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It's a New Day and a New Start

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This week sees the new intake of trainee solicitors join us for the start of their 2 year training contracts.  This is an exciting time for them and I never cease to be impressed by the enthusiasm and energy with which they start work.  I always tell our new trainee solicitors that it is a proud moment for them but at the same time they need to seize the opportunities with which they are presented because they will never again be afforded the chance to sample up to four different areas of law to see which best suits them for a future career.

Over recent years I have also been impressed by the unceasing optimism of those individuals who choose to pursue a career in the law.  If it was not competitive enough (and extremely expensive) to secure a training contract when times were good, it has become even harder now that firms are cutting back on recruitment and deferring trainees who are due to join them already.  We have taken a different view and see reducing trainee numbers as a potentially false economy.  Just as in previous recessions firms have reduced trainee intake only to find that when conditions improve they have a dearth of qualified staff in key disciplines (usually commercial property where recruitment seems particularly sensitive to the property market) so there is a real risk that firms will make the same mistake again and when recruitment of external candidates carries an inherent risk of the unknown, we have decided to keep trainee numbers at historic levels.

I am not so old that I cannot remember my first day as a trainee solicitor (actually I am old enough to admit I was called an Articled Clerk). Times have changed now; trainee solicitors are no longer obliged to do their principal’s gardening (one of my colleagues) or organise their principal’s Friday afternoon golf trips (me).  Some people (probably those who were on the receiving end of those jobs) will call this progress; that trainees are there to learn how to be a solicitor not for these kind of character-building activities.  Others might say trainees need to experience every aspect of a law firm if they are going to be partners in the future.  I suspect there is a grain of truth in both.

Paul.

Posted: 03/09/2012 09:05:47
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