Too many candidates

On 19 may, The Lawyer highlighted a very real problem for would-be trainees and for those in law firms who recruit them.

There are too many candidates for too few places. In a medium-sized Middlesex practice I regularly reject over 400 applications for two places.

Firms in our situation have to apply some sort of criterion like the "2.1 and above" rule, which means that perfectly acceptable candidates don't stand a chance. I don't like doing it, but I have no alternative. I could fill our vacancies with 2.1s and above from Oxbridge without looking further. I won't, but the possibility exists.

Does the root of the problem lie in higher education, where establishments under pressure to raise money through large intakes are taking on increasing numbers of students on CPE and LPC courses at the same time as the job market is declining? Or does it lie further back, with schools and universities advising students to go into law when it is no longer a viable choice? How long until we reach saturation point?

There are firms who exploit their trainees and paralegals simply because they are vulnerable. This does not reflect well on the profession – which needs all the good publicity it can get.

Ghislaine Davies-Goff, marketing manager, Turbervilles with Nelson Cuff