Categories:South West

Burges Salmon sets up job site for Halliwells trainees

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  • Stephen McNulty - what a top guy.
    I hope the SRA is reading this and hanging their head in shame at their spineless response.
    If someone from the SRA is reading this could you please explain why you couldn't do this and why you left it to others in the profession to take the initiative? It's not about an employment matter, it's about doing the decent thing especially as these students are forced to pay for memberships.

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  • Fantastic idea and I truly hope that firms get behind this and help out those trainees who were not fortunate enough to be taken on buy the firms that purchased Halliwells' assets. Well done Burges for taking the initiative on this.

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  • I couldn't agree with the above comments more. It shows there are still decent people in this profession who are willing to go out of their way to help others. Well done Stephen McNulty and well done Burges Salmon.

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  • Fantastic news! Well done Burgess Salmon. SRA please take note; if you cannot help our young professionals flourish what hope is there for future of the profession.

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  • Hmmm. Great PR for Burges Salmon. In reality, is this project actually going to find 51 Training Contracts for the 51 jobless Halliwells trainees? I doubt it.

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  • BS are obviously not doing this for the sole reason of the common good as it is guaranteed to give them considerable media coverage and it will increase BS' standing with potential applicants considerably. Nonetheless, they deserve great credit for at least doing something and it's a good idea.
    It's just a shame that it was left up to individual law firms to do something rather than the regulators, who seem content to put every possible bar in the way to becoming a lawyer but do nothing to actually help someone.

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  • Anonymous @10.26 - this certainly is great PR for the firm, and I agree that finding every trainee a new home is ambitious, to say the least. But surely there's enough cynicism in this profession already without belittling a scheme that, if it even helps just one person find a job, should be applauded. Sometimes good PR and good intentions can be in alignment

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  • Good for Stephen McNulty and Burges Salmon! And I agree, SHAME on the SRA (that utter joke of an organisation)
    Even if B.S is aware it will get some good PR from this, the actual idea is clearly aimed at helping the students in the first place. There has been so much trauma and upset in the legal profession over the last few years that it's refreshing to see senior people think about their role in helping juniors.
    It's a pity no one has had the same idea about helping all those NQs who can't find a qualified position at the moment for love nor money. The mid range PQE market may be moving, but its still a NIGHTMARE for NQs who have not been retained at their training firms...

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  • Echo what others have said - of course BS see benefit to themselves in this scheme, but that doesn't detract from their choosing to take a lead on this issue. Hopefully it will lead others to get involved, but I share anonymous@1026's scepticism that more than a small minority will find places.
    I don't share the view that the SRA should be getting involved (frankly, I'd be unsurprised if they managed to make matters worse for those affected) but the Law Society should. What on earth is our trade union for if it's not for this kind of situation?

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  • If it was just for PR, other firms would have come up with this idea by now. BS is undeniably trying to do the decent thing. Of course it cannot house all of the trainees. Even for PR I hope many other regional and city firms join this scheme.

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  • I work at BS, and was (uncharacteristically) proud to read about this. Nice to see my employers can get some things right, at least. PR-related motivations aside, hopefully it will do some good (which is better than nothing at all, all ye cynics) - that said, it will need the buy-in of others to make it work, and there's plenty of good PR potential to be shared around here. Here's hoping a bunch of other firms step up (although those with poor trainee retention rates may struggle to justify doing so)...

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  • I think this is a great move. Undeniably many in the profession have been moved by the plight of Halliwells' former trainees and have been taking steps to help them find work.
    It's great that Burges Salmon has has made the leap (no pun intended) to the next level though. Lets hope it does the trick.

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  • BS deserve some good PR for taking the initiative and trying to do something positive, in sharp contrast to the SRA. Whilst it is unlikely that all will be placed in the current economic climate, if even a few young lawyers are able to put their careers back on track it will be worthwhile and a success. I hope other firms try and support BS.
    TSS

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  • Stephen McNulty - if you ever get tired of private practise, put your hat in the ring for Chief Executive role of the SRA...you evidently have the imagination and forward thinking approach that is so desperately needed to give that organisation strong leadership. WELL DONE!
    And come on managing partners at other leading law firms...the standard has been set, get involved in this honourable initiative.

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  • This is not a matter for the regulator to attend to. The default response of looking to a government department/regulator to deal with something that is ostensibly a private matter is rediculous. This is an example of the recent "Big Society" initiative the government is talking about whereby actually we, as citizens, can actually do something about the issue. It is a credit to our profession in general and Messrs Burges Salmon in particular.

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  • What is all the doom and gloom about according to the BBP web site "Law firms have reported an increase in recruitment, so now is the time to further your legal career and study the LPC - the vocational training programme for those intending to practise as solicitors." @
    http://www.bpplawschool.com/programmes/lpc/
    oh sorry just the unscrupulous preying on the desperate

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  • the LawSociety should be taking the initiative to set up this kind of scheme, not the SRA.
    Anyway, the LawSoc is an absolute embarrassment of a trade union. It is an insult to compare it to the medical profession's equivalent.

