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Lawyers and accountants shun Lord Sugars boardroom

When Laurence Simons carried out the same survey in 2011, lawyers were more open to appearing on the show, with 25% indicating they would give up their current job to do so. 

2011 was a year of change for The Apprentice in terms of the nature of the prize offered. In series one to six the winning candidate was offered a &pound100,000 a year job with Lord Sugar as his “apprentice”. Since series seven the prize has been an entrepreneurial one, with the winning candidate receiving a &pound250,000 investment in a business of their creation with Lord Sugar as a 50% owner. 

Clare Butler, global managing director at Laurence Simons, commented, “Lawyers are usually risk averse and the fact that the nature of the prize associated with winning The Apprentice has changed has not gone unnoticed. The winning candidate was previously onto a safe bet – a &pound100,000 a year job with Lord Sugar. Lawyers realise the odds are stacked against them to get any real value out of participation in the show and in the meantime they could undermine their integrity by doing a pterodactyl impression in front of an audience of millions – as demonstrated by the 2008 winner, Lee McQueen.”

Laurence Simons and Marks Sattin also decided to stoke the long-standing rivalry between lawyers and accountants by asking both groups of professionals whether they’d throw in the towel on their current role to compete in the show. Lawyers proved to be the most reluctant to participate – with 31% of accountants saying they would leave their role to take part.

Unlike lawyers who have become more risk averse, accountants have become more open to participation in the television programme. When surveyed this year 31% of accountants said they would pack in their current job to take part in The Apprentice, but in 2011 just 21% said they would. 

Dave Way, managing director at specialist accountancy and financial services recruiter Marks Sattin, commented on the findings. “With the 2011 Legal Services Act opening the doors for the Big Four accountancy firms to build up their legal services divisions, the tables have turned in the last four years with accountants now showing more willingness to take risks than lawyers. Accountants may truly become the chameleons of the professional services world.

“I can understand lawyers not wishing to take part in the latest iteration of The Apprentice, but thinking of new ways of doing business and injecting creativity into the everyday can help the legal profession retain its standing in an increasingly competitive international landscape. While lawyers may not face their rival accountants in Lord Sugar’s boardroom any time soon, they may soon be facing them directly on a client pitch.”



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