Halliwells trainees face uncertain future as firm files to go into administration

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  • Erm, who's this mysterious 'employment law specialist'?

    A story couched in extremely speculative terms. Perhaps The Lawyer would have been better off waiting until a formal announcement by one or more of the parties, rather than stirring things up because nobody is commenting.

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  • Reckless, greedy and stupid people cost decent hardworking people their jobs- well done ex managing partner of the year and your equally inept cronies.

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  • A pre-pack implies a sale of the business, which if it were to go ahead would make any speculation on the outcome of a liquidation irrelevant.

    In any event the article is wrong. The administrators have not been 'called in' as hysterically alleged; a notice of intention to appoint has been filed - not quite the same thing.

    What would be more interesting would be some comment on the firm's attempts to stem speculation earlier this year about their financial status through injunctive relief. Anyone able to add to this?

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  • Yes, cos that's how journalism works. Don't run a story unless you get an official statement!

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  • Serves those smug current and future Halliwells trainees right, good luck in the dole queue!

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  • "in the context of pre-packed administrations it yet to be tested"

    I assume that "it" should have said "is" or "has". The Lawyer should think twice before preaching about the importance of proof reading.

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  • To Anonymous @6.01pm.

    You are clearly not a trainee starting your career in the middle of a recession, realising that between accepting and starting your training contract your firm has had a string of terrible news and is now possibly going into liquidation.

    Such people are, sadly, the victim's of Halliwell's terrible management team. They have every right to hear discussion of the possible implications for them and to receive any advice, speculative or otherwise. They do not need to sit on their hands until the management work out the best way of telling them they are screwed.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Jun-2010 8:53 pm - bitter twisted loser - how can you be so nasty when the livelihoods of a lot of people stand to be in the balance.

    Best of luck trying to convince people you deserve respect.

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  • My heartfelt apologies to everyone affected by this. Speaking as somone who has used this firm many times (not because I'm a serial offender or anything), I have always found Halliwells full of friendly, professionaly people who have been a joy to work with.
    I hope for the best result in this. No matter who we are or what role we do, the fear of losing the security of employment is a terrible thing. Good luck. x

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  • In a time when Training Contracts are so difficult to come by anyway, it must be totally demoralising to have a hard come by contract removed - best of luck to the trainees, here's hoping that the SRA will bother to intervene this time should contract severances / withdrawls occur - otherwise what is the £80.00 SRA student fee actually for?

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  • Like another writer- I worked with Halliwells a number of times and found them professional and very competent.

    Something is obviously wrong, but that should not take away from the excellent work done by all those I worked with.

    We live in tough times. I am trying to turn a business round and sadly there will always be greedy shareholders and partners. It is they who do the damage- not the people most of us meet day to day doing a good job.

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  • As the parent of one of the future Halliwells trainees I must express my total disgust at the comments made by anonymous at 6:53pm on 26 June. Training contracts are given to those who go through a competitive, interview process and are deemed to have the appropriate skill set. They are not given based on any other criteria. Therefore to have these contracts taken away in effect "overnight" is totally devastating and however bitter and twisted you are how can you feel pleasure in other people's pain? Those graduating this year and about to embark on their LPC have now to either find a new training contract (nigh on impossible), fund it themselves or redirect their career pathway. Yes, they were lucky enough to secure a training contract but why blame them for that? They are now back at square one and I genuinely feel for them. I also feel for you because you clearly hold some type of immature grudge and you need to grow up.

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  • I have just spent a year with Halliwells future trainees at the College of Law and found them to be genuine, friendly and hard working people.

    None of them deserve this news and it could have easily happened to me and many others who applied for Halliwells training contracts.

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  • I also feel sorry for the Halliwells trainees, but in the long term (assuming they manage to get training contracts elsewhere) they should see it as a blessing in disguise.
    I have always - without exception - found Halliwells to be dreadful to deal with. They were inevitably aggressive and hostile, even when our respective clients had a common interest.
    They were like a reincarnation of the late unlamented Dibb Lupton ("Yobb & Co") and it surprises me not at all that the almost universal reaction upon hearing of their demise has been to open the champagne.

