Hiring in legal: What will a ‘star’ trainee look like in 2021?

Hiring in legal: What will a ‘star’ trainee look like in 2021?


The day-to-day landscape changed for the education sector in 2020; and if you add the legal industry developments into the equation, which is undergoing permanent online client meetings, homeworking, the digitisation of the courts and virtual arbitration – the phrase ‘unprecedented times’, feels firmly understated.

For the first time this summer, students and academic practitioners were confronted with calculated grades, studying in a global pandemic, with the outbreak broaching all areas of traditional ‘student life’ – from results, to future assessments, to the traditional delivery and education system they have known for many years.

Undoubtedly, there is a knock-on effect on how a student will now approach the job market, and in learning how to transition well from postgraduate study to the working world. From this point onwards, recruitment is arguably a new ball game altogether.

So, how can graduates demonstrate their best selves to employers? What criteria do recruiters really value in trainees, and how can you get yourself noticed when you may not meet your potential employers face-to-face?

We spoke with Wendy Anderson, who has over 20 years’ experience working in organisational and people development, having more recently worked in Operation HR, hiring legal trainees at a medium-sized law firm.

“My real interest is enabling and managing talent to support flexible and futureproof businesses.”

Wendy Anderson, Recruitment and HR at a medium-sized law firm. 


Could you tell us about the application process for legal trainees?


“We thought about how and why our clients buy our services, and what qualities set us apart. What was our voice and our message? And how do we find people to match this?

We were looking for those who reflected our culture and did not feel we were seeking the scientific approaches of psychometrics, but rather wanted to ‘see’ the personality of the candidate. We needed a forum where they could show us, not just tell us, and of course, in a limited time, whether they had the qualities and ability

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About the author:

Amy leads the content marketing strategy for LexisNexis UK, writing thought leadership and product content for marketing campaigns, insight reports and legal industry magazines. She is an established writer and researcher, having contributed in national publications, such as City A.M. and Financial IT. She is also one of the writers and digital editors of LexisNexis' insights blogs, the Future of Law and the In-house blog.