Taylor Wessing defers trainees

Taylor Wessing has become the latest law firm to delay the start dates of its future trainee solicitors.

The top 30 firm has approached its September 2009 and September 2010 intakes and asked for volunteers to defer for 12 months. Taylor Wessing will pay an unconditional £7,500 to those trainees who decide to take up the offer.

A firm spokesman said: “We’ve made the decision because we want every single one of our trainees to have the best training possible.”

In a related move Taylor Wessing yesterday (21 April) unveiled a package of measures in response to the economic slump, including offering all employees an extra two weeks of holiday in return for a 3.85 per cent reduction in salary. The firm is also looking at making up to 20 redundancies and is offering sabbaticals and voluntary redundancy to all staff (see story).

Just over 30 firms have so far confirmed that they are deferring their trainee start dates including Linklaters and Trowers & Hamlins, which are both paying £10,000 to trainees who agree to delay their training contracts by a year. Others, which have also introduced voluntary deferrals, include Clifford Chance, Eversheds, DLA Piper, Mayer Brown, Norton Rose, Pinsent Masons, Shearman & Sterling and Travers Smith.

Shoosmiths, meanwhile, is the only firm that is not compensating deferring trainees or those who decide to withdraw their training contracts and is understood to have made the move compulsory after insufficient volunteers come forward.

The only other firm to have introduced compulsory deferrals is Field Fisher Waterouse, which as a result has put its graduate recruitment programme on hold until next year.