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  • Well the Country has too many office workers.
    The silver lining will hopefully be that young people realise that they should get jobs that actually require genuine work (i.e. engineers, nurses, tradesmen etc)
    The economy needs to be rebalanced and young people need to undertake roles that actually have a genuine output.
    That's where the demand for labour lies.
    We can't have everyone sitting in offices

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  • I worked for this firm for a number of years. It was full of arrogant, conceited and avaricious people who viewed others with disdain.
    I saw nepotism, racism, sexism, bullying and lying. A lovely bunch of completely deluded people which made me consider quitting law. For future trainees this may be a blessing in disguise.
    I feel for the support staff only and wish them luck.

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  • I knew someone who accepted a training contract with Halliwells over another (in my opinion) much better firm, three years go before the cracks began to show.

    I didn't understand her decision but she was happy with it. I can't imagine how she must feel now, after years of expecting to start a career that she's worked so hard for, to find herself back at square one.

    I can't understand the comments 'anonymous' has made above about this situation. My only assumption is that he was not good enough to himself secure a training contract, and by the level of maturity he exhibits, probably never will.

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  • legal profession is over-subcribed anyway. It's hard to have sympathy for these people. Surely they realised there was no guarantee of a permanent position anyway?

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  • Passing comments and wishing the worst on Trainees is completely outragious. They have nothing to do with this mess. And as for Anonymous - 30/6/10 at 8.55 - I'm wondering why such an idiot is even bothering to read (or actually can read to be exact) this article. Perhaps someone read it to them before they gave their "Too many office workers" speech (memorable (for all the wrong reasons). What an idiot.

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  • I was the anonymous person who made the "too many office workers" speech and yes I am a qualified solicitor still employed.

    I you wish to delude yourselves that the legal profession is a good industry to be in then so be it.

    Instead it would be better to wake up and smell the coffee. A good starting point would be Richard Susskinds book titled "the end of the lawyers."

    I suppose he doesn't know what he's talking about either.

    Jobs in the legal profession are already being commoditised and outsourced. This will only gather pace.

    The legal profession is not a growth industry and does not offer opportunity for future LPC batches churned out of the College of Law factory.

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  • I totally agree with anonymous at 1.41am - who exactly does Mr "too many office workers" think deals with all the construction contracts, NHS contracts, claims for / defence of medical malpractice, conveyancing etc..for those engineers, nurses and tradespeople?

    As annoying as it may seem to people with no actual knowledge of the law and what lawyers do, the country needs them and such comments are not only ridiculous but totally ignorant. No innocent "office worker" deserves to face redundancy and not being able to pay their mortgage due to the greed and poor management of just a few, not least the young lawyers who are liable for huge amounts of debt thanks to university / LPC fees. A career in law is no longer reserved for the wealthy and spoiled and a number of hardworking, "normal" people are going through a very difficult time at Halliwells right now.

    Regardless of anybody's feelings for the firm, the trainees are innocent parties and the people who are posting such hateful things on these websites (notably anonymously) should be truly ashamed of themselves. Lets hope you dont find yourselves in a similar position one of these days.

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  • To Anonymous 6-Jul-2010 9:25 pm

    Sorry, but Anonymous 6-Jul-2010 4:53 pm is absolutely right. There are far too many lawyers, which is whythere are so many applicants for each job, and why salaries ouside London haven't moved much in real terms for a decade. Do some research.

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  • To anonymous 6-Jul-2010 9:25 pm
    As always the people who argue the case for lawyers miss the point because they dont understand economics.
    Yes contracts for the NHS etc etc may still be required in the future but the point is lawyers will not be handling such work because it will be commoditised or outsourced to cheaper labour in India or China.
    The truth is good salaries for legal work is confined to the past. Future salaries are going to reflect the over supply of labour, commoditisation of services and outsourcing.
    Think about it. If you were a partner of a law firm why would you pay a high salary for a solicitor when you can get an experienced paralegal for next to nothing?
    There are so many law graduates many of them are working for free.
    Get over it.

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  • Someone tell Anonymous 6-Jul-2010 4:53 pm to get back in his/her box - what a fool.

    If you're so proud of your comments perhaps you'd like to let everyone know who you are - I'm sure your employers would and all the current Halliwells trainees.

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  • To "Mr too many Office Workers". As you now state you are a Solicitor and therefore an office worker, I agree there are. or is to be precise. at least one too many office workers. I suggest you put your money where your mouth is, resign your post and jump on a bin wagon.

