The terms and conditions of your indenture deed are outlined here.
The first few days or weeks of your traineeship can be daunting. If there are any points which you do not understand or need explained, talk to colleagues in the practice who will be glad to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Find out who is taking responsibility for your training, arrange to meet at certain times during the week and use these regular meetings to discuss and explore issues. It is a better idea to take a more structured approach when you need guidance.
2020 Indenture Deed
New Indenture Deeds have been introduced in respect of training contracts entered into since 1 January 2020.
Form 3 and Form 4A must be completed by the trainee and the training solicitor.
Form 3 and Form 4B must be completed by the trainee, training solicitor and the training officer if the firm has a registered designated training officer
The 2015 Indentures of Apprenticeship apply in respect of training contracts entered into before 1 January 2020.
Your role as trainee solicitor
It is crucial that you take responsibility for your own training. Before starting in the office, we advise you to read the relevant Indentures of Apprenticeship Deed (“the Deed”). Study it carefully so that you are fully aware of what is expected of you throughout your training.
The specific covenants you have entered into deal with matters such as:
- Your duty to treat as confidential all information about your training solicitor’s business, clients, and the office.
- The manner in which you should approach tasks and your duties as a trainee solicitor.
- The requirement upon you to be present at the office and not to be absent without the previous consent of your training solicitor and where required that of the Society.
- To behave with due diligence and honesty and to take care of all monies and/or property of your training solicitor, the firm or company you are working for and of any clients.
- Requirement to maintain a written record of your in-office training.
- Your obligation to your training solicitor in the event of loss arising out of misconduct or wrongful neglect.
The Indentures of Apprenticeship Deed sets out what you can expect from your training solicitor during the course of your in-office training period. The Deed deals with such issues as:
- The obligation upon your training solicitor to provide you with office facilities to enable you to work and gain the necessary instruction and experience.
- The duty upon your training solicitor to instruct you and provide you with the opportunity to obtain experience in the practice of law and the practice and profession of a solicitor.
- The specific duty upon your training solicitor to provide you with the opportunity to practise the skills associated with the practice of law and the practice and profession of a solicitor (drafting, letter writing, interviewing and advising, legal research, negotiation, advocacy and oral presentation).
- Provision of the opportunity to gain experience in both contentious and non-contentious work.
- The obligation upon your training solicitor to provide you with instruction and experience in the key areas of legal practice as outlined below.
- Where your training solicitor cannot provide you with instruction and experience in any one or more of the key areas of legal practice (above), that they should make suitable arrangements for you to be seconded to the office of another practising solicitor in order that you can be given the opportunity to gain instruction and experience in that particular area. The length of time you should be seconded for will vary with the circumstances. For further information, see the Secondments section.
Key areas of legal practice (Training contracts registered post 1 January 2020)
For training contracts registered after 1 January 2020, Training solicitors are required to provide the trainee solicitor with reasonable and appropriate instruction and experience in three distinct areas of law. The Law Society no longer prescribes 'Blocks' of experience to be undertaken by trainee solicitors.
Key areas of legal practice (Training contracts registered pre 1 January 2020)
Training solicitors are required to provide the trainee solicitor with reasonable and appropriate instruction and experience in the areas of legal practice set out, respectively, in Block 1 and Block 2 and in two of the remaining three Blocks (3, 4 and/or 5):
- Conveyancing and Landlord and Tenant Law
- Wills, Probate and Administration of Estates
- Commercial Law
- Corporate Law
- Insolvency Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Employment Law
- European Union Law
- Family Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Pensions Law
- Planning and Environmental Law
- Revenue and Taxation Law
- Other specialised area(s) of legal practice
Appraisal of performance
You can also expect to receive guidance from your training solicitor, or another supervising partner or solicitor within the office of your training solicitor on a regular basis. Your training solicitor will also wish to monitor the progress of your work on a regular basis and discuss that progress with you. Also, should you have a personal concern you can ask for your training solicitor’s guidance.
There is a general duty upon your training solicitor to comply with the prescribed requirements to enable you to be admitted as a solicitor. This general vision is dependent on you having duly served the required time during the period of in-office training and is also dependent on you performing and observing your part of the obligations contained in the Indenture Deed and that you have also passed the prescribed examinations and any other regulations currently in force.
Breach of Indentures of Apprenticeship
The Indentures of Apprenticeship is a legally binding document. If it is alleged that you have breached an obligation(s) contained in the Indenture Deed this could lead to your training solicitor taking steps to terminate the Indenture of Apprenticeship. Also, depending on the severity of the breach, it may also lead to disciplinary proceedings against you by the Law Society. Similarly, your training solicitor is also obliged to comply with the Indentures of Apprenticeship and alleged breaches should be reported to the Traineeship Section.
Your Rights of Audience
Trainees do not have a right of audience to appear in either the civil or criminal courts.
It is a requirement of the Indenture Deed that you should attend at the office of your training solicitor on a “continuous and full time ” basis during the course of your in office training period. You are only allowed to be absent from the office of your training solicitor for a limited number of reasons including:
- Normal holiday entitlement
- Maternity leave
- An approved secondment period
- Attending the PPC II.
If you are absent from your office for any extended period of time, this will affect the Indenture expiry date. Any such absences must be reported to the Traineeship Section by way of a letter setting out:
- how long you were absent from the office,
- when your period of absence began,
- when you returned to the office, and
- the reason for your absence.
You should report any actual absence or anticipated absence to the Traineeship Section as soon as possible. Your training solicitor is also under obligation to notify the Traineeship Section if you are absent for an extended period.
Absence & PPC II
The trainee regulations provide that you must have completed eleven months of your in-office training before you can commence PPC II. If you are concerned that you may not be able to comply with this regulation, you should contact the Traineeship Section at the earliest possible opportunity. It may be necessary for you to make a special application to the Education Committee and your admission on to the PPC II may be dependent on the outcome of any such application. Please be advised that the Committee only meets at certain dates and times and therefore it is imperative that you notify the Traineeship Section of any potential problem at the earliest possible opportunity.
If you are intending to go on secondment to an alternative office, please remember that you must first seek the consent of the Law Society.
Termination of Indenture Deed
Your training contract is for a 24-month period. The only exception to this is if you have been awarded credit for legal work experience carried out in the six months before you started the PPC I. This is the commitment you have made to your training solicitor and the commitment that your training solicitor has made to you.
Termination with consent
Presuming that both you and your training solicitor agree to the termination, letters to that effect should be sent to the Traineeship Section. Indicate how you plan to complete your period of in-office training and indeed whether you still plan to do so. Once your training contract has been terminated, your in-office training time is suspended. You will need to find another training solicitor before your training time can continue.
Termination without consent
If you or your training solicitor seeks to terminate the Indenture Deed without the other party’s consent, an application must be made to the Education Committee. If you intend to make such an application, contact the Traineeship Section. If it is necessary to make such an application, you will need to prepare a letter to set out:
- the nature of the application – i.e. application to discharge Indentures under section 46 of the 1994 Act
- the background to the request, and
- the nature of your future intentions regarding your training.
On receipt of the application the Committee will consider whether or not the Indentures should be discharged. If the Committee decides to grant the application it may do so absolutely or attach conditions to the discharge.
Such an application might be needed if the training solicitor is removed or struck from the roll, becomes bankrupt, is imprisoned, becomes of unsound mind or is absent from the state for extensive periods of time.
Contact the Traineeship Team by email at email@example.com.