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do not match those declared in your application, it is likely that this offer of a training contract will be withdrawn.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.
When inconsistencies are highlighted this causes graduate recruitment teams and training principals to question integrity, honesty and attention to detail. If you find yourself in this situation, it is likely you’ll be invited to a meeting with a HR manager and a senior partner from your office to determine the reason behind the error. At best, this situation is embarrassing, and at worst it can be detrimental to the positive experience of receiving a training contract offer and the offer may be rescinded.
If you think you have made a mistake on your application form, the best thing you can do is own up, be honest, and trust that this will go some way in rebuilding the trust with your future employer. The worst thing you can do at this stage is to bury your head in the sand, ignore the contact and drop off the radar - so if an employer contacts you to raise a discrepancy, be humble, remorseful and apologetic – face the error head-on and work with the firm, whatever their process.
Legal Cheek previously reported a situation where a law graduate was suspended from practising as a solicitor for 18 months (escaping being struck-off), after upgrading her law degree classification, which demonstrates just how serious situations like this can become – even if they are not picked up at the time, they can come back to haunt you later on.
It is therefore essential to check your grades before you submit. If you do not have your certificates or transcripts available then contact your education provider. Although this may seem time consuming, it could save investigations and embarrassment later down the line if errors are made.
For further advice about submitting an application to be proud of, read “10 essential tips for submitting a training contract application”.
Applications for training contracts 2023 will close on 31st May 2021.
If you have any questions about the application process, you can email us at [email protected] or have a look at some frequently asked questions here.