DWF defers training contract start dates by six months

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By Aishah Hussain on

Thirty-one new joiners will now start in February

DWF has confirmed that it will push back the start dates of its next UK trainee cohort by six months.

Thirty-one trainee solicitors-to-be were due to start their training contracts at the firm in August 2020. They will now join in February 2021 due to the “practical difficulties presented by COVID-19”. DWF has informed all incoming trainees of the new plans.

In a statement, Carl Graham, DWF’s training principal, said:

“We remain focused on building our pipeline of trainee solicitors and ensuring that we can offer them the best training experience. Due to the practical difficulties presented by COVID-19, we have pushed back the start date of our trainee intake. This will allow the business time to return to regular work patterns and to adapt our training programme to ensure we prepare future trainees for the new ways of working.”

Today’s news comes less than 24 hours after we exclusively reported that DLA Piper is offering its new starters up to £10,000 to voluntarily push back the start dates of their TCs.

In April, we revealed that Irwin Mitchell had become the first major UK law firm to delay the start dates of its future trainee solicitors. IM’s August 2020 joiners will now start six months later in February 2021.

Squire Patton Boggs has warned that it may have to defer the start dates for its TC holders “if trainee workload reduces over the coming months”.

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Turning back to DWF, the UK-headquartered listed law firm also revealed that its summer vacation scheme will move online in view of the virus disruption. It will run for one-week (instead of the usual two weeks) and will focus on working collaboratively while still providing opportunities to network and access to online social events.

The statement said that trainee recruitment for 2022 is not affected, although all assessments will be moved online.

In other DWF-related news, it was announced last week that Andrew Leaitherland had stepped down as DWF chief executive and managing partner with immediate effect. DWF’s chairman, Sir Nigel Knowles, has since assumed the role, as group chief executive officer.

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