TLT eschews conduct code to bag trainees ahead of September deadline

Bristol-based TLT Solicitors has defended its controversial decision to offer training contracts to applicants ahead of the usual 1 September deadline.

The firm has so far made seven offers to applicants from its four week-long Easter and summer vacation schemes and has given each of them just seven days to make their decisions compared to the recommended four weeks.

The firm’s HR director Graham de Guise said: “The reason we do this is that we want to secure the best possible candidates and don’t want to have to wait five or six months to make an offer. Candidates who feel they can’t make their decision within the week obviously get an extension.”

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has a voluntary code, which states law firms should only make offers to penultimate year students after 1 September and give them four weeks to make a decision.

One graduate recruitment manager branded TLT’s decision to make offers before the deadline as “underhand”.

“It’s outrageous,” she said. “They’re backing students into a corner, especially in the current market when training contracts are hard to get. They’re taking advantage of students’ desperation.”

But Guise defended the move. “We’ve opted out of the code as it’s voluntary. We’ve always felt that it’s unfair that some candidates hold onto multiple offers and therefore reduce the opportunities for the rest,” claimed Guise.

Meanwhile, TLT has become the latest firm to announce that it will be retaining 100 per cent of its newly qualified solicitors this year.