The Law Society has published guidance for organisations in relation to work experience for aspiring solicitors, following research undertaken by the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD). 

In 2014 the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) repeated its Early Career Work Experience Survey of members. 79 per cent of respondents had undertaken some kind of unpaid workplace experience. Of those who had done so, 37 per cent had undertaken less than a month’s work, 30 per cent between one and three months’ work, and 23 per cent did over six months work experience unpaid (with 3 per cent of these individuals doing more than two years).

Workplace experience

79 per cent of respondents had undertaken some kind of unpaid workplace experience. Of those who had done so, 37 per cent had undertaken less than a month’s work, 30 per cent between one and three months’ work, and 23 per cent did over six months work experience unpaid (with 3 per cent of these individuals doing more than two years).

infographic test4

Employment after workplace experience

Over 70 per cent of respondents anticipated that unpaid work experience would help them find a training contract, but less than half thought their job prospects had been enhanced after the experience.

infographic test5

The JLD was concerned about the results of the survey, and in particular by the number of people who had worked unpaid for a significant period of time.

Leanne Maund, chair of the JLD said:

’While work experience is generally considered to be a good thing for aspiring trainee solicitors, sometimes the reality does not live up to expectations. In some cases, candidates we heard from appear to have been taken advantage of. We worked with the Law Society to produce this guidance, in order to ensure that a line was drawn between circumstances where a prospective trainee was gaining a valuable insight into an organisation for a short period of time, and those where an individual was simply working unpaid. We are thrilled to see that this guidance has now been produced.’

Junior Lawyers Division
24 February 2016