Deutsche Bank refuses to pay for external legal work completed by trainees and newly-qualified lawyers

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By Thomas Connelly on

And City law firm partners are not happy

Financial powerhouse Deutsche Bank will no longer pay City law firms for legal work undertaken by trainees and newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers.

The move, which has raised partners’ eyebrows across London, comes as the banking giant nears the end of its global panel review. Occurring every two years, Deutsche Bank — which employs over 100,000 people across the world — opens up a tender process that allows City law firms to fight over a number of coveted spots on the bank’s legal advice roster.

But it would appear this time around Deutsche Bank is looking to receive more legal-bang for its buck.

According to Legal Week (£), “new payment plans” have been introduced as part of this latest round of tendering which state that the bank will no longer pay for legal work completed by trainees and NQs. Continuing, the report claims that those firms likely to be “reappointed” include Hogan Lovells, White & Case, Latham & Watkins, Mayer Brown and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

One partner, unwilling to reveal their name, said that this year’s process was “more aggressive” and Deutsche Bank’s refusal to pay for work undertaken by trainees and NQs has “annoyed a lot of people.” Another top lawyer, again wishing to remain anonymous, said:

This is something I have seen for the first time this year. I think it is fair enough for trainees, but for NQs it seems very unfair — they are proper solicitors, so why should they not be paid? I have heard about this at other banks; usually in the US, but never in Europe.

But just how prevalent are Deutsche’s demands? A survey, undertaken in 2011 by the Association of Corporate Counsel and published in The Wall Street Journal, revealed that over 20% of 366 in-house legal departments had at one time or another refused to cough up cash for work completed by junior lawyers.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

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