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Hogan Lovells makes training contract offers early as it cancels summer vacation schemes

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Exclusive: Some candidates offered winter vacation scheme places

Hogan Lovells has cancelled its 2020 summer vacation schemes and made training contract offers early in response to the virus pandemic, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The firm was due to run two, three-week long summer vacation schemes in its City of London headquarters from 15 June to 3 July 2020 and 13 to 31 July 2020.

Hogan Lovells confirmed to Legal Cheek it had informed candidates yesterday that its two summer vacation schemes have been cancelled.

“Owing to the impact of COVID-19 we have taken the decision to cancel our two summer vacation schemes. This decision was not taken lightly, but our priority is to safeguard all the students confirmed to attend, as well as our own people,” a spokesperson for the firm said, adding:

“In considering our approach to this unprecedented situation we sought to create certainty where possible. Therefore, after careful deliberation, we have either offered the opportunity to attend our winter vacation scheme or, where appropriate, made training contract offers.”

It said the decision on whom to offer a training contract was based on their application, interview and performance during the assessment day. While it didn’t confirm the exact number of training contract offers it made in this way, Legal Cheek understands the majority were offered a training contract. The firm recruits around 50 trainees each year.

Hogan Lovells told Legal Cheek it has not rejected candidates it didn’t make training contract offers to outright but instead offered them a place on their winter vacation scheme. The exact dates for the winter scheme are yet to be decided but it is likely, the firm said, to take place in November or December 2020. If a candidate takes this option they will be part of the next application round and be considered for a 2023 training contract start date. They will be remunerated the usual £450 following completion of the scheme.

An unprecedented situation calls for law firm grad rec teams to seek out new ways to curb the virus disruption on their trainee recruitment programmes. Legal Cheek understands other City law firms are now facing tough decisions as to whether to go ahead with their summer schemes.

A handful of law firms have so far confirmed their summer vacation scheme plans.

Tuesday’s news told us that Clifford Chance‘s 2020 summer vacation scheme will go ahead, virtually, in view of the virus pandemic. The magic circler’s virtual version will comprise three days of classroom-based online learning and an optional, two-day work shadowing placement in December this year. Interns will be considered for training contracts following the completion of both schemes.

Shoosmiths became the first firm late last month to cancel its summer vacation scheme. The national outfit said it will be “arranging alternative ways to engage with [its] people” and stressed to students who submitted a vacation placement application in this year’s round that they will still be considered for training contracts.

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Hogan Lovells previously issued a positive statement to training contract hunters amid the continued coronavirus disruption.

In an open message to law students the firm said it understood the “challenging issues” they are faced with in relation to teaching, exams and grade assessment, adding:

“We at Hogan Lovells have long believed that academic performance is just one of many indicators of potential. We value students from diverse backgrounds and life experiences who have demonstrated a drive for excellence, a passion for community involvement, and compassion for others. We seek candidates who can raise the game of the whole team and can look beyond themselves in seeking the best outcomes for our clients. These principles will continue to guide our hiring decisions and will be even more important at this most unusual time.”

“When the time is right for you to think about future employment, we encourage you to tell us your story so we can get to know you,” the statement concluded.

View a list of law firm schemes postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 so far. This page will be updated as we receive new information.

Has your scheme been affected by the coronavirus? Let us know at tips@legalcheek.com

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