Editor’s Weekly: Gold rush

“Scramble for legal jobs intensifies as graduates flee banking sector” was the headline we ran on the front page of the Autumn 2008 issue of Lawyer 2B magazine.

Husnara_Begum

“Scramble for legal jobs intensifies as graduates flee banking sector” was the headline we ran on the front page of the Autumn 2008 issue of Lawyer 2B magazine.

It therefore came as little surprise when Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May confirmed that they have been forced to close training contract applications from non-law students earlier than in previous years. Meanwhile, Lovells does not have any training contract vacancies for 2011 with the exception of a few places it has reserved for star performers on its summer vacation scheme.

What did surprise me, however, are the firms involved. Between them Clifford Chance, Lovells and Slaughters hire over 300 trainees. That is clearly not good news for those of you who are in the penultimate year of your law degree. And to be brutally honest I’m not sure what I can say to make you feel better other than to try and hold your nerve and be flexible.

For instance, it might be worth investigating gap years more seriously or indeed looking at training contracts in other sectors. I was putting contestants who were short-listed for the Lawyer 2B/BPP Law School essay competition through their paces at the judging day yesterday.

With the exception of one, all the students I met did not want to pursue a career in commercial law. Initially, I was disappointed but soon realised that by aspiring to work as a family or criminal lawyer didn’t make the students less interesting or ambitious. Indeed, I found it quite endearing and admired them for their open mindedness and free thinking.

That said no practice area is entirely immune. Though areas such as crime, family, human rights and personal injury may not suffer as badly during a recession they face their own problems with the squeeze in legal aid. And with limited help on offer with the cost of the LPC I suggest you only join the gold rush to the high street with your eyes wide open.
husnara.begum@lawyer2b.com

PS – congratulations to Sam Main from the University of Sussex who won our Nutshells competition. For those of you dying to know the odd couple out was Margaret and Denis Thatcher as the Iron Lady’s now deceased husband wasn’t a lawyer.