Testing times

Law firms have earned themselves a reputation for occasionally being a little behind the times.

It seems like only yesterday that a job at a top firm could be secured by a young man of good breeding freshly come down from Oxford simply by means of a quiet chat between his father and the managing partner over a brandy at their club.

Thankfully those days are gone. Firms are now thoroughly embracing the post-war world by actually testing graduates on the kind of skills that they might need as lawyers (see story).

Herbert Smith is leading the way, introducing tests for what it has dubbed “intellectual ability” – something the HR bods at the firm think might have some relevance to the practice of law.

Under the bizarre impression that communication skills might also be in some way valuable, Pinsent Masons has added a telephone interview to the recruitment process.

Others are plumping for psychometric testing, verbal reasoning and logic quizzes in their efforts to weed out the Bertie Woosters from the Atticus Finches.

Though with university tuition fees set to sky-rocket, the gene pool for the litigators of the future might be about to shrink back to the two surname, no chin brigade all too soon…