Mark Thorley’s Legal Sector Insights – Trainee Retention in Legal Aid Law Firms in Scotland

by ScotsLawBlog on April 26, 2022

mark-thorley-lawyer-insights“Whilst we welcome the Scottish Government scheme to provide 40 legal aid trainees to firms we are concerned about retaining staff in a legal aid firm,” says Mark Thorley, Director of leading Scottish legal aid law firm, Edinburgh based Thorley Stephenson.

“Since the launch of Thorley Stephenson, in Edinburgh in 2005, we have employed 20 trainee solicitors.

“Thorley Stephenson’s philosophy regarding trainees is firmly rooted in forward thinking and inspiring the next generation of lawyers. As such, our business has a strong record of employing graduates and ensuring they enjoy as comprehensive and challenging a traineeship as possible within the holistic environment proffered by our business.

“The Scottish Legal Aid Board funds the majority of the work carried out by our Edinburgh-based law firm and, as one of the major firms providing civil legal aid in the city, Thorley Stephenson believe that we provide our trainees with an environment within which they can become experienced court practitioners

“Of the four trainees currently with Thorley Stephenson, two have been taken on this year. Looking at the bigger picture, while one has remained with the firm, of the fifteen that have moved on just six remain involved in providing legal aid. This may be a reflection of the salaries that are paid at legal aid firms. As an illustration of this, last month one of our newly qualified solicitors was offered a salary by a large corporate firm that was more than 30% above the rate we could hope to offer.

If the provision of legal aid is to survive, we need solicitors who are dedicated to helping those who cannot afford to pay for representation. We have managed to do that for 16 years but, without support, it is hard to see how this can be afforded in the future.”

Mark Thorley is a Director of leading Scottish legal aid law firm, Edinburgh based Thorley Stephenson. You can connect with Mark Thorley on LinkedIn here and follow Mark Thorley on Twitter here

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