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Describing the nomination of individual trainees as “invidious,” top London law firms have snubbed the inaugural Trainee Solicitor Awards. Norton Rose put no candidates forward despite the firm’s managing partner, Roger Birkby, sitting as one of the event’s judges. Top London firms Slaughter and May, Freshfields, Allen & Overy and DLA also refused to nominate any trainees for the new awards, which were organized by two educational materials publishers, Chambers Student Guide and Barker Brooks Media Ltd. Lucy Barker of Barker Brooks Media said: “I think it was a breakdown in communication between Roger Birkby and his [law school] graduate recruitment team who refused to put people forward. “Norton Rose and the other firms were worried that there would be hundreds of recruitment consultants there waiting to poach their best trainees, yet it just wasn’t like that.” She adds: “The only consultants allowed to attend were approved by the Trainee Solicitors Group. Other firms like Clifford Chance embraced the event with great enthusiasm.” A spokesman for Freshfields said: “Our trainees [equivalent to American first-year associates] were consulted over this and agreed that it was invidious to pick out one person when we have so many excellent trainees.” Oliver Pykett at Allen & Overy said: “To single out one or two trainees would have been invidious and, as a result, we did not put forward any nominations.” A spokesperson for Norton Rose was unavailable for comment. A panel of judges headed by Michael Mansfield QC selected the winning trainees across six categories. The overall winner and Trainee Solicitor 2000 is Camilla Bustani of the firm Clifford Chance.

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