Top firms bring training contract deadlines forward by six months

Allen & Overy and Taylor Wessing have brought their training contract deadlines forward following changes to the graduate recruitment code, Lawyer 2B can reveal. 

The old code stated that training contracts could not be offered before 1 September of an undergraduate’s final year. However, it was always voluntary and was thrown into question last March after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) withdrew from it – a decision that led to angry reaction from the profession.

However, the other signatories – the Association of Graduate Recruiters, Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services and Junior Lawyers Division – decided to uphold and revise the Code in the wake of the SRA’s withdrawal.

The revised code says that from the current recruitment cycle, running from this September, training contract offers will be able to be made from the beginning of a student’s penultimate year – so the second year of a three-year degree or the third year of a four-year course.

However, students are still not obliged to accept, and firms are not allowed to pressure students into accepting, training contracts before 15 September of their final year.

Most firms have stuck to the traditional 31 July deadline for training contract applications (though some firms always went with a different date), but a handful are now setting deadlines earlier following the changes to the code.

Allen & Overy has moved its deadline to 31 December 2015 and Taylor Wessing to 30 April 2015.

Allen & Overy graduate recruitment partner Claire Wright told Lawyer 2B: “We have made a number of changes to the way that we recruit this year, giving us the opportunity to refresh our recruitment offering in line with the changes that we have seen in the recruitment marketplace for trainee solicitors but also in response to, and to ensure our adherence with, the new revised Voluntary Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Trainee Solicitors.”

A spokesperson for Taylor Wessing’s graduate recruitment team told Lawyer 2B: “At Taylor Wessing we will be adhering to the new trainee recruitment code for the 2015/16 recruitment season as we believe in allowing students sufficient time to make the right career decisions. As acceptable by the new code, we have decided to bring forward our deadline to 30 April 2016.

”The rationale for this is change is that on an annual basis we recruit a relatively small selective intake of 24 and we hire approximately 70 per cent from our summer vacation scheme programme.

”The earlier deadline will mean we can focus on our candidate response times and delivering an all-round excellent candidate experience throughout our processes. We appreciate and highly value the time spent by our applicants completing an application and we wish to give candidates an outcome as soon as we are able. Through our new marketing campaign launched last week we will be communicating our key deadlines widely so all are aware of this change.”

Deadlines for 2018 training contracts

Firm Application deadline (law students) Application deadline (non-law students)
Addleshaw Goddard 31/07/16 31/07/16
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 31/07/16 31/07/16
Allen & Overy 31/12/15 31/12/15
Ashfords 31/07/16 31/07/16
Ashurst 01/11/15 31/07/16
BLM 30/06/16 30/06/16
Berwin Leighton Paisner 31/07/16 31/07/16
Bevan Brittan 31/07/16 31/07/16
Bircham Dyson Bell 31/07/16 31/07/16
Bird & Bird 31/07/16 31/07/16
Bond Dickinson 31/07/16 31/07/16
Bristows 31/08/16 31/08/16
Browne Jacobson 31/07/16 31/07/16
Burges Salmon 31/07/16 31/07/16
Cleary Gottlieb 31/07/16 31/07/16
Clifford Chance 30/06/16 31/01/16
Clyde & Co 31/07/16 31/07/16
Collyer Bristow 29/07/16 29/07/16
Cooley 31/07/16 31/07/16
Davis Polk 31/07/16 31/07/16
Dentons 31/07/16 31/03/16
Faegre Baker Daniels 15/07/16 15/07/16
Farrer & Co 29/07/16 29/07/16
Fieldfisher 31/07/16 31/07/16
Forsters 31/07/16 31/07/16
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 31/07/16 06/01/16
Gibson Dunn 31/07/15 31/07/15
Harbottle & Lewis 31/07/16 31/07/16
Herbert Smith Freehills 08/01/16 08/01/16
Hogan Lovells 31/07/16 31/03/16
Holman Fenwick Willan 31/07/16 31/07/16
Ince & Co 31/07/16 31/07/16
Irwin Mitchell 24/07/16 24/07/16
Jones Day 15/01/16 15/01/16
K&L Gates 31/07/16 31/07/16
Kennedys 31/07/16 31/07/16
King & Wood Mallesons 31/07/16 31/07/16
Kingsley Napley 31/05/16 31/05/16
Kirkland & Ellis 15/07/16 15/07/16
Langleys 31/07/16 31/07/16
Latham & Watkins 31/07/16 31/07/16
Linklaters 30/06/16 04/01/16
Macfarlanes 31/07/16 31/07/16
Mayer Brown 31/07/16 31/07/16
Michelmores 31/07/16 31/07/16
Mills & Reeve 31/07/16 31/07/16
Mishcon de Reya 15/01/16 15/01/16
Morrison & Foerster 31/12/15 31/12/15
Nabarro 15/01/16 15/01/16
Norton Rose Fulbright 15/07/16 15/07/16
Olswang 31/07/16 31/07/16
Orrick 30/06/16 30/06/16
Osborne Clarke 31/07/16 31/07/16
Penningtons Manches 31/07/17 31/07/17
Pinsent Masons 29/07/16 29/07/16
Ropes & Gray 31/07/16 31/07/16
RPC 31/07/16 31/07/16
Shearman & Sterling  31/07/16 31/07/16
Shoosmiths 30/06/16 30/06/16
Sidley Austin 31/07/16 31/07/16
Simmons & Simmons 28/02/16 28/02/16
Slaughter and May 29/07/16 29/07/16
Stephenson Harwood 31/07/16 31/07/16
Stevens & Bolton 31/07/16 31/07/16
Taylor Wessing 30/04/16 30/04/16
Travers Smith 31/07/16 31/07/16
Trowers & Hamlins 01/08/16 01/08/16
Veale Wasbrough Vizards 30/06/16 30/06/16
Walker Morris 31/07/16 31/07/16
Watson Farley & Williams 31/07/16 31/07/16
Wedlake Bell 31/07/16 31/07/16
Weightmans 31/07/16 31/07/16
Weil Gotshal & Manges 31/07/16 31/07/16
Winckworth Sherwood 30/06/16 30/06/16

Source: Data provided by the firms to Lawyer 2B 

Previously…

29 Jul 15: Students to be recruited from second year as graduate recruitment code is transformed

28 Jul 15: Law Society replaces SRA to uphold graduate recruitment code

12 May 15: Trainee recruitment rules to be upheld by recruiters in wake of SRA’s withdrawal

10 Mar 15: Trainee code: SRA to withdraw by end of March as fellow signatories condemn move

5 Mar 15: “This will lead to paranoia among firms and automaton junior lawyers”: Profession responds angrily to SRA’s plan to scrap trainee code 

4 Mar 15: SRA may scrap trainee rules, allowing recruitment at any age