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Law Society replaces SRA as signatory for trainee recruitment code

Voluntary code allows firms to compete for candidates on a level playing field, says Jonathan Smithers

28 July 2015

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The Law Society has announced it is replacing the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as a signatory to the voluntary code of practice for the recruitment of trainee solicitors, settling any uncertainty about whether the code would remain in place for the forthcoming recruitment programme.

The code was drawn up to assist in the recruitment of students as trainee solicitors. However, the code's future was in doubt after the SRA withdrew its support earlier this year.

In January 2015 the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) approached the Law Society about replacing the solicitors regulatory as a signatory to the code. The SRA had resigned as a signatory on the basis that recruitment practices and procedures are not a regulatory matter.

The regulator's executive director of policy, Crispin Passmore, explained: 'We have taken the decision to withdraw from the code on the basis that it is not appropriate for [the SRA] to be involved in recruitment practices and procedures.'

Commenting on the move, the Law Society's president, Jonathan Smithers, said: 'The code outlines a fair and transparent process for firms and potential trainees to follow and allows firms to compete for candidates on a level playing field.

'Crucially, it enables solicitor trainees to explore the possible career options available to them before making a commitment to a particular employer. Employers voluntarily subscribe to and agree to comply with their responsibilities under the code and students also have responsibilities under the code.'

The other signatories, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), and the JLD have already announced that they remain committed to the code.

Chair of the JLD, Max Harris, previously declared: 'The principles of the code remain valuable for both firms and students. The JLD are proud to be a signatory to this code, and we are incredibly pleased by the results of the AGR and AGCAS surveys. These show that firms and students retain their trust in the code, despite the SRA's recent withdrawal.'

Now a signatory, the Law Society said it would encourage local law societies, firms, and potential trainees to note the code as good practice.

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Education & Training