Slaughter and May has terminated the training contracts of two of its future trainees after they failed modules on the LPC.

Law firms have differing approaches when it comes to showing clemency to future trainees who flunk exams. Freshfields and Norton Rose have traditionally been charitable, Herbert Smith has not. But it's possibly unsurprising that the firm which prides itself on being the gold standard when it comes to black letter law takes a zero tolerance approach. Still, it's pretty hard luck on the unfortunate students who, having won the golden ticket in the law, will now be scrabbling around to find a job pretty much anywhere.

  At least they can still tell their mates they work at S&M...

The news comes just a week after Ince & Co kicked out a trainee in his first year for failing to perform at an adequate level. Gone are the days of getting away with being a bit slack prior to qualification...

A spokesman for Slaughters said 'our trainees are required to pass all the modules of the LPC at the first attempt. Unfortunately, these two students did not pass. If they are able to resit their papers and have that classed as a first attempt, we would of course accept them back.'


Anonymous 04 May 18 10:46

To anon at 13:40, regarding this comment:

"Love the statement "if they are able to resit... and have that classed as a first attempt"; in other words, no you silly millennial, a resit is not a first attempt "

Just to clarify what they mean by that statement, BPP and Ulaw both have policies whereby if you fail one module on the GDL or the LPC then your whole mark is capped at 50%, the absolute lowest pass mark. Both schools will take into account mitigating circumstances, and if they consider them to be good enough they'll class a re-sit as a first attempt. S&M were saying there that it is now down to BPP to judge the mitigating circumstances and decide if they warrant the re-sits to be a first attempt or not.

From what I've heard, BPP and Ulaw will very use their discretion to make re-sits first attempts.

Anonymous 01 May 18 13:39

They definitely won't be getting their TCs back now that they've squealed about the story to RoF...

Anonymous 01 May 18 18:49

S&M have form for this; pretty certain this happened to a few trainees this time last year but it wasn't reported.

Anonymous 03 May 18 14:40

The LPC is dead easy. Don't blame S&M one bit.

Love the statement "if they are able to resit... and have that classed as a first attempt"; in other words, no you silly millennial, a resit is not a first attempt

Anonymous 04 May 18 09:13

Urgh. Really? A law firm that utterly ignores personal circumstances of the human beings who make the firm what it is. Must be a terrible place to work if you have a difficult family life. I thought we'd got past that macho culture.

Anonymous 04 May 18 09:26

@Anon. at 08:13
That not true - they are understanding of people who have mitigating personal circumstances. People I know who failed an exam and had a credible explanation as to why were allowed to keep their training contracts. This happens a lot - someone loses their training contracts at SandM in most intakes for the same thing. The rationale is that the LPC is not that hard to pass if you read the materials and attend the class sessions - if you mess around and treat it as a joke (as the people who failed in my intake did), you are not demonstrating the right attitude to work in a law firm.

Anonymous 04 May 18 10:06

If they are able to resit their papers and have that classed as a first attempt, we would of course accept them back.'

Sounds like a challenge

Anonymous 04 May 18 10:44

this is not news, I know someone this happened to over 10 years ago. Slaughters used to also give a hard time to people who did the bare minimum to pass the exams. they thought most of their trainees should be getting distinctions.

as the article says, not surprising for the firm that has a high percentage of employees with first class degrees.

Anonymous 04 May 18 11:13

LPC accelerated in 5 months is a different beast to the 9 month. Easy to mess up one module with the time pressure even with some work ethic. It is harsh. See also comparing TC candidates robotically by uni module scores despite taking different subjects at different universities.

Also occurs to me that when I did the fast track LPC, about a dozen of the c.65 doing the course deferred 1 or more modules due to the time pressure and feigned illness as their TCs also hung in the balance. Those people who may have ended failing a module, usually ended up with distinctions as they ended up doing less with more time.

Anonymous 04 May 18 17:46

"If they are able to resit their papers and have that classed as a first attempt..." HhahaHaha. Very lawyerish.

