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Solicitor Training Contracts: Everything You Need to Know


Qualifying as a solicitor is a long process that requires years of dedication and hard work. One of the final steps any hopeful candidate will have to take is to apply for a training contract.

Undertaken by trainee solicitors once they have completed their year-long Legal Practice Course, a training contract is a placement that will last two years and is the final step to fully qualifying as a solicitor.

Due to their practical nature, training contracts are often likened to apprenticeships as they offer trainees the opportunity to put their theoretical knowledge to practical use under the supervision of a senior solicitor. 

They are a key part of how law firms choose from potential candidates making it vital that every trainee solicitor knows what training contracts are, and what they will need to do to secure one, including passing the Watson Glaser test.

How Do You Complete a Training Contract?

As already touched upon, completing a training contract requires two years of practical experience.

During this time a trainee solicitor will have to complete work in a minimum of three separate areas of the law – with a recommended three months of practice in each – although they can expect to gain experience in more should they be lucky enough to complete their training contract contact at a larger firm.

Alongside the practical aspects of a training contract, trainees must also complete the Professional Skills Course, which consists of three key areas: finance and business skills, client care and professional standards, and advocacy and communication. 

Why You Need to Know What the Watson Glaser Test Is

If you have yet to hear of it, click here to practice the Watson Glaser test, and familiarise yourself with the format of the exam. As part of the application process, candidates must complete the Watson Glaser test.

Developed by Goodwin Watson and Edward Glaser, this critical thinking test measures an individual’s ability to make assumptions, evaluate arguments and come to conclusions based on these.

While there are other psychometric tests which can be used during the recruitment process, the Watson Glaser test is the one most commonly used by law practices.

The test itself is made up of 40 multiple choice questions, covering 5 different sections; assessment of inferences, recognition of assumptions, deduction, interpretation, and evaluation.

Generally speaking, candidates are allowed 30 minutes to answer all of the questions, although firms can set their own time limit if they wish to do so. 

The first part of the Watson Glaser test is the assessment of inference portion and all the questions will be based on one statement.

Individuals must then use the information gained from these statements, and this information alone, in order to answer the questions. This will test them on their ability to use their critical thinking to assess the logical solution to the questions posed, based on what they can infer from the statement provided.

The three sections after follow a similar pattern, testing trainees’ critical thinking skills in various ways. As for the ideal score, most firms will set their own criteria but candidates should aim to get a minimum of 75% on the Watson Glaser test if they hope to be successful in their training contact application. 

Tips for Taking the Watson Glaser Test

As with any exam, one of the best ways for a trainee solicitor to prepare for the Watson Glaser test is by getting as much practice as possible.

Timed long-term practice will allow candidates to familiarise themselves with not only the format of the test itself but also give them experience of completing it in a set time limit, allowing them to formulate a strategy of how to best do this for the actual test.

There are plenty of example questions to be found online so it is also a good idea to research these as they offer a good indication of how to best answer them, and the logic required to do so.

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