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Ashurst to save three King & Wood Mallesons trainees who have been left in training contract limbo

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But Slaughter and May remains tightlipped over reports it will do the same

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Ashurst has confirmed it will be taking on “up to three trainees” from beleaguered international law firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

A spokesperson for Ashurst told Legal Cheek that it is “currently interviewing” candidates and hopes to “finalise the process by the end of this week”.

According to Legal Cheek’s Most List, the firm offers around 45 London-based training contracts annually, with trainees pocketing £41,000 in their first year, rising to £46,000 in year two. Upon qualification Ashurst’s new recruits — if offered permanent associate positions — will take home £70,000, the same as if they had qualified at KWM.

Meanwhile magic circle firm Slaughter and May has remained tightlipped over a report it will also take some of KWM’s young recruits. Despite at least one story to the contrary, Legal Cheek understands that the firm is not “in talks” with KWM trainees but has received a number of applications which will need to meet the usual criteria.

So far the London office of US giant Goodwin Procter is the only firm to officially confirm it is taking on KWM trainees. With five making the switch, the outfit also scooped up 15 associates and six partners.

Last week, Legal Cheek revealed that KWM would be cancelling all of its trainees’ contracts. With the firm severing contractual ties with its current trainee cohort on Friday, a spokesperson from KWM said:

The training contracts need to be terminated so the trainees can transfer to other firms and this requires Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) approval. The latter will inevitably take a short time.

Legal Cheek has been told around two thirds of KWM’s 60 or so current trainees have already secured positions at other firms. It is understood these firms include Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Allen & Overy and DLA Piper. Revealing the proposed rescue plan back in December, we understands that all current trainees will be given an opportunity to complete their training elsewhere.

UPDATE: 13:32, Monday 16 January

A report suggests that US outfit Fried Frank has brought forward its UK training contract launch to accommodate three KWM trainees. Originally scheduled to take on its first London-based wannabe lawyers in 2018, the firm — which has five offices across the US and Europe — has fast-forwarded plans due to KWM’s impending administration.

Legal Cheek has contacted the firm for comment.

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