Some have already begun remote trainee inductions in response to pandemic
The overwhelming majority of City law firms believe that training contracts from next year will be a mix of online and on-the-job learning.
This was one of the key findings of a new report by The City of London Law Society’s Training Committee which polled member firms’ learning and development teams. The CLLS has 56 City law firm members, including all of the magic and silver circle.
Eighty-eight percent think that the future of learning is blended, i.e. a mix of screen-to-screen and face-to-face. This approach upholds the benefits junior lawyers gain from being together in an office environment while protecting the flexibility and perks of working from home.
Commenting on the development, Patrick McCann, chair of the CLLS Training Committee and Linklaters’ global head of learning, told Legal Cheek:
“What we have learnt in recent months is that learning can still occur successfully on a screen-to-screen basis and that people also value learning in a face-to-face format. We have become really adept at providing learning that works within the current reality and are confident that we will become even better at teaching and learning in co-located classes.”
The research follows concerns raised by some rookies over the prospect of having to start their training contracts remotely. One future City trainee solicitor wrote at the time: “I believe a fundamental part of my training contract will be spent observing, listening and learning from senior lawyers in-person through my working day. I struggle to see how this could truly be replicated virtually.”
Yet, some law firms have already begun their trainee inductions and it seems they’re opting for, as the CLLS statistic suggests, a blended approach of both in-person and online learning.
Burges Salmon welcomed its September 2020 intake, who spent a day of their “mostly virtual” induction in the office last week, while new Travers Smith trainees got together in the office (with social distancing) even though “the majority of their induction is being run virtually”.