Since the turn of the year we have seen an increase in the numbers of trainee solicitors contacting us for support and have also seen public commentary about the quality of training undertaken at a small number of practice units.
The committees involved with education and training and admissions met on 3 March 2022 and discussed how the society can help ensure that training managers meet their obligations under the training manager guidance. This week we will be contacting all training managers directly to engage with them on this issue.
As well as this, in the near future we will be surveying training managers and trainees on their experiences of training and, depending on feedback, determine if there is anything we can do to better support all involved in the training process.
The committees are aware of and understand the challenging circumstances many practitioners are facing at present. Whilst we accept and understand these difficulties, we must stress there is still an obligation to train and to allocate work responsibly.
We recommend to training managers that they consider the following documents and review them routinely throughout the training process:
- The Admission as Solicitor (Scotland) Regulations 2019. Schedule 3 in particular about what trainees can and cannot do may be particularly helpful, as will this page on our website
- Guidance notes for training managers. Section 3, which focuses on discharging the functions of a training manager, may be helpful
- Remote supervision hints and tips
- Preventing bullying and harassment
- And some recent articles by society staff: How to support a struggling trainee and Giving effective feedback to trainees
It should go without saying that bullying and harassment has no place in the legal profession or in legal training. Such behaviour would be classed as professional misconduct that could lead to disciplinary action. The focus of a traineeship should be on providing the next generation of solicitors with meaningful, quality work in a supportive environment.
We would urge any trainees who are experiencing difficulties in their traineeship to speak to us. This can be anonymous and confidential if you would prefer. We would also highlight the Lawscot Wellbeing resources and LawCare as places where help may be found.