Fresh blow for trainees as A&O shuts up shop early

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  • I have to agree somewhat with Bap. I've always thought it is a little unfair that someone with a 2:1 in Law is in no better position than someone with a 2:1 in basket weaving (to use his words, being facetious I know) who does the GDL. Law is after all, and this may cause controversy, one of the hardest undergraduate degrees out there and always has been. I also think it should say something about the candidate that they knew they wanted to be a Lawyer from an earlier age than a GDL candidate as they chose to study it at Uni having probably decided to do so in their mid-teens. Just a thought.

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  • I see that firms are continuing to overlook the opportunity to scrap the current recruitment system by persisting with cack handed measures to "protect their business".

    I keep harping on about this but if they really want to protect their business and make things fairer for prospective trainees, they should introduce a faster, more economy-responsive, University-style application process. It's not rocket science.

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  • Guys,

    It works like this... A firm has to offer more spots than it has jobs on the basis that not everyone who applies to A&O and is accepted will take the place. The lucky recipient of an offer may have a last minute change of heart and decide to become a basket weaver (read CC lawyer). As you may have noticed, the economy is not very good right now so fewer deals are being done and people are trying to keep cash in the bank rather than use debt. This means fewer people need lawyers. This in turn means that law firms need fewer trainees.

    So, for 2011 A&O needs fewer lawyers - say as an example 80 instead of its usual 120 (split over two intakes of 60). Therefore, instead of offering 150 spots, it has to offer 95, or 100. It is also asking some trainees from 2009 and 2010 to defer because otherwise they would be paid to sit and twiddle their thumbs - not great for training, not great for morale, but more importantly not great for business.

    Therefore, some of the 2009 and 2010 intakes will fill some of the 2011 spots. As an example, let's say 20 people over the two years defer, meaning that 2011 now only has 60 spots, instead of 120, and has to offer say 70 spots instead of 150. If it thinks it has 30 spots from vac schemers, that means that only 40 places are left for the current applicants. If it already has 50 good people, A&O will close the books for the year.

    If you haven't already applied (ahead of doing exams) in an economy like this, unfortunately that's the game.

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  • As someone who has taught law and worked in a law firm, I am not sure that it is true that law is "of the hardest undergraduate degrees out there and always has been" as Brad Storm puts it. How do you judge how hard a degree is?
    And if you could make such a judgment, what good would it do? A&O and many other firms clearly hold the view that there is no appreciable distinction between trainees with law degrees and those without. On that evidence (and the fact that the legal profession at its most senior levels is liberally sprinkled with people without law degrees), surely we must conclude that the holder of a law degree is not necessarily better suited to legal practice than someone with any other degree, all other things being equal.

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  • Professor, you seem to have missed the point that the law graduate recruitment wasn't opened so law graduates couldn't apply even if they wanted to.

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  • Yes they could. Law grads could have applied at any time.

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  • In response to 'seen both sides', I made the comment about Law being one of the hardest undergrad degrees purely on the basis of my own experience at Uni. It wasn't uncommon for grade boundaries to be moved in other subjects, e.g. psychology had it's 2:1 boundary moved from 60% to 56% in my final year. A lot of my mates seemed to do absolutely nothing whilst they were there (and they'll admit it) but walked out with healthy 2:1s whilst the law students spend half their time stuck in the library attempting to memorize hundreds of cases just to scape a 2:1, and these were intelligent and academic people...

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  • Grrrr!

    There's a concept that many grads cannot seem to understand. If you do a law degree you are NOT guaranteed a training contract. If you do the GDL you are NOT guaranteed a training contract. Competition is so fierce now. But grads seem to think they are entitled to a training contract simply by having a legal qualification.

    As I understand, A&O opened their trainee recruitment to law grads and non-law grads. They have now closed up shop because they have the numbers they want - a mix between law and non-law grads. A&O are simply responding to the downturn in the economy which was caused by the government, the FSA and investment bankers.

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  • Metallica, once again I repeat that they didn't open the law graduate recruitment.

    "Law - 1 June - 31 July 2009 to begin September 2011 / March 2012"

    Read it carefully. The 1st June 2009 has not yet come.

    Law graduates could not have applied at any time, the vacation scheme does not count as it is not the application process for law graduates even if performance on it may help.

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  • on the A&O recruitment website it says applications will be open from June 1st, just for a year later:

    "Training Contract applications for Law students open from 1 June - 31 July 2009. We will only be accepting applications for our September 2012 and March 2013 intakes"

    If they are deffering current trainees, surely to defer applications from potential future trainees is also fair. They can only recruit for vacancies they have, unless you want them to deny those on the vacation schemes or retract offers from people who have already accepted offers?

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