Olivia Parker, Careers Development Officer at the Law Society of Scotland, discusses why proactivity is important when recruiting trainees and how Lawscot Jobs can help.

‘Where do I find traineeships that aren’t with a big firm?’ say the law students.

‘Where do I find students who want a traineeship with a smaller employer or in-house organisation?’ say the employers.

These are two common questions I get in my role as Careers Development Officer.

The answer I often give is quite long, always starting with ‘well, there’s no hard and fast way to do this’, then followed up with suggestions combining university careers pages, LinkedIn and using Find a Solicitor to sift through employers and checking on a lot of websites individually.

Here’s a top tip reminder: Job adverts for trainees can be placed for free in Lawscot Jobs.

Using Lawscot Jobs to advertise traineeships can be a quick-win for employers, especially if you're based at a high street firm without designated HR professionals to look after recruitment, or an in-house workplace where the HR team you do have might not have particular expertise hiring for the legal market. Posting on Lawscot Jobs is something that doesn’t seem to have the uptake it should, although this might simply be a case of us needing to spread the message more regularly.

Note too that the team at Lawscot Jobs do more than just hosting the job board. They are also happy to help you with your advert wording and give marketing advice in terms of your branding and layout, to make sure it looks good. If you don’t want to register online with them, you can just get directly in touch – the team really are there to help.

Why you shouldn’t just wait for the right application to fall into your lap

Traineeship recruitment is a two-way street and relying on people to come to you can be risky in terms of hiring the right people as your candidate pool will inevitably be smaller. A more structured approach, using sites like Lawscot Jobs and going through the universities, gives you a chance to promote yourself to students in the way you choose. Talk about what skills you feel it’s essential for your trainees to have, what you expect from them over the course of their training and what they can expect from you.

By being reactive and not advertising your business accurately and not telling potential employees anything about yourselves before an interview, is it really surprising when you find you’ve hired the wrong people, or the job isn’t what the candidate thought?

Get your name out there so people know who you are

Having worked a lot with law students and trainee recruitment, I feel passionate about the recruitment process being easy and transparent. This starts with employers ensuring their roles are visible. While usually big firms will struggle with this less, arguably high street and in-house employers could be better at telling law students who they are.  

I hear from a lot of employers frequently struggling to recruit people at all levels and often, part of the advice we give is to get your name and your reputation out there. You need to make sure you’re recognised as an attractive employer, which can start right back at early-years interventions with law students. By using sites like Lawscot Jobs you’ll make sure people have heard the name of your small firm, or your in-house organisation so they know who you are. Writing quality job adverts shows that you take the hiring of your staff seriously and you want to invest in the right people.

The future online marketplace for in-house and high street traineeships?

Imagine how easy it would be if all traineeship opportunities could be found in one single location. With its free advertising, Lawscot Jobs could be the place. Law fairs are dominated by big firms and can be the obvious destination for students to find out about their traineeships. Imagine if Lawscot Jobs became a similar one-stop shop for opportunities on the high street and in-house…

Interesting food for thought and 'Lawscot Jobs' certainly would be a neater answer for students when they ask, ‘where do I find a traineeship outside a big firm?’.

A career outside a big firm

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