Law Society replaces SRA to uphold graduate recruitment code

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  • Offers have to be open for four weeks before being withdrawn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.”


12 May 15: Trainee recruitment rules to be upheld by recruiters in wake of SRA’s withdrawal

10 Mar 15: Trainee code: SRA to withdraw by end of March as fellow signatories condemn move

5 Mar 15: “This will lead to paranoia among firms and automaton junior lawyers”: Profession responds angrily to SRA’s plan to scrap trainee code 

4 Mar 15: SRA may scrap trainee rules, allowing recruitment at any age