Jobless Graduates Left At Whim Of Law Firms’ Make-It-Up-As-You-Go-Along Recruitment Procedures

Last month Kearns Solicitors placed an advert in Counsel magazine seeking LPC and BPTC graduates to work as “court advocates”. Applicants who got through the CV and cover letter sift were invited to complete a gruelling four-page test – available here – within seven days.

When a Bar graduate (who contacted me anonymously last week) completed the test – and passed – she got this response…

Dear X,

Many thanks for submitting your legal assessment, which you duly passed and for indicating your interest in joining our panel of advocates.

Unfortunately, we have sufficient advocates to take up the volume of instructions we receive to attend hearings for that area.

Under the circumstances, we regret that we are unable to take your application further at this stage.

Why have the candidate do the test when there were no jobs available in the vicinity of the large city where she lives?

Over to Kearns Solicitors senior partner Robert Kearns:

“We take the point and will make sure that we check the home address on CVs in future and let potential advocates know if we are likely to have sufficient cover in that area,” he told Legal Cheek.

Surprisingly, there’s nothing to stop law firms from acting carelessly towards graduates as the protection of the legal profession’s regulators doesn’t extend to cover those without pupillages or training contracts – hence the legality of the infamous Aston Carter pay-£9K-to-be-a-paralegal scheme.

“I am afraid that we have no powers to interfere,” a spokesperson from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) explained to me, adding: “Until individuals obtain a training contract, they do not fall within our remit.” A representative from the Bar Council confirmed that they are similarly restricted in their ability to offer assistance.

4 Responses to “Jobless Graduates Left At Whim Of Law Firms’ Make-It-Up-As-You-Go-Along Recruitment Procedures”

  1. Xbox

    I’ve heard of more heinous crimes. At least theyll keep her CV on file. Youth of today. Lazy, whingeing lot.

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  2. anon

    Wake up, guys.

    This firm doesn’t appear to actually conduct litigation or practice law. All they appear to do is farm out cut-priced agency advocates.

    Have you looked at their prices? £75 for an application? To read, prep, travel & appear. £75?! How much of that do you think you’ll see? £50? £25? That puts trainee burger-flippers at McDonald’s in a higher income bracket than you.

    I know graduates are desperate and will try anything – anything – to get some experience – but honestly, guys – get some self-respect.

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  3. The Devil's Advocate

    I actually think the work provided by companies such as Kearns is excellent advocacy work for those without pupillage. The pay itself actually gives you more than many pupillages would offer and you get much more court experience than many of those in pupillage. The problem here isn’t the pay or the work provided. It’s the way Kearns have gone about dealing with the above application. This is unacceptable! If truth be told Kearns do not have the best reputation in this industry as it is. Rather than having a ‘grapes are sour’ attitude by blaming the work and pay, criticism must be given on their frankly opaque application process. I’m surprised the law society and bar council have said they cannot do something about this as to my understanding anyone offering legal services such as Kearns are answerable to the Bar Council and SRA. This is the same for any BVC/BPTC graduate as they are still members of the bar and therefore answerable to the Bar Council.

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  4. anon

    People need to be better informed. My advice to new practitioners is to avoid Kearns entirely. I did quite a lot of work for them early on. After paying for fuel and running a car I certainly didn’t make anything. Kearns is an agency construct used by Santander-Inter Alpha Group to restrict fees to virtually nothing across the board for their necessary and entirely standard litigation work. People who aren’t familiar with them may not be aware but it is through Kearns that the banks and the oligarchs who control and profit from their activities get to have the legal consequences of their operations provided by entrants to the legal profession for virtually nothing on the basis that they really ought to be paying for or subsidising the ‘experience’ that they are so graciously being provided with. A significant part of their operations are provided for in this way. Kearns also get given some other instructions from sizeable regional solicitors firms e.g. Bond Pearce (and others), I believe because those firms are essentially required to use Kearns by the banks (whom they are very much vying for the work of) et al to make it dirt cheap for them to use lawyers (a kind of anti-competitive price control by masonic decree/diktat). Of course the Kearns construct allows for wholesale exploitation which is what happens. What little they pay certainly fails to reach the minimum wage on any analysis. Basically the same oligarchs who manufacture money and award themselves with most of it, use Kearns to strictly limit what they have to reqlinquish control of to fund their operations. Put quite simply it is a rip off and best avoided. I decided I wasnt going to be forced to subsidise multi-trillionaires and I suggest that you reach the same conclusion. You wont read this coming from any so called QC in London. Similarly the politicians and regulators are all owned by these banksters. I wanted to share my experience so that others aren’t exploited in the same way and so that people are better informed.

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