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Another firm closes doors to wannabe trainees who haven’t done its vac scheme

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In a tough graduate job market, Mishcon de Reya has calculated that it can afford to make all new recruits do a placement at the firm

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The trend among big law firms to hire growing proportions of trainees through their vacation schemes has been taken a step further by Mishcon de Reya — after it announced that 100% of its new graduate recruits will come from this route.

The ambitious West End firm — which is offering 12 training contracts (TCs) in this recruitment round, placing it at 52nd place in the Legal Cheek Most List for most TCs offered — will begin this new approach immediately.

Those who impress during Mishcon de Reya’s spring and summer vac schemes, and are similarly impressed by the firm, will start as trainees in 2017.

The only other big firms to operate like this that Legal Cheek is aware of are Nabarro, which offers 25 training contracts each year, and Skadden, which offers 10 places annually. However, privately graduate recruiters at many of the top 60 firms admit that most of their training contract positions have often been filled by the close of their summer vac schemes.

This means that, in reality, students who have not done firm vac schemes and apply in the days before the July 31 TC deadline face longer odds than they often realise. In this sense, the approach of Mishcon and Nabarro is at least honest, stopping wannabes wasting their time with last minute applications.

Mishcon graduate recruitment adviser Charlotte Lynch disagreed with Legal Cheek‘s theory that the initiative was a symptom of a job market power imbalance in law firms’ favour, arguing that it was simply designed to ensure candidates had a good understanding of the firm before they applied. She told us:

“We don’t want to exclude people and ultimately we think this approach is mutually beneficial, in the sense that it is a gamble to join a firm when you have only experienced an assessment day [rather than a full vac scheme].”

Lynch added that “an exception will be made” for students who face extenuating circumstances that make the completion of a vacation scheme not viable for them. Such instances will be assessed “on a case-by-case basis”.

Further Reading

To see where Mischon de Reya ranks against other top 60 firms in terms of salary, diversity and numbers of training contracts offered, consult the Legal Cheek Most List.

Mischon de Reya [Legal Cheek]