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Exclusive: Scottish firm lowers NQs' salaries after they accept offers
13 January 2017
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Scottish firm Burness Paull has been accused of holding its trainees to ransom after promising them newly-qualified solicitor salaries and then lowering them once they accepted the offers.

The firm, which employs 480 people and has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, made offers to 20 trainees qualifying in 2016, with 19 accepting. An inside source said the NQs were "held to ransom" when the firm "pulled a bait and switch". After offering them jobs in early 2016, the NQ contracts were revised "several times" and not released to the NQs until just before September. At which point they discovered that the firm had "knocked down the pay that was promised" by, said the firm, £1,000.

Because Burness Paull left the revelation so late that other firms had finished their external recruitment, all the NQs could do was "accept reduced pay or be unemployed". One insider called the move "absolutely ridiculous"

    That's right, now all your pay fits under just the one cup

A spokeswoman for the firm blamed that rapidly aging chestnut, Brexit. She said that the process of making individual offers was carried out in line with previous years, "however, in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, we amended the salary terms of our NQs in line with a wider postponement of pay reviews across the firm". Apologising for the mess, she said, "We accept that this was disappointing for our NQs and may have caused confusion for which we are sorry". She added, "We remain committed to them, their training and development" and said that pay reviews "will take place in February and be backdated".

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