KLegal tells its trainees: don’t show up this year

Future trainees offered £10K to defer; McGrigors merger sparks spring clean

In the wake of this week’s redundancies, KPMG-tied law firm KLegal has offered its current crop of graduate recruits a payment of £10,000 to defer their start date. Many have taken up the offer and just six trainees will start at KLegal in the autumn.
Twenty one trainees were due to start at the London offices of KLegal in September, with a further 24 due to join the Scottish offices of McGrigor Donald. In Scotland, 15 will start as planned, while nine have accepted the £10,000 payment.
This type of one-off payment is commonly used by accountancy firms; but KLegal is believed to be the first law firm to publicly admit to using sweeteners to reduce graduate trainee numbers in a difficult economic climate.
KLegal managing partner Nick Holt said: “We recruited heavily two years ago in a different economic climate – that’s the way the curve of the recruitment market works. Post-merger, we simply have too many trainees and I didn’t want to downgrade the quality of their training.”
As revealed on www.the-lawyer.com/lawyernews last Monday (15 July), KPMG announced across-the-board staff cuts in the UK that will affect up to 700 staff.
KLegal announced its own cuts and will axe 20 fee-earners and a further 42 support staff. The fee-earners are London-based and will be culled from the corporate, banking, projects and technology departments. The secretaries and administrative staff come from London and the Scottish offices of McGrigor Donald.
Responding to the announcement last Monday, Holt blamed the economic climate and warned that partner redundancies were also planned. He refused to identify the partners concerned, but it is likely that many will come from corporate, which is one of the worst-performing departments.
One KLegal source told The Lawyer: “It’s not just the economic climate. Because of the [McGrigor Donald] merger there’s fat to trim. We’ll emerge a stronger firm.”