Society's reply to letter in August issue claiming that trainee recruitment must be more open

Mr McSorley raises some important points in his letter last month and I welcome the opportunity to respond in relation to the Society’s involvement in the traineeship process.

The Society has recently launched the implementation phase of a project to reshape solicitors’ education and training. As part of the project, we will be developing best practice guidance for the new PEAT 2 stage (the present traineeship), and this can certainly include best practice in recruitment. The Society has operated a successful optional “Train the Trainer” programme which includes a section on recruitment practice.

It will, however, remain the case that methods of recruitment will differ between firms, in the same way as recruitment practice varies between organisations in other business sectors. Each firm will be seeking skills, experience and qualities to meet that firm’s needs, and what works for one firm as a recruitment process may not suit the size or ethos of another. What all firms recruiting trainees do have in common is their desire to recruit trainees who are going to meet the needs and expectations of the firm and its clients.

In a similar manner, the timing of recruitment varies between firms. While bigger firms have traditionally recruited trainees a year or more in advance of start dates, for smaller firms, the decision to recruit a trainee may often be taken at short notice in response to a specific business need. Up until now there has been no central point available for all firms to advertise their trainee vacancies. However, the Society is in the process of creating a new traineeship vacancy function on our recruitment site In the coming months, firms will be encouraged to use this resource to advertise traineeships and summer placements to build up a central bank of opportunities for candidates.

As part of our ongoing liaison with firms as we implement the new framework for training, we will be discussing traineeship issues and will consider the issues raised by Mr McSorley as part of that dialogue.

The Author
Liz Campbell, Director (Education and Training)
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