New support initiative for trainees facing wrongful treatment

Since the recession, the Scottish Young Lawyers’ Association (SYLA) has seen an increase in reports of mistreatment of young lawyers by some firms and organisations. Some employers remain unaware that it is not legally possible to make a trainee redundant, and can lead to a claim for wrongful dismissal.

We also hear of trainees working for free, having their contracts changed at short notice without consultation, and having negligently low levels of supervision and support. The disillusionment felt in these circumstances should not be underestimated.

Trainees experiencing difficulties with their training firms should contact Katie Wood, a manager in the Law Society Registrar’s department (0131 476 8105), in the first instance for confidential advice and support. Unfortunately, many of the trainees who contact SYLA are beyond the point where they feel the Society can assist, and require expert legal advice.

In response, SYLA is launching a project to create a panel of solicitors specialising in employment law who will provide free initial advice to trainees and solicitors up to two years qualified. SYLA invites relevant solicitors and firms to offer their support. If that advice leads to a claim, it will be for the young lawyer and the firm to agree how it will be financed.

SYLA hopes that with such help, the young lawyer will feel empowered to stand up for their rights.

If you or your firm are interested in being involved in this project, please email

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