Recruitment Revamp: Linklaters launches 90 minute assessment for future trainees

September 24, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Magic circle titan Linklaters has revolutionised how its UK and Asia training contract and vacation scheme hopefuls apply to the firm, placing technology at the heart of their new recruitment strategy.

What does this mean?

The old application system has been overhauled and replaced with an online skills assessment, which can be completed in just 90 minutes (down from 5 hours). It asks candidates to work their way through realistic scenarios to demonstrate the competencies that Linklaters look for in top-calibre trainee lawyers. 

The move comes after Linklaters gathered feedback on traditional law firm application forms, which are notoriously time consuming and do not always bring the best candidates to the fore. Their new bespoke platform, designed in partnership with Capp, aims to seek out top talent by focusing on critical thinking and behavioral skills-based tasks.

The assessment is based on the Linklaters agile mindset framework, which includes four key aspects: empathy; divergent thinking; an entrepreneurial outlook; and social and emotional intelligence. Applicants will need to complete six modules, which cover scenarios such as global transactions and critical thinking, to demonstrate these skills. It will also give candidates an insight into the type of work they are likely to undertake as a trainee.

What's the big picture effect?

This move supports Linklaters’ commitment to increasing social mobility in the legal industry by taking the emphasis off the traditional assessment criteria. Alison Wilson, graduate recruitment partner in London, commented: “We are looking for team players with the raw talent to think creatively and demonstrate an aptitude for answering legal questions rather than the typical focus on education and qualifications”.

This is not the first technology-related, social mobility initiative led by Linklaters; the firm is quickly developing a pioneering reputation for its commitment to social mobility. The most recent move follows the launch of the firm’s virtual internship, designed in collaboration with InsideSherpa, and the Vantage programme, developed in partnership with Rare. 

Law firms are increasingly inundated with growing numbers of applications; therefore, they must find a way to harbour technology to find the best candidates. For example, Taylor Wessing was the first law firm in the UK to have incorporated a gamified psychometric assessment in its recruitment process, as computer game-based psychometric testing can provide a more diverse talent pool. Even relatively simple technologies, such as the Rare contextual recruitment system, have been widely adopted.

On the whole, this unorthodox move aims to identify trainee lawyers from a diverse range of backgrounds, who can demonstrate the essential qualities and natural talent looked for in top tier firms. The new platform widens the first stage of recruitment so that those who can demonstrate the thought process of a top lawyer can succeed, with no contingency on their background. Ultimately, recruiting better lawyers allows Linklaters to provide better service to clients. The question now is whether other Magic Circle firms will follow suit.

Report written by Sarina Johal

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