Squire Patton Boggs warns it may defer training contracts

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By Thomas Connelly on

Exclusive: City firm continuing to plan for August intake but urges future trainees to ‘hold off making financial decisions’ until COVID-19 situation is clearer

Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) has warned it may have to push back the start dates for its future trainees in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rookies due to start at the firm this summer were informed by email this week that deferrals remain a possibility “if trainee workload reduces over the coming months”.

In an email, seen by Legal Cheek, SPB says it is “fully committed” to its future trainees and is continuing to plan for its August 2020 intake. It does, however, recommend summer starters “hold off making financial decisions, such as entering into rental agreements for accommodation”, until the firm is able to provide a further update at the beginning of June.

“We pride ourselves on the quality of experience we provide to trainees”, the email continues, “and do not intend to compromise our existing programme in any way because of the current challenges we are all facing”.

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A SPB spokesperson told Legal Cheek:

“[W]e are fully committed to our future trainees and are continuing to plan for their start date of August 2020. As we continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19, we will remain committed to the safety and wellbeing of our trainees, whilst ensuring that they get the best possible experience with the firm when they join us.”

SPB has already put in place measures to curb the impact of the pandemic, including implementing remote working protocols and allowing UK staff to carry over holiday leave above their statutory entitlement into 2021. Other firms have postponed partner payouts, deferred bonuses and furloughed staff.

Last week Legal Cheek revealed Irwin Mitchell had become the first major UK law firm to delay the start dates of its trainees as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. All trainees due to commence their training contracts with the firm in August 2020 will now join in February 2021, six months later than originally planned.

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