Two years ago, one of my candidates had to deal with a very tough study fee claw-back agreement, which almost prevented her from leaving the law firm she’d qualified at, even though she was very excited about the new role I’d secured her.

This agreement basically said something along the lines of “if you leave the firm within a 5-year period of completing the LPC, then you will need to pay back the full amount of all fees paid by the firm”, which from memory amounted to around £11,000.

She came to me in a bit of despair about this, as it was right at the final moments of the recruitment process (offer stage with the new firm) that she realised the extent of the agreement and how much she would be expected to pay back. To pay this sort of money back just wasn’t feasible for her… she didn’t have that sort of money lying around and to take out a loan might just not be worth it.

Luckily, my client who she was hoping to join, a law firm in Plymouth, were instrumental in resolving the issue, offering advice to my candidate (who was a transactional lawyer, as opposed to a litigator) and guiding her through the process. They were brilliant!

Ultimately, my candidate was able to offer a more reasonable deal to her previous employer, which allowed her to leave the firm without too much financial strain to take on.

From my experience, most firms have claw-back agreements for study fees… as they should. However, most of these generally last for 2 years from completion and the amount due back would taper down as time passes. I think this is a much more reasonable and fair approach.

If you’re looking to explore your career options and if you’d benefit from a confidential chat to assess the market, please get in touch!

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