The Law society of Scotland recently announced that applications for The Scottish Government fund set up to support legal aid traineeships opened. However, the fund was oversubscribed within 24 hours. This demonstrates a clear need for assistance for both legal aid firms and those seeking a traineeship.
The £1 million fund was set up as part of the support package for legal aid firms.
Legal aid firms have highlighted the financial challenges they face, including being unable to afford to take on a trainee solicitor. A lack of funding in this area puts the future of certain areas of the profession at risk, including criminal defence.
The fund opened on Thursday, and by Friday morning the Society had received applications for more than the maximum 40 places that the fund is designed to support.
Funding is allocated on a first come first served basis, and so the Law Society is now operating a waiting list. The list is being kept open to allow firms to apply incase earlier applicants do not meet eligibility criteria.
Firms who have applied will be contacted on the placing and progress of their applications.
Hey Legal has joined forces with The Law Society of Scotland to promote flexible traineeships across the profession, which may allow more firms to take on trainees where they cannot afford to do so alone.
Ally Thomson, Director of Hey Legal, said:
“Graduates of fantastic calibre are being lost to the profession, as they can’t get traineeships. Equally many firms who could benefit immensely from having such graduates in their business aren’t either able or keen to take on trainees. Trainees can bring energy, new thinking, different life experiences and skills to firms so we are looking to find creative solutions to this disconnect.”
Flexible traineeships can take different forms, including: shared traineeships, where trainees split their time between more than one employer; part-time traineeships; and multiple secondments.
To help connect employers, we are building a free database of firms and organisations that are interested in shared traineeships or multiple secondments and are looking to get in touch with other organisations to explore these opportunities.
In addition, we want to help employers find applicants for such roles, by promoting opportunities to students and matching graduates who send in CVs to us with the available roles.
Employers that are interested in finding out more should get in touch with us.
Full information on what employers need to know to offer and regulate flexible traineeships can also be found on the Law Society of Scotland’s website.
In addition, to further aid all types of traineeships, we will soon launch the Scottish Legal Career Launchpad, a free resource for law students and graduates to help them to get better access to a range of employers and their opportunities.
Students can pre-register now to receive updates and early access to the Launchpad channel.