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CMS breaks silence on training contract deferrals… two weeks after Legal Cheek broke the story

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Firm denies it has upped compensation payments in wake of online backlash

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CMS Cameron McKenna has finally broken its silence on claims it’s offering its future trainees thousands of pounds in compensation to voluntarily defer their start dates.

Legal Cheek broke the story two weeks ago when we revealed the corporate giant — currently in the process of merging with City duo Nabarro and Olswang — could not accommodate all the trainees due to start at the firm next year. It’s understood around 90 trainee solicitors have been offered training contracts for 2017 but, according to our spies, there’s only space for 60.

When Legal Cheek — which is read by the people affected by the decision — contacted CMS at the time, the firm declined to either confirm or deny the deferrals. Now, a fortnight later, it has finally piped up and issued a comment.

In a press release received by the likes of Legal Business, Legal Week and The Lawyer, CMS managing partner Stephen Millar said:

We are delighted to honour all training contracts and we aim to do so in a way which ensures the best possible experience for all during their training contract, and the broadest possible spectrum of opportunities upon qualification. We are very willing and able to accommodate all future trainees within the intake they originally planned to join.

It is also now being reported that the firm is offering £10,000 to its trainees if they agree to defer until February 2018 — about £2,000 higher than our, very reliable, sources told us. Has CMS upped its compensation payment in view of the scorn piled on by Legal Cheek commenters?

When we contacted CMS about this, a spokeswoman insisted “the payment has never been upped”. As for the silence, she said:

We do not comment on market rumour. As I’m sure you can appreciate our priority is to communicate to the trainees first before our official confirmation to the press.

29 Comments

Anonymous

I really feel sorry for all the trainees when qualification comes around…. There’ll literally be no places available!

(26)(0)

Anonymous

Big deal, they’ll just jump ship. Who in their right mind would want to stay there as NQ post-merger anyway…

(3)(0)

Anonymous

‘Has CMS upped its compensation payment in view of the scorn piled on by Legal Cheek commenters?’

No. No it hasn’t.

(14)(1)

Anonymous

The fact that the press release went to other legal news outlets not LC would back this up.

(1)(4)

Anonymous

Hello Alex.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I still don’t see the problem here. People were whinging about being unable to live in London on £10k but that’s not the point.

Future CMS trainees: take the money. Go feck off somewhere cheap like Vietnam and find a bar job or something. You’ll have the time of your life. Go and work for an NGO in Africa. Teach English for a year in Korea. There’s so much you can do before starting a TC. If you’re just finishing uni/LPC, this is an amazing opportunity.

Work as an in house paralegal somewhere if you must be in London – you can earn 40k if you find a good position, and add on your tax free 10k on top of that.

Seriously – I took three years to work overseas before starting a TC and it was absolutely amazing. You don’t need to dive into the City. It will still be here when you come back.

(58)(2)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(23)

Anonymous

40k as a paralegal?! Straight out of uni?!

(18)(2)

Anonymous

I had a year or so of experience when I was making that, but yes if you have a TC and have a year to wait then there are many many paralegal positions offering that and more. Some of my friends earned 50k+ due to working overtime at MC firms as paralegals. The going rate is £15/hour at a big corporate, bank or MC.

(3)(5)

Inside info

Irwin Mitchell offers their paralegals up to £100/minute for sharing an office with the obese, extremely flatulent partners from their Newcastle office.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

£40k as a paralegal right after the LPC? Which planet do you live on?

More like £25k for a cubicle at Pinsents and 50+ hour weeks.

(32)(3)

Anonymous

See my other reply. If you have a TC then any good recruiter can find you a paralegal job for £15/hour, plus overtime if you’re lucky. It can easily come out at 40k or more.

(4)(7)

Anonymous

Yeah, I’m sure mate.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

…ok. I know a lot of paralegals get less but I’m not making it up. Future trainees can command about £15/hour paralegalling plus overtime. I did it myself and so did about seven or eight of my friends before we started our TCs.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

£15/hour still works out to about £30k gross, assuming it was a standard 35-hour a week fixed contract. Even if you worked an additional 15-20 hours overtime every single week (which is not guaranteed), I still struggle to see how one would pull in £50k gross.

I’m sure it’s possible at certain shops (Skadden, Simpson Thacher etc.), but unfortunately for most paralegals out there, the standard rate for someone fresh out of law school seems to be £25-27.5 at best, with or without a TC. Then there’s also those dire ISDA negotiation gigs for like £22k pro rata…

(11)(0)

Anonymous

I went through three paralegal jobs after I was offered my TC. Spent several months at a silver circle firm and was paid £15/h and £30/h after 17:30. Spent a further month at a US firm and was paid £25/h and £35/h after 18:00. Easily pulling in £1100+ a week after tax. It’s stupid how much money you can make once you have a TC and a good recruiter.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Get a paralegal job at a US litigation firm in London – I was paid £30/hr plus time and a half after seven hours billed in the day. Far more than I’m on as a trainee!

Anonymous

This is so true. People couldn’t be in a better position at this point, a year to do whatever you want with a £10,000 grant, with a training contract to look forward to after that. I’d take that offer straight away

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Same. Just think of the mountains of delightful South-East Asian poon one could get through in a year…

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Bizarre statement from CMS. They admit the “rumour” is a fact then claim they don’t comment on rumour

(6)(1)

Paralegus

I earn £100K as a paralegal 2 years out of Uni.

(6)(1)

Aberwystyth Llb

So when I inevitably get my TC with CmS it will be deferred for a year? Bother.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Isn’t it hilarious that’s Legal Cheek thinks it’s important enough to have any influence on law firms and their decisions

(13)(3)

CMS NQ

It’s utterly preposterous. I showed this to a member of HR this morning, she so hard she farted.

Noyce.

(3)(5)

Tyrion

I see the drafting at CMS hasn’t changed.

(21)(0)

Anonymous

Bantz.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Lol wut. 😂

(0)(1)

Anonymous

butthurt CMS personell lelz

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Thank the lord for LC breaking this news.

The market sleeps while LC leads the way in journalism

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.