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SLAB backs career research

17 March 08

The Society, Scottish Government and Scottish Legal Aid Board have a project to explore the recruitment and retention patterns of lawyers to assess future supply

Almost 1,000 solicitors from throughout the profession are to be invited to participate in a research project to explore the recruitment and retention patterns of lawyers.

Jointly managed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, the Scottish Government and the Law Society of Scotland, the research demonstrates a shared commitment to monitor current and future trends in recruitment and retention.

The key driver for the research is the predicted difficulties in the future supply of practitioners in some legal markets – including legal aid – and the provision of lawyers in rural areas. This will help inform any broader access to justice issue linked to recruitment and retention, if there are problems supplying enough lawyers to meet demand.

The research aims to explore the views of solicitors individually and as the employer at law firms and the other workplaces in the private and public sectors where lawyers are employed. It will gather views about solicitors’ own career choices, and experiences of recruiting, training and retaining lawyers. Solicitors at different stages of their careers will be interviewed, from trainees to experienced solicitors. Views will also be sought from academics within the Scottish law schools.

Solicitors from all parts of the profession will be invited to participate. The research will include legal firms who do civil and criminal work, as well as those who undertake legal aid work to enable exploration of any particular legal aid issues. Different sizes of workplaces will be included from across a spread of urban and rural locations. The research will also include those working in specific areas of the law where particular concerns regarding supply/access have been suggested.

The independent research company Ipsos MORI has been commissioned to carry out the research, which is being undertaken in two stages. The first was in February with a small group of trainees, lawyers and those involved in recruitment. This will help inform the second stage, which is taking place in March and includes interviews with a much larger group of around 900 solicitors. The results are expected to be published in the summer.

For those solicitors asked to participate – and their employer – it would be greatly appreciated if you could give up some of your valuable time to take part. Your views will provide an invaluable insight into employment trends within the profession, making a significant contribution to future development.

For further information on the research work, contact Clare Duffy at the Scottish Legal Aid Board (t: 0131 240 1888), or visit