Draining training

Law firms are cutting back on the number of trainees they take, but the throng of wannabe lawyers out there shows no signs of abating.

We’re not suggesting that the situation is so serious as to foster Hollywood-style shattered dreams, where wide-eyed hopefuls move to the City with nothing but a pocketful of hopes and end up debasing themselves just to make rent – but, it’s a circumstance that’s setting a lot of people up for disappointment, particularly in the face of spiralling university fees.

So it’s with mixed feelings that The Lawyer today reports the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s decision to back Acculaw’s revolutionary training model for aspiring lawyers, whereby the company will recruit its own trainees and farm them out to City firms (see story).

Ostensibly, anything that gives aspiring lawyers a new route into the profession is a good thing, but there are concerns. First, what happens when trainees qualify? Second, what kind of experience will Acculaw trainees get if they are just sent to firms to deal with overflow?

Third, despite commercial firms’ efforts on social mobility (see story), will Acculaw’s scheme simply create a two-tier trainee system?


Also on TheLawyer.com Herbert Smith dreams of better weather ahead as the
firm reveals ’Project Blue Sky’ – a review aimed at addressing the firm’s flagging corporate practice, which missed budget by £20m.

Foot Anstey gears up for its Bristol launch with the unveiling of its partner line-up; Ashurst faces a bumpy road down under as it moves closer to a tie-up with Oz firm Blake Dawson; and it’s handbags at the ready as Stephenson Harwood licks its wounds after being ditched as adviser to the ousted chairman of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, in favour of Addleshaw Goddard.