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Exclusive: King & Wood Mallesons to cancel all training contracts TOMORROW in prep for administration

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Rookies to work as paralegals at new firms until SRA re-registers them

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Troubled international law firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) will cancel the training contracts of all its current trainees on, rather fittingly, Friday 13th.

Confirming the inevitable, Legal Cheek has been told that the firm’s 60 or so current trainees were officially informed of the decision by email yesterday.

Sources close to the firm have disclosed to us that around two thirds of KWM trainees have already secured positions at other firms. This is thanks in part to a rescue mission involving a host of City outfits including Linklaters and Allen & Overy, which was revealed by Legal Cheek last month.

Confirming the contract cancellations, a spokesperson for 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 also been told that some trainees will have to work under the title of ‘paralegal’ at their new respective firms until the SRA gets round to completing the relevant paperwork. With this process taking up to one month to complete, Legal Cheek has been informed trainees will receive the same salary and benefits as if they were trainee lawyers.

As for those who haven’t been snapped up by other firms, it looks likely they will receive offers in the coming weeks. While the process might not be an entirely smooth one, Legal Cheek understands that all current trainees will be given an opportunity to complete their training elsewhere. An example of which was confirmed yesterday, when the London office of US law firm Goodwin Procter revealed it would be taking on five KWM trainees.

The same cannot be said for all of KWM’s future trainees. While some are having their applications fast-tracked and prioritised, those who aren’t lucky enough to receive an offer from another firm will face the daunting task of having to reapply elsewhere.

On Tuesday, KWM notified the High Court of its intention to appoint administrators for a second time. In a bizarre twist, it was reported that the firm’s preferred administrator, AlixPartners, had declined the offer, citing funding concerns.

The firm — which also revealed earlier this week that its bank would no longer be approving salary payments — has reportedly punted for restructuring specialist Quantuma instead.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub here.

127 Comments

mcjunior

I feel very sorry for the trainees caught up in this. Utterly unfair and they’re not to blame. However, I’ve come across KWM partners and associates before and they really are a useless bunch of braying morons.

(86)(4)

TheLolz

Great news. Macs just took 3 partners and an associate from KWM’s competition team.

Total skidmarks….

(3)(0)

KWM trainee

Good on them, where’s my job?

(1)(0)
(4)(0)

Anonymous

Kon by name, Kon by nature.

KWM trainee, about to be unemployed

BINGO! Thanks for everything f*ckeeeers!

Hey Alex, where’s the rescue btw? I thought I was getting in the MC?

(44)(3)

Gladiatrix

You have my complete sympathy.

If you look on the RollonFriday blog there are several law firms there offering roles to people from KWM, give it a go and don’t give up.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

One thing needs to be made clear to anyone reading this; the sources, that Legal Cheek refers to, are either made up or just lying. 2/3rds of trainees have not got TCs elsewhere. We have all been utterly shafted by the firm, A&O and Linklaters HAVE NOT welcomed us with open arms – it is an utter travesty that Legal Cheek continues to run with this lie. Our hard work to secure a TC at KWM has been in vein, we have been let down by everyone and matters are not helped when LC makes up such shit.

(97)(6)

Anonymous

Are you a current trainee or a future trainee if you don’t mind me asking?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Future – absolutely none of us have received offers from these firms – every single firm that KWM has apparently been in ‘close communication’ with has said the same thing, get to the back of the line. Yet Legal Cheek has been talking to an imaginary graduate recruitment partner who has confirmed that every single trainee, future trainee and vacation scheme student will get a TC with any MC firm they want- utter shit.

(35)(8)

Anonymous

LOL LC never said “EVERY” thats journalism and legal faux pas! They said they were fast-tracked but had to go through the same recruitment process….

(13)(0)

Anonymous

I’d love to know LC’s definition of fast tracked – because law firms have said to us ‘ please note on your application you are a trainee / FT at KWM’ – that is their extent of fast tracking.

