Law firms should tell trainee solicitors whether or not they intend to hire them at least two months before their expected qualification date, the Law Society has said, responding to concerns that some employers were waiting until the last moment before telling trainees of their fate.
The guidance was published after the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division (JLD), which represents around 70,000 trainees and junior solicitors, asked the Society to raise the issue with employers.
’The JLD is aware that some employers are failing to let their trainees know whether they will be offered a newly qualified position until the last moment, resulting in a number of newly qualified solicitors finding themselves unemployed, without a sufficient notice period to enable them to secure a position elsewhere,’ the JLD said. ’Furthermore, some employers are even unwilling to let their trainees know when they will be in a position to make a decision when asked.’
According to the guidance, published today, law firms should ‘as a matter of good practice’:
- Inform a trainee no later than 12 weeks prior to the expected admission date of a time at which they can expect to be told of their employer’s decision.
- Inform a trainee no later than eight weeks prior to their expected admission date what that decision is.
The guidance adds that, if an employer is unable to provide the information, it should say so, providing reasonable information as to why it is not possible.
Adele Edwin-Lamerton, JLD chair, said the guidance would give trainees the opportunity to plan for the future. As it stands trainees could be a situation where they are unsure of their position and may look for other opportunities, only to be told they would not be taken on by their employer for a perceived lack of loyalty, she said.
She added that firms would also be able to use the guidance to manage their upcoming trainee intakes for March.
Last year, then JLD chair Bryan Scant said some firms were leaving trainees ‘in limbo’ by failing to tell them until the last minute whether or not they would be retained.