Exclusive: DWF threatens ex-trainee with court unless he repays LPC fees
22 April 2016
DWF has threatened an ex-trainee with court action if he does not repay £12,000.
The firm's training contract contains a clause stating that trainees are liable to repay the money it expends on their LPC fees if they leave before they are two years qualified. Such clauses are not uncommon these days, and unsurprising given that firms invest thousands of pounds in each trainee and would rather they didn't move immediately to a competitor on qualification. Which is apparently what happened to DWF, and this time it decided to play hardball.
According to RollOnFriday's source, the former trainee claims that he only learnt about the clause during an induction session at the beginning of his first seat. Though as a nascent lawyer he possibly should have read it in his contract before he signed it two years earlier. Prior to qualification he accepted a job from another firm because DWF was "dithering
" about making an offer, and he has now been told to repay his benefactor.
||A model trainee yesterday
DWF's spokeswoman told RollOnFriday that although the firm has never taken a trainee to court, "there’s no point having a clause in a contract if you are not prepared to enforce it
". She confirmed that "in one recent case we did look to do so",
due, the firm said, to the particular circumstances.
The firm claimed that the repayment clause is made "very clear
" in offer
letters which are "only two pages long
" and usually sent
to prospective trainees two years before they join.The spokeswoman added that "if they’ve
not properly read the letter or the contract during that time we’d
suggest they might want to perhaps consider a different profession"