The Hey Legal Traineeship Survey 2021 asked members of the profession to describe the barriers to firm’s taking on trainees.

While 88% of respondents cited cost as a key reason, on analysis of written responses there were several other matters raised.

Training Obligations

Of course, a huge part of the traineeship offering is training – its in the name. However, in a busy practice, training can seem like an overwhelming burden with ‘requirements to provide decent training and exposure, not just treat them as admin’ cited as a barrier by one respondent.

Another respondent said:

Firms see trainees as a two year undertaking with a host of obligations by the firm to the trainee (TCPD, supervision, training). Those unsure/unable to commit would rather take a paralegal being more flexible and akin to a regular employee.

This leads on to another point raised, although trainees can offer assistance to firms in many ways, is a paralegal or secretary a more attractive hire? One respondent stated:

I wonder why so many paralegal positions are advertised as opposed to trainees – after all, the salaries of paralegals are often higher than that of trainees

However, some other respondents were able to answer that question:

‘LLB and Diploma does not prepare trainee enough for legal practice. If it did, more traineeship places may be offered.’

‘More interested in hiring paralegals/assistants’

‘Trainee lacks experience to be able to contribute to team’

Two-Year Commitment

Another reason commonly cited by respondents, was that two years was often a big commitment for firms – especially if the trainee is not a good fit for the firm. One respondent said what would make the hiring process easier would be ‘both sides being able make sure fit works before committing to two years.’

We would like to once again thank everyone who has taken part in the survey, and we look forward to releasing the full report very soon.

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