Exclusive: Cleary gives vac schemers billing targets
21 October 2016
RollOnFriday can reveal that Cleary Gottlieb is setting billing targets for students on its vacation schemes, and charging its clients for their work.
RollOnFriday understands that vac schemers at the US firm's London office are expected to produce a certain number of hours of chargeable work during their stay. The actual billing target is not known, but one vac schemer confirmed it was firm policy and understood that research they had been charged out.
||"And my tutors say I don't know anything yet."
Cleary's promotional literature does say that its vacation schemes in London aim to provide potential training contract applicants with "a practical insight into life as a Cleary lawyer
", although few will have appreciated that the experience includes stressing out over billing targets.
It also promises to "involve participants directly in client work
". However it is highly unusual, if not unheard of, to involve vac schemers so directly that clients pay for it. Partly because most supervisors palm them off with work which it is difficult to justify billing (deeds scheduling and reading through the nearest agreement to hand 'to understand how a contract works'), and partly because they are usually unqualified university students. A grad rec manager at another, major City firm told RollOnFriday that it would never charge out vac schemers, on the basis that "they are untrained, so everything they do has to be checked over and you would in effect by charging clients twice
Cleary should be making a tidy profit from its student labour. It remunerates its 48 vacation scheme students a year on the same basis as most City firms, paying them a token £500 a week. The firm did not respond to requests for comment on whether its clients are superpleased