Trainee solicitor

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Trainee Solicitor
Quentin Massys - Portrait of a Man - National Gallery of Scotland.jpg
16th-century painting of a civil law notary, by Flemish painter Quentin Massys
Occupation type
Activity sectors
CompetenciesInterpersonal skills, literacy, advocacy, analytical mind, critical thinking, commercial sense
Education required
Law degree / Non-law degree + GDL, Legal Practice Course (and possibly Common Professional Examination)
Fields of
Law firm, government, in-house
Related jobs
Solicitor, pupil barrister, barrister, judge

In the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, and certain other English common law jurisdictions, a trainee solicitor is a prospective lawyer undergoing professional training at a law firm to qualify as a full-fledged solicitor. This period of training is known as a training contract and usually lasts for two years.

The barrister's equivalent would be twelve months' pupillage under a pupilmaster, in barristers' chambers, or for advocates in Scotland, eight or nine months devilling under a devilmaster.


England England and Wales Wales[edit]

Before they are eligible to train, the trainee must first have an undergraduate degree in law, or another degree and later taken a conversion course (i.e. the Common Professional Examination or Graduate Diploma in Law), and then completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC).[1]

During the training contract, trainees are required to gain practical experience in at least three distinctive areas of law.[2] On successful completion of the training contract, the trainee will qualify and be admitted as a solicitor.

Trainee solicitors and training contracts were formerly known as articled clerks and articles of clerkship, respectively.

Scotland Scotland[edit]

In Scotland the system is similar to that in England and Wales. In order to become a trainee solicitor, the student must complete an undergraduate degree in law, or complete the Law Society of Scotland examinations, before undertaking a one-year Diploma in Legal Practice. This qualifies the graduate to receive an Entrance Certificate and begin a traineeship.

Traineeships are obtained through the open job market and there is no guarantee that a graduate will secure one. Over the last five years, 24% of Diploma graduates have not started traineeships.[3]

Trainees must complete at least 60 hours of Trainee Continuing Professional Development.[4] After one year, the trainee can apply for admission as a solicitor, allowing them to appear in court.

On successful completion of the traineeship, the traineeship is discharged and the trainee will be eligible for a Practising Certificate.

Work placements[edit]

Work placements allow students a brief (normally two-week) experience within the working environment of a firm of solicitors. Interested students may find local opportunities through their school's or university's career adviser, or apply direct to the firms of solicitors.

Hong Kong Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong, the route is generally identical to that in England and Wales (above), save with the substitution of the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws course for the LPC.