Halliwells: future Manchester and London trainees left jobless

No room for future trainees at HBJ Gateley Wareing or BLG; Hill Dickinson offers lifeline

HBJ Gateley Wareing, which is taking over the bulk of Halliwells’ Manchester operations, has confirmed that it will not be offering any positions to the seven prospective trainees who were set to begin at the firm’s Manchester office next month.

The failed firm was due to have 17 trainees join across the all its offices next month, with another 17 expected to join in January 2011 and another 17 in June 2011.

Halliwells’ former graduate recruitment partner Paul Rose emailed all of the firm’s future trainees earlier this week to tell them that their training contracts have been withdrawn.

However, Hill Dickinson has offered a lifeline to a number of trainees due to join the now-defunct firm.

The Liverpool-headquartered firm, which this week agreed to take over Halliwells’ Liverpool and Sheffield offices, is to honour training contracts for those students due to join Halliwells in both cities later this year (10 trainees) as well as in 2011 (8 trainees) and 2012 (six trainees).

Hill Dickinson is also believed to be taking on all of Halliwells’ existing Liverpool and Sheffield trainees. Halliwells had nine trainees in Sheffield and 10 in Liverpool.

Elsewhere, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) has made offers to five first-year trainees and will be retaining seven second-year trainees who are due to qualify in September. However, BLG will be taking on any of Halliwells’ future trainees and it still remains unclear how many existing trainees will move over to HBJ. Halliwells had 31 trainees in Manchester and ten in London.

BLG chief executive David Jabbari said: “Despite managing to safeguard the jobs of a significant number of former Halliwells staff, we are unfortunately not able to offer training contracts to those who had been due to start with Halliwells in 2010 and 2011. With great regret, we have had to make a business decision about what that practice needs and how it fits in with our overall trainee strategy.”

Meanwhile, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has said it would not be coming to the rescue of the newly unemployed future Halliwells trainees.

A spokesperson from the SRA said: “We’re not in the position to get into employment law related issues. We deal with regulatory issues and this is clearly a contractual issue. But one would hope that other firms might look sympathetically on their situation and try to help.”