Halliwells: future Manchester and London trainees left jobless

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  • I am a director of the Institute of Paralegals, a not-for-profit professional body for non-lawyers doing legal work.

    I wrote recently to the Management at Halliwells to offer free careers support for paralegal and legal secretarial staff who might be adversely affected by the firm's difficulties. It would appear that my letter was overtaken by events. I am therefore repeating the offer in full below (apologies if some of the references to commitment to staff now ring a little hollow to some of you). If any readers feel that they and/or their friends and colleagues could benefit from such help please contact me at steve@theiop.org and we will do all we can to arrange a suitable group meeting.

    This offer applies equally to those who were to be trainees. Many of you may already have paralegal experience that can easily be translated into a recognised stage of the paralegal careers path e.g. Certified Paralegal. In any event, as you will be aware, paralegal is increasingly becoming the first step to qualification as a solicitor in many firms and although it may not be the big step forward that you planned to take, it may be at least a positive step in the right direction. We can help you to maximise the benefits of professional paralegal status if that is a route that you wish to take temporarily.

    Sympathies to all who have lost out in the debacle. I sincerely hope that we can be of assistance to some of you.

    Best wishes

    "Free support for your paralegal and legal secretarial staff

    As the professional body representing non-lawyers doing legal work, we would like to offer you immediate, free assistance for your paralegal staff.

    We have, of course, read of your firm’s current difficulties and we wish you well in your attempts to find solutions.

    Having had discussions with your training manager last year, we know of your firm’s commitment to its staff. Hopefully our offer will both assist them as individuals and assist the firm in maximizing the value of the teams it is seeking to transfer.

    We would like to offer on-site workshops to help your paralegal staff strengthen their career profiles, translate their experience into nationally recognised skills competencies and to provide careers advice and support. There is no charge for this service. Regardless of whether your paralegal staff are part of a team transferring to another firm, or staying with Halliwells or being made redundant, we believe that our advice and support will strengthen their positions.

    What we can offer includes:

    • Careers advice from specialist recruitment experts
    • Advice on the best professional courses if they need to retrain or up-skill
    • Advice on the current and coming market for paralegals
    • Formal professional recognition/accreditation
    • Access to the Route to Qualification, the professional paralegals' career path
    • Essential market knowledge through free subscription to The Paralegal e-journal (the leading paralegal journal) published in conjunction with the New Law Journal
    • Free access to paralegal competency standards drawn up by the profession itself which will help them define the skills sets they have and will need
    • Membership of the Institute which brings a host of professional and personal benefits and support

    We are able to offer a similar free package to legal secretaries.

    If you like the offer we would propose a workshop/seminar (to be repeated as required) to which we would bring a specialist paralegal recruiter and training expert. IOP staff would provide careers advice. There would be time set-aside afterwards for individual discussions with staff.

    We would also of course be delighted to liaise with the firm’s representatives and any firm receiving paralegal teams if that were required."

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  • Well done to Hill Dickinson on taking on the Liverpool and Sheffield trainees. But why are they the only firm prepared to step in and help in this situation?

    Why did HBJ and Barlows completely refuse to consider taking on any of the Manchester trainees? Why haven't they given a proper explanation of their refusal to honour the contracts? The work is still there, it's just now with them rather than Halliwells.

    And why have no other firms stepped up and offered to help? Surely it's a good deal for them - good publicity and trainees who already have obtained their LPC at Halliwells expense! Surely trainee recruitment people have sympathy with the people affected and would like to help out?

    Will any firm step in and offer to help?

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  • Well if the letching muppets that were involved in recruitment when i took a training contract with them were still active it might be because the most important qualification for trainees was breast size. Perhaps BLG and HBJ have different standards?

    Heart goes out to all trainees that have screwed over my halliwells.

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  • Well if the letching muppets that were involved in recruitment when i took a training contract with them were still active it might be because the most important qualification for trainees was breast size. Perhaps BLG and HBJ have different standards?

    This is very unfair, I happen to know a number of the Halliwells ex-futures, who were top quality, intelligent and switched on people. Don't insult the hard graft they have had to put in to get this far, and sign it away to physical appearance. Around 40 bright legal futures have been extinguished here for the time being, a sad loss to the legal community if you ask me. I wish them all well, and hope sincerely they are successful and someone might step in and help them all out.

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  • "Heart goes out to all trainees that have screwed over my halliwells."

    This sheds a new light on trainee activity. Would you please care to exlain what your halliwells are?

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  • Very harsh news for the future trainees of Halliwells.

    If the equity partners at the firm had any honour they should make some sort of contribution so that the trainees that have been screwed over by their poor management have something to tide them over until they manage to find another job.

    Good luck guys.

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  • Whilst I agree that this is a terrible situation for the Halliwell's trainees, BLG and HBJ have no obligation to take on the trainees or even consider taking them on (also, we have no evidence that they have "completely refused to consider" doing this). The contracts were between Halliwells and the trainees - not HBJ/BLG and the trainees - they have no obligation to "honour the contracts". All this talk of why isn't the SRA getting involved is quite clearly missing the point - BLG and HBJ have taken on many parts of Halliwells' business and prevented many redundancies (although I'm sure their motives are hardly altruistic), why should the SRA force them to take on trainees if they do not need them?

    I wish the trainees the best of luck in securing new training contracts, which I am sure many will be able to do.

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  • I seriously feel for all you guys. However (and of course this is in no way your fault), the firm massively over recruited on the number of trainees. It has been bordering on the ridiculous over the last few years.

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  • @Steviano

    Don't get me started on cat litter...

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  • Wow, what a huge outcry over the folding of a law firm and the lost jobs. It is a real shame that this has happened and make no mistake. Has anyone noticed the climate we are currently working in though? Has the self same thing not been happening in all manner of different sectors for the last couple of years?
    It is no surprise to see people lose their jobs and whilst this is sad, it is by no means surprising. The world has changed and so must our markets and our culture. The test is how individuals deal with the challenge of moving forward through such difficult times. Looking for people to blame may be natural but it isn't the most constructive approach. Neither is it beneficial to use pitiful arguments to change an entire structure which works well in the main but as with any structure there surely cannot be one failsafe system. Years of scandel and outcry about so many different topics has proved that.
    Move on positively and don't look back, whether in law or elsewere. Easier said than done but if you don't, the future looks even more bleak.

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