International firm DLA Piper is offering new trainees £10,000 to delay starting work until August. The firm, which recruits around 70 graduates a year – one of the City’s biggest intakes – has introduced staggered start dates for traineeships in the wake of coronavirus. Some trainees will start as normal in August, some will start in February 2021 and receive a £5,000 grant, and some will begin in August 2021 with a £10,000 grant.

DLA Piper said the decision is not a cash saving exercise. Instead, the firm hopes to support new trainees without affecting future intakes.

UK managing partner Liam Cowell said: ‘In line with many other law firms, we are preparing for a gradual and voluntary return to offices over the next few months, and as such, are offering all our new trainees a similar gradual approach by phasing our dates to start their careers at DLA Piper.

‘Fostering an environment that is supportive and collaborative is central to our values as a firm, and with this staggered approach we will be able to offer our intake the very best in-person training experience, even during these challenging times.’

The firm has also moved its summer vacation scheme online.

Meanwhile, second-year trainees at listed firm Gateley plc have still not been told which jobs will be available in September, the month in which they are due to qualify, because of unpredictable work levels.

They now have the option to extend their employment until a long stop date of 31 December. Gateley said it believes the extension will provide sufficient time to consider what roles will be available once the economy starts to return to normal so it can offer the greatest number of jobs possible.