Pinsent Masons asks NQs to defer in return for £10,000

Pinsent Masons has emerged as the latest law firm to ask its newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers to push back their start dates and has offered them cash as an incentive.

The firm has asked 11 of its September 2009 qualifiers to delay their start dates to March 2010 in return for an interest free loan of £10,000. The payment will have to be repaid on their return to work to the tune of £400 per month spread over two years. But in an unusual twist the national firm will also be offering a £2,000 ‘welcome back’ bonus to all the deferred lawyers.

Pinsent Masons recently offered jobs to 31 out of 53 of its NQs, achieving a retention rate of 59 per cent.

The news comes after seven NQs retained by CMS Cameron McKenna had their start dates deferred by up to three months for no compensation.

The NQs have agreed to defer their start dates at Camerons from the usual date of 1 September to dates ranging from 1 October to 1 December later in the year.

Mayer Brown has also put back the start dates of half of its NQ solicitors to January 2010 without any financial reward.

A spokesman for Mayer Brown said: “In July, when we offered jobs to those due to qualify in September, we asked seven of those to start with us in January 2010. It has been a very difficult decision, but we wanted to be able to offer positions to as many people as possible.”