Thanks to Kay Barbour, Careers Consultant for the School of Law for this post giving an update and some statistics on the legal profession in Scotland. It will be of interest to current Law School students but also to those of you in other Schools who might be considering moving into a career in the legal sector after graduation – Rebecca
Some of you might be considering moving into law as a next step but have some concerns about job prospects and the odds of securing a traineeship with a legal firm. Scotland is looking confident: The Law Society of Scotland has reported a rise in the number of traineeships available for aspiring solicitors.
Following a slight decrease the previous year, an 11% rise in the number of traineeships started in 2013/14 indicates improving prospects for Scotland’s future lawyers. The statistics also show that 93% of trainees admitted in the last practice year are now employed as solicitors, compared to 88% in 2012/13.
Katie Wood, manager in the Law Society of Scotland’s Registrar team, said:
“We’re delighted to see the number of training contracts on the rise. It’s encouraging to see an increase of 11% and it’s also promising that the number of recently qualified trainees being employed as solicitors has risen”.
The Society publishes traineeship statistics on its website and these are a useful indicator for people considering the next step in pursuing a career as a Scottish solicitor. The Law Society of Scotland cautions however that, “those seeking traineeships should be encouraged by the latest statistics, however it is still a competitive market and aspiring solicitors should continue to follow our careers advice regarding looking for a traineeship”.
It is more difficult to find equivalent data detailing the English position – which notoriously has an over-supply of places on the Legal Practice Course compared to the number of traineeships available. The number of students to have submitted legal practice course (LPC) applications is down 10% on 2013, according to official figures. In 2014, a total of 4,382 prospective students had submitted applications for the LPC, compared with 4,865 at the same time the previous year, figures from the Central Applications Board admissions service show. This is the second consecutive year of decline. The decline might reflect growing realism about the jobs market. Peter Crisp, chief executive of LPC provider BPP Law School, said the number is beginning to reflect more closely the number of training contracts available each year, estimated to be around 4,500, according to the Law Society Gazette.
For more information about legal training through the Scottish or English route check out the Careers Service occupational web pages on Legal Services.