Readers endorse Watson Farley’s offer to trainees

Almost one third of Lawyer2B readers would have been happy with the £5,000 deferral offer Watson Farley & Williams put to its most recent cohort of trainees.

In answer to the question ‘How much would a firm need to pay you to defer a training contract?’, 29 per cent answered ‘£5,000 – a reasonable round-the-world trip’.

Just under one quarter, 24 per cent, said that they would only accept ‘£25,000+ – the salary they would have earned’. A proportion of less demanding readers, 38 per cent, said that as long as the firm paid for them to enroll on a course they would be happy.

An alarmingly keen 3 per cent of readers said that only violence would deter them from starting their training contract while 6 per cent admitted they would happily defer starting work for no reward whatsoever, saying that they were in need of a break.

Last week, Watson Farley insisted that it will continue to recruit the same numbers of trainees despite its decision to defer part of its September 2013 intake (5 April 2013).

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 (11 January 2011).

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.”

Clifford Chance slashed its trainee intake at the end of last year (4 December 2012).