Training contract deferrals force Generation Y to learn patience

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  • It's amazing how times have changed - before the downturn future trainees would've been begging firms to delay their training contracts - now firms are having to pay them to defer.

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  • There are still firms that haven't deferred trainees, is it just a matter of time or are some firms taking a different stance?

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  • I am due to commence a TC this September with a major commercial firm. Last contact I had with them was a couple of months ago - should I be concerned? I have to move across the country for this job and I don't want to put a deposit on a flat only to find out there is no job to go to!

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  • It is important to note that for those students who are providing all of their own financial support, conducting the LPC (and the GDL) particularly in London is an expensive business, and living costs are often not met by the maintenance grants provided by the future employer. The students then take out graduate loans on the basis of commencing work immediately after the LPC- and not meeting repayments could be very detrimental to future trainees- bankruptcy obviously ruins their cances of ever practising as a solicitor.
    Obviously people will retort "get a job" but with the incentives to defer seeming to require the outlay of money by doing community programmes/travel or languages where does this leave the more unfortunate poorer future trainees who will have if offered £5,000 the grant sum of approx £420 per month to live on with repayments of up to £250 per month on loans- £250 a month doesn't go very far.
    It is a different world in the recruitment market right now and current graduate are facing uncertain prospects, but have a more realistic idea as to job prospects and are less likely to incur debt in the current climate. For those people recruited 2 years before their training contract is to commence, who have incurred debt in honour of their side of the bargain, law firms ought to cough up. All the current offers do is illustrate once more that the city legal profession is much more accessible by those students with money behind them.

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  • Many firms are still proceeding with their commencement dates as planned as they may still have the need for the trainees. Mnay of the firms making deferrals now are also the firms that would have taken on exceptionally large numbers of trainees so they need to balance that out a bit.
    Nobody though seems to have addressed the fact that many of these firms are still recruiting for the dates when the deferring trainees are starting, obviously something will need to be done as the point of deferrals was to balance intakes and it wouldn't be in anyone's interests to have a new expectation of applying for a training contract in a certain year knowing you'll be deferred automatically.

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  • I agree with the anonymous poster at 1:58pm.
    As the first lawyer in my family and someone who comes from a disabled single parent family background I have found the current situation with regards training contracts extremely difficult.
    After leaving Cambridge with a 2:i in a non law subject I decided to take out a professional studies loan to finance my GDL in the hope that I would be able to recoup my outlay when I landed a training contract.
    I now face an uncertain future as recruitment levels are slashed to accomodate deferred September 2010 trainees. I have already had to turn down my LPC place for this September due to lack of funds. I am hoping to be able to paralegal for a year before recommencing my studies but that market is also suffering so I may struggle to find a job.
    Frankly I find this talk of being an impatient generation Y deeply insulting. I have worked extremely hard to get where I am only to be left high and dry by a financial crisis that was not of my generation's making.
    For all the talk the profession makes about diversity it is the well off and well connected who will be best placed to ride out this period. Nepotism has always been a factor in this industry, I am under no illusions regarding that, but as the market has contracted it has become more of a factor.
    My resolve to become a solicitor has not weakened and I will continue to fight tooth and nail to get a training contract - whether that be this year or next.

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  • I too find this rather insulting - having spent two years searching for the all important training contract and finally securing one with a big firm I now face the difficult decision of whether or not to defer. I have spent the past year and a half planning my life and working full time hours in a temporary job in order to save enough money to move across the country to start my LPC and training contract, only to be told out of the blue that I may have to wait another year. It is all very well that the firms are offering compensation to defer, but realistically to those of us who aren't lucky enough to have a large bank balance or parents who can support us, the sums offered by these firms simply aren't enough to fly off around around the world or spend the year doing charity work. I am NOT suggesting that more money should be offered, simply that if firms can look so far ahead in their recruitment campaigns then why is it we are only being notified of these deferrals at the last minute? We have kept our side of the bargain, now its time for the firms to keep theirs.

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  • I would love to see the partners and HR managers that agreed to offer a £5000 payment or less try and survive for a year with that amount of money. Wake up law firms!!! There are no temporary jobs for graduates without recent work experience. The weak sterling means that travelling is very expensive in most places. Banks will not provide loans for postgraduate studies. What exactly so you expect future trainees to do?! We do not all have parents that can afford to support us!
    Well done to those law firms offering a sensible sum of money along with innovative incentives to ensure that trainees use their year productively.

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  • Stacking shelves is very fulfilling and allows you to gain commercial awareness.

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  • It would be interesting to hear if firms other than the magic circle and large firms are defering. Smaller firms may be able to cope. Any insights will be carefully noted.
    Very Aged lawyer who does not have to worry about training contracts

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