Trainee Recruitment and Management: A Definitive Law Firm Guide

This report, based on original research conducted by the author, provides crucial advice on the war for talent and on ensuring a pipeline of excellent lawyers for the future of your firm.

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Trainee solicitors represent the future of a law firm and it is vital to have effective processes in place to attract and retain the best candidates. This report presents a comprehensive overview of current trainee solicitor recruitment practices in law firms and analyses the main issues experienced by graduate recruiters and partners. The report is based on original research conducted by the author into the recruitment and trainee management activities of firms representing a cross-section of the profession. It provides crucial advice on the war for talent and on ensuring a pipeline of excellent lawyers for the future of your firm.

Key facts about this report:

  • The report examines how firms attract candidates with the right ‘fit’ and provides in-depth advice on how to better engage with them;
  • It provides advice on supporting trainees to ensure they realise their potential and analyses the programmes firms have in place to nurture talent;
  • It covers monitoring performance and managing quality control and provides guidance on ensuring that supervision is fit for purpose;
  • The case studies illustrate the innovative approaches taken by firms to meet and even pre-empt the changes that the profession is currently undergoing, as well as offering ideas for firms to build into their existing strategies;
  • As well as the research carried out with law firms, the author also compiled a survey of candidate opinions on graduate recruitment strategies to provide insight into their opinion of current recruitment initiatives; and
  • The final chapter pulls together the various elements which contribute to the success of trainee programmes and provides a definitive list of tips and ideas on how law firms may strengthen their own recruitment strategies.

 Case studies are included from Bond Dickinson, Clyde & Co, Gide Loyrette Nouel, Farrer & Co, and Reed Smith. Plus, to provide a counterpoint, other stakeholders such as university careers advisors, law school representatives, and training contract candidates have also contributed to the report.


Chapter 1: Recruiting for the future

Chapter 2: Attracting firm-shaped talent

Chapter 3: Assessing and selecting tomorrow's solicitors

Chapter 4: Supporting trainees to realise their potential

Chapter 5: Nurturing commercial awareness and business focus

Chapter 6: Monitoring performance and managing quality control

Chapter 7: Retaining talent and realising the investment

Chapter 8: Perspectives on graduate recruitment and management

Check our Executive Summary and full table of contents here


Paula McMullan
Paula McMullan is a learning and development consultant and accredited business coach who works with professional service firms, helping them to realise the potential in their people through consulting, coaching, and training initiatives. With more than 20 years of experience in the legal profession, she has an in-depth understanding of law firm drivers, having trained as a solicitor with Norton Rose and later working with Shearman & Sterling. Paula now specialises in designing and developing graduate recruitment programmes, assessments, and performance management strategies to ensure that firms recruit and nurture the talent that will build their future success. She also coaches partners to manage and motivate their teams for top performance. To discover more about how Paula can help your business, contact her via LinkedIn.

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