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Recruit high performing lawyers of the future

Ashfords, a fast-growing firm of solicitors, wanted to bring graduates into the business with the long term potential to build on the organisation’s success. The HR and L&D Manager approached us to design a bespoke recruitment process to identify candidates who would flourish in the graduate role and beyond.


Jessica Iley, HR Assistant, Ashfords:

“Ashfords has grown rapidly over the past five years. We need to ensure that we invest in graduates who will become our high performing lawyers of the future so that the firm can continue to deliver great results.

Lift really got under the skin of what makes a great Ashfords Trainee Solicitor by identifying what they do that makes them so successful in their role. They used this insight to describe specific behaviours we could assess our graduate candidates against. Our new assessment process is both credible and reliable.”


We designed a four-step approach to:

Identify the specific high performance behaviours used by solicitors in the organisation

Create a bespoke framework of Ashfords’ High Performance Behaviours

Design a virtual assessment centre to look for Ashfords’ High Performance Behaviours

Develop assessors who can identify the behaviours accurately, reliably and consistently

We used behavioural interviews to identify what the great solicitors at Ashfords do to get outstanding results in their role. Then we created a clear and measurable behaviour framework that described what high performance looks like for trainee solicitors - and designed the recruitment process around the behaviours.

During the design stage, the first Covid-19 lockdown took effect. This created the challenge of delivering the project in a different way to the same timescales if the client was still to attract the very best graduates for 2020. We redesigned the process so that it could be managed entirely virtually, whilst maintaining its integrity and the full confidence of stakeholders. We researched, designed and tested a range of online assessments, including psychometrics and virtual exercises, before selecting the best approach. The next step was to create a set of structured questions for videocall interviews, together with checklists and assessor guidelines to evaluate candidates’ capabilities.

Recruitment can only be effective when the client has full clarity and confidence in the process. To help this happen, our final step was to hold virtual workshops to familiarise the in-house assessor team with the new design and develop their skills to make balanced and objective evaluations.

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