The Royal Mail has hired its first trainee solicitor in a decade, choosing to recruit the daughter of one of its postmen.
Surrey University and Guildford College of Law graduate Louise Peach has just begun her two-year training contract at the organisation, working within the real estate team.
Royal Mail training contracts ceased to exist around 2000 due to a decrease in the size of its legal department but corporate and finance legal director Caspar Branson told Lawyer 2B that the training contract relaunch was “not linked to business need.” Peach’s post qualification role is dependent on business need.
The Royal Mail decided to launch the training contract as part of a legal team CSR initiative, launched in October 2014, to encourage people from non-standard backgrounds to enter the profession.
The team specified that previous legal experience was not a requirement for its training contract, reasoning that candidates’ backgrounds might have prevented them from undertaking work experience, and gave extra weighting to candidates who had strong volunteering experience.
Peach, who had worked for British Airways (BA) for the duration of her studies, had volunteered for both BA’s Dream Flight charity, which works with terminally ill children, and Guildford Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, where she manned phone lines.
Royal Mail also chose to embrace positive action, or positive discrimination, in cases where two applicants were equally qualified. It also chose to interview 20 per cent of candidates, in order to give as many people as possible the chance of interview experience. It then offered CV and interview technique feedback to all the interviewees.
Royal Mail will review its policy around numbers over the course of the two-year training contract.