Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Selling Training Contracts and Work Experience - is it legally and morally acceptable?

We have recently heard about a firm in the North of England offering training contracts for £20,000 and work experience for a lot less. I suspect the Law Society may have something to say if anyone ever reported the firm for doing this, but we were thinking about it from a moral standpoint.

Many years ago we were approached by a redundant manager from a large manufacturing company who had taken an LLB and LPC in his later years. He could not get anything from any law firm, which was fairly understandable as he had no experience and academic performances were not great.

This candidate came up with the idea of offering to buy the equity of a law firm. My understanding is that he was intending to purchase part of the freehold or leasehold of a law firm's building and then waive the rent over a period of time in return for the chance to do work experience and a training contract with the practice. I recall that he had a number of serious enquiries!

Even if it was legal to sell training contracts, I hope we do not go down that route as a profession. It seems that the entrance into law is so easy with every university selling LLB courses, LPC and BPTC qualifications for figures seemingly plucked from the sky, but no-one ever gives the harsh reality of how much a law student would be earning once they have qualified into any firms other than central London commercial firms.

I reckon I would have been happy to pay about £5,000 to do a 2 year training contract in a decent commercial firm. How much would you have forked out?

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, a non-practising solicitor and legal careers coach.

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