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US firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has abandoned its summer placement scheme after finding that it was being taken for a ride.
The original scheme gave UK students the chance to spend a month with the firm, including a week in the New York office. However, the firm found that a large number of those taking part in the scheme were not really interested in applying for a traineeship and were merely taking advantage of the firm's generosity. A source at the firm believes that the programme, which cost more than £16,000, was abused by students wanting a free holiday. "People went on the placement but did not apply to the firm," she said.
"The programme, which cost more than £16,000, was abused by students wanting a free holiday"
The original project, which began in 1997, gave six students the chance to experience the profession on both sides of the Atlantic. The firm paid for their flights to New York, provided accommodation with US lawyers, prepared special events and gave them a weekly salary of £225. "It is highly unlikely they will get paid now," said the source. "We had to stop the scheme because students were getting the wrong impression of us. They saw it as an opportunity to go to the US rather than the London office." From next summer, 10-15 students will shadow a London trainee for a day. The source said: "It's a better education for them."