Grow your own – 10 advantages of trainee solicitors in an in-house legal team

Grow your own – 10 advantages of trainee solicitors in an in-house legal team

In this article Paul Gilbert, Chief Executive of LBC Wise Counsel, explores the opportunity for in-house teams to recruit and manage trainee solicitors as part of the mix of resources within the in-house team.

In 1999 I was General Counsel for the mortgage lender Cheltenham & Gloucester (C&G). We had a reasonably big team of about twenty lawyers. However we wanted to recruit one or two more lawyers to cope with the expansion of the business and the legal work that was being created as a result. We went to the market through traditional means, but we were disappointed not to find candidates who “got” the in-house role or who were affordable.

Then one of my team mentioned that in the business elsewhere they were aware of two LPC graduates who were in non legal roles because they had not been able to secure training contracts. The idea to offer one of them a training contact quickly developed. We cleared the regulatory hurdles (which are modest and reasonable) and invited both of them to apply for one newly created trainee post.

So impressive were they that we in fact offered them both a role. The initiative proved to be a great success and both have gone on to have wonderful in-house careers. These are the key advantages of what we did way back over fifteen years ago. I believe these advantages are even more relevant today.

  1. There are minimal recruitment costs because there are no agent/head-hunter fees that can add tens of thousands of pounds to a process. These costs – sometimes 20-40% of the final salary package are a very significant burden on hard-pressed budgets. It doesn’t feel sustainable on this basis, but for now is often a disincentive to recruit at all.
  2. The hiring risk is better managed. In other words the risk that despite all good intentions and rigorous process, in the end the new lawyer is not able to make their

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About the author:

Sophie is Head of Learning & Development at F-LEX Legal - an award winning legal tech startup helping law firms and organisations manage a flexible work force and supporting lawyers to make smarter life/work choices. 

As part of her portfolio career Sophie runs various learning and development and networking forums for in-house lawyers and mentors junior lawyers.  These include Flying Solo for small and solo legal teams and Aspire for junior in-house lawyers which she runs for LexisNexis UK.  She also works with schools and organisations to promote social mobility within the legal profession, working with The Social Mobility Business Partnership and Aspiring Solicitors. 

She trained as a lawyer in the City and worked as an in-house lawyer for 10 years including as Head of Legal for Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group.  

Outside of work she is happily married with three sons and enjoys morning walks along the beach with her two dogs.