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Simmons & Simmons has become the first major City law firm to admit to deferring the start date of its March trainee solicitor intake.
Seventeen trainees were all asked if they wanted to delay their start dates by 12 months to March 2010 and two accepted.
A Simmons spokesperson conceded that there was a financial element to the offer made to the students but declined to disclose details.
"Given the current economic climate, the March 2009 intake were asked if they'd like to defer their start date by 12 months. There was no compulsion to do so, however. We have had a few take us up on that offer, including one pro bono arrangement which is being arranged with the help of the firm," explained the spokesperson.
So far the only reports of trainees being asked to delay start dates have related to Newcastle-based firms Muckle and Ward Hadaway.
Deferring trainee start dates was talent mangement tool used during the dotcom crash when KPMGs former legal arm KLegal gave trainees 2,500 to defer for a year. This was followed by Linklaters in 2003 when the magic circle firm exchanged trainees one-year deferral for 14,250 equivalent to six months salary.
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