This route is a replacement for the LLB stage of the route to qualification.

Rather than studying the LLB, individuals undertake a three-year "pre-PEAT training contract", whilst studying for and passing a number of Law Society of Scotland exams.  Details of the traineeship element of this route are on this webpage.  Details of the Law Society exam element are on a separate sub-page.

Please note that we cannot source pre-PEAT training contracts for prospective applicants.  For this reason, this alternative is typically utilised only by individuals who are already working under the supervision of a Scottish solicitor and want to begin the process of qualifying as a solicitor, supported by their employer.

Guidelines for pre-PEAT training

It is in the interests of both the employing solicitor/firm/training unit and the trainee to have clear aims and expectations for the pre-PEAT traineeship and these guidelines aim to assist with that. The following guidelines specify:

  1. The duties of the training organisation;
  2. The duties of the pre-PEAT trainee;
  3. The type of skills and experience that trainees should acquire during pre-PEAT traineeship.

Training organisations will:-

  1. provide practical instruction and the opportunity for the trainee to obtain experience, under supervision, in areas of legal practice undertaken by the employing firm/organisation.
  2. ensure that the trainee is adequately supervised and assisted at all times during the traineeship.
  3. teach the trainee the principles of good professional conduct and ethics.
  4. establish and apply systems for:-
    (a) monitoring the in-office traineeship
    (b) providing regular guidance to the trainee
    (c) appraisal of the trainee’s performance
    (d) discussing any difficulty or dispute which occurs during the traineeship.
  5. follow good personnel practice in all matters relating to the traineeship.
  6. provide appropriate office accommodation, secretarial support and access to appropriate library or research materials.
  7. make arrangements for the trainee to attend appropriate lectures and/or training seminars throughout the traineeship.
  8. support and encourage the trainee to study for and sit the Law Society’s professional examinations.

An organisation’s Training Manager will continue to have overall responsibility for all trainees (whether they are pre-PEAT trainees or standard trainees).   However, training organisations should identify a partner or qualified solicitor with responsibility for monitoring the work and progress made by any pre-PEAT trainee(s), in keeping with the spirit of these guidelines.

Trainees will:-

  1. carry out practical work and gain experience in appropriate areas of legal practice as agreed with his/her trainer.
  2. maintain the absolute confidentiality of the business affairs of the trainer and clients.
  3. perform the legal work required by the trainer to the best of his/her ability, with due regard to the interests of the trainer and the clients.
  4. undertake such research as is necessary in relation to all legal work performed for the trainer.
  5. seek to acquire knowledge and to apply best practice and acquire an understanding of good professional conduct and ethics.
  6. accept responsibility for personal progress during the traineeship and in particular to:-
    (a) seek guidance from the trainer, when necessary to perform legal work properly
    (b) assess his/her workload and advise the employer of any perceived shortfall or excess.
  7. undertake regular personal study and/or training, to enhance the practical experience gained during the traineeship.
  8. study for and sit the required Law Society of Scotland’s professional examinations. It should be noted that we do not provide any courses in preparation for our professional examinations and that a good examination record is important as it is taken into account by the universities when they are considering applications for places on the Diploma in Legal Practice course.

There are no specified outcomes for the pre-PEAT traineeship.  In large part, the pre-PEAT traineeship can be seen as providing two benefits:

  1. A grounding in/exposure to the legal profession and legal work; and
  2. A vital support mechanism for trainees, as they work towards passing the Law Society exams.

As a pre-PEAT trainee is expected to carry out duties that are reasonable for an employee of their experience and within the context of the work done by their employer, most pre-PEAT trainees who are already working at an organisation will, largely speaking, continue with their usual day-to-day role, whilst studying for the Law Society’s exams. 

It is recognised that it is not possible to prescribe precisely what experience a trainee will require to obtain during a pre-PEAT traineeship. These guidelines are therefore intended to be treated in a flexible manner, having regard to the variety of practice undertaken by trainers and the needs of the trainer’s clients.

It is also the case that each trainee’s rate of progress will vary, depending on his or her particular abilities. Regard should therefore be paid to the level of responsibility and involvement in practical work allocated to the trainee, recognising that they should be allowed to develop skills over the whole period of the traineeship.

(a) Legal practice skills

The traineeship should provide a trainee with the opportunity to acquire skills and experience of applying the law in ‘real-life’ situations, while always subject to an adequate level of supervision, to protect the interests of the client, the trainee and the firm.

(b) Professional conduct/ethics

During the traineeship, trainees should become familiar with the fundamental principles of good practice and the need to have proper regard to issues of professional conduct and ethics

(c) Communication

The trainee will come into contact with many people and must develop communication skills and apply them when dealing with colleagues, other solicitors, external bodies and clients.

(d) Time and work management

Trainees should be advised of the need to adopt appropriate methods of organising/prioritising their workload.

(e) Legal research

Trainees should develop the ability to carry out such research as is necessary to identify and to deal effectively with the legal issues or problems facing clients.

(f) Office Procedures

At the beginning of the traineeship, the trainee should receive some induction training covering office procedures, including the following matters:-
(i) office administration - reception/telephone procedures
- secretarial support
- cashier/accounts staff
- office opening/closing hours and security arrangements
(ii) office systems - stationery and mailing systems, including signature of correspondence
- cheques/invoices
- office equipment/IT systems
- filing systems
- library/research facilities
(iii) personnel matters - salary
- annual leave/sickness
- health and safety
- accommodation
- training contract

Applying for a pre-PEAT traineeship

Anyone can chose to do the pre-PEAT traineeship route but you must first have secured the backing of the person or organisation who is providing you with the training. 

If you intend to follow this route, you must submit a preliminary entrance certificate application form to us.  That form is below.

Please note that we cannot source pre-PEAT training contracts for prospective applicants.  Therefore, you should not apply for a preliminary entrance certificate unless and until you have agreed this with a training organisation.  For this reason, this alternative is typically utilised only by individuals who are already working under the supervision of a Scottish solicitor and want to begin the process of qualifying as a solicitor, supported by their employer.