Trainee Recruitment and Management: a Definitive Law Firm Guide (Paperback)Paula McMullan (author)
Paperback 120 Pages / Published: 13/11/2013
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BEFORE THE global financial crisis of 2008 law firms were recruiting trainee solicitors in much the same way as they had done for the previous two decades. Graduates were, for the most part, recruited straight out of university and firms were not faced with today's challenges: the quantity of applications, the differing expectations of candidates and law firm stakeholders, and the need to prepare for the changes already taking place in the legal market. The economic downturn is thought to have affected the legal profession to such an extent that it is unlikely to return to the pre-2008 status quo. The increasingly international aspect of legal practice, the calls for access to the profession to be widened, the competition from alternative business structures, and the growing value-for-money expectations of the buyers of legal services mean that law firms will continue to face changes to the traditional view of the marketplace for their services. It is those entering the profession now who will be leading law firms in 2025 - the date used by The Law Society in planning scenarios of how the market might look in the future.1 How then are firms adapting their recruitment strategies to meet these challenges? This report presents an overview of current trainee solicitor recruitment practices in commercial law firms, and highlights the main issues for concern amongst graduate recruiters. A survey of 19 UK law firms (based in London and the regions) was conducted to gather data for the report. Those who provided their views are referred to as a 'contributor' or 'recruiter' throughout and include members of dedicated graduate recruitment teams, Human Resources teams, and training principals. The firms represent a cross-section of the profession from small firms taking on two to four trainees each year to large international firms recruiting more than 50 trainees. To provide a counterpoint, other stakeholders, such as university careers advisers, law school representatives, and training contract candidates have also contributed to the report.The data gathered is presented in the order in which a firm would carry out its recruitment processes in a given year, the aim being to present an overview of current trainee solicitor recruitment practices in commercial law firms, to highlight the main issues for concern amongst graduate recruiters, and to highlight considerations and make suggestions based on the strategies that firms find successful. Chapter 1 explores the major challenges faced by law firms when recruiting talent to ensure that they are capable of adapting to the changing face of legal service provision. This chapter considers how the perceptions of recruiters compare with the predictions from other sources as to the future of the profession, and what firms are doing to face these challenges. Chapter 2 assesses how law firms are promoting themselves to those seeking to enter the profession to ensure that they are attracting candidates with the right 'fit'. It looks at how firms engage with students on campus, as well as with graduates and career-changers, and considers how successful these strategies are from the point of view of the people they are targeted at - the candidates.Chapter 3 focuses on assessing and selecting future solicitors. It explores important questions in relation to trainee recruitment such as: How do firms decide on their recruitment strategy? What skills and attributes are they seeking in candidates? How do they assess candidates to ensure a fair and objective recruitment process? This chapter also considers the success of assessments and vacation schemes and examines the various layers that make up the recruitment process. Chapter 4 provides advice on supporting trainees to ensure they realise their potential. It discusses the programmes firms have put in place to nurture trainees' talent and ensure they stay with the firm upon qualification. This chapter explores how firms set up their trainees to succeed during their training contract, how they encourage trainees to feel part of the business from offer to start date, and looks at the opportunities afforded to trainees during the training period. Chapter 5 focuses on nurturing commercial awareness and business focus.With commercial awareness being one of the top skills prized by law firms, this chapter looks at how firms are developing those skills and building on the trainee's business focus - that elusive competency that firms seek through their recruitment processes. In Chapter 6 the report moves on to monitoring performance and managing quality control. What systems do firms use to monitor trainees' progress? How do they ensure that supervision is fit for purpose? This chapter covers how firms manage performance and supervision over the two-year training period. Chapter 7 studies the all-important topics of retaining talent and realising the investment. It looks at how firms manage the qualification process and asks questions such as: Do they retain their top performers? Why do trainees leave firms on qualification? It also considers how firms manage expectations, while encouraging loyalty to the firm, and asks whether current qualification procedures are working. The final chapter then draws on the observations from the previous chapters and pulls together the various elements which firms say are contributing to the success of their trainee solicitor programmes.The aim is to generate ideas and provide insights into how other law firms may strengthen their own recruitment strategies. Throughout the report, case studies provide illustrations of some of the innovative approaches taken by firms to meet and even to pre-empt the changes that the profession is currently undergoing, as well as offering ideas for firms to build on their existing strategies. In any rapidly changing business environment, there are threats to be faced and opportunities to be seized. Firms who think ahead and build their business model to work with the new paradigm in the legal services market will be best placed to adapt to future demands. In the meantime, firms are grappling with their individual recruitment agendas, the expectations of the Generation Y graduate market, and the potential time bomb of a 2015 recovery with the predicted scramble for talent in the upswing. Nonetheless, most graduate recruiters are bullish, appreciating that there are limitations on what they can achieve. At the same time, they focus on recognising and promoting where they can make a difference - which is exactly where this report will help.
Publisher: Ark Group
Number of pages: 120
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