Anonymous

Just to add to ^ – and yes trolls will say this is someone making excuses but over the past few months we have had to watch a firm we have committed a future to collapse, be told to apply normally to other firms, revise for our CPA exams and this is all with zero help from KWM and BPP (who also gave strong assurances of getting In touch with sponsor firms and placing us). I am the first person to say we aren’t entitled to anything but the lack of assistance from other firms has been just as bad- okay we didn’t get a TC at their firm but we are all people who have done / doing the LPC and have already obtained a training contract at a firm which was highly regarded. However, none of them have seen this logic and done the sensible thing which would have been to invite us to at least an interview.

Anonymous

Re your “2/3rds of trainees have not got TCs elsewhere” point. I think this is in relation to its current trainees. As in individuals who are currently completing their training contracts. I know of at least three who start elsewhere at the end of the month. That aside I wish you the best of luck in finding another TC.

Anonymous

I cant even comprehend the amount of stress you and all the future trainees are going through because it is unacceptable but I hope someone within the cohort of future trainees is fighting your corner. You cant sit in sorrow but need to actively make sure you get a place somewhere. Call the firms up and hound BPP!!

Anonymous

The firms have all said the same thing, apply using the normal process.

Anonymous

If you’re a future trainee then you’re not a trainee yet – so you’ve completely misread this article.

(45)(2)

Harvey Specter

well if you are a future trainee the article is very clear “The same cannot be said for all of KWM’s future trainees. While some are having their applications fast-tracked and prioritised….” so nothing made up really.

(31)(0)

Anonymous

Hi Alex!

Trainee

I am and he’s right – the only folks who got (very) lucky are the five trainees moving over to Goodwin Procter with the international funds partners and associates.

(18)(5)

Anonymous

I work at another firm where a number of KWM lawyers are joining and we are taking a number of trainees along with them. This suggests that your knowledge of where trainees may be going is, at best, limited or, at worst, inaccurate.

And I don’t think anyone reading the article above would infer that the “2/3” refers to future trainees.

(25)(6)

Harvey Specter

yes how can this be inferred when the article states “The same cannot be said for all of KWM’s future trainees…”

Anonymous

“in vein”?! Are you really who you say you are?!

(27)(0)

Anonymous

Call LC up direct and let them know! You have nothing to lose talking opening (anonymously) about whats right

(2)(1)

Anonymous

To those whingeing about LC’s reporting of this mess: if you are so incapable of reading an article and understanding it you really aren’t cut out for the law anyway.

And assuming you make it into law in the future…when you’re doing work for a client company that will cause hardship to its employees, pensioners or customers just reflect on your reaction to the way that KWM has left you in it.

(15)(2)

Anonymous

If you are a future trainee, you are a moron who has misread the article. It’s 2/3s of current trainees, i.e. trainees who have already started a seat at KWM.

Update from the linkedin of the (presumably ex) KWM grad recruiter:
“For all my contacts in the legal sector – we still have about 15 current King & Wood Mallesons trainees (mainly 1st and 2nd seat trainees) who don’t have a law firm to continue their training contract with. We also have a great pool of talent in our 60 future trainees. Please could I ask you to explore any opportunities you have so that we can make sure they are all looked after in these difficult circumstances.”

(7)(0)

Anonymous

*puts cynicism hat on*

Woman who needs job puts something that takes 2 mins to write online, doesn’t have to follow it up at all and gets good PR at a time when it would be very beneficial from sector peers to do so.

A nice gesture but perhaps not as altruistic as you may want to believe.

If I were in your position, unless your phones been non stop calls since the message was posted, I’d be in the jobs part of LinkedIn.

You also don’t have to do your training contract in a law firm either. Might not be fully what you want but you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

(5)(4)

Sympathetic In-house Trainee

This is such bollocks. Really feel for the trainees at KWM, it’s really not easy reapplying for a TC when you’ve already ‘bagged one’ and that too whilst under such pressure. More needs to be done to ensure this bullshit doesn’t take place again.

(31)(4)

Anonymous

Essay time:

The world owes me a living because…

(18)(27)

See Komissar

I agree with you that no one ‘owes them a living’ but I think that in this particular situation a bit of compassion is required. Some of these future trainees are currently working/travelling after they completed their LPC, aiming to start at KWM in March 2017, and now they’re up shit creek, without a TC.

