The Law Society of Scotland has opened its doors to students and graduates as its first category of non-solicitor 'members'.

From today, recent graduates on the LLB and diploma in professional legal practice can sign up as 'student associates' of the professional body.

They will be the first to benefit from a five-year strategy to create new categories of membership for people within the legal sector who are not qualified solicitors. Other new categories may include paralegals and legal executives. 

A proposal by the Law Society of England and Wales to admit non-solicitors as affiliates was rejected by the membership in a postal ballot in 2008. 

The Edinburgh society said that benefits of becoming a student associate include free career advice and CV-boosting tips. Student associates will also be able to access discounted CPD events.

Heather McKendrick, head of careers and outreach at the Law Society of Scotland, said: 'Being a student associate gives students the opportunity to really make the most of what’s on offer from the society and start building their networks and experience to boost their future careers.

'I’m looking forward to being able to provide more support throughout university, making sure key information and exciting opportunities to get involved with the profession are offered to students and graduates across Scotland.'