LG closes door on 2011 training contracts as deferrals gather pace

LG has become the latest law firm to close its doors on training contract applications for its 2011 intake, as deferrals and pay freezes continue to eat their way through the legal sector.

LG has become the latest law firm to close its doors on training contract applications for its 2011 intake, as deferrals and pay freezes continue to eat their way through the legal sector.

The firm has asked both its September 2009 and 2010 intakes to defer for 12 months in return for a flat fee of £5,000. But in a bid to manage trainee numbers the firm has decided to stop recruiting for 2011.

A spokesperson for LG said: “Changes are being made due to current business activity levels. We will regularly review our position with regard to graduate recruitment and we plan to resume our graduate recruitment programme in 2010.”

Earlier this week Shoosmiths made the dramatic move to ask its forthcoming September 2009 intake to defer or withdraw from their training contracts without any compensation. It has also said it would not be accepting any applications for training contracts starting in September 2011.

Lovells was the first major law firm to close the book on training contract applications starting in 2011.

Meanwhile, Olswang has announced it will be introducing a March intake, starting from 2010, in a bid to cope with surplus trainee numbers.

The firm has asked its September 2009 and September 2010 intakes to push back their start dates for either six for 12 months for a payment of £3,500 and £7,000 respectively.

Newcastle giant Dickinson Dees has also asked its 2009 and 2010 intakes to defer for 12 months for a payment of £7,500, which the firm wants repaid if the trainees decide not to join after their year out. Dickinson has also confirmed that it has cancelled its Easter vacation scheme.

Leeds-based Walker Morris has also asked trainees from its September 2009 and September 2010 intakes to push back their start dates for 12 months for the below market average payment of £3,000.

A spokesperson for Walker Morris said: “Deferring has often been looked upon as a negative thing but we are dedicated to offering great training and if there’s not enough work for trainees then they’re not going to get the same experience as other intakes have.”

Across the border Scottish firm Dundas & Wilson is following the trend and asking a number of its September 2009 intake to defer for 12 months in return for £5,000 cash.

Managing partner Donald Shaw said: “A definite decision was made to protect trainees through our recent restructuring so no trainee jobs were lost. Current economic conditions may dictate that future numbers should be reduced but we will not be cutting back on quality.”

For more analysis on trainee deferrals see next Monday’s issue of The Lawyer.