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Clifford Chance and Freshfields boost LPC grants by 43%

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Exclusive: £3,000 more than Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Slaughter and May

Clifford Chance and Freshfields have boosted their Legal Practice Course (LPC) maintenance grants by a whopping 43% each, Legal Cheek can reveal.

Future trainees at the magic circle duo will now receive £10,000 in living support during their LPC, a hike of £3,000 (43%). Soon-to-be rookies at both outfits must complete an accelerated version of the vocational course (seven months instead of the traditional 12) at BPP Law School.

While Freshfields declined to comment on the maintenance increase, a spokesperson for Clifford Chance told Legal Cheek:

“We are always committed to providing exceptional training and support for our future trainees.”

It’s worth noting that both firms cover LPC course fees too, which in BPP’s Holborn branch cost just shy of £16,000. The firms also provide separate maintenance grants for future trainees who are required to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List 2018 shows Clifford Chance and Freshfields provide GDL maintenance grants of £8,000 and £7,250 respectively.

The 2018 Firms Most List

The boosts will come as welcome news to training contract hunters and holders alike. This is not least because many City firms require their future trainees to study in London where living costs are much higher compared to the rest of the UK. Plus, the accelerated nature of the course makes it difficult for students to undertake part-time work during their LPC (some firms even prohibit it), so the maintenance grant is a lifeline.

While Clifford Chance and Freshfields move to pay five-figure maintenance grants, will other magic circlers follow suit?

Well, Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May both confirmed to Legal Cheek that they currently give future recruits £7,000 while they’re completing their LPCs at BPP. Meanwhile, Linklaterswhich has a training deal in place with The University of Law — also provides a £7,000 living allowance. The trio also covers LPC course fees and offers substantial GDL maintenance loans.

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26 Comments

Anonymous

When is this from?

(0)(2)

Anonymous

The article says now. The figures are already listed on the firm’s grad sites.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

What about those of us currently on the LPC for these firms?

(3)(6)

Anonymous

Dechert are £10k too

(8)(2)

Anonymous

Will CMS be matching/raising?

(15)(3)

Anonymous

LOL.

(14)(0)

Future trainee forced to work while studying LPC in London

A&O, Links and Slaughters not matching for the 2018 LPC cohort while the current FF and CC cohort receive 10k is a fucking joke

(26)(4)

Anonymous

Yep, an absolute joke. After turning an offer down from one of CC/FF, for another MC firm, I’m foaming with the firm/myself.

How has working during the LPC been? I’ve already had to start applying for bar jobs.

(9)(9)

Anonymous

Why are you so angry? You accepted an offer you were happy with.

(17)(1)

Feed the children

‘For as little as £1 a day, you can help a future MC trainee through law school.’

(37)(1)

Anonymous

As a working class individual who is about to start the LPC, and who holds an offer from one of the three MC firms listed who haven’t increased their grant, I’m genuinely frustrated.

I’ll receive no parental support during the LPC, and despite working since graduating last summer, I’ve budgeted around £30 to live off after I’ve paid rent, bills etc. Currently I cannot even find somewhere to live as my parents don’t qualify to be guarantors, and the amount granted isn’t enough for me to pay my rent upfront in the structure demanded by all letting agencies. I’m fully expecting to have to hop from AirBnB to AirBnB throughout the whole course.

The current system undeniably results in individuals from backgrounds similar to mine to rejecting offers as £7000 to live from in London for 8 months is quite simply impossible. Even with my savings I worry that I’m going to run out of money prior to completing the course, and quite frankly I have no idea what will happen if that occurs. Even at this point I’ve had to consider dropping out, and resultantly lose everything I worked for when attending a shit comprehensive school and university.

I appreciate that firms may not wish to increase their spending on LPC grants, and if so, surely it makes a lot more sense to means test the amount granted. Does it really make sense that I will receive the same amount as someone who’s parents live in London? Or that I will receive the same amount as someone who’s family can afford to pay their rent during the course? I genuinely think not.

The current size of LPC grants undeniably contributes to a lack of social mobility within the legal sector. If firms are serious about this issue, they’ll follow CC and FF.

(20)(15)

Anonymous

What a load of cack. No one ends up rejecting offers because of the maintenance allowance.

And the accelerated programme is 6 and a half months, not 8.

You can live in London in student esque digs for c.£500 a month and you don’t need a guarantor if you’re on the private market, i.e. spareroom.com or gumtree. You’re looking at estate agents.

From beginning to end, you’re gormless. Further Slaughters gives an additional £5k or something to those who get first class degrees. I didn’t feel the pinch of c.7.5k at all.

