More than half of trainee solicitors have racked up debts of more than £10,000 before qualifying, according to an annual survey published by law student forum TraineeSolicitor.co.uk. The survey of around 200 trainees revealed that 55% had debts in excess of £10,000, while 35% were more than £15,000 in debt, and 18% had no debt at all. Some 86% of trainees questioned thought too many people graduated from the Legal Practice Course (LPC) each year, increasing competition for training contracts. The survey showed that 60% of trainees had made 10 or more applications for a training contract, with 12% making more than 50 applications. Nearly 90% thought it was harder to get a training contract in 2009 than in 2008. National firm Eversheds was the firm where most trainees said they wanted to work, with City firm Allen & Overy in second place and national firms DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons in joint third. Jamie Hutchinson, a director of TraineeSolicitor.co.uk, said: ‘2009 was the toughest year in recent memory for anyone looking to secure a training contract. Firms cut the number of training contracts, reduced salaries, deferred start dates and made hundreds of newly qualified solicitors redundant. Even the Law Society started a campaign to warn students about the risks of pursuing a legal career.’ He added: ‘It is now common to take a pre-application online test, complete an online application, attend an assessment day and face numerous interviews before obtaining a training contract… Competition is fierce and 2010 will only see the number of applicants per vacancy rise.’ The full survey results are available at: http://www.traineesolicitor.co.uk/survey.