Gillespie Macandrew has become the latest law firm to join a pilot scheme by the Law Society of Scotland and Rare, which aims to promote fair access to legal traineeship opportunities through contextualised recruitment.
The Law Society has partnered with diversity specialists Rare to make contextualised recruitment software more accessible to the Scottish legal market. Gillespie Macandrew is now the third firm to join the scheme, following both Dickson Minto and Morton Fraser as early adopters of the new tool.
Rare’s system processes data from traineeship applicants relating to their socio-economic background including school grades, home postcode and free school meals entitlement, among other indicators. The system uses this information to identify candidates who have faced barriers, so employers can assess their performance in a fairer context. Olivia Moore, Head of Careers and Outreach at the Law Society, said: “We believe that a system like Rare’s offers employers a ‘gold standard’ recruitment practice for trainees. We are really pleased to have the support of Gillespie Macandrew and look forward to reviewing what we anticipate will be a positive impact on social mobility.
“Rare’s system objectively processes the data entered by candidates giving a clear indication of those who have outperformed their peers or faced disadvantage. For example, if a candidate obtained ‘ABBC’ at higher, they may be viewed as an average-performing candidate. However, if employers can see that they attended a low-progression school and obtained grades in the top 10% of the year, or perhaps they have acted as a carer for several years, their performance can be viewed in a different light. The result is that candidates’ potential can be more clearly identified to prevent losing them too early in the process.”
The Law Society is the first organisation in the UK to offer members an opportunity like this, giving even firms with only a small number of trainee places the chance to access the scheme.
Olivia added: “We realised that buying Rare directly was not a realistic option for the majority of Scottish firms, but buy working together we can help create the economies of scale which make it much more accessible.
“We hope that more firms and organisations will see the advantages of this approach and join our scheme with Rare. If there’s positive feedback from the pilot scheme, and enough interest from firms, we will aim to offer Rare’s solution on a more permanent basis.”
Robert Graham-Campbell, CEO at Gillespie Macandrew, said: “We are pleased to be part of The Law Society’s pilot scheme to support our recruitment practices. Widening access to legal training is important in our industry and we welcome this project as a means of doing so.”