Watson Farley & Williams has insisted that it will continue to recruit the same numbers of trainees despite its decision to defer part of its September 2013 intake.
The firm has offered the cohort £5,000 a head to defer; it is not known how many trainees accepted this offer.
Six months ago the firm increased its trainee intake by two. It announced the decision in 2011, stating that it was increasing its intake for autumn 2012 following strong growth in the first half of the 2010/11 financial year. It added that it hoped to add to trainee numbers in its 2013 cohort.
Graduate recruitment manager Louise Turgoose told Lawyer2B at the time of the increase: “Our commitment to increase the number of trainees complements the expansion of the firm and will strengthen the pipeline of junior talent within Watson Farley & Williams.”
Commenting on the current deferrals, partner and training principal Christina Howard said: “As many other London firms have done, we’ve considered trainee recruitment levels as part of our ongoing business planning strategy. We think that it would be better to defer a small number of trainees and therefore enquired whether that would fit with anyone’s plans.
“Our typical trainee intake is between 12 and 14. Our intention is to remain within that band following the deferrals. We disagree with any statement about our trainees being under-utilised.”
The firm experienced strong growth during the 2011/12 financial year, with turnover rising 12 per cent compared to the previous year. Although profits fell, the firm brought in 15 lateral hires and opened a Hong Kong office during the 12-month period.
Its core practice areas are shipping and energy, which represent more than half of its work.