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Meet the recruiter

Alana Bathgate

Alana Bathgate

Alana Bathgate (she/her) is an early careers advisor at Addleshaw Goddard. She’s based in the firm’s Edinburgh office. 

What is your favourite part of the recruitment calendar?

My favourite part of the recruitment calendar is the placement schemes we run. They’re a great opportunity to get to know the candidates, show who we are at Addleshaw Goddard and all the great things the firm has to offer. More generally in my role I enjoy all the people I get to meet and chat to both internally and externally.

Does your firm run a placement scheme?

We run placement schemes across our UK offices with one-week Easter schemes taking place in Edinburgh and London, as well as two-week summer placement schemes in Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Manchester. We also run a summer internship in our Dublin office. All schemes take place in person.

How important is the placement scheme as part of the recruitment process?

We recruit heavily from the placement scheme and all those who take part will be considered for a training contract with us. The scheme is a great opportunity for not only the firm to get to know you, but also for you to get to know the firm. You’ll be immersed in the firm, our culture and get involved in the work that we do.

That being said, we understand that a placement scheme doesn't work for everyone and so we also run a direct training contract application process over the summer.

What kind of work can candidates expect to experience during the placement scheme?

Ultimately, we want candidates to get a true sense of the everyday life of a trainee at Addleshaw Goddard, so they’ll be involved in real trainee level work for clients. During their time with us candidates are assigned a trainee buddy and a more senior supervisor who’ll work with them to assign work, answer questions and provide support.

We also organise information sessions with various teams across the firm, and candidates take part in group exercises and complete assessments.

Finally, there are planned social events too – these are a great opportunity for those on the scheme to get out of the office environment with some of our trainees and other colleagues.

What key skills does your firm look for in candidates when they apply?

We’re looking for candidates who are passionate and driven about a career in commercial law with Addleshaw Goddard.

Like many firms we’re open about the key skills we look for, so it’s important to keep these in mind when going through the application process. Skills such as teamwork, attention to detail, decision making and commercial awareness, to name a few, can be shown through examples. 

It’s also great when we see that candidates are willing to get stuck in and put their hand up to get involved.

How is the firm adopting the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)?

From 2024, our trainee cohort will be working towards qualification through the SQE route.

We’ve partnered with BPP University Law School to offer our future trainees a comprehensive suite of preparation courses to give them the best opportunity to complete the SQE assessments. Our law graduates will complete the preparation courses before sitting the SQE1 and SQE2 assessments the year prior to their training contract start date. Once they’ve sat the SQE2 assessment they’ll join the firm for their qualifying work experience.

All non-law graduates will complete the law conversion course before joining the rest of their cohort on BPP’s SQE preparation courses.

How important is diversity and inclusion to your firm?

Diversity and inclusion remain at the top of our agenda as a firm. We recognise the importance of nurturing an inclusive culture to help us attract, retain and enable our people to be the best they can be. We understand that people shouldn’t be excluded from the profession due to their background or identity, and that diverse firms are more innovative and agile.

In terms of our early careers process, we use a contextual recruitment system which helps us to identify the best talent by providing us with context regarding the background by which students have achieved their grades. For example, it considers factors such as whether they’ve had time in care, whether they were eligible for free school meals, candidates’ postcodes, whether they’ve had excessive work during term time and whether they have additional caring responsibilities. We believe that by identifying these factors we’ll in turn identify candidates who are resilient, hardworking and have the ability to thrive at Addleshaw Goddard.

We’ve also introduced blind recruitment at the application stage to help reduce the impact of unconscious bias. The second part of our recruitment process is a voice interview rather than a video interview. We decided to introduce a voice interview because we understand that some people might be uncomfortable appearing on video or may not have the necessary facilities at home to undertake a professional interview – we want to ensure that these people aren’t excluded and can fully take part in the recruitment process. We also provide unconscious bias training for our recruitment assessors to further reduce the impact of unconscious bias.

In addition to the above, we encourage candidates to share with us any requirements they might need for interview so that we can make the requisite workplace adjustments as we believe everyone should be on a level playing field.   

Beyond that, we have various employee networks at the firm. The Vine is our women’s network, OpenAG is our LGBTQ+ network, AG Embrace is our race and ethnicity network, and the Ability Forum is our disability and carers’ network. These networks provide an opportunity for people to come together whether they’re part of the specific communities or an ally. The networks help to develop the firm’s culture and are incredibly active in terms of the events they host – for example, AG Embrace just celebrated South Asian Heritage Month by running a range of events for all colleagues, both virtually and in person.

Should candidates use examples of non-legal work experience in their applications?

Definitely! There’s value as well as transferable skills in all kinds of experience and we encourage candidates to list all their experience in their application to show the range of skills they have.

We recruit candidates with all different experience and linking this experience and the skills you’ve gained from it back to being a trainee will help you create an excellent application.

Does your firm run an assessment centre?

An assessment centre forms part of our recruitment process. The first stage is to submit an online application form – candidates who are successful will be invited to complete a voice interview. Those who are successful following the voice interview will then be invited to attend an assessment centre with us.

The assessment centre lasts around half a day and consists of a proofreading exercise, group exercise, partner briefing exercise and finally a partner interview.

What’s your favourite TV show?

I’ve recently been working my way through ER again.