It's important that you start thinking about securing a traineeship whilst you're studying. You need to be aware of how the legal employment market works, who the employers are and at what stage you will need to be ready for recruitment deadlines.
The Law Society is not able to find traineeships for individuals, nor are we able to say which employers have hired trainees in the past. You should also be fully aware that you are not guaranteed to get a traineeship if you have undertaken the LLB and Diploma. The traineeship job market works like any other private sector profession; you need to proactively seek out opportunities yourself.
Although traineeships with big firms can often seem more visible, there are many other opportunities at smaller firms and in-house. We collect the evidence for this! Here's the spread of last year's traineeships by firm type:
It's important to think about what kind of employer you are interested in working for, as they vary significantly. Working for a small firm, a big firm or in-house are the main over-arching strands you can work in.
You need to consider the type of law that interests you. Do you prefer working with individuals or companies, therefore would you prefer personal or commercial law? You will need very different skills working in a high street firm to working for a large cross-border firm, whilst they're both in private practice. You may need to show your business accumen if you want to work in-house.
Different employers may also look for different things on your CV, such as particular internships, voluntary experience, non-legal work experience, grades, living abroad or subjects. Think about who your skillset might be valuable to. If there's an employer you really want to work for but you feel like you might not have the whole package, think about how you can boost your position.
For more information about what employer might suit you, apply to become a student associate for free and unlock our online traineeship hub.
There is no foolproof way of securing a traineeship. Firms and organisations often market themselves in universities, advising Diploma units and careers services of vacancies. Some firms recruit trainees during the undergraduate degree, others do not finalise recruitment plans until later - which could be while you are on the Diploma or beyond. Others will not advertise at all and may accept speculative applications. Ensuring you are aware of closing dates from an early stage will help as they come past quickly - and try to send in applications some time before the deadline - this will show potential recruiters you are enthusiastic about the traineeship and organised enough to submit it before the deadline! For listings of traineeship opportunities, check out:
- Lawscot Jobs, the official recruitment website of the Law Society of Scotland
- Your university careers portal
- National recruitment websites like Indeed, S1Jobs, GraduateJobs
- LinkedIn and other social media platforms (even Twitter and Facebook are becoming popular places to advertise)
- Legal publications like Scottish Legal News (sign up for daily alerts from them)
- Your law fair or other events for students
The Law Society of Scotland is here to help you with your career planning throughout your professional life. We recognise that one of the most challenging periods can be securing a traineeship in order to qualify as a solicitor.
We support employers to take on trainees
If any firms or organisations would like to take on a trainee, we try to make the process as simple as possible for them by offering support and one to one support. We also promote the benefits of trainees widely within the profession, in order to encourage employers to consider taking someone on.
We provide one to one tailored support for jobseekers
If you're struggling with finding a traineeship, you can get in touch with our careers team. They can talk you through your options and can help you identify how you might be able to improve your applications or approach, including feedback on your CV, interview technique and how you're targeting employers. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also unlock more careers advice by becoming a student associate. All LLB, Diploma and pre-PEAT students are eligible to join for free. You can login to the student area and look at our traineeship hub and employability advice sections.
We visit students at their universities every year
We visit every LLB and Diploma provider on an annual basis, speaking to students every year of their study and attending law fairs. We give information about the employment market and general careers advice.
We can advise on flexible traineeship options
The Society encourages trainees and those wishing to offer traineeships to think creatively about how these traineeships could be carried out. The traineeship is usually a full-time, two-year training contract at one organisation but it is possible for traineeships to be carried out more flexibly. Please note that any traineeship must be two years or the equivalent pro rata for part-time training. Some examples of flexible traineeships are:
- Shared traineeships - when a trainee works at more than one firm or organisation over the course of the traineeship
- Part-time traineeships - when a trainee works on a part-time basis, and the length of the traineeship is altered to reflect the part-time hours
- Further secondments - a trainee may have the opportunity to go on secondment more than once during the training period
Flexible traineeships are usually arranged by the trainee themselves, so you will need to be proactive and approach employers. If you'd like more information about flexible traineeships, contact us by emailing email@example.com or call 0131 226 7411 and choose Option 3.
Anyone wishing to carry out a flexible traineeship must make an application to the Society’s Admissions Sub Committee for permission to do so. The Committee will usually wish to see a training plan detailing how it is proposed that the traineeship will be carried out, particularly the supervision arrangements, TCPD and PQPR arrangements, and details of who will be responsible for overseeing the training (ie will the contract be with one firm/organisation or will it be with two or more).
Flexible traineeships can offer significant advantages to organisations and prospective trainees.
For organisations this can include:
- shared cost of salary and training
- reduced cost of salary if the trainee is working part-time
- potential reduction in recruitment costs for solicitors in the future
- trainees with unique experiences and new perspectives
- attracting new lawyers into your organisation
- developing your business profile
- building links with clients
For trainees this can include:
- unique opportunities for training
- a traineeship that fits in with your personal requirements
- the opportunity to work in different environments and practice areas
- a range of clients and projects during the traineeship
- building links with organisations in the legal profession