Linklaters has broken ranks and pulled out of a programme aimed at helping cash-strapped university law departments to turn its attention to more “sophisticated” initiatives.
The firm has given notice to the City Solicitors Educational Trust (CSET) that it intends to stop its annual donations of around £75,000. This decision is a huge blow for the CSET, as Linklaters is one of the founding law firms that established the trust in 1989. Other members include the rest of the magic circle and other City notables such as Ashurst, Herbert Smith and Slaughter and May. Law firms must give the CSET four years’ notice, so Linklaters’ involvement will not end until 2008.
Linklaters community investment partner Christopher Coombe pledged that the money the firm saves by resigning from the trust would be pumped into other programmes.
“What we’ve seen in the way in which university and graduate funding is working, is that people are becoming sophisticated about it. We’re looking forward to enhancing what we’re doing with other programmes,” said Coombe.
An example of the new breed of programme is the sponsorship of ‘Young Graduates in Law’, a Global Graduates initiative that helps A-level students from backgrounds not traditionally associated with law to enter the profession.
CSET administrator Michael Maunsell would only say he was “very disappointed”.
Of late, Linklaters has favoured unilateral working in the field of legal education. The firm was the first to pull out of the City Eight consortium to create an individual bespoke LPC.