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  • Oh dear.
    It seems many are not happy about the too many lawyers speech.
    Whether or not I'm a solicitor is irrelevant.
    It is a fact that solicitors are not in demand and never will be.
    The only reason people are upset is because I am right and they don't like it.
    If I am wrong, instead of posting irrational and over emotional comments, why don't you explain why you think I'm wrong.
    Richard Susskind is absolutely spot on in his book "the end of lawyers." Do some research before posting silly comments.
    People can get upset or they can do something about.

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  • After reading all the above comments, I am intrigued to find out whether anyone knows what is going to happen to the future Halliwells trainees? Have they been told for certain that they no longer have training contracts or is their future still undecided?

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  • I don't think i'll be reading the "end of lawyers"; thanks, but no thanks. I'll explain why I think you're wrong. Firstly, i'll agree there are too many law students. It is a fact that many more students attend law school than there are training contracts. This creates a huge pool of cheap and therefore attractive workers for firms who handle high volumes of low value PI claims or standard repo claims (for example). However, qualified lawyers are still very much in demand. Pensions lawyers, for example, are very much in demand because the industry in which they operate is incredibly complicated ever-changing and heavily regulated and pension scheme trustees/employers simply cannot afford to obtain "cut price" legal advice due to the consequences bad advice may have both for the company and the scheme's members. Same goes for tax, real estate, environment and regulatory, employment. I imagine that Mr "Too Many Office Workers" would prefer the assistance of a qualified criminal lawyer should he ever have the misfortune of finding himself on the wrong side of the law, and no doubt he would want his conveyancing dealt with promptly - this work cannot be done properly with a minimal staff. These are specialist areas and require qualified and experienced individials to provide advice in these fields.

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  • As someone who graduated in 1992, during a recession, and was unable to obtain a training contract at that time, let me offer some words of comfort to the Halliwells trainees who now find themselves high and dry.
    Having spent so long preparing to enter the profession, and having been given so little in the way of career advice about opportunities outside the profession, I was absolutely terrified of what might happen to me, as well as humiliated and ashamed.
    A bit of research, and a few job interviews later, and my career went in a different direction. I've ended up on the other side of the world, in a senior position in the company I work for. I've never regretted not going into the profession.
    I have always found it a positive asset having a legal qualification and in my current role, my clients are lawyers so it has helped me to have that background (not to mention the money I've saved my business just by being able to read a contract!). There are career opportunities for lawyers outside the narrow confines of the profession and someone with the skills and mindset of a lawyer are always an asset to any business. Think of yourself as a marketable commodity with plenty to offer. Take courage, and good luck!

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  • Some sensible comments at last.
    It is true that specialist advice can not be commoditised and there will be a need for some lawyers but nowhere near the amount we currently have.
    You say "this work cannot be done properly with a minimal staff" but such work is being done properly and cheaply because of the saturation. Solicitors are working in paralegal roles. If qualified solicitors are in demand why are they working in paralegal roles?
    The supply and demand equation needs to be rebalanced. This would stop the exploitation of young lawyers and students and take away the disappointment of failed lawyers with too much debt.
    Solving this imbalance would mean some people getting very, vey upset indeed but it is a necessary evil. Personally I would have a rule to ensure that firms only take on trainees if there is a genuine business case to expand. Cheap labour is not a good reason because it seriously distorts the market in the medium term.
    I definitely agree with the last comment. There is more to law.

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  • I was a trainee at a firm that was intervened, luckily I managed to get taken on at another firm, but what really struck me was the lack of help from the SRA.
    Apparently the Bar has a system to help pupil barristers complete their training if a chambers closes down. From what I am told this involves putting them in contact with chambers where they can complete their training.
    Given the current economic climate, the high number of firms going under, and the amount of Trainees who are going to have their careers ruined, is it not time for the SRA to do something similar?

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  • Re the above comment.
    No it is not time for the SRA to do anything.
    Due to the supply demand imbalance law is a high risk career. If you choose to take that risk then you should bear the consequences if it goes wrong.
    The real solution is for the Labour market to adjust so that there is a sensible balance between the supply and demand for lawyers.
    At the moment there are far too many lawyers and in that sense there seems little point in continuing to train more!
    Glad you sorted out a training position but the real test is whether there is a job for you when you are no longer cheap labour.

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