Revealed: the firms that hire most trainees from their paralegals

Exclusive research by Lawyer 2B has revealed the firms which recruit most heavily from their paralegal pool.

Among the large firms which offered a significant number of training contracts to their own paralegals is Trowers & Hamlins, which recruited 40 per cent of its 2015 trainee intake from among its own paralegals.

In August, Lawyer 2B revealed Trowers’ plan to ringfence two training contracts per year for paralegals already working within the firm. Previously, its paralegals had to apply through the same system as external candidates to be considered.

Meanwhile, DAC Beachcroft hired 60 per cent of its 2015 trainees from its own paralegal pool, after an increased amount of work forced the firm to top up its trainee numbers

Irwin Mitchell took 42 per cent of its intake from its paralegal staff, Shoosmiths 35 per cent and Pinsent Masons 20 per cent.

Addleshaw Goddard takes 18 per cent of its trainees from its Transactional Services Team, a centralised group of paralegals. Lawyer 2B interviewed one of them, Kerry Westland, who is about to qualify as a solicitor, but who has gone through a unique training process focused on how law and technology interact.

Of the firms that responded to the survey, Roythornes was the only one that recruited its full 2015 trainee intake from its paralegals.

Stewarts Law and Clarke Willmott are among a other number of firms which are known to recruit exclusively from their paralegals, with the latter adopting the policy in late 2012. Many other firms do use their paralegals as a source of trainees to a greater or lesser extent; however, policies vary.

Some firms dangle the potential carrot of a training contract in an effort to make paralegals work harder. Others, especially the larger City outfits, have a blanket policy of specifying that paralegal work will not lead to a training contract.

However, they do sometimes make exceptions to the rule. “It happens more often than firms let on,” one graduate recruiter told Lawyer 2B. “They don’t like to publicise it because they don’t want a glut of people applying for paralegal roles on the premise they might get a training contract out of it.”

Lawyer 2B’s research revealed that 1 per cent of Allen & Overy’s 2015 trainee intake paralegalled at the firm before getting an offer there.

Firm % of 2015 intake recruited from paralegal pool Total number of trainees Number of UK paralegals
Roythornes 100 14 30
Veale Wasbrough Vizards 83 16 42
Bircham Dyson Bell 80 11 12
Stone King 80 8 14
DAC Beachcroft 60 24 ND
Paris Smith 50 7 6
Wright Hassall 50 8 35
Ashfords 46 25 35
Irwin Mitchell 35 95 ND
Langleys 40 14 30
Trowers & Hamlins 40 40 ND
Shoosmiths 35 42 300
Kingsley Napley 33.3 11 44
O’Melveny & Myers 33 6 ND
Woodfines 33 5 7
Bevan Brittan 28 15 18
Browne Jacobson 25 18 ND
Michelmores 25 13 30
Sidley Austin 25 19 ND
TWM 25 4 3
Collyer Bristow 20 9 3
Fladgate 20 9 15
Orrick 20 10 7
Pinsent Masons 20 145 250
Addleshaw Goddard 18 70 130
Fieldfisher 17 24 54
Speechly Bircham 13 48 ND
Penningtons Manches 9 30 10
Withers 9 23 11
Holman Fenwick Willan 8 26 4
Baker & McKenzie 7 62 ND
Burges Salmon 7 55 10
Mayer Brown 7 28 15
Ashurst 5 80 10
Jones Day 5 37 13
Osborne Clarke 5 40 35
Norton Rose Fulbright 4 100 ND
Macfarlanes 3 58 37
Nabarro 3 47 ND
Winckworth Sherwood 2 12 8
Allen & Overy 1 174 30
Kennedys 1 36 ND