You might say they could’ve ‘seen it coming’, but even if they did, why could they do? The SRA officially prohibits you from applying for TCs when and once you hold one/have accepted one, so until these folks are officially relinquished of it, they’re pretty much in limbo.

An utterly shyte situation if you ask me.

(40)(0)

Anonymous

I’d actually say that this isn’t good for them but that the world isn’t a fair and equitable place. Bad things happen to good people regularly. Might want to toughen up a bit if you want to work in corporate law.

Also, what about support staff such as accountants who are out and part qualified? Admittedly, the job market is bigger but still no guarantees.

Whining online and coming across as an entitled twat will help how exactly?

(7)(31)

See Komissar

I’m not sure you understood my comment.

Anonymous

Oh wow… I never knew the last part! Another level of sympathy for them then! This is just dire!

(2)(2)

Anonymous

Care what you think. You know as well as I do that they’ll be asked ‘that must’ve been difficult-what have you done since?’ in interview for another role

In related news, mass redundancies have been announced in a number of other employers this week. Are you commenting online about how awful this is?

Anonymous

Go away.

Anonymous

Seem to have hit a nerve….

Anonymous

If we cared equally about all misfortune of a similar nature we would get nothing done. This is news about the legal market, affecting a venerable entity similar to ones many of us work for (or are applying to).

Nobody benefits from reading your patronising ‘graduate of the university of life’ routine.

Anonymous

Which is exactly my point – no one cares except you and you need to step up to sort life out when it gives you shit.

If the legal sector gave a fuck about you, why did they refuse the recapitalisation? They behaved like Capitalists and did what would make the most money. We live in a Capitalist country – not some hippy commune.

Or perhaps you think whining on here will magically resolve problems for you.

Object to what I say all you want. You know it’s true.

Anonymous

Actually it’s just SRA guidelines not to apply for a TC when already holding one. You don’t have to follow them…

Common sense of not wanting to piss off a law firm and burn bridges before you’re even a trainee is what usually keeps people in check. However in this instance I think any future trainee who hasn’t been applying for TCs over the last few months is foolish. You cannot take the ostrich approach to this problem.

(8)(0)

KWM past (future) trainee

Kinda wish KWM told us this fam…

LegalRec

Exactly!! Every other person in every other sector goes through possible redundancy at some stage in their career and yes, it is often their employers faults. Never have I seen people expect new employers to come running to their aid! Yes it is bullshi* but man-up and get back to the applications. You clearly have time on your hands if you are on this site moaning like a child. Employers like tenacity, not whining bitch*s.

(8)(2)

Anonymous

More the fact people are halfway through their training contracts and will potentially lose that time. It’s a very different situation to just losing a job when you were effectively training for a career. Not to say anyone losing a job is good. It’s a heartbreaking situation for everyone and I think sympathy is deserved all round.

(6)(0)

LegalRec

Yes, we are all sympathetic but that won’t get any of these people new jobs. Getting off their arses and approaching every firm themselves will increase their chances. Sitting around moaning…has that ever got anyone anywhere in the history of mankind?

Anonymous

You have no idea what the current/future trainees are or have been doing for the past month. You shouldn’t judge others based on a few people commenting on legal cheek

LegalRec

I’m clearly judging those that are sitting moaning on legal cheek.

Anonymous

And of said Trainees, how many would’ve been booted out before finishing for ‘not being good enough’?

Foreversec

Stop with the sense of entitlement! What about support staff, particularly secretaries … their jobs are their careers, and in today’s climate where firm’s need less and less secretarial support, it will be extremely difficult for them to find alternative positions … and generally they don’t have degrees to fall back on. It is certainly NOT easier for them … quite the opposite.

Anonymous

Ahem. Whilst I broadly agree with this, particularly about the entitlement part, a lot of support staff do have degrees. Just not normally in law.

Job hunting sucks. Good luck looking.

Anonymous

Those who know how to use apostrophes will be fine.

💩💩💩

I guess at least won’t need to take spare copier paper to the toilet when they go drop a deuce anymore.

(7)(2)

Anonymous

🍆👌💦🤦🏻‍♀️

(1)(1)

Anonymous

As a future trainee I can say our applications are not being fast tracked at any firms…. Stop printing lies.

