London 2012 forces more firms to shift graduate recruitment timetables

The London 2012 Olympic Games have continued to wreak havoc on law firm graduate recruitment timetables, forcing almost 70 per cent of the UK’s top 20 firms to look to either shift their vacation schemes or assessment days.

It is feared that the anticipated disruption of transport and accommodation caused by the games may not only cause problems for students logistically, but could have an effect on staff levels, overall focus and in turn negatively impact on the type of work the students are exposed to.

The Olympics will be held from 27 July to 12 August 2012, followed by the Paralympics, held between 29 August and 9 September.

Magic circle firm Linklaters has moved and altered the structure of its two four-week vacation schemes, running a four-week placement before the Olympics and a three-week scheme after. Allen & Overy has cancelled its third scheme, and increased the numbers of students on the other two. Clifford Chance is still considering the impact of the games on its vacation scheme.

Elsewhere, Eversheds, Irwin Mitchell, SJ Berwin and Slaughter and May are reviewing the dates of their assessment centres or training contract interviews with decisions hoping to be made in the next few weeks. Irwin Mitchell and SJ Berwin have also moved their vacation placements to sit back-to-back to not clash with the games.

Meanwhile, CMS Cameron McKenna and Norton Rose have confirmed they are planning to move their assessment days to sit between the Olympics and Paralympics, however the firms have no plans as yet to move their work placement dates. Meanwhile Bird & Bird is moving its assessment to after the Paralympics on 9 September, and is lengthening its second vacation scheme.

Ashurst and Berwin Leighton Paisner have decided to move their vacation schemes. Ashurst is moving both its placements forward and shortening them to two weeks, while BLP is lengthening its second placement.

The news follows several law firms announcing their intention to move their schemes last year (21 July 2011).

Magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced it was reducing its three, three-week summer schemes to three two-week placements. The first two will sit prior to the games, while the third will be sandwiched between the Olympics and Paralympics.

Hogan Lovells and Herbert Smith also altered their schemes. Herbert Smith decided to slash its third vacation scheme, choosing to increase the number of students on its other two placements by 50 per cent, while Hogan Lovells moved its second scheme forward by one week.

DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons and Taylor Wessing are not planning on altering any of their dates. Clyde & Co and Simmons & Simmons are yet to respond.