A law firm that used to make trainees pay for law school is now covering the cost of GDL and LPC fees

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By Thomas Connelly on

Partners at Fladgate flip broke students some cash — will other firms outside the City follow?


Specialist commercial and private client outfit Fladgate has decided to follow the example of global megafirms and cover the cost of students’ Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees, Legal Cheek can reveal.

Like many so-called West End firms operating in more niche practice areas outside the corporate top tier, Fladgate — based a stone’s throw from Lincoln’s Inn Fields — has traditionally required its future solicitors to self-fund law school.

But recognising the spiralling cost of legal education — which now sees students lumbered with tuition fee debt of £40,000 to £50,000, plus tens of thousands more in living expense debt — Fladgate has decided to overhaul this policy.

Alongside covering students’ fees, the firm will offer them interest free maintenance loans of up to £6,000 a year to further ease the financial burden.

With Fladgate employing ten trainees — and offering five training contracts each year — this is a significant development for students looking to train outside the City of London.

Currently, with some London providers charging in excess of £10,000 for the GDL and as much as £15,000 for the LPC, wannabe lawyers often have to rule out their preferred firms because they do not provide financial assistance.

The hope is that other similar sized firms will follow suit.

Fladgate has revealed this undertaking in the wake of a buoyant financial year. Profit per equity partner was boosted by 17% to £630,000 in 2014-15, while the firm’s income rose by 14% to £37 million over the same period.

The aim is for the extra cash chucked graduate recruitment’s way to open the door to a more diverse range of candidates.

This year, Fladgate is recruiting for training contracts commencing in September 2017 and 2018. The West End outfit will then revert to a City-style recruitment model, filling trainee vacancies two years in advance on an annual basis.