(34)(4)

Anonymous

I think the article used the qualifier “some” in relation to future trainees having their applications fast-tracked. I assume that you don’t know exactly what’s going on with all of the other FTs?

(2)(3)

Slaughters trainee

KWM trainees over the moon!! Lucky bastards now at MC firms 😬

(5)(33)

Anonymous

Except that they’re not…

(20)(1)

Anonymous

WOW!

(0)(3)

Partner

Alex – you are worse than Fox News and the daily mail combined. There is no “rescue plan”. Stop pulling facts out of your ass.

(16)(1)

Anonymous

There was and is a “plan”. Whether it is (a) a good plan and (b) implemented by capable persons will result in a “rescue”.

(0)(3)

Anonymous

LC rapidly losing credibility with printing their ‘watertight’ crap. Why keep lying lads?

(11)(8)

Teresa May

The Government are committed to the free market. No business can become too big to fail again.

Please visit the link below for help and guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions

(5)(5)

Anonymous

3/10, try harder m8.

(7)(0)

Teresa May

It’s gonna be Johnny Taxpayer picking up the redundancy costs too

(3)(0)

mcjunior

To be fair, I think the so-called ‘rescue package’ was only in relation to current trainees, not future ones so I think some of these posts miss the point.

I don’t believe Freshfields or Slaughters have taken any.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Rescued from a career in law

(2)(0)

kwm future trainee

legal cheek are a bunch of completely lying, utter tosspots by continuously publishing shit like this

(5)(15)

LegalRec

You can stop calling yourself a KWM future trainee now….you’re really not.

(15)(5)

Anonymous

Helpful.

(4)(1)

kwm future trainee

having had a TC theres probably more chance that I’ll get another one than you will ‘LegalRec’ you complete tosspot

(5)(2)

Anonymous

Wow! What incredible grammar! Have you thought of becoming a bin man?

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Ps.

Having once secured a TC at the ‘lofty’ KWM isn’t going to impress many in the City.

Anonymous

It won’t impress anyone as a matter of fact.

Anonymous

It is obviously not fun having to go through that process all over again when presumably you have completed it several times. I do however have very little sympathy, you have had at least one course paid for by the company, possibly two if you did the GDL as well. I wander of you would have the same level of sympathy when working on a restructure that involves making a large number of redundancies? or if you work in insolvency and have to offer advice in similar circumstances.

I also wander if when legal aid was removed for family and employment work, you shared such a level of concern for your colleagues many of whom were left in a much worse situation to that which you find yourself in. I don’t recall hearing of people being rescued and fast-tracked into other roles at that point.

The top and bottom of this matter is that law is tough, it is one of the most competitive careers not just at the point of entry, but at every point throughout, from vacation scheme applications, TC applications, NQ, partner and everything in between.

Why should other firms give you priority, when you previously didn’t apply there, was unsuccessful there, or turned down an offer there?

Worst case scenario you work as a paralegal for a year, or take a gap year and go through the application system again next year, the only real downside is it takes you a little longer to qualify and start earning big money.

(18)(9)

Anonymous

Think you’re missing the point that even if the futures do get another TC offer this year they will now need to wait two years before it starts. Given that some people were due to start in March that’s a pretty big ‘downside’.

(15)(2)

Anonymous

If there was a coordinated plan, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. When both Halliwells and Dewey collapsed, some future trainees were taken on in intakes equivalent to or within 12 months of their original training contract start date. It is just no effort is being put into helping the future trainees with identifying firms who might have opportunities to start earlier than 2019/20.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

I agree, but based on the comments I’m reading from the future trainees there doesn’t seem to be a coordinated plan in place. It is no doubt disappointing for all the future/current trainees that they aren’t receiving the same support that the equivalents of Dewey and Halliwells did.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Dewey’s trainees and future trainees were of a high calibre wholly incompatible with the muppets populating KWM.

TheAcresofFour

Join the club that a lot of paralegals and trainee applicants are currently in.

Sometimes people make bad decisions and they lose time and money because of it; I would know – QED. See if Alex will help you commit “career suicide” by posting a LC article attacking the people really responsible for this mess: KWM partners.

