The number of training contracts offered by the UKs biggest companies has inched up three per cent, according to exclusive Lawyer 2B research.
Our annual in-house training contract survey shows that 18 per cent of FTSE100 companies now offer training contracts.
Sixteen out of the 91 companies that responded to the survey said they provided training topping last years figure of just 15 per cent. Major companies that take on trainees include BAE Systems, British American Tobacco, National Grid, Reed Elsevier and Royal & Sun Alliance.
Leading the way is the banking sector. Barclays investment banking arm Barclays Capital (BarCap) launched its first scheme last year and is exploring the possibility of extending it to the whole bank.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank is introducing a training programme for solicitors in March 2008.
Richard Daniel, chief operating officer of Barclays legal department, said: Were beginning to look at the possibility of rolling out a trainee programme across the group. Its definitely something were interested in exploring. Were looking at the BarCap experience with interest, but we havent made any decisions yet.
The most common route to working as an in-house lawyer, however, is to train in private practice and make the move on qualification.
Roger Wiltshire, chief UK counsel at BAE Systems, said: If you want to work for a major plc, work for a well-known law firm beforehand that provides excellent training. Its worth getting to two or three years PQE and then looking to move in-house.
A law firm is still considered the most rigorous environment for training and the best choice for a rounded CV, according to legal recruitment consultants.
Sarah Ingwerson, in-house recruitment consultant at Taylor Root, said: The preferable option is to train within a big law firm as its recognised as giving a strong technical background. From a recruitment point of view clients ask for people to be trained in private practice at a good law firm. Its just to do with having partners and senior associates looking over your shoulder all the time.