Dechert has stunned its City rivals with a whopping 42.9 per cent hike in the LPC maintenance grants the firm pays to its future trainees. The US firm, which offers 10 to 15 training contracts each year, currently pays its LPC students 7,000. This amount will be increased to 10,000 for students commencing the LPC in September 2008.Dechert does not prescribe which law school future trainees go to. Students will therefore receive 10,000 regardless of which city they choose to study in. Until Decherts announcement, New York-based Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton paid the highest maintenance grants, handing out 8,000 to its future trainees. Dechert graduate recruitment manager Julie Williams told Lawyer 2B: Im pleased that our continued financial success allows us to increase the amount we pay to future trainees in maintenance grants. We hope the increase will help to ease the financial burden on our recruits, which is considerable given student debt levels. Unlike most of its City rivals, Dechert does not offer financial assistance to non-law students who need to complete the GDL. In 2005, Linklaters sparked an LPC maintenance grants war after it boosted its payments from 5,000 to 7,000 for students studying in London. Most City firms, including Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May, increased their grants to bring them in line with Linklaters, while Ashurst and Lovells increased theirs to 7,500 and 7,450 respectively.