Trainee solicitors can apply to practise their court skills after just three months, following changes to the admission regulations for Scottish solicitors that came into force today (1 November).
Under the new regulations, trainees can apply for admission after three months of their traineeship, rather than the year previously required. This allows them to appear in court.
The change recognises that individuals enter a traineeship only after successfully completing the postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, which already includes practical court skills.
It is part of a review of the admissions regulations by the Law Society of Scotland. The amendments now in force aim to modernise and enhance the process for trainee solicitors and for people looking to requalify as a Scottish solicitor from another jurisdiction.
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 Society's Education, Training & 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.
For people looking to requalify as a Scottish solicitor, the changes introduce a new single assessment, designed to be more user friendly than the previous test.
Katie Wood, head of Admissions at the Society, commented: "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, is 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."