Scottish training contracts set to hit record high

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On track to surpass 2021 record of 744

Trainee solicitor numbers in Scotland look set to reach record highs this year, according to new figures published by the Law Society of Scotland.

The latest snapshot shows the Society has already registered 316 training contacts for the period to end of July 2022, surpassing the 299 logged at the same point last year. This, the representative body says, is “well above” the long-term average.

While a final total for this year remains some months away, the Society notes that the vast majority of traineeships are typically commenced in August and September each year — so expect this 316 figure to rise sharply over the coming weeks. The 2021 figure to beat is 744.

The Law Society of Scotland’s president, Murray Etherington, commented: “These numbers are a good indicator of the current state of the Scottish legal sector. They point to both business growth and confidence in our profession.”

Applications are open for the IN-PERSON Legal Cheek Scottish Law Fair 2022

He added:

“I’m really pleased for each and every one of the trainees who have been registered so far this year, and the hundreds more we expect in the coming months as August and September are typically our busiest months of the year They’ve taken an important step in making a real contribution to Scotland, and our profession.”

Meanwhile, south of the border 5,626 trainees started on their two-year training contracts in 2019-20 — an 11% dip on the previous year due in part to the pandemic. The latest figures are yet to be released.

The Legal Cheek Scottish Law Fair 2022 takes place IN-PERSON on Tuesday 25 October at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. The Fair gives students from across Scotland the opportunity to meet the nation’s leading law firms. Register to attend.


No Sweat

Why do the English regulators let Jocks waltz in to English jobs and work while the Scots doggedly operate a closed shop to inflate their rates and protect them from English competition?


Jock of the Fringe

Inflated rates? Joke of the Fringe material right there! Don’t crap on us just because your regulator and Law Society have opened the doors to any Tom, Dick, and Harry that wants to be E&W qualified. Incidentally, it is not like we don’t have E&W qualified solicitors up here, just that they can’t qualify in Scots law without jumping through all the hoops.

That aside, it will be very interesting to see if there will be a sufficient number of roles that Scottish trainees want to qualify into in the next 1-2 years given these inflated traineeship figures.


London-bound Scotsman

First of all, Scotland isn’t a closed shop, there are simple and well-trodden paths to convert or qualify as a Scottish solicitor.

Secondly, Scottish rates aren’t inflated, nor is the the Scottish legal profession impervious to English competition. National firm’s pay their Scotland-based solicitors less than their regional English-based ones, despite the same working hours in practice, despite often higher costs of living in Edinburgh especially.

Thirdly, nobody is “waltzing” into a legal vacancy in England. Scotland has exceptional universities, and these candidates are often highly qualified and motivated, who also go through the same rigorous hiring process as English candidates.

Fourthly, use of the word “Jock” is predominantly viewed as a derogatory insult against Scottish people, especially in the context you’ve used it, so please avoid using it in the future.


Chippy much?

Point one, the [insert acceptable term for the Scots] put up massive barriers to entry that make doing Scots work all but impossible for English qualified. The access to the markets should have proper equivalence.

Point two, the Scottish market inflates rates in its own market by reason of the barriers to entry, so the prices for Scottish work would be lower with better competition.

Point three,” waltzing” was a reference to the relative imbalance in entry and it is well known you can hire [insert acceptable term for Scots] on the cheap because working in England is a big CV boost for them. You seem to be doing that from your moniker.

Point four, chippy much? Who would have thought?



You can hire Scots on the cheap?

Funny that, last time I checked I get paid the same as my equivalent PQE colleagues in my MC firm …



A lot of these points are incoherent. I’m really struggling to understand what it is you are getting at. I also hope you see the irony in calling someone else “chippy” when it is you that clearly has your knickers in a twist about the Scottish legal system.

Just my two cents: I’m a Scots qualified corporate lawyer practicing in London. I spent 5 years in Scotland (including traineeship) and have spent the last couple here.

Point one: they’re entirely different legal systems (Scots is a mix of civil and common law). That cannot be helped. That being said, corporate, banking, funds and employment lawyers can and often do move freely between the two. There are also a number of English property law teams in the larger Scottish firms. So that doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny.

Point 2: This doesn’t make sense. Larger Scots law firms are often acting on complex cross-border work (Burness especially). They have the right to charge what they feel is fair (and their clients are paying it, clearly). Experience has shown they’re still cheaper than their English counterparts.

Point 3: Load of toss. We don’t get hired on the cheap. We’re paid the same as others at our level of PQE in England (believe me, I and many others have done it).

Point 4: Not even worth a reply.

Seriously, get it together. Christ.



I understand why you find this incoherent since you appear from your responses to have not concept of basic market economics and the fact that there are massively asymmetric barriers to movement from Scotland to England compared to from England to Scotland.



“put up massive barriers to entry that make doing Scots work all but impossible for English qualified”.

This is complete rubbish, I’m sorry. Any decent English lawyer in a fairly transferable practice area (corporate, employment, banking, data protection/TMT, commercial) can work in Scotland. It is extremely rare for a Scottish firm to ask a qualified English lawyer with good experience to cross qualify in those practice areas, and vice versa.

Additionally, you say Scottish work is ‘inflated’… why is it then that so many English firms use their Scottish offices as cheaper ‘northshoring’ hubs? There are a wide variety of firms in Scotland that charge a range of different rates.



Rates are inflated for the Scottish market. It can still be cheaper than English rates. That is how offshoring to cheaper less developed nations worked.



Wow, truly astonishing. Can’t believe that the term “jock” is now cancelled. I guess I’ll have to tell some of my good friends from Scotland that they can’t use this very inoffensive term any more lest they offend some poor millennial’s sensibilities and they faint. These days you can’t breathe without offending someone!



Sweaties like having something to moan about.


Sick of socialist do gooders ruining the country

Scottish universities are going to suffer in coming years, especially with law, because of their crazy admissions policies. It was impossible for an applicant from a middle class postcode to get into Edinburgh even with straight As because of “contextual” entry rules and worse, those from allegedly deprived postcodes are getting Bs this year with just 40% marks in their Higher, uplifted for “context” and those B were then treated as As by unis. “Context” compounded on “context”, might as well call these places charity shop unis the way they are going.



Besides the fact this appears irrelevant to an article relating to trainee numbers.
This reeks of classism and downright ignorance. By all means judge the students on their university performance but let’s not give so much weight to the exam system delivered by a soon to be scrapped organisation deemed not fit for purpose.



The Scots law market is a stitch up and closed shop of disgraceful proportions. One cannot even sort out a modest intestate estate up there without a relative having to give irrevocable instructions to a solicitor to manage the whole thing.



Best be making sure your domicile ain’t Scottish then, sunshine!


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