(Original post by twfywngby)
Thanks, J-SP. That's helpful. I have heard of firms abiding by the letter but perhaps not the spirit of the voluntary code in the past, and was hoping someone might have an anecdotal account of this falling into that category. But the code seems pretty categorical about my situation (Students [no apostrophe, nice one SRA] Responsibilities, 4.]
Cheers for the laconic reply, Matt. I do anticipate some difficulties - hence the question - but if you have any in particular in mind your insight would be appreciated!
I feel like this must happen all the time though. In the current climate you'd have to be crazy to turn down a TC. But say your circumstances change - you unexpectedly pull a First out of the bag, or whatever (not what happened in my case) - and you think you can "upgrade" to a "better" firm. Are you simply expected to withdraw from the original TC before applying to others? But people, plausibly, withdraw from TCs all the time (I know several people who have) - personal circumstances, illness, change of career plans. I don't really see where the harm is, or how the situation is differentiated from that where an applicant, for instance, does two vac schemes and gets two offers. There, as here, one vac scheme or offered place will be "wasted" when the applicant rejects one of the firms. The only difference is that, in my situation, the rejection of the firm that first offered me would come a year down the line. I feel they'd be unlikely to struggle to fill my place... (equality of bargaining power, mm).
*Anyway* - does anyone else have any positive/optimistic accounts/suggestions of how I might make this work?
My response has always been to tell the candidate that I can't review their application because of the code and that they shouldn't have applied, or the alternative is to withdraw their acceptance before starting the process.
It does probably happen and those who do it probably don't tell anyone. Let's hope the firm you are currently with haven't given you any form of financial support though. If that happens it gets very messy.
The code is there for a reason, mainly to protect the interests of the students and that's why firm's stick to it.
And when people withdraw from TCs its an absolute nightmare. It isn't as easy as just giving it to someone else. You have to go through the process of reclaiming money off them, and often it's actually difficult to fill the vacancy because you haven't got the necessary time frame to put someone through law school (in most instances anyway, and yes you could pick up someone whose already done it but trust me there aren't actually hundreds of those applying). Firms won't re-advertise the vacancy unless they are desperate purely because they can't deal with the extra work load it creates.
If the firm withdrew your offer just because they're thought they could upgrade to someone else, you would be kicking up a fuss.
If more people did what your suggesting, the whole system would be prone to collapsing.
Remember you can always "upgrade" once you qualify.
And to say it's only like withdrawing from a vacation scheme is naive. A vacation scheme does not have any of the significant time or financial commitment dedicated to it that a TC does (for both sides). The difference between a few hundred pounds each week for a couple of weeks versus £20k plus in law school fees/maintenance grants and enrolment fees makes it a little more complicated.
My final point is law firms like loyalty. They will invest around £275,000 worth of money/time training and developing you. Anyone who is seen to be dropping a firm in favour for another usually has a massive question over them about their commitment and loyalty.
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