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Society launches recruitment pilot to aid social mobility

22 August 2019

A pilot scheme for legal firms has been launched by the Law Society of Scotland to help improve the chances for less-advantaged young people who hope to secure a place as a trainee solicitor.

The scheme, which is being run in partnership with Rare, an award-winning diversity graduate recruitment company, will give legal employers the opportunity to use Rare’s contextualised recruitment system, which can analyse background and potential barriers to academic performance of potential solicitor trainees.

The system looks at wider personal circumstances, such as the fact that students might not have yet had the chance to perform to their fullest potential, because for example they have had to act as a young carer, work for significant periods to support a low-earning household or attend a low-performing school.

Using a contextualised recruitment system is one of the key policy recommendations from the Social Mobility Commission in its 2019 report for employers to improve social mobility, which cited Rare specifically as a potential partner.

Rare already works with many law firms, particularly those south of the border who recruit graduates on a large scale. The new pilot is designed to allow the vast majority of Scottish legal employers to buy into a collective scheme to use Rare’s software in an agreement facilitated by the Society. Employers will pay a set fee per trainee recruited, therefore even small firms and organisations can participate for a low cost.

Olivia Moore, interim head of Careers and Outreach at the Society commented: "No one should be prevented from becoming a solicitor based on their upbringing, and we’re committed to ensuring the Scottish legal profession is open to all and made up of the communities it serves.

"Social mobility underpins a lot of the outreach work we do to ensure talented individuals can flow through the legal education and career pipeline, ultimately ensuring the legal profession is accessible to individuals from all backgrounds. Increasingly we’ve had employers asking the question, ‘What can we practically do to improve social mobility?’, wanting a tangible solution rather than best-practice guidance as they look to ensure all talented young people are given the opportunity to succeed. This partnership is a great way to ensure employers have the tools to take individual circumstances of potential trainee solicitors into consideration. We look forward to seeing the results from the pilot, which will hopefully point to candidates identified using Rare’s software successfully being recruited into trainee roles."

Carly Gilberg, Senior Manager at Rare responsible for law programmes, added: "The positive impact that a diverse workforce has on the bottom line is indisputable. We're pleased to have joined forces with the Law Society of Scotland to support Scottish firms who want to find the best candidates, irrespective of background."

Dickson Minto is the first firm to sign up to the pilot scheme. Managing partner Douglas Armstrong said: "We’re delighted to be integrating a contextualised recruitment system at Dickson Minto as we are committed to attracting talented trainees from all backgrounds who demonstrate potential."

Legal employers interested in joining the pilot scheme should contact Olivia Moore on oliviamoore@lawscot.org.uk or call 0131 476 8203. Click here for further information.

 

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