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

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By Alex Aldridge on

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.