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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.