Withers axes quali leave

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By Bradley Fountain-Green on


Firm says informal time off after qualification was causing staffing issues

Withers is set to end the practice of trainees taking qualification leave, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The specialist private client firm has, in the past, operated an informal agreement with UK trainees who could take up to two weeks of unpaid leave (in addition to standard holidays) after they had completed their training contracts.

However, this perk is now being scrapped for trainees starting from September 2025 onwards. A spokesperson for the firm has said that the decision has been made due to resourcing and training issues:

“This [qualification leave] has given rise to training and assessment issues, where some trainees are away for more than a month in their final seat, as well as problems with properly resourcing matters at the right level during the summer period, which is when trainees have most frequently taken this informal leave.”

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Withers currently offers around 13 training contracts each year, with first year salary starting on £45,000, rising to £49,000 in year two. NQ salary is currently £90,000.

The firm added that they fully support and encourage staff to take adequate breaks from work. Trainees and NQs can also still take their full contractual holiday entitlement and request additional unpaid leave at any time in the year.



the real q is how are withers paying their NQs 90k?!!


Why couldn’t they just impose some rules / guidelines about when qualification leave may be taken, which is usually at the discretion of practice group leaders anyway? Odd to scrap the whole thing (which is pretty standard in the City) entirely rather than just impose some fair rules around timing.




For the avoidance of doubt it’s quali leave that would be taken in 2025 that’s the starting point for the policy: it applies to the trainee intake starting this October, not the intake of 2025.

Legal cheek please

I’m sure everyone has noticed the decline in comments on the articles. Stop hiding the amount of comments. Bring back the old website!!


Yes, and for some reason, Legal Cheek has taken to deleting wholesale entire comment sections on old articles when the comments in question had been up for months or years. Weird.


Agreed, spotting any article that isn’t their chosen 4 on the front page is also increasingly difficult!


Solution: set parameters around when leave is taken.

Withers: “Ah yes, scrap quali leave.”

Why anyone would train there when this is how management thinks is beyond me.

Withers Logikkkkk

Ah yes, penalise the juniors, that will definitely help your retention rate


But isn’t quali leave discretionary? As in firms don’t have to give this?

Kirkland NQ

What is a Withers? Do I eat it?

In-house lawyer

I was always very envious of qualification leave being offered. When I qualified into the regional office (Birmingham) of my firm we were not offered qualification leave when the London NQs were. Thos always rankled. Shame to see a broad brush approach being taken here.


I did my full 6 weeks and I would recommend every NQ do the same.

From the NQ’s perspective, it will be the last opportunity for a good long while (possible the next decade) that you can do some backpacking and exploring without the pressure of ongoing matters hanging over your head.

From the firm’s perspective, it gets all of the wanderlust out of the system so the NQ can settle down properly for the job.

If managed properly, there doesn’t have to be any disruption. The problem is that some partners absolutely detest doing any people management at all. This is the result. It’s a shame really.

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