Slaughter and May has closed training contract applications to non-law students early while those studying law still have time to apply for a place on the firm’s 2011-12 intake.
The City law firm has confirmed to Lawyer2B.com that the number of trainees it is planning to recruit for 2011-12 will remain unchanged at approximately 95.
However, Slaughters has conceded that it has been forced to close applications from non-law students earlier than in previous years.
The firm’s executive partner Graham White told Lawyer2B.com: “The number and quality of applications we had from non-law students this year has been extraordinary.
“We’ve therefore decided to close applications from non-law students for 2011 for the moment – this is slightly earlier than in previous years. We thought it wasn’t fair to drag people through interviews knowing that we wouldn’t be able to make offers to them at the moment.”
He added: “We can’t fill all our vacancies with non-law students leaving no places for the law students who we cannot interview for the moment.”
Under Solicitors Regulation Authority rules law firms are not permitted to offer penultimate year law students training contracts until 1 September.
Similarly, Clifford Chance has stopped accepting applications from non-law students and is currently reviewing how many law students it should recruit for 2011-12.
A message on the magic circle firm’s graduate recruitment website reads: “Due to an increase in strong applications this year for training contracts we’ve come closer to filling our positions earlier than expected.
“As a result of this, we’ll no longer be running any training contract assessment centres until later this year in late August and September.”
Lovells, meanwhile, has already decided not to accept fresh applications for trainees hoping to join the firm in 2011, although the firm does still have vacancies for training contracts starting in 2012. The move follows the firm’s decision to defer the start dates of its Autumn 2009 and Spring 2010 trainee intakes.