Training Contracts – Scotland
A Training Contract at Pinsent Masons represents the first stage of a focused development programme that will enable you to become a qualified lawyer and fulfil your potential. Our training programme has been developed in-house; this ensures you receive a bespoke, balanced and comprehensive introduction to the legal profession.
We are proud of the high quality work, early responsibility and exposure to clients we can offer our Trainees, and are keen to offer the best possible training experience to those who join us. This begins from the moment you accept your Training Contract offer. We have a programme of events and communications which allow us to keep in touch with you throughout the time between you accepting your offer and joining the firm.
However, the journey doesn’t stop there; indeed it is only the beginning of your Training Contract experience. This starts with an induction at our Crown Place Headquarters in London, where you will meet with your Trainee peer group, get your training off to a flying start and begin to grow your network of contacts across the business. The following week all Trainees attend a residential Trainee Conference, where you will undertake intensive legal and skills training, as well as getting to know your trainee peers through a series of social events.
Skills Development & Secondment Opportunities
Throughout your Training Contract you will continue to receive the technical legal skills training you require, as well as complementary skills training, which will fully equip you for your life as a newly-qualified Solicitor and business advisor.
Training & Seat Rotations
Our Graduate Development Team will work with you throughout your two years as a Trainee to ensure that you meet the requirements of your Training Contract, as outlined by the Law Society of Scotland, as well as working with you and the wider business in the allocation of seats. Trainees in our Scottish offices move departments every six months, this gives you the necessary time to develop the legal and commercial depth of understanding required to take on real responsibility. Our aim is to give you broad exposure to a number of different areas of the firm so that you have a number of options when you come to qualify. We do this by allowing Trainees to indicate which practice areas they are most interested in exploring, while balancing this against the needs of the firm. Our Graduate Development team will also meet with you regularly for one to one sessions throughout your Training Contract to provide pastoral support and guidance.
During the second year of training you may also have the opportunity to undertake a secondment to either one of our clients or another UK office. We have long-standing secondment arrangements in place with a number of clients as well as new and exciting opportunities presenting themselves at each seat move. At present about 15% of our trainees undertake a secondment during their training contract. Current and previous client secondments for Scotland-based trainees include Standard Life and RBS. You may also have the opportunity to undertake a secondment to one of our English-headquartered clients.
Making an application
From September 2017 we will be inviting applications for Training Contracts commencing in 2020. The deadline for applications is 11:59p.m. on Friday 27 July 2018. Assessment centres for Training Contracts will take place during September 2018.
Applications for Training Contracts are made using our online application system. Your application is your opportunity to take the first step in what could be a remarkable legal career. Please take your time, consider your answers and remember to double-check them for accuracy and spelling.
Minimum Entry Requirements
The minimum academic requirements that all our trainees are expected to meet or exceed are:
- 300+ UCAS points from your five best Scottish Highers, Advanced Highers or equivalent
- attainment or prediction of a strong 2.1 degree
- a pass in the Diploma in Legal Practice (PEAT1)
If you do not meet any of the above criteria but there are mitigating circumstances which explain why you have failed to meet the minimum academic requirements, please include this information in your application.
From Application to Assessment
After the deadline, all applications are screened to a pre-defined framework and we shortlist those candidates who best meet our core capabilities. Those candidates will be invited to log-on to our application system and book a place on one of our assessment centres. The assessment centre comprises of a number of different elements:
- a psychometric test
- a behavioural/commercial interview with a Partner or Senior Associate
- a business simulation exercise including a review meeting with a Senior Associate
- a presentation
- the opportunity to spend time with some of our current trainees
After the assessment centres, candidates performance across all elements is considered, with those who best demonstrate that they meet our core capabilities receiving an offer of a Training Contract. Once the assessment centres have taken place we will contact all applicants to advise of the outcome of their application. The whole process from application deadline to notification of outcomes is no more than two months.
Salary & Benefits
Law School Sponsorship
Applicants to our Scottish offices must undertake the Professional Education & Training (PEAT1) prior to commencing their Training Contract. As a firm we’re keen to ensure we recruit the most talented people and so in order to help ensure fair access to the profession we are willing to cover the cost of tuition for future Scottish trainees. This means you will have your PEAT1 fees paid by the firm and we allow you to choose where you study towards the qualification. To help you make ends meet, we’ll also provide you with a competitive maintenance grant.
Once you join the firm you will receive a competitive salary of £22,000, rising to £24,500 in your second year and £39,000 upon qualification. The firm also offers the sort of comprehensive benefits package you would expect from a leading employer.
Qualification & beyond
Given how much we invest, we naturally try to retain as many Trainees as possible – our recent retention rate has been in excess of 70% and many Trainees have gone on to become Partners in the firm. The wider pressures of the global economy have made it harder for commercial law firms to retain their Trainees and we have had to respond to this. By carefully controlling the number of Trainees in the business and increasing our use of paralegals and legal support staff, we aim to not only retain a greater percentage of our Trainees in future but also ensure that they are given the highest quality of work, which will stretch them further and allow them to quickly learn and develop.
The NQ (Newly-Qualified) Selection Process
Where their experience allows we also give Trainees the opportunity to apply for any of the available vacancies at the firm when the come to qualify. This means you are not limited to qualifying only in the office you have spent the majority of your time as a Trainee. The process is fair and transparent. A list of the roles available is circulated with Trainees applying for the roles they would like to be considered for. Interviews are held for each vacancy with positions being offered to the applicant who is able to best demonstrate their suitability for the role. Unlike some firms we do not operate a ‘tap on the shoulder’ system of qualification.
Trying to predict exactly where you will be in 10 years time is certainly difficult, but you can ensure there will always be opportunities open to you by securing a Training Contract at a leading firm, which is well respected across the business world.
Continuous Professional Development
Once you qualify your development doesn’t stop. Instead you start to focus your energies on becoming a specialist in your chosen area. This is facilitated by a number of bespoke training courses delivered by both your practice area and through the Pinsent Masons Academy. Together these ensure that you will continue to develop the necessary skills to allow you to progress further in your career and take on additional responsibility.
Find Out More
We are inviting interested applicants to meet the firm prior to submitting an application by attending one of our Information Evenings or a campus event. Details of all upcoming events can be found in the Events section.
You may also wish to visit our Facebook page or follow our Scottish Trainees on Twitter @PMgrads where you can receive up-to-date news from the firm and find out more about developments across the legal sector.
If you have any other questions relating to this programme, take a look at the FAQs section of this website.