Exclusive: Linklaters and Allen & Overy go public with plan to rescue KWM trainees

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Stricken giant confirms host of other top firms also set to help rookies


Linklaters and Allen & Overy have officially announced that they will come to the rescue of trainees at King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) as the firm prepares to enter administration.

The magic circle duo are being joined by a host of other City law firms as the legal profession clubs together to look after its young — in public confirmation of the news broken by Legal Cheek on Tuesday that KWM’s trainees will be OK.

This morning a Linklaters spokesperson told us that the firm “has spoken to KWM and is offering to take on a number of trainees”.

Allen & Overy has also confirmed that official contact has been made with KWM. The firm has in the last hour issued a statement welcoming applications from KWM trainees “to the extent that they need to complete their training contracts with us”. Although “recruitment will be subject to a selection process”, A&O says that it “would like to try and support KWM trainees where possible.”

KWM has confirmed the approaches, while emphasising that many other leading firms have come forward to help, telling Legal Cheek:

The profession has responded fantastically well to this situation and we are currently in discussion with a large number of firms across the City with regard to our trainees in London.

Legal Cheek understands that no firm will take more than a “handful” of KWM trainees each, and that it is highly likely that all of the firm’s 60 trainees will find a home.

In terms of practical details, Linklaters tells us that “emails will be sent to KWM trainees inviting them to apply”, with an assessment round set to take place in the New Year. Successful candidates will join the firm in early spring.

Here is the statement in full from A&O’s graduate recruitment partner, Claire Wright:

We have had numerous approaches in recent days from KWM’s current and future trainees. We welcome applications from all these trainees to the extent that they need to complete their training contracts with us, and have contacted KWM to outline the various routes on offer. Any recruitment will be subject to a selection process, but we would like to try and support KWM trainees where possible.

No official statement has yet been made on the fate of KWM’s future trainees, who are behind current trainees in order of priority. But behind the scenes their applications are being fast-tracked and prioritised by many of the firms taking on trainees.

Yesterday King & Wood Mallesons notified the court of its intention to appoint administrators, allowing other firms to come forward and publicly offer their support to trainees, associates and support staff.


Disgusted of the Square Mile

“as the legal profession clubs together to look after its young”

Surely even a sycophantic ex-Guardian muppet like yourself can’t believe such crap?



No need to be rude


Tommy 'Wild Python' Connelly

We’re LC: rude, nasty cockblasters are an integral part of our brand.



Poor KWM trainees, how sad must they be that they have no got to complete there training contracts with Linklaters and Allen & Overy. Bet they were gutted that Irwin Mitchell haven’t offered them a place.



They still have to satisfy the requirements that MC use to recruit people so it’s not like they are getting a complete free ride..



They will get it a bit easier though.



TBF there isnt much difference between them all. All firms require top grades, unis and work experience



Apart from Irwin Mitchell. They just require a minimum or 5 gcse’s grade U-F.



I bagged a TC at DWF with a U in BTEC Flute.



Hello Katie

Tommy 'BPTC but no pupillage' Connelly

You ok hun?


I dont think anyone understands HOW MAD I WOULD BE IF I WAS A TRAINEE/FUTURE AT KWM!!
After months of applying, assessments and preparing to finally receive an offer for it now to be made redundant and for you to re-apply again to other firms!?!??! I have no idea how I would feel or do!



On the other hand, you could potentially trade up to the Magic Circle.



Potentially seems to be the key word here. Only a part of the 50-odd trainees / future trainees will bag a spot at the MC shops. The remainder might as well end up at DWF.




Good job you are never going to get a training contract anywhere then.



Trainees have a crazy level of protection compared to other graduate programmes, and nothing like this would be seen in other industries. Any firm taking on a KWM trainee should be allowed to assess them in whatever way they see fit. Just because you were given a job at one point, shouldn’t mean you are guaranteed one with another similar organisation.


KWM future trainee

no one is ‘guaranteed’ a spot at another firm you complete clown, we still have to go through the usual assessment/interview process



What about the existing MC trainees that they don’t have space for on qualification already?! They can’t even keep those they’ve recruited already. PR stunt.



How do you know they haven’t got space for them on qualification? The qualification process for anyone qualifying in Autumn 2017 onwards wouldn’t have even started yet.

Just because past retention rates haven’t been 100% doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t had the demand to keep trainees on. There’s many other factors that contribute, whether it’s because the trainees don’t want to stay, or whether too many want specific popular departments with too few vacancies, or maybe where the trainees aren’t actually very good and won’t meet the standards of an NQ.

There’s also been no suggestion these trainees will get NQ roles at the firms, just that by being taken on they will actually be allowed to formally qualify.



