How organisations conduct their recruitment processes can have a large impact on fair access to the legal profession.These pages outline our best practice guide for training organisations on recruitment. The guide was one of the recommendations in the Fair Access to the Legal Profession report.


The guides

Overview of the route to qualification

Clarification of the various routes to qualification as a solicitor in Scotland.

When and how should organisations recruit trainees?

When should organisations recruit trainees? And, crucially, how should organisations recruit trainees?

Application forms

A guide on how to create an application form when recruiting staff.

Mitigating circumstances

Info on mitigating or extenuating circumstances for certain levels of performance at school or at university.

Contextualised admissions

Many universities now use contextualised data at the point of admission to university. 

Advertising a vacancy

The ideal scenario is attracting a small number of suitable candidates.

The selection process (interviewing)

Take these three things into account: data collection, candidate assessment, comparison.

Unconscious bias

We all have some level of unconscious bias, but how do we overcome it?

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