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  • i don't agree with some of the comments that only a small minority of the 51 trainees / potential trainees in question will find new 'homes'. what BS are asking law firms to do in essence is to take on one extra trainee. provided the trainees concerened are reasonably flexible as to location, it should be very achievable to secure them training contracts with other firms (each top 50 firm taking on one extra trainee or 1 in 2 top 100 firms doing the same).

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  • For a number of weeks now, the Law Society has been active in dealing with the fall out from the demise of Halliwells.
    I have been very concerned about the very difficult position of those whose training contracts with Halliwells have now been cancelled. They are obviously an extremely talented and highly motivated group. If they fail to secure alternative training it will be to the profession's detriment.
    I would hope that their qualities will be recognised and that they will all quickly secure new contracts so that their careers in the law will not be jeopardised. With this in mind, the Law Society Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) has been in direct contact with those trainees to offer advice and direct them to the practical information section on the website. http://juniorlawyers.lawsociety.org.uk/node/2293
    To further assist, the JLD is hosting a series of networking events starting on September 16th in Manchester. Further information will be available soon on the JLD website.
    We also appreciate that it’s not only Halliwell’s trainees who find themselves in this dreadful situation. The high number of visitors to the JLD’s securing a training contract webinar reflects the extent of the problem. http://juniorlawyers.lawsociety.org.uk/node/2171

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  • Linda, darling, sweet pea, why has it taken the Law Society SO SO long to take any DIRECT action? (web seminars apart...which were utterly usesless BTW, I have been on them all).
    While you plan your coffee mornings in Manchester, which no one of influence will attend to be able to help, the mood of the people is blatantly with Stephen McNulty. Why ? - because he has suggested VERY QUICKLY an idea that could actually work!
    GET A GRIP SRA/LAW SOCIETY, please!
    Can we set up a face book page - "Axe the SRA, down with the law society - and make the bold Stephen McNulty a Knight!"

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  • Ms Lee is unfortunatey the product of the environment in which she works: a bureaucracy that tries to represent too many divergent interests. I presume to her own mind, her idea meets the minimum required response on paper to justify her role at the Law Society to the stakeholders/electorate that put her there. Again, this proves that government/regulatory/trade union type organisations are not adept at dealing with these kinds of issue (especially those requiring a quick and effective response) and to believe that they should be able to respond effectively is a mistaken presumption.

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  • Thank goodness somebody is trying to do something. Hats off to Mr McNulty. I also like the way he is trying to emotionally blackmail fellow firms with the line "a litmus test for the decency of the profession".

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  • Surely Ian Austin should accept a salary sacrifice so that his new firm Heatons can take on at least 3 ex Halliwells trainees.
    Come on Ian, if you work your socks off, give your life to the practice, swallow the bitter pill and show some commitment then you could undo some of the damage which your mismanagement of Halliwells has caused to those poor unfortunates who secured training contracts before you expertly steered the firm into administration.

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  • Fair enough! But what I want to know is who is going to do something about the hundreds of people out there who have being trying for years (have all the right grades etc) to get a Training Contract to no avail?

    Surely it would make sense that when you finish the LPC you can be a lawyer. Stop all this recruitment rubbish. Training Contracts tend to be a postcode lottery anyway - how rich was you family, could they buy you a good school, which buys you a good university etc. Give any person in Hackney and Peckham the life some of those Magic Circle lawyers have had and they would be working there as well.

    If the current batch of lawyers are so good how come not a single one saw the finantial crisis coming (for the sake of their own business at least)? Not a single City lawyer has any right to judge whether I am commercially aware or clever because when it came to the crunch (credit) they failed so miserably. Should they not have been advising that some of the deals the banks were doing were detrimental under Basel and FSMA? And then reported this to the FSA? If this was medicine most of the City lawyers would have been struck of for killing their patients.

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  • Ha, I wonder if Heatons and Mr Austin will be signing up to take trainees on?

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  • Linda - I am a Halliwells future trainee and have had absolutely no contact from the JLD at all. Please elaborate on when this 'direct contact' took place.

    Shame on the Law Society for not doing anything to try to aid the situation we find ourselves in.

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  • Ms Lee mentions the JLD!

    Hahaha - this token sub-division almost makes the Law Soc look useful. The JLD did absolutely JACK ALL bar a couple of "webinars" and articles when the storm was at its most intense for those approaching qualification, the NQs and the juniors in the months following the Lehmans bankruptcy.

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  • i only hope this offer doesnt become something of a poisoned chalice - sceptic - yes - but realist too

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  • Alex Foley.......Allowing everyone to become a qualified lawyer once they have finished the LPC will NOT solve any problem. All that will result is hundreds of qualified lawyers with no jobs to go to.