Also even if the KWM trainees aren’t kept on after qualification they will at least be given the chance to qualify, which is surely the point.



Is this an exclusive story or have they gone public?


KWM trainee

LC is lying again, no word of this at 10QSP.

We’re all getting royally wankered at the local Spoons and do not really care.



Glad to see the KWM head in the sand approach is passed down from partner to trainee



To the person claiming to be a “KWM trainee” – so are Linklaters and Allen & Overy in on the grand conspiracy to mislead too?

Below the line around here is getting worse and worse.


KWM Trainee

Haven’t any clue what are Links or A&O up to. They can hatch ‘rescue plans’ all they want, but until they actually give us something on paper we might as well continue getting bladdered.

LC is only perpetuating its gossip which we have no way of verifying – give us a memo released by those MC shops, then I’ll believe them. Above the Law (A better LC in the US) does that.

In the meantime there’s a competition going between male trainees and junior associates who manages to hook up and bust nut in their office before KWM folds up. Rumours have it the female trainees have a similar kind of bet going on…



They’ve quoted the A&O graduate recruitment partner by name you idiot.

Future trainee

Hi Alex, f*ck off please.


And what does he say? Trainees and future trainees are ‘welcome to apply’ subject to the ‘normal application process'(oops I took that from the direct email I received from them, think that might verging on actual journalism for the LC)…that’s sounds like a cast iron guarantee of a job is I ever saw one. Idiot.


At least they have to go through a selection process of some kind ( though I suspect it will be easier). Just taking them on whilst other candidates have to go through the whole app process, as it appeared initially, wasn’t fair.



Exactly, I expect it to be just be one short interview for those shortlisted.



Think again, it’s the full application process. Hope it’s comforting to know that people who already busted their balls getting a TC and had already planned the next ‘x’ years of their future have to completely reassess their entire career to pander to your perception of what is and is not fair.


KWM future trainee

So what the headline should read is that trainees and future trainees are on their own and will have to reapply, the MC firms are being gracious enough to offer us the opportunity of being rejected after being forced to fill out their training contract applications with 10 days before the deadline. If this is the industry’s idea of white knighting it needs a reality check, this move is entirely funded by self-interest on the part of MC firms. They will simply pick off a couple of talented trainees who they want, and worked in good teams, and give a p.f.o to everyone else whilst being lauded as a gracious saviour. It is well seeing where LC gets its funding from….



How dare law firms be self interested…


City trainee

Should’ve applied to a better shop then mate. By 2015 it was obvious that the place is gonna go down in flames, nobody sane would seriously consider them.


Obvious troll is obvious

Let’s not pretend you were some enlightened individual who knew everything about the legal community when you applied, you were offered a contract and counted yourself lucky. They were silver circle and solid alternative to the US firms for a long time, if you predicted their demise then you shouldn’t be a trainee you should be a managing partner because you clearly know more than most lawyers and industry experts.


Jones Day trainee

‘Serious alternative to US firms for a long time’

Lol, this is the funniest thing I heard in a long time. You’re utterly delusional mate.



‘jones day trainee’ shut up you complete moron

Jones Day trainee

Us trainees at Jones Day bag more ass than a toilet seat.

U mirin brah?

Thumper the Rabbit

This is top bantah.


I said the same thing, but all the keyboard warriors wanted to do was talk shite.

You have my genuine sympathy.

The point I was trying to make all along is that these firms are just self-serving turbokh…s, so the claim of being massive white knights and rescue heroes was a load of old balls.

I hope it works out for you soon.



Wholly agreed. It’s one big cabal and the grunts are getting shafted no matter where they work.



Irwin Mitchell, DWF and Shoosmiths are apparently looking to take on KWM’s tea ladies to be their new Managing Partners



KWM trainees are over the moon!! They get to train at MC firms rather than shitty KWM! Christmas came early for them!



Lol keep drinking the kool aid bro, you guys got f*cked big time and you don’t even see it.



Clyde & Co



This is all crap.. Poor business support staff are the real victims in all, these poeple given their years to KWM and will be forgotten.

At least trainees will be taken care off… This is sickening!!!



Support staff have the option to find new jobs without forfeiting their place in a qualification process.



Missing the point slightly. There are no vacancies for trainees part way through their training contract. They are being offered the opportunity to transfer as it’s likely the only alternative to going back and applying from scratch, waiting two years to start etc etc. Business services staff (alongside qualified lawyers) whist they may well be unemployed come mid January are qualified for and free to apply for active vacancies. In fact I’d hazard BS staff are in a better position than the legal staff as they can work both in and out of the legal sector.

This is not a case of trainees being treated as special cases because they are more privileged but rather because they are in a more difficult position.


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