THE TRAINEE Solicitors' Group (TSG) has denounced moves to amend the Law Society's recruitment guide, saying it would give some students an unfair advantage in applying for training contracts.
The group claims the change – proposed by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) – could discriminate unwittingly against some candidates.
AGR wants to amend the second rule for employers included in the 'Guide to good practice in the recruitment of trainee solicitors' to enable firms to interview students who are working at their practice during vacations.
Firms are currently allowed to interview prospective trainees only after 1 September in the student's final year of undergraduate study.
TSG chair Fiona Boyle says the group is concerned some firms invite friends and relatives of staff and clients to participate in the vacation scheme and those students could be more likely to secure articles if they are interviewed at the time.
She says the group perceives a climate of discrimination against some people seeking training contracts. “We are concerned this amendment would possibly contribute to that.
“It can't be denied that there is discrimination on a massive scale and the group feels that selection procedures should be as uniform as possible.”
But AGR committee member and Clifford Chance recruitment partner, Chris Perrin, says most firms no longer take staff in through the back door.
He says interviewing students on placement would not give them an advantage over other applicants, but it would save time and money.
“The vast majority of firms are sophisticated enough in their selection system not to take somebody on because they've been interviewed a little bit earlier than somebody else.”