Solicitor traineeship numbers in Scotland continue to rise

The number of traineeships available for aspiring solicitors in Scotland continues to rise.

According to a Law Society of Scotland report, the number of training contracts commenced in practice year 2015/16 was 549, representing an increase of 2% on the previous practice year.  

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This is the same percentage increase as the previous year on year comparison.  This consistent increase in traineeships started, indicates encouraging prospects for Scotland’s future lawyers.

80% of traineeships commenced in practice year 2015/2016, were in the central belt, an increase of 5% on the previous year.  It is notable that there was a 26% drop in the number of traineeships in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which might be linked to the difficulties experienced by the oil industry in this region.

The newly published statistics from the Law Society also show that:

  • 90% of trainees admitted in the last practice year are currently employed as solicitors (an increase on the 88% last year)
  • 11% of traineeships are in house, this figure remains static from the previous year
  • 63% of solicitors admitted over the last five years are female
  • 65% of solicitors admitted in 2015/2016 are female, compared with 63% in 2014/2015
  • There was an overall 6% increase in the number of traineeships in firms with 21-30 partners, and a corresponding decrease in the number at firms with 11-20 partners
  • There are 675 PEAT 1 (post-graduate diploma stage) students who started in academic year 2016/17 compared to 691 the previous academic year

Katie Wood, Head of Admissions at the Law Society of Scotland, said: “The Society’s traineeship statistics are a useful resource for all those interested and involved in the legal profession.  The latest set of results is encouraging for solicitors, trainees, students and the Law Society.

Those considering the next step in their legal career, in particular those thinking of doing the PEAT 1 Diploma in Professional Legal Practice or currently on the diploma and looking for a traineeship, should be encouraged by the latest figures.  The number of training contracts continues to rise at a consistent pace year on year and there has been a very slight decrease in the number of Diploma students commencing their studies in 2016/2017.  As such we would not anticipate an unmanageable mismatch between graduates and traineeships.

“One figure of concern is the 26% drop in traineeships in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. It is a competitive marketplace and we would strongly encourage aspiring solicitors to continue to follow our careers advice on looking for a traineeship.

“It is also encouraging to see that 90% of those admitted in the last year are now employed as solicitors and our advice for employers on taking on a trainee provides a factual look at what’s involved in providing traineeships along with an outline of opportunities and benefits – Trainee contributions are not only financial; often they bring a range of new skills to the firms in which they are placed.  Flexible traineeships, such as sharing a trainee with another firm or offering a part-time traineeship, are a good option for some firms.  Again the Law Society is keen to support anyone interested in taking on a trainee and would encourage them to consult our website or get in touch with our Education, Training and Qualifications team”

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