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Academic accuracy on application forms

An offer of a training contract is conditional upon application grades matching academic certificates and discrepancies are dealt with as a serious matter.

There’s probably a few attributes of Mike Ross, the brilliantly-minded lawyer from Suits, that you admire, but lying about your education history shouldn’t be one of them.

When it comes to completing training contract application forms, inputting academics and grades can feel like an arduous task. Although Shoosmiths look for more than just good grades it is vital that when you enter your academic achievements via drop down options or free typing, you do so honestly and check (and double check) that they are correct.

Behaving ethically is at the heart of being a solicitor. The Law Society supports solicitors in recognising and handling difficult professional situations and making choices which can be substantiated by reference to the SRA Code of Conduct.

  • Ethics involves making a commitment to acting with integrity and honesty in accordance with widely recognised moral principles.
  • Ethics will guide a professional towards an appropriate way to behave in relation to moral dilemmas that arise in practice.
  • Ethics is based on the principles of serving the interests of consumers of legal services and of acting in the interests of the administration of justice, in which, in the event of a conflict, acting in the interests of the administration of justice prevails.

Shoosmiths have increased the number of mentions about disclosing academics throughout the recruitment and selection process, but still we see candidates submitting application forms with incorrect information.

  • On the application form: “Shoosmiths reserve the right (in our sole discretion) to withdraw any offer of a summer vacation placement and/or a place on our open day and/or a place on our assessment centre or any offer of a training contract, in the event that there are any factual inaccuracies of any kind in the information you provide on this form."
  • On the offer letter: “We need to see the original certificates for your GCSE’s, A levels, degree, GDL (if applicable) and LPC (or any equivalent qualifications you have advised us of). All grades will be checked against those you have previously provided on your application form. In the event that any of the results shown on your certificate do not match those declared in your application, it is likely that this offer of a training contract will be withdrawn.

If you are finding it time consuming to complete so many applications, then consider applying for training contracts using MyLocker, a central applications hub that allows you to store key information about yourself (eg, GCSE and A-level results) and then copy this information into most training contract application forms.

Helen Burgess, a partner in the employment team in Shoosmiths’ Nottingham office describes the legal implications of candidates lying about their qualifications.

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Lying on a CV is likely to breach the implied duty of trust and confidence between the employer and employee and therefore an employer will be able to dismiss an employee for lying. Particularly serious lies might also amount to gross misconduct entitling the employer to dismiss immediately without notice. Whether the lie is sufficient for dismissal will depend on the facts of the case.

Helen Burgess, Partner

Disclaimer

This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

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