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I only recently signed a Linklaters training contract... should I be worried?

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  • Job

    I think you're probably safe. They're cutting the partnership because they want to increase profit among the equity partners, and as you're not an equity partner, you won't be detracting from PEP anyway (unless you're a really useless employee!)

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  • Linklaters Trainee

    Although I'm now a qualified lawyer, I can sympathise with your concerns as I remember searching for training contracts in the midst of the dot.com downturn.

    Firstly, you should remember that you've managed to bag yourself a training contract at Linklaters. So, compared to many of your contemporaries, you're already in a strong position.

    Even if the **** does hit the fan (which looks likely), and trainee retention rates do fall dramatically (which doesn't always follow), with Linklaters on your CV, you'll not be struggling for a job.

    What you should be most concerned with is the quality of your training. If firms are struggling to get the work in, senior fee earners may become more guarded in how they delegate their work, and you may find yourself getting less experience than otherwise.

    Some firms may start to consider the option of offering trainees inducements to defer their training contracts. Whether you fancy this will depend on your personal circumstances - frankly, as an undergraduate, getting a wad of cash to sit on a beach for 6/12 months could be considered a bit of a result.

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  • Personally...

    I'd be worried joining any firm at the moment. If they're going to get rid of anyone at the junior level, it seem logical to me that they would start with the people who haven't even arrived yet.

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  • Linklaters Training Contract

    If you've signed the contract (depending on the terms) then you are probably OK. I agree entirely with the comments posted by Anonymous at 16.07 but would add one note of caution - be very careful about whether you accept a deferral: you're going to be a lawyer so think like one and request a signed irrevocable guarantee that they won't pull your contract if you do defer.

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  • Trainee contracts

    The Magic Circle have shown they are looking to the future with thier current strategies: trainees recruited this year will be associates when the markets return. If I was lucky enough to have a training contract to start at Linklaters I wouldn't have any concerns. If anyhting the firm will being doing more to look after the next intake.

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  • Wads of cash

    Do firms need to offer wads of cash in order to persuade trainees to defer? I know some law students who have had their training contracts deferred or revoked, and none of them have mentioned any incentives.

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  • In response

    mhh, I work in legal recruitment have had many similar questions from concerned candidates over the last few months. Bear in mind that by the time you qualify the financial markets should have rallied and the legal landscape will (we all hope!) look much better than it does now. Also, many senior figures in City firms have stressed that the unfortunate redundancies which are being made won’t generally affect trainees as badly; partners are keen to avoid taking hasty action now, only to have a dearth of bright, well-trained young lawyers when the market turns and the work begins to flow in higher volumes again.
    Remember too that quality will always out. You’re good enough to have been offered a great training contract, and as long as you’re keen and make yourself visible by working hard and putting yourself forward for as much interesting work as you can, then you’ll be giving yourself the best possible chance. Even in a downturn there are firms recruiting top quality lawyers; there may be fewer options than in recent years, but despite all the doom and gloom we’re still recruiting for interesting roles with top quality firms.

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  • No need to panic

    I think you're worrying over nothing. I can't imagine any magic circle firm cancelling training contracts - unless of course things get really, bad - but if that's the case then like all of us they'll be much bigger issues to worry about. I'm assuming that you won't be starting your TC for at least another two years - by then things should've improved.

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  • Not sure

    You probably shouldn't be worried - at this stage all firms are saying that they still believe they need to invest in their futures, that by the time the new trainees finish their courses and actually do their training things should have improved significantly so they will absolutely need as many, if not more, trainees as they have always taken. However, these same firms - Linklaters included - have been going on for ages about how important their people are. Then they turn round and make a load of them redundant because, it seems, maintaining profits at ludicrously high levels is a sign of success these days.
    It's unlikely that Linklaters will renege on a contract once it has been signed, but it is wholly possible that the firm could try to defer your start date. I'd try hard to get a straight answer out of them over that. it looks likely that firms could start asking trainees to defer starting their contracts because there isn't going to be enough work for them to be trained with.

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  • Big picture

    I don't think you should worry particularly about your training contract per se, but you should definitely worry about what it will be like being a lawyer in the future. As someone else said, PEP rules the waves nowadays. Firms are only just starting to show a new ruthlessness in trying to keep PEP where they want it to be, regardless of the impact measures may have on their cultures and the longer term interests of their people. This new approach will impact on everyone and will make being a lawyer an even less attractive profession than it already is.

    Another thing - if you shed 20% of partners and 10% of associates, and throw in a load of extra departures by way of natural wastage, but you don't do anything about your trainee retention rate, the dynamic changes. Senior people have to supervise (*in theory*) an ever increasing number of inexperienced people. Hardly a wise way to go in an era where *increased* risk management is needed. I cannot see how the hope that "in 2/3 years, when you qualify, the market will be better" is really a useful observation at all.

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