Key facts

A trainee can be a really important asset to your business and taking someone on to complete their training is an invaluable way of supporting the future of the legal profession. The traineeship is the two-year, work-based training which forms the final part of the route to qualification. Flexible traineeship options are also available.

Taking on a trainee works in the same way whether you work for an in-house organisation, or for a firm.

What must a trainee do during the traineeship?

Throughout the traineeship, all trainees must:

  • Achieve competency in the Professional Education and Training Stage 2 (PEAT 2) outcomes.
  • Together with the trainee supervisor, complete eight PEAT 2 quarterly performance reviews (PQPRs), the result of which should be that you are satisfied that your trainee is able to demonstrate the achievement of the PEAT 2 outcomes.
  • Undertake a minimum of 60 hours' required CPD for trainees, including undertaking a four-hour mandatory ethics course from an authorised provider.
    (Of the 60 hours, 40 hours must be from an authorised trainee CPD provider – specific courses for trainees and courses providers and courses are accredited. The remaining 20 hours is non-authorised, which is just other CPD which is relevant to meeting the PEAT 2 outcomes).
  • Maintain a regular diary in the Society's PEAT 2 record, linking the experience that they have gained to the PEAT 2 outcomes. This will assist you both when you undertake PQPRs.
  • Be signed off by you as a fit and proper person.
  • Fulfil the obligations under their training contract.

There is no requirement for a trainee to be working in a specific area of law, although they should be undertaking legal-specific tasks and gaining substantive and relevant legal knowledge.

In terms of the administration involved in key processes and keeping records updated with the Law Society, most of this falls to the trainee to complete.

FAQs

If you have held a full, unrestricted practising certificate for three years, you can supervise a trainee. If you have not already done so, you will need to appoint a training manager for the firm or organisation. Find out more about who can act as a training manager and their responsibilities here.

There is no need to inform us of your intention to employ a trainee, but you can contact us if you have any queries about trainees or traineeships.

Entrance certificate

In order for a trainee to commence a traineeship, they must have a valid entrance certificate, issued by us. This should be applied for at least four weeks before the start of training.

Training contract

Both the trainee and the firm should complete a training contract and return it to us within 28 days of the start of training.

At the end of the training, the training manager must discharge the training contract.

A trainee can, subject to satisfactory progress and with the agreement of the training firm, apply to be admitted as a solicitor during the traineeship. This can take place:

  • Between months three - 11, provided required sitting-in and an advocacy course have been undertaken;
  • After one year.

Trainees can also apply for admission to the roll of solicitors at the end of the traineeship, when their training contract is discharged. Find out more about admission during the traineeship here.

Every year our Council will recommend a rate for trainee salaries, which are reviewed annually in June. All trainees must be paid at or above the Living Wage as set by the Living Wage Foundation. Find out more and see the current recommended rate.

Please note that fees change. To make sure this is definitely the most up to date information, explore the relevant sections of our website or email legaleduc@lawscot.org.uk.

Registration of training contract - £50 (plus Books of Council and Session registration fee - approx. £20)

Advocacy course (4 hours) - £50
Please note this is only relevant if a trainee is applying for admission between months three and 11 of the traineeship.

Admission – around £350 + the cost of a Disclosure Scotland check for admission as a solicitor and notary public

Practising certificate - visit our fees page for more information

Required Continuing Professional Development - the cost of this will depend upon the trainee CPD undertaken.

We have a policy on the termination of training contracts for the reason of redundancy based on QC opinion. The policy statement is clear that training contracts cannot be terminated by employers for the reason of redundancy and other avenues should be considered prior to redundancy. The only organisation who can terminate a training contract is the Law Society of Scotland.

We understand that the current situation may lead to less work for trainee solicitors to undertake. Organisations may wish to consider utilising funding via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Training units are encouraged to read the policy statement and consider all other options prior to redundancy. If having done so, they wish to make a trainee solicitor redundant, they are required to make an application to the Admissions Sub-Committee of the Law Society of Scotland.

There are thousands of law students in Scotland, so finding a way to reach those in your area and interested in your specific field and workplace is really important. We would recommend taking a few simple steps:

  • Advertise through Lawscot Jobs
    This is the main legal jobs board in Scotland and advertising for traineeship positions is free of charge to employers.
  • Use university careers services
    They can help share your opportunities with students directly. Most careers services send round a weekly student email with legal jobs and can advertise your position on their careers portal, all free of charge.
  • Add your opportunities to your own website
    Some prospective trainees seek out information proactively so make sure the information is obvious. If you aren't hiring at the time but will do in future, you could add an indicative date when you expect to hire and a point of contact if people want to know more. This will limit the number of speculative applications you receive. On the other hand, if you welcome speculative applications, state this clearly.
  • Use social media
    This is another free advertising option and LinkedIn and Twitter are now commonly used to advertise roles at all levels, including traineeships. Because posts are often shared and liked or receive comments, they will receive a lot of exposure. You can also tag in specific accounts and ask them to share a role for you, for example the Scottish Young Lawyers Association.

When you advertise for a trainee, make sure you are specific about the applicant you are looking for, with information about the types of skills and attributes you value and what sort of work a trainee would undertake. This means prospective trainees will likely put in a better application and provide you with the information you would want, as well as helping students and graduates assess whether it's the right role for them.

For more best-practice information about the recruitment process, have a look at our recruitment guidance. You can also get in touch with the team at careers@lawscot.org.uk.

Additional resources
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Remote supervision of trainees

As working practices evolve, more trainees may work remotely which requires a new approach to the traditional methods of supervision. Here are some hints and tips for supervisors and training managers to support trainees effectively.

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Trainee statistics

Get a feel for the traineeship market by reading our annual statistics on trainee employers, gender split and admissions.

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Support for training managers

All practice units employing a trainee must appoint a training manager, who are the named point of contact between the Law Society and all trainees at the training unit and will ensure all elements of compliance and supervision are met.

Contact us

For any questions relating to the traineeship, please contact the Education, Training and Qualifications team at legaleduc@lawscot.org.uk or 0131 226 7411 (option 3).