Reed Smith announces compulsory trainee deferrals

Reed Smith has become the latest law firm to defer the start date of its future trainee solicitors in response to the global economic downturn.

Trainees who were due to join the US firm in August have had their start dates delayed by six months and have been given the option to defer by an additional six months. The firm is providing a stipend for the period but declined to confirm the amount.

Reed Smith is believed to be the first major law firm to make trainee deferrals compulsory.

Commenting on the move, Nicola Dingemans the firm’s global chief people officer said: “This economic climate has required the firm to make difficult choices, and we have chosen to implement changes that will not affect our ability to continue to provide the attention and the quality of service that our clients need and expect during these very challenging times.”

The firm’s US summer associate programme is also being scaled back to eight weeks and summer associate salaries are being slashed by 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, the start date of the US Autumn new associate programme is being pushed back from September 2009 to January 2010. The firm will provide health care coverage and a cash payment during the deferral period.