Anonymous 04 May 18 20:11

Must have picked badly surely? Usually people who have done well before continue to do so. I was looking at amy 1982 S&M interview note when I was at university applying for "articles" and they were very interested in my scholarships and law prizes I wrote (no surprise there).

Anonymous 06 May 18 17:19

@Anon at 08:26

Nonsense, SandM are not interested in the slightest what's happening in your personal life - if you don't pass, you're gone. If a Slaughters trainee has a problem preventing them from studying, their only option is to flag it in advance and seek a deferral. If they sit the exam and don't pass, the firm will show no mercy and has consistently proved it.

People regularly insist that only a retard could fail but it happens all the time, the number of fast track students who failed at BPP last year was in double figures.

Anonymous 07 May 18 07:41

@anonymous 19:11 - that's funny Lydia, how come you never mentioned before that you were at S&M or won prizes?

Anonymous 07 May 18 21:09

Don't be stoopid. If you apply for a job at Slaughters don't be upset if they don't treat you with kid gloves. They're not a local authority. They are a top law firm who are only interested in true talent. Expect to be binned if you can't cut the mustard.

Anonymous 10 May 18 12:26

One fail at the first attempt on one module? What a shit show S&M are. They'd probably sack you for being ill as well.

Anonymous 14 May 18 09:49

"Still, it's pretty hard luck on the unfortunate students who, having won the golden ticket in the law, will now be scrabbling around to find a job pretty much anywhere."

Not really. The LPC should be a cake-walk to any future Slaughters employee, so there really is no excuse for failing a module.

Anonymous 18 May 18 14:32

It's obvious how many of these comments have been left by Slaughters employees. In reality, no reasonable person without an agenda/chip on their shoulder/schadenfreude tendencies believes that young graduates, with (very likely) outstanding CVs, and who have been carefully assessed and selected, deserve to lose their jobs for one slip up.

The irony is that most of the snooty associates preaching in support of ruthless sackings will face the same fate when they invariably, at some point, fuck up. Enjoy your halo in the meantime, folks.

Anonymous 19 September 18 11:30

Notwithstanding genuine mitigating circumstances (e.g. ill health, bereavement) which in each case can be notified in advance; if you fail to meet the requirements of your offer, why should a MC firm take you on? They pay some of the highest entry level salaries for employed workers in the world and as such are entitled to expect and consistently enforce the most exacting of standards. Their clients certainly will and do.

If the candidates found the Accelerated LPC hard, how on earth do they think they can handle a TC with an employer with such expectations. 

Whilst the S&M culture might be right for some, it isn't for everyone.  It is surely better to find out that you are unlikely to meet their requirements at the LPC stage, than when you are two months into your second seat. More broadly, if S&M were to start making exceptions now where historically it had not, that would hardly be fair on former candidates who have had their TCs rescinded in similar circumstances in previous years.

I am clearly not the brightest individual but did pass on my first attempt, whilst working. It was about a hundred years ago though so maybe the LPC has gotten harder since then. I have never worked at an MC firm (I am too academically diverse i.e. did not have the grades) but if I did, I would in no circumstances expect leniency because I had an off day; since I would not expect the firm's clients to make such allowances in the future.

Whilst I would hope not to be, I absolutely would expect to be ruthlessly sacked in circumstances where there are many other candidates who did meet the firm's requirements. That would be what I had signed up for. Can you imagine:

"Dear One Million Plus in Fees a Year Client,

Sorry I buggered up your instruction, S&M have been drowning me with work with challenging turnaround times and I just dropped the ball on this one occasion. I am tired, working an 80 hour week and am at capacity. My work for other clients has been perfect though, so this was really just a slip up. I mean I am sure you've made mistakes before, right?

I hope you can let me off on this one occasion, otherwise really, what message are you sending about your view of my personal life and capability to mitigate the impact of challenging circumstances on my performance? Please don't sack the firm.

Yours sincerely

An implausibly client facing trainee"