A firm the size of Taylor Wessing going bust, not in a recession but the 6th year of growth in the legal services sector, doesn’t happen by accident. Greedy incompetent f**ks mismanaging and over-leveraging so they can draw down a s**t load of money.

There wasn’t an exodus of clients from the firm, several of KWM’s clients from which large receivables were due didn’t go insolvent… These a***holes just pillaged the firm of cash, leveraged up and are now fleeing the ship with their booty and clients to other firms who are happy for the extra work.

At the same time as the s**tty odour is seeping out of KWM, and people are looking around for the culprits, KWM partners are holding their noses and pointing at Barclays and others and saying “it wasn’t us”. You know it’s reached a new low when the administrators you appointed won’t even act for you because you’ve left such a bowl of dog s**t behind they fear despite being first in the queue, even they won’t get paid.

In the meantime, realise that in the capitalist society we live in, no one really gives a toss about you, me or anyone else. I’m sorry life hasn’t turned out quite the way you planned. It didn’t for me either; Get angry, call these people c**ts – publicly even, and then after that set to work on getting to where you want to be in life.

It’s not ideal but I’m sure you’ll get there eventually. Just make sure to remember who it is that f**ked you for future reference.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

This man says it how it is.

(1)(0)

Gladiatrix

Pedantic I know, but your ‘wander’ should be ‘wonder’.

(14)(4)

Anonymous

I hope that all these whining current or future trainees remember who it was that fuct them over in the first place when they eventually get to where they want to be.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Someone needs to step up and actually create a coordinated plan/effort to help re-house both current and “future” trainees. When Halliwells collapsed, Burges Salmon did this and it worked very well. As someone who has volunteered to help with the KWM process but has had little response to those offers, it seems it has just been left to this muddled and speculative process, where no one can really knows who has been re-housed and who hasn’t.

(13)(3)

Anonymous

Hear, hear

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I’m unsure who would be left to respond to your offers to help. Grad rec have left.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

That’s just not true.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

I assure you grad rec have left.

Anonymous

Still working to find support from other firms going by my LinkedIn feed today though.

Anon

When Halliwells went down, and Fasken Martineau decided to reduce to a rump in London, co-ordinated efforts were made to try to place the existing and future trainees. In both cases, the City of London Law Society made an appeal to its members to help and various City and US firms interviewed trainees and prospective trainees very quickly. The problem with KWM is the sheer number of trainees and prospective trainees involved.

I would expect those partners of KWM who’ve already sorted jobs for themselves to act in a co-ordinated, and responsible, manner to help you too by checking with their new firms that they can’t bring trainees with them and calling their friends and contacts at other firms to see whether they can take you. That is the very least that they owe to you.

If anyone has details of those co-ordinating a strategy and response for existing, and future, KWM trainees then, perhaps, they could make themselves known.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

I don’t understand what the big deal is. Those future trainees who secured or “bagged” a training contract at KWM obviously have what it takes to secure a TC at another city law firm of equivalent calibre. The only sympathy I have is with respect to the potential 2 year wait until they would start their TC.

(0)(6)

Anonymous

Just because they have what it takes, it doesn’t mean they will definitely get one.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Pretty sure that’s the only sympathy we’ve asked for.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Problem is that, with the 2 year plus lead time in future trainee recruitment for most City firms, any future KWM trainees expecting to start prior to September 2019 will need to be put on an “accelerated” start date.

Firms are increasingly reluctant to do this. My cynical suspicion is that this is largely because the decision makers in this area have also persuaded their firms to spend large amounts of money on bespoke LPCs and other pre-joining training and development. They really don’t want the trainees fast tracked past all this stuff to demonstrate through their performance how unnecessary it all is.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Rubbish,I got 3 TC Offers only 2 months prior to start date.

(1)(7)

Anonymous

Hahaha please post firms hiring for 2 months away

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Irwin Mitchell, DWF

Anonymous

Slater & Gordon. Royds LLP.

TheLolz

Royds has now merged with Withy King. Don’t think they are recruiting at the moment.

As for Slater & Gordon, DWF and Irwin Mitchell, you might as well go and work in compliance now because that’s all you’ll be good for after training at those places.

Gurney

(8)(2)

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