The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division have agreed to remain as signatories to the Voluntary Code to Good Practice in the Recruitment of Trainee Solicitors.
The announcement comes after the Solicitors Regulation Authority withdrew from the code at the end of March this year. The regulator said it had made the decision because it was "not its regulatory role to be involved in deciding the dates and processes by which individual employers and employees make recruitment choices”.
The three organisations said their decision meant the code would remain in place in its current form for the upcoming phase of recruitment – “i.e. for those students who may be made training contract offers and who will, therefore, be commencing their training contracts in 2017”.
The AGR said that, after consulting with its members, it fully supported the code in its current state for this year and a redrafting of the code for future years.
A survey commissioned by AGCAS found that 89% of students were in favour of the code's retention. Nearly all careers advisors stated that they would not be comfortable if the current signatories removed themselves as signatories.
A cross-group working party is to be set up to review the code and make recommendations, where appropriate, to update it in line with current recruitment practices.
The aim is to have any changes in place and publicised in time for the recruitment cycle in 2016.
The Chief Executive of the AGR, Stephen Isherwood, said: “The code provides students with the time and security to make considered decisions at this crucial point in their legal careers. The AGR and its members are keen to see that this recruitment season runs smoothly and that students aren’t subjected to unnecessary uncertainty.”
Max Harris, chair of the Junior Lawyers Division, said: “The principles of the Code remain valuable for both firms and students. The JLD are proud to be a signatory to this Code, and we are incredibly pleased by the results of the AGR and AGCAS surveys. These show that firms and students retain their trust in the Code, despite the SRA's recent withdrawal.”