Recruitment guide comes under fire

LEGAL groups will meet to discuss amendments to the profession's recruitment guide after an independent survey reveals many firms find it difficult to adhere to.

The survey, carried out by the Standing Conference on Legal Education, prompted more than 50 responses from firms, groups and individuals involved in the recruitment of legal staff.

Conference secretary Alistair Shaw says the survey's results show a number of firms want to see a change in the guidelines, and many are already troubled by them.

Earlier this year the Trainee Solicitors' Group criticised moves to alter the guide to allow firms to interview students working on vacation schemes (The Lawyer, 9 August). The group claimed that changes would give some students an unfair advantage when applying for training contracts.

But the Association of Graduate Recruiters, which proposed the amendments, rejected the claim, and Shaw says changes are likely after the survey's findings.

“Whereas we had been assuming that there was a fairly standard pattern of recruitment, with everybody recruiting at about the same time in the year for both law and non-law graduates, in fact there is a much wider spread,” says Shaw.

“Lots of people run separate campaigns for law graduates and CPE candidates, and a number of firms run two recruitment campaigns.

“Some of them are recruiting the whole time which means that quite a lot of them think it would be sensible to change the arrangements for interviewing both law and non-law students.”

Shaw says firms now want a revised, compulsory code which would apply to recruitment in all areas.

* Shaw leaves the post of secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct later this month. He is replaced by Rael Zakon, seconded from the LCD.