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