Shoosmiths pushes aside deferrals saga as it re-enters grad market

Shoosmiths has re-opened its trainee solicitor recruitment programme after emerging as the only major law firm to withdraw training contract offers from future joiners.

The national law firm caused controversy last year after asking its September 2009 intake to either defer their start dates or withdraw their training contracts in return for no compensation.

Director of human resources Louise Hadland said: “The firm took 12 trainees in September 2009 from a group of 20. Eight are due to join us this September, and we anticipate business demand will see us requiring more. The difference will be made up from the original 2010 intake.” 

“This in turn leaves us needing more in 2011, which is why we’re starting a recruitment drive to cover the 2011 shortfall, plus the new 2012 intake.”

The news comes less than a year after a controversial letter from two of the firm’s future joiners, Tom Goff and George Roberts, supporting their firm’s decision not to offer compensation to deferred trainees was published on Lawyer2B.com (read article).

Paul Stothard, Shoosmiths’ chief executive at the time, did not defend the pair in public, although he did stand by the firm’s decision not to offer any compensation to deferring trainees (read article).

But Stothard’s successor Claire Rowe is taking a far less hardline approach to graduate recruitment.

She said: “Twelve months on, and we’re looking at a rather different picture from the one a year ago. There’s plenty of optimism right now, and we’re delighted we can begin a graduate recruitment drive taking us through to 2012.”

Other firms to relaunch their graduate recruitment programmes in recent months include Eversheds, Field Fisher Waterhouse and LG.