Training contract numbers hit highest level since 2008 financial crash

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As number of students enrolling onto law degrees swells to over 24,500

The number of training contracts registered across England and Wales has risen since last year, new stats published today reveal.

According to the Law Society’s latest annual statistics report, the number of training contract numbers has risen from 5,719 in 2016-17 to 5,811 in 2017-18, an encouraging uptick of 1.6%.

These figures follow on from a slight dip, as training contracts numbers previously fell from 5,728 in 2015-16 to 5,719 in 2016-17.

Training contract numbers have remained in flux since the 2008 financial crisis, which saw figures drastically plummet from a pre-crash high of 6,303 to 4,784 the following year. Although still lower than pre-crash levels, today’s report will be welcomed by aspiring lawyers hoping to secure a highly sought after training contract.

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Elsewhere, the report highlights an increase of new students enrolling onto first degree law courses, up 4.1% from 23,605 to 24,575. Overall, the number of students finishing with first class degrees last year rose 13.4% to 2,681.

Meanwhile, women are shown to still outperform their male peers. Of the 16,256 students which graduated last year, 17.3% (1,823) of women left with a first class degree, compared to just 14.9% of men (858). Similarly, women won 64.6% (3,753) of the training contracts registered last year, while men only managed 35.4% (2,058).

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Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

How many of those 5,811 are with firms actually worth going to?


Kirkland NQ



Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

Kirkland – I like it. On the off-chance I don’t get in, Farrer & Co is full of good chaps as well.


Legal Genius

64% female TCs because of a PC culture and virtue signalling…



Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.



Or because women outperformed men academically? Read the final paragraph again.



No, because of institutional discrimination. The limited degree result gap does not explain a 2:1 recruitment ration. Still the gnawing self-doubt caused by neurosis and having children will limited the effect of discrimination over a modest period.



Which 10 firms are worth training at?



None, do something more interesting with your life.



Unless you get a TC at JonesDay, in which case you ought to prepare your groin for overtime



Irwin Mitchell mate



If you’re not at Kirkland you may as well be at Gull Law in Tower Hamlets.



Says the person at CMS



Says the person at TV Solicitors



says the person without a TC


Tips @ LC

Says the person at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP


More carnage for the white working class boys then…



Are LC going to do an article on the recent K&E promotions round?

Speaking from a UK firm, with a much bigger City office than K&E, but which only makes up a handful of 10 peeqers every year, it would be interesting to get some inside views on why a model rubbished by other less profitable firms (make up lots of 6 years qualifieds to salaried and let the games begin) is so successful.


Tips @ LC

It is successful because it enables the firm to charge them out at higher rates, ensure that they keep their hours up (over 2,000) as a pre-requisite, partner badge increases chances of bringing work in and being able to pitch for mandates with multiple partners and associates (giving the impression of a large team being available) and ultimately is a competition to ensure that only the very best with a proven ability to build the business make it to share. It’s not for everyone, but it does work.


John Doe

Interesting. There definitely appears to be a slowdown gathering pace across the City and it’s difficult to see what will shake us out of that. What will these new trainees do and what departments will they qualify into?



A slowdown gathering pace eh



Very unique type of slowdown



Slowdowns are great for having time to sleep with the staff. The 2008 crash was basically a shagfest.



DWF have given them each a zero-hours contract at their new, offshore global centre in Zimbabwe.




What happens in 4 more years when the IPO partner lock-in runs out and any remaining “rainmakers” (by mid-tier standards) run for the hills?

2024 DWF is going to be the next Slater and Gordon. By the time the hedge funds are done with the restructure DWF will be nothing more than a claims handling/local chippy hybrid across Essex high streets. Enjoy settling broken wing mirror and fender benders.



And yet, deservedly so, the vast majority of applies are more likely to get a letter from Hogwarts than a TC offer.


Poor Prospects


There’s still a ratio of almost 30:1 of annual law graduates to available Tc schemes. That also doesn’t take into context those boner Oxbridge grads with degrees in interpretative dance that couldn’t handle the BA Jurisprudence/Law, but mummy is partner and they have no other real chance of making it on their own.



Oh bless, 2:29am, how is that chip on your shoulder doing?


Poor Prospects

Heavily salted and great with salsa. My blood pressure is off the charts.


City Trainee

My undergrad year was about 4 girls to every gjy, so the guys are performing above themselves if it’s 2:1.


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