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Sky Scrapers


At the helm of any law firm's competitiveness and sustainable growth is the competence, robustness and adaptability of their talent pipeline. It’s no surprise then that developing talent remains a top priority and the average investment for UK law firms to recruit and train a single trainee ranges from £70,000 to £100,000 annually.

Despite this focus and investment, the sector continues to face numerous and costly challenges relating to junior talent:

Exiting an Imposing Building

IQ Versus EQ: As the legal landscape has evolved it has become even more apparent that academic and technical expertise are simply not enough to succeed in the high-pressured environment. Junior talent pipelines that lack EQ competencies remain a key challenge for HR teams with 82% of firms reporting that trainees lack the essential personal effectiveness and resilience skills expected of them. 


Disengagement and Attrition: Even with NQ salaries increasing by over 50% in the last five years, 67% of firms reported that trainees did not take responsibility for their learning experience at the firm or develop a plan for continuous improvement. 

Generational Divide: The emergence of the ‘new generation’ of lawyers with different values and expectations has resulted in cross-generational friction, further impacting engagement and retention, as well as increasing the burden on senior leaders. 87% of firms reported that trainees did not take ownership of their role in the success of working dynamics with their supervisors, team and other key stakeholders.


Mental Health Challenges & Increased Regulatory Focus: The expectations of junior talent about the role of their workplace in supporting their mental health has led to increased pressure on senior leaders and HR. Adding to this is the SRA’s increased focus on mental health culture, particularly its emphasis on the role of managers and supervisors. 



The introduction of new entry routes and the move to the SQE pathway partly reflects the sector's attempt to tackle these challenges by increasing the level and consistency of standards required to practice at qualification.


Although this approach may address issues relating to the technical element of training, it still does not address the clear deficit in the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills needed to navigate the complex client-focused legal environment. Instead, less specific training requirements for firms on the SQE pathway has further magnified this gap as well as put heightened pressure on HR teams to find solutions.

Working Together
Taking Note


Through our partnerships and work with 70+ law firms, including early adopters of the SQE pathway, HR teams, trainees and senior leaders, we have spent the last 18 months working to address these intrapersonal and interpersonal competency gaps. 


We have engaged in sector research including surveys, focus groups and a 1-2-1 case study and partnered with experts in the field to clearly define the core competency gaps and design a comprehensive training solution.


The result is competency-led trainee programme designed to:  

  • Ensure your talent pipelines are equipped with the key intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies required to navigate a client-led VUCA legal sector and the realities of working in a law firm

  • Reduce your firm's resourcing requirements for training needs assessments and design 

  • Provide HR and early talent teams with a research-based set of competencies to benchmark trainee development against 

  • Equip your junior talent with a clear understanding of the expectations on them 

  • Support wider business objectives including adherence to SRA best practice recommendations on supporting junior talent

Stang-up Meeting


For further information on how Leading Minds training can support your talent development, you can schedule a meeting HERE or via the form below. You can also download a copy of our recent report on the SQE pathway HERE.


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