The Law Society has replaced the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as a signatory to the graduate recruitment code, becoming the fourth governing organisation.
It joins the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) in promoting fair recruitment and encourage a situation in which undergraduates are able to gain a breadth of experience and are not pressured to sign up to work at firms at an early stage in their education.
Currently the code states, among other requirements, that:
- No offers can be made before 1 September of an undergraduate’s final year
- Offers have to be open for four weeks before being withdrawn
- Once a candidate has accepted an offer they must withdraw from other firms’ application processes.
However the code is due to be updated over the coming year to reflect law firms’ needs.
The SRA originally withdrew from the code in March this year. It reasoned that governing a voluntary graduate recruitment code it was not within its role as a regulator, prompting law firms and fellow signatories to denounce the move.
Law Society 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.”