Norton Rose is set to axe two of its six trainee seats, including its compulsory international seat, as part of a restructuring of the way it runs its programme for prospective lawyers.
The firm, which previously offered trainees six four-month seats over two years, confirmed it had rejigged its scheme to cut it down to four seats covering six months each.
The revamped scheme allows trainees to spend time in corporate, banking and dispute resolution as well as giving them a fourth option covering an international office, a client secondment or another spell in a London practice group.
Training contract participants previously undertook two banking seats, a corporate seat, a disputes seat, an international seat and an optional seat, although there was some flexibility.
The changes affect trainees starting at the firm this autumn and not those who are already on the scheme.
Norton Rose has also changed its trainee intake cycle. Trainees will commence their induction at the firm in March or September and their inaugural seats in April or October.
The firm previously took on trainees for an induction period each May and September, with the first seats starting in June and October. It moved to this system in response to the introduction of the accelerated legal practice certificate (LPC) after previously taking on trainees in January and September. In 2010-11 it operated an interim arrangement, taking on trainees in September 2010 and January and May 2011.
Current and future trainees were told about the latest changes today, with the firm planning to hold a series of sessions for future trainees to address questions.
Norton Rose recruitment head Sarah Kelly said in a statement: “In the last three years the business has seen a great deal of change and growth. Following an extensive review of our training contract programme we felt the time was right to make some positive changes to reflect that.
“The changes bring the London office into line with the training contracts in much of the rest of the group. It also allows trainees to spend more time in each seat, gaining a deeper understanding and experience of our core practice areas.
“The way we structure our training programme is hugely important to us, and we are keen to ensure trainees are provided with the best experience and opportunities possible.”
The change follows the firm’s decision to allow trainees to spend time in the Sydney and Perth offices following its 2010 tie-up with Australia’s Deacons (13 July 2012).