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US firm Covington & Burling has entered the UK graduate recruitment market with a bang by offering its trainees a whopping £85,500 upon qualification
Although the firm, which specialises in corporate work and life sciences, opened its London office in 1989, it has never taken on any trainees in the UK. A spokeswoman said the firm's decision to create four training contracts starting in September 2004 was a "confirmation of its commitment to London". Covington also launched a summer placement scheme this year, which saw 17 students spend a week in the London office. The firm plans to recruit another four graduates to start in 2005 as part of its UK "growth strategy". Trainees will be paid £28,000 for the first 12 months and £32,000 in the second year, rising to £85,500 if they are retained. The spokeswoman added that these figures may be reviewed. While US firms in London are renowned for offering good wages for long hours, Covington's package puts it streets ahead and could signal a new era in the annual battle for the best talent. Trainees at White & Case, for example, start at £32,000, increasing to £36,500 after a year and qualifying on £60,000. Meanwhile, lawyers at Weil Gotshal & Manges are currently offered £35,000 in their first year, rising to £37,000 in the second and £60,000 upon qualification.