(17)(6)

Not so sure about that

Slaughters gives an extra £5k for a first? Not that i’ve heard of…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

They used to a few years back when I had an offer from them (and there was only even then a very obscure reference to it on their website), they’ve revamped their website and rewritten material since so maybe it’s not a thing anymore or maybe it is still a thing but they don’t publicise it…dunno. TBH Slaughters is just very weird.

(0)(0)

KK

Seriously? If you had any sense then you obviously knew all of this when you applied for such firms and headed down this path. You can work alongside training in exceptional circumstances if approved by your line manager.

It may mean some late nights and early rises but if that life isn’t for you then chuck it in now.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

You can get a perfectly decent spare room in Bounds Green for £450-500 per month. Sure it won’t be “trendy”, but it’s not exactly downtown Raqqa. Adjust expectations, have some humility, appreciate the opportunity you’re getting given someone is paying for your LPC and giving you some free money as well!

(7)(0)

Someone who got a job when they were 16

If a LPC student can’t be bothered to get a part time job or build up savings to supplement their grant, I’d wonder what their attitude will be like when someone asks them to make them a bundle at 11pm for the next morning. The entitlement exhibited by some (not all, many still have good attitudes) applicants/future lawyers is becoming astounding.

(12)(8)

Anonymous

Most future trainees are not allowed to work during the LPC. If they choose to do so they may face their offer being revoked.

Equally, for many poor born students it isn’t possible to ‘build up savings’ to the extent required. For students who have supported themselves throughout university, without any parental assistance, their student loans and part time wages have funnily enough been spent on other things. For example, rent, food, textbooks. I shouldn’t have to point this out but evidently you’ve never been in a position to understand this matter.

This issue has nothing to do with a person’s attitude. The type of future trainee who will genuinely struggle financially during the LPC has already overcome a great deal of adversity in comparison with your average private school educated City trainee. But I suppose Eton educated ‘Tarquin’ who’s parents have a spare flat in Chelsea is just made of better stuff for not complaining about the size of his grant.

Sigh.

(11)(7)

Anonymous

…not allowed to work?

I did the LPC last year and I (along with several other people in our intake and from other firms) easily did part-time jobs. There was no mention of “not being allowed”. The LPC isn’t exactly challenging…

(5)(0)

Anonymous

As above.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I grew up in a single parent family with a household income of £21k. Mother meant well but had no real means to assist financially, grants/loans would not cover my costs at university so it was pretty apparent to me that I’d need to build up some money of my own.

By the time I went to university I’d saved about £15,000 from working at Tesco. Whilst at uni I worked 12 hours a week in the local Tesco branch, then in the holidays I did as many hours as I could get back home. I left uni with around £26,000 saved. Whilst doing the LPC I did 20 hours ish a week, again at Tesco, and despite the expense of London still grew my savings. I got through the LPC and could have done it without the firm’s then £4000 grant.

I just can’t see where this insurmountable financial barrier is. Sure I’d rather not have had to work, but it got me to where I wanted and left me in a good position to finish my TC with a healthy house deposit. Probably taught me a few things about work ethic and how to work with people too, and made me appreciate my legal career.

If you can’t be bothered to knuckle down to invest in your own future, why should a law firm completely fund your LPC year for you?

(9)(2)

Anonymous

Big up.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The issue of social mobility isn’t just down to the maintenance grants offered to trainees during the LPC year, the cost of the LPC itself is a huge factor. If firms weren’t having to pay £16k they would be able to offer more in support.

I struggle to see how the providers justify the cost of the LPC and BPTC. The teaching is adequate at best and the facilities are shocking (at BPP Holborn anyway).

(2)(3)

Anonymous

Firms 100% aren’t paying the same in fees that individuals pay. They receive significant discounts for sending all their future trainees to a certain institution which is why they don’t allow you study the LPC anywhere other than where they’ve specified.

(10)(0)

popeonearope

I’m surprised that firms are still funding the education, and which may be partly due to an outdated belief (in loyalty) by management, that modern students plan to stay with a firm upon qualification for much longer than it takes to be poached for a higher salary by those firms who don’t similarly invest in their apprentices. It is rare for folk to stay with one firm these days, preferring instead to move on for promotion. Subsidies will eventually end I suspect but with demand still outstripping supply. In my own experience, its not a bad career, has travel, is generally overpaid etc. but like so many tertiary occupations, does suck the creativity and life out of you. And, whilst some western nationalities might be characterised as enjoying feeling value from paying for legal services, the world doesn’t really need them as much as lawyers would like to believe. Given my time again, I’d like to have had the confidence not to go to law school (or university if I’m honest) and to have found a way to manufacture or to provide more objectively caring support for humans / animals or the environment, but I appreciate it is very difficult to appreciate that in the moment…

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Thanks for the sermon! Now PFO to BuzzFeed whilst those who actually enjoy the law and the profession continue engaging with (or at least insulting) a legal blog.

(7)(1)

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