"Graduate Schemes aren't a one off for us and we see them as an important part of our team recruitment… we are investing in the role, resources and our people to train the Legal Technologists whilst also mapping out a clear career path and development framework going forward."
Elliot White is Head of Innovation & Legal Technology Operations and oversees the Innovation & Legal Technology Graduate Scheme. This is the second year the scheme has been run and the 2022 scheme launched in March. Elliot discusses our commitment to the development of the Legal Technologist role, offering our perspective as an employer.
Following on from the blogs from Fergus and Jasmine, two of our most recent graduate Legal Technologists, I wanted to take some time to talk about our overall goal for the Innovation & Legal Technology Team and the subsequent graduate schemes that we will be running to support the next generation of Legal Technologists.
A NEW DIRECTION
I’ve seen some comments that suggest that a graduate scheme can be seen as a cheaper route to take. When hiring people at the start of their career, it may be marginally cheaper, but this was far from our minds when we were considering the benefits of running a scheme.
Truthfully, we struggled to fill our open Legal Technologist roles through the traditional recruitment routes; even if we did find the right people, we still had to train them on the fundamentals of being a Legal Technologist and it would take some time for them to generally learn the ropes. It was also clear that for some, this wasn't seen as a chosen career path but more of a stepping stone into the legal industry. So it seemed sensible for us to try a new direction for hiring the Legal Technologists we needed to ensure we got the right people to support our firm and our clients.
ESTABLISHING THE LEGAL TECHNOLOGIST ROLE
The Legal Technologist role is still establishing itself in the market and I understand that some people will have reservations as to whether this is the correct career path for them. We believe it is our job, as senior leaders of an innovation team and as a firm committed to the innovation & legal tech space, to establish these roles. That’s why we are investing in the role, resources and our people to train them whilst also mapping out a clear career path and development framework going forward. I genuinely believe that Legal Technologist will be one of the prominent titles in legal innovation in the next 5 years.
It’s also important to us that we reach people that might not have felt that a career in a law firm was possible for them but they have the right qualities that would lend itself well to this role. We employ the Rare Contextual Recruitment System whereby a candidate is not judged on their social background or university attended, as well as a number of other factors to help us better understand the context for a candidate’s experience and their real potential. At Addleshaw Goddard, we recognise the importance of nurturing an inclusive culture to help us attract, retain and enable our people to be the best we can be.
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN
We had a strong response to our inaugural scheme in 2021 and we put 21 people through to our assessment day with the original intention to hire 6 or 7 people from that group. But we were so blown away by the quality and passion of the individuals who were interviewed, that we increased the first cohort to 10 people and it’s a real credit to the firm to back us in this way.
The graduates that we brought in continue to impress us, they are almost through their second seat and making real contributions from day one.
With the launch of the 2022 cohort, our second ILT Graduate Scheme, we have 6 spaces available and whilst we can't say we are doubling down on the number we are hiring, we certainly feel there is significant commitment and investment to nurture a new generation in the legal technologist role.
Graduate Schemes aren't a one off for us and we see them as an important part of our team recruitment going forward.
Applications for this year's scheme are now open and close on the 20th of May, so I encourage potential candidates to read up about the scheme and the exciting work that we do! You can find that information on our ILT Graduate Scheme page.