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Worried Legal Practice Course (LPC) students have said they would reject any offers to defer training contracts because many are scared that firms will fail to honour job offers as the recession deepens.
One LPC student, who is due to start her training contract in September, told Lawyer2B.com that if her firm did want her to delay her start date she would want at least 17,000, the equivalent of half her potential first years salary.
It would be nice to have the time off to do other things but I would be too scared that the firm wouldnt go ahead with its offer of a training contract if I was away. I would say it would rather be like out of sight, out of mind, she said.
Meanwhile, another LPC student claimed that due to adverse market conditions he did not think future trainees are in a very strong negotiating position when it comes to start dates.
Simmons & Simmons and Newcastle-based firms Muckle and Ward Hadaway are so far the only firms to have delayed training contract start dates for their future joiners. However, as economic conditions continue to deteriorate it is expected that more firms will follow suit as was the case during the dotcom crash.
But not all prospective trainees would be unhappy about the offer of an extended holiday. One LPC student said: If there isnt enough work around then you really have to question if your training is going to be good enough. I would much rather do something else than sit around twiddling my thumbs for a year.
However, CMS Cameron McKennas graduate recruitment partner Simon Pilcher has remained bullish about the volume of chargeable work trainees might expect to see pass across their desk.
I cant foresee any immediate problem in relation to the amount of work available to trainees, he claimed.
We're confident that there are structures in place to ensure that work is delegated and any concerns can be addressed by trainee reps. We doubt that well get to the stage that trainees get pushed, beyond their own personal commitments, into more pro bono work or other activities to make up any shortfall.
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