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City law firm breaks silence over mysterious pupillage award process

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International niche litigation player Kobre & Kim denies it attempted to breach the spirit of bar’s recruitment rules

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The London office of an international niche litigation practice has broken its silence over the status of its controversial pupillage place.

Questions were being asked earlier in the week as to whether Kobre & Kim was going to interview external applicants for the post. And the firm now maintains that a fully transparent recruitment process is in place.

Grumblings on internet message board The Student Room suggested wannabe barristers had met a brick wall when chasing updates on their applications.

One student posited the theory that the firm had advertised the place on the Pupillage Gateway simply to comply with the letter of regulatory rules. The Bar Standards Board insists that pupillage places be openly advertised, but The Student Room commentators alleged the firm intended to award the place to one of its existing paralegal staff.

And despite Legal Cheek’s repeated efforts to obtain comment, the firm stayed schtum on the point.

Until, that is, 24 hours after Legal Cheek’s article was published. Then Kobre & Kim’s London PR agency was wheeled out to insist that The Student Room commentators had got the wrong end of the stick.

Legal Cheek asked for an update from the firm’s London office managing partner — Kobre & Kim is US based, with other international outposts in Hong Kong and the Cayman and British Virgin Islands.

However, instead the firm produced a statement from its New York-based director of business development, Melissa Seitter:

Kobre & Kim is arranging interviews for a pupillage place and these will take place in early August emails are going to all applicants this week as planned. The full recruitment process will be completed by the end of August and the candidates will be informed by the first week in September on whether they have secured the pupil spot.

Seitter continued:

We are confident that we have complied with the requirements of the process as set by the Bar Standards Board and responded to follow-up queries received from applicants.

Previously:

Spotlight on London niche litigation law firm over alleged possible pupillage rule breach [Legal Cheek]