CC comes to rescue of last two City-based Halliwells trainees

Clifford Chance has offered training contracts to the two London-based first-year trainees left jobless after Halliwells went into administration last month.

Clifford Chance has offered training contracts to the two London-based first-year trainees left jobless after Halliwells went into administration last month.

The firm took on the pair after a ex-Halliwells partner got in touch with a contact at a third firm, who then contacted Clifford Chance head of HR development Tony King. The trainees will start their second-year contracts in the autumn.

The former Halliwells partner said: “If you look at their CVs, these would have been people the magic circle would have looked at taking anyway.”

Before going into administration Halliwells had three trainees working in its London office. Only one of these was among the 12 lawyers taken on by HBJ Gateley Wareing in the capital, leaving two more looking for a new home.

“The whole process [of administration] has been disastrous for the trainees,” said the former partner. “It’s part of our job to look after the people we bring in.”

The news comes after Bristol firm Burges Salmon launched a dedicated site for students due to start training contracts at Halliwells to match them with firms (The Lawyer, 24 August).

So far 16 firms have registered for the scheme, with a further 14 saying they are planning on registering before the 13 August deadline for the first wave of applications. The list includes magic circle, national and regional firms.

Burges Salmon senior partner Stephen McNulty, the architect behind the initiative, said: “Ironically it looks like they [the trainees] might have a bit of choice.”

Of the 17 trainees due to start contracts at Halliwells in September, 14 have registered. A further 34 students were offered contracts for the 2011 intakes.