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New recruit….Natalie Milnes of Harrogate

A HARROGATE graduate has been told “You’re hired!” after winning after a lawyer’s recruitment process with a difference – mirrored on TV’s The Apprentice.

Natalie Milnes, aged 24, beat off the challenges of more than 60 fellow newly-qualified graduates to land the job as a trainee solicitor with Metis Law.

Following the deferral or cutback of so many traineeships over the last three years because of the economic downturn – which saw more firing than hiring – a record number of law graduates are now “banked up” searching for the first rung on their career ladder.

The situation has worsened this summer with the Class of 2011 competing with their predecessors from the past two years in securing a limited number of contracts as part of the current intake.

Natalie Milnes

Natalie is a former student of Leeds Met University – where she completed both her law degree and the subsequent Legal Practice Course. She said:

The process meant we all had to think on our feet and demonstrate a wide range of skills in meeting the tasks that were set – from communications and teamwork, to an eye for a new business lead.

It was a different experience to what we had all been expecting but the process helped identify the strengths and weaknesses of all the candidates. It was hard work – but fun – and I’m thrilled to get my opportunity.

Metis Law founding partner Paul Cooper – originally from Harrogate and educated at King James’ School in Knaresborough – said the idea for The Apprentice-themed recruitment process stemmed from the unprecedented volume of applications received by the company when it decided to expand.

He said:

We knew there would again be fewer law firms than usual looking to take on trainees but we were knocked over not only by the quantity of applications – but also their quality. All were first-rate graduates with 2:1 qualifications or better.

We wanted to buck the trend in two areas – not just by taking someone on in the current economic climate, but also by doing so in a ground-breaking way.

As a progressive young company which prides itself on being different – an antidote to ‘stuffy’ law firms – we decided to capitalise upon the timeliness and appeal of the TV programme.

We decided to echo the approach it takes in identifying the best candidate for the prized job – for us, a better way of selection than listening to stock answers being simply trotted out at a traditional interview.


He added:

Natalie demonstrated great potential and we are delighted that she joins our expanding pool of legal talent, all of whom share a desire to re-boot the outdated legal sector. We look forward to Natalie making a contribution to our future success.


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