Recruitment guidance

One of the recommendations in the Fair Access to the Legal Profession report was that the Society should publish best practice guidance for training organisations on recruitment. This was part of an acknowledgement that how organisations conduct their recruitment processes can have a large impact on fair access to the profession.

We are pleased to have published the guidance and hope that employers find this useful.

The guides

Overview of the route to qualification
When and how should organisations recruit trainees?

Application forms
Mitigating circumstances
Contextualised admissions
Advertising a vacancy
The selection process and interviewing
Unconscious bias
Adaptable application form

As part of this work, we also organised a free CPD event on unconscious bias last year, while we have already published guidance on the payment of interns.

We’re grateful to the following organisations who have volunteered to help writing the recruitment guides: Adopt an Intern, CMS Cameron McKenna, Maclay Murray and Spens, Shepherd & Wedderburn, the University of Edinburgh, Ledingham Chalmers, Pinsent Masons, the Scottish Young Lawyers Association, Shoosmiths, Standard Life, and the University of Aberdeen.

Support for smaller firms when hiring

We're aware that the biggest legal employers in Scotland may have a HR person or – in some cases – a HR team. Those individuals do sterling work and are often under any number of pressures – from dealing with a large number of applications for a small number of roles through to partners requesting both a more diverse trainee intake and the highest possible academic grades.

However, outside the biggest legal employers, most solicitors do not have a HR team to worry about these things. Any recruitment is done on top of an already busy day job.

We hope to help alleviate these pressures and that these guides can help all in the profession considering recruiting trainees – by outlining pros and cons to recruitment processes, by highlighting best practice, and by emphasising that we sometimes bar people from applying for roles by accident. 

We also hope that these guides may be of use to those on the route to qualification so they can better understand the sorts of things legal employers look for, why they look for these things and what applicants can do to stand themselves in the best possible stead.

If you have any questions about the guides or need additional support, please get in touch by emailing

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