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CAM defers 78 freshers’ start dates by two months to October, could save Rs 1.5 cr, help with induction [UPDATE-1: Plus Khaitan]

Rumours suggest other firms are also considering similar steps

CAM fresher start delayed by two months
CAM fresher start delayed by two months

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has deferred joining dates for fresh associate recruits from campus to 5 October 2020 from August, according to multiple sources.

The firm confirmed that it had committed to hire a total of 78 freshers to start in August 2020, but declined to comment further.

There are several reasons for the move. For one, onboarding and induction would likely be a nightmare, with everyone still working from home right now, potentially indefinitely and quite realistically also still in-part by July.

We understand from sources that CAM is planning for remote induction and training from September for the incoming batch.

Second, virtual working notwithstanding, there might not be very much for them to do by July.

Third, at a base remuneration of Rs 12 lakh per year, the two-month deferral of start dates would save the firm approximately Rs 1.5 crores, by way of quick-back-of-envelope calculation.

At this time, with the CAM’s partners having elected to not draw any monies and part of fee-earners' fixed components having been parked into optional bonuses, the step seems like a no-brainer, and in line with the what many international firms have already been doing to pre-emptively cut costs and manage headcounts.

In light of the above, it’s not unrealistic that other Indian firms will follow suit.

“No other firm has provided an official update yet regarding their joining dates, however, we have been hearing through grapevine that even they will push their dates,” said one student with knowledge of recruitments.

Update 23:35: Khaitan & Co is also deferring start dates of freshers until October, according to Bar & Bench. Executive director Amar Sinhji told us in a statement: “Our Campus Batch usually joins in July every year. Our Batch of 2020 consists of 48 freshers from 18 law colleges across the country. This year, given the exceptional circumstances around the lockdown and the uncertainties with regard to offices being able to return to normal operations, we have decided to push back the freshers joining date to October 2020. We are at this stage in talks with various campuses to finalise the exact schedule. We hope that by October we should be ready with a welcome befitting our young future leaders! And of course, we will honour every campus offer that has been made. The campus hires are a key entry level addition to our talent pipeline.”

In the last recession in the UK, around a decade ago, it was de rigeur for many London law firms to offer hard wads of cash for joiners who would volunteer to delay their entry into the firm by a year. The money would obviously be less (around a sixth to a third of) full year’s salaries, with payments typically between £5,000 and £10,000; but as an added benefit, future trainees could travel or pursue other interests in that time, while, for the firm, it will also save (considerable) costs on induction, training and maintaining of new trainees.

UK firms have hinted that they may do so again in Covid-times, with Irwin Mitchell having been first to postpone the start of training contracts by six months to February 2021.

Photo by Michael Duxbury

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