Nabarro offers second chance to trainees" /> In the spring Nabarro launched a recruitment initiative to target would-be trainees who might have missed the application deadline for training contracts. Historically, like many firms, we have recruited our trainees two years in advance. Last year was no exception. The firm had filled its 2008 positions, but because of growth additional training contract places became available.
The competition for positions is fierce, with so many straight-A students applying. Having strong intellectual skills is obviously vital, but so are many other attributes, such as commercial acumen, drive and strong people skills.
The process for recruiting trainee solicitors can be very rigid. It is the only profession that recruits its graduates two years in advance.
If you are studying law there is an overwhelming amount of information available about the different firms and those all-important application deadlines. We know from talking to non-law students that gathering the key facts can be a bit hit and miss, and if you have decided on a legal career later in your studies then negotiating the set deadlines can be tricky.
We hoped that, by opening up our application process, we might meet some good-calibre applicants with interesting backgrounds. Candidates who, for whatever reason, had missed the boat for applying, or had been overlooked earlier - perhaps because they had experienced a blip during their studies.
We decided to look beyond the traditional law fair visits and undergraduate institutions to target students directly at the GDL/LPC colleges. We knew from talking to providers that a relatively small percentage commence their LPCs with a training contract secured.
We gave presentations at BPP Law School in London and at three of the College of Law branches. We fielded numerous questions at the end of the presentations and it was clear that there were some really good-quality students still to be snapped up. Applications from both providers have increased as a result of the presentations. Our deadline for applications was mid-April and we are currently interviewing.
In the past we have recruited the majority of our trainees from the summer vacation scheme (around 90 per cent). The scheme gives the firm the opportunity to see the students in action and assess them thoroughly, as well as giving them a good insight into the firm. 'Try before you buy' on both sides.
We are not planning on increasing our summer scheme numbers, so the challenge will be to continue to recruit the very best trainees, but from a one-day assessment centre as opposed to the luxury of a three-week scheme. Ultimately the firm aims to retain all our trainees on qualification. The firm recruits a relatively small number and wants to ensure they have a long-term future at the firm.
We are definitely planning on repeating this next year and are confident we will recruit some good-quality candidates from this initiative.