Fresh blow for trainees as A&O shuts up shop early

Prospects for aspiring trainees have taken a turn for the worse with Allen & Overy (A&O) becoming the latest firm to close its ­applications before the traditional July deadline.

A&O, like most major firms, would have ordinarily recruited law undergraduates this September for training contracts due to start in September 2011 and March 2012.

This year A&O expects to fill vacancies through the combination of non-law ­students who have already accepted offers, future trainees who apply to defer, and offers made to summer vacation students.

A&O is also only planning to hire around 105 trainees a year from September 2011 – a drop from the 120 it currently recruits across its September and March intakes.

Meanwhile, Clifford Chance and Linklaters are reviewing training contract vacancies after both asked trainees to push back their start dates.

A Linklaters’ spokesperson said: “The numbers we look to hire this year for the 2011-12 intake are still under review, but we would anticipate there being a ­limited reduction, at least to accommodate the effect of the deferrals.”

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is also reviewing vacancy numbers, though it is the only magic circle firm not to have deferred future joiners.