As first reported yesterday (16 April) national law firm Eversheds is also deferring its trainees and is consequently not hiring any more trainees this year to start in 2011 and has called off its summer vacation scheme.

Lovells was the first major law firm to confirm that it is not taking any fresh applications for its 2011 trainee solicitor intake but has reserved some places for its vacation scheme participants.

Elsewhere, New York-based Dewey & LeBoeuf has emerged as the most generous firm on the issue of trainee deferrals and is understood to be paying £6,000 and £12,000 for 6 and 12 month deferrals. Six out of its 15-strong trainee intake have agreed to take up the firm’s voluntary offer to delay start dates.

Leeds-based Walker Morris, meanwhile, has been forced to make its deferrals compulsory as it did not have enough volunteers. It is offering a payment of £3,000 in return for a 12-month deferral.