    It will also worsen the inequality, as those from rich backgrounds will qualify as lawyers automatically once they have paid the LPC fees.

    LPC providers currently enrol ANYONE that has a degree. Your idea would make a joke of the law and allow anyone and everyone to become lawyers. Law is a tough and demanding profession, it should be a challenge to secure a training contract.

    A better solution would be for LPC providers to act more stringently on their entry criteria and for students to take more responsibility for the risk that they take on when deciding to do the LPC.

    Also, the JLD and the Law Society SHOULD be helping the Halliwells trainees. They place heavy restrictions on students but offer little support.

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  • The unfortunate demise of Halliwells is unlikely to be an isolated incident in months/years to come. Our profession, like a number of others, is not immune to consolidation and mergers and the economic climate of the last 18 months and years to come will see many more consolidations and mergers as firm strive to "survive". I only hope that the commendable initiative taken by Stephen McNulty on behalf of Burges Salmon is taken up by as many firms as possible so that these talented individuals (and those who may be affected in the future) know that they are supported at least by private practice, if not the bodies that regulate them.

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  • Re: Anonymous @ 3 August 2010 9:18am

    I am very sorry you did not receive the correspondence from the JLD concerning your training contract. It was an unfortunate error, and you should be contacted directly today. However the text of the email we tried to send to you is now up on our website, and you can view it here http://juniorlawyers.lawsociety.org.uk/node/2315.

    Apologies again. Please contact us if you have any more questions and if you want to find out more about our upcoming networking event in Manchester.

    Junior Lawyers Division

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  • Dear Linda/JLD response above,
    I am also a former future trainee and I also didn't receive this email the other day.
    Why is this?
    Can you please check our details with the College of Law Manchester.
    Regards.

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  • Looking at all this from afar (far East) i am somewhat surprised that there are so few detractors concerning BS' excellent scheme. But there are still those who cannot help themselves by referring to the undoubted favourable publicity which the scheme will engender for BS. I know many of BS' partners and I must say that the furthest thing from their minds would be publicity. Why cannot the snipers just accept that, sometimes, people just do something simply because it is the right thing to do?

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  • I am a future trainee who was due to start yesterday with Halliwells. I have only just received the E-mail from the Law Society. It appears that the crux of it is that they are advising us to "use your initiative and contact recruiters at those firms directly" (surely a contradiction in terms - if I had waited to receive this E-mail before contacting recruiters, I wouldn't be using my initiative, would I?!)
    I suggested the idea of law firms getting together to share out the trainees between them here on thelawyer.com a while ago. There weren't that many trainees due to start in August 2010 - how many are affected - about ten? If ten firms could get together and take one each, it would be a relatively small thing for them, but would have a massive impact on the "ex-future trainees"!
    All it would take is someone to take a lead and co-ordinate it. This appears to be what Burges Salmon are doing. Kudos to them. Let's hope it works.

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  • Bravo Mr McNulty, it's great to see someone in the profession doing something for the greater good. Even my cynicism (which after 15 years in the profession is quite advanced) has to acknowledge it.
    As for the Law Society's response, it's tragic that they don't understand how ineffective their actions to date have been (and will no doubt be hurt by the many criticisms on here). A low level coffee morning at a time when all the people concerned should already have started work? No doubt 15 committee meetings were required before they even got the go-ahead to arrange that. I really do struggle to think of any worthwhile function at all that the Law Society carries out in return from the payments it demands from its members - it's so wrapped up in bureaucracy it's lost sight of what it's there for.
    I hope Mr McNulty publishes details of the firms that do and don't sign up to his scheme.

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  • Whilst I wholeheartedly applaud Burges Salmon's initiative in this I suspect the many would-be trainees who failed to secure a TC anywhere before all this even happened would be somewhat surprised to see 51 extra TCs magicked up out of nowhere at very short notice.
    It's not as though Halliwells was some small firm in the middle of nowhere, presumably their TCs were sought-after and their standards were high. Surely it is unrealistic to expect the SRA or anyone else to suddenly conjure up 51 comparable training offers.
    That said I take Mcnulty's point that he's asking 50 firms to "donate" one TC each rather than expecting any firm to take them on in bulk. And remember it's not just about the cost, you have to have enough appropriate work for them to do for the next two years.
    I am neither a partner nor a trainee in any firm, I'm just looking at the harsh reality of a big player going under and removing a number of training opportunities from the market.

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  • I agree, it's nothing to do with the SRA as the profession's regulator, but the Law Society could have come up with this as a proposal - I'm not generally a defender of the Law Society (well, ever, I think it's a pretty useless organisation for the most part) but it is much easier for a firm to lead the charge on an initiative like this by setting an example. The Law Society here could only suggest this to firms and perhaps the relationship between firms of the right size and calibre and the Society is not so good that any attention would be paid to it, alas.

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  • Burgess Salmon is a class act. Sure they get good PR out of it, but I cannot think of any other firm to do this sort of thing. Very cool.

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