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It didnt really matter if September 2007 qualifiers missed out on a job in their department of choice because chances were that theyd get a better deal elsewhere.
Indeed, 12 months ago there was no denying that it was still very much a candidates market. But what a difference a year can make. Thanks to the credit crunch trainee and associate salaries have seen very little upward movement while at some firms theyve even remained static.
More worryingly, a string of firms have also announced redundancies including most recently DLA Piper, which last week layed-off five lawyers in its technology, media and commercial group (see story).
And if that were not bad enough, trainee retention rates at some of the leading law firms for September 2008 qualifiers have also plummeted thanks to worsening economic conditions.
As we reported on Monday DLA Piper, Linklaters, Lovells and McGrigors have all seen significant decreases in trainee retention, with Bevan Brittan coming in second from bottom of the list after retaining just nine trainees out of 16 this year (see story).
If youre due to qualify in September dont panic if you arent offered a job in your first-choice department. Seek feedback from your supervisors and training principals on why you werent chosen. They will also be able to offer you tips on how to secure a job at another firm. Some firms may even put you in contact with recruitment consultants and help you to put a CV together.??
Sharon Samra, a senior recruitment consultant at Hays Legal, recommends that its also worth thinking about accepting a job in your second-choice department.
"If candidates don't get a role in their first choice department they should qualify into an area that is closest to their first choice. It's also a good idea to be flexible in terms of location and be prepared to accept a job overseas if necessary," she advises.
Its impossible to say whats going to happen to world economies over the next 12 months. Chances are that times will get a whole lot worse before we see any signs of improvement.
If your job prospects have been affected by the credit crunch why not get in touch?