Trainee solicitors can start using valuable court skills earlier in their careers after changes to the admission regulations for Scottish solicitors were approved.
Although most of the current training requirements will stay the same, the new regulations allows trainees to apply for admission after three months of their traineeship, rather than the year previously required. This change recognises that individuals enter a traineeship only after successfully completing the rigorous post-graduate legal diploma, which already includes practical court skills.
The change is part of a review of the admissions regulations by the Law Society of Scotland. Amendments to the regulations, which took effect from 1 November 2019, aim to modernise and enhance the process for trainee solicitors and for people looking to requalify as a Scottish solicitor from another jurisdiction.
Katie Wood, Head of Admissions at the Law Society of Scotland, said: "We know that Scottish trainee solicitors are extremely capable by the time they enter their traineeship. The purpose of their time as a trainee should be to consolidate everything they have learned while undertaking the diploma, and be supported to put those skills into practice - this includes appearing in court.
"This change to when trainees can apply for admission and thereafter appear in court, along with the introduction of a designated Training Manager in each of the organisations who employee a trainee, are part of the Law Society's commitment to making the journey through a traineeship smoother and of more value to both the trainees and the organisations which employ them."
The updated regulations also mean that all employers of trainees will need to designate a practising solicitor to be Training Manager at their organisation. This individual will be a link with the Law Society's education, training and qualifications team and will also be able to make some decisions about their trainees, including authorising secondments and changes to the length of the training contract.
People looking to requalify as a Scottish solicitor will also benefit from the changes, which introduces a new single assessment, designed to be more user friendly than the previous test.
Katie explained: "The Scottish legal system is rightly admired around the world, for both the quality of education and training we offer, and for the opportunities for solicitors looking to move to Scotland or gain dual qualification. The new single Qualified Lawyers Assessment makes the process of re-qualifying as a Scottish solicitor simpler and easier for applicants."