Relevant DPLP statistics

As part of our campaign, we’ve spoken to the Edinburgh Centre of Professional Legal Practice and the Law Society of Scotland, trying to gather some statistics.

From the CPLS, we obtained the following figures:

  • In September 2011, those who had started the DPLP at Edinburgh were surveyed. 73 had a traineeship offer; 79 did not.  In other words 52% of students commenced the DPLP with no offer of a traineeship.  Anecdotally, the office suggested that this number was improved on the past 3-4 years, although – before the recession – the proportion had been higher.
  • Also, of 203 who applied to Edinburgh to start in September 2011, only 153 actually commenced the course.  None were rejected for on grounds of academic merit. Obviously, there are no hard statistics why the 50 who dropped-out did so, but – anecdotally – financial considerations accounts for a significant proportion of these.
  • The office confirmed that, of those who have traineeships at the start of the course, by far the greatest proportion are made up by the big, commercial firms who recruit two years in advance.

These figures were supplemented by information provided by the Law Society of Scotland:

  • The LSS estimates that, on average, only around a third of diploma students commence the DPLP with a traineeship offer in place. (This also reinforces the suggestion that Edinburgh, with a proportion of slightly under half with traineeships, is probably the highest of the providers).
  • The LSS state that only around 40% of traineeships are with big (ie 21+ partners) firms and that most, but not all, of these would have been recruited from pre-diploma students.  It follows that more than 60% of traineeships are not recruited at the pre-DPLP stage.
  • There is evidence from recent years that even some of those with traineeships were not able to commence on completion of their degree due to a high level of deferrals.  For anyone with a CDL this would be a particular problem as the repayments would start immediately, even if the traineeship did not (unlike a living costs loan). Hopefully, this trend of deferred traineeships was due to the particular economic conditions and won’t be repeated. However, it does demonstrate that an offer of a traineeship is not a guarantee of a job.
  • There is a small proportion of those who secure traineeships but who then do not go on to NQ posts as solicitors.   There is also a proportion (although figures are not available) who will be unemployed temporarily after their traineeship but before securing an NQ post.  Clearly the implications of paying back a CDL at commercial rates for these people is extremely significant.
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