1 minute reading time (281 words)

Mark Thorley’s Insights on Trainee Solicitors in Legal Aid Law Firms in Scotland

Our Director Mark Thorley shares our experiences of recruiting and retaining Trainee Solicitors in a leading legal aid law firm in Scotland:-

Forward thinking and inspiring the next generation of lawyers is at the forefront of Thorley Stephenson’s philosophy. As such, our firm has a strong record of employing graduates and ensuring they enjoy as comprehensive and challenging a traineeship as possible within a holistic environment.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board funds the majority of the work carried out by our Edinburgh-based law firm and, as one of the major firms providing civil legal aid in the city, we believe that we provide trainees with an environment in which they can become experienced court practitioners     

Since launching the firm in 2005, we have employed 20 trainees. Of the four currently with us, two have been taken on this year. While one has remained with the firm, of the fifteen that have moved on just six remain involved in providing legal aid, which may reflect the salaries that are paid at legal aid firms. As an illustration of this, last month one of our newly-qualified solicitors was offered a salary by a large corporate firm which was more than 30% above the rate we could offer.

Whilst we welcome the Scottish Government scheme to provide 40 legal aid trainees to firms we are concerned about retaining staff in a legal aid firm. If the provision of legal aid is to survive, we need solicitors who are dedicated to helping those who cannot afford to pay for representation. We have managed to do that for 16 years but, without support, it is hard to see how this can be afforded in the future.

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