06 September 2019

Linklaters has designs on contracts

Firm turns to good design principles to create digital training contract offer letter in first step to redesign legal documents.


Linklaters has redesigned its training contract offer letter using principles of legal design. The firm says this reflects their wider efforts in the space, designing legal content and service delivery to increase access, usability and effectiveness for clients.

Design principles

The original letter was a traditional Microsoft word document, similar to the format of most other training contract offer letters in the market, and potentially employment offer letters more widely. The innovation and the graduate recruitment team, led by legal design agency Observ, worked with Linklaters trainees and LPC students, the end “user”, to reimagine the letter. The aim was to design an offer letter that gave future trainees all the information they needed to make their decision while also differentiating the Linklaters brand on campus. The firm posed an open question at the workshops: “If we weren’t limited by what we know of offer letters and employment contracts, what could a new generation of training contract offer letters look like?” The revised letter is significantly different to traditional employment letters. The Word document has been replaced by a digital version, removing the need to print, manually complete and scan the document back to the firm; making it more environmentally friendly while also saving time and costs. Information has been grouped so that the user can find what they need easily, whether that is the path from signing to the first day in the office or key benefits offered to employees at the Firm. Finally, the use of colour and symbols has made the letter more engaging and information within it easier to recall.

Positive feedback

The firm is pleased with initial feedback. One student who accepted an offer earlier this month commented, “I liked how it clearly showed all of the information and was easy to follow, as well as being aesthetically pleasing.” Shilpa Bhandarkar, head of innovation at Linklaters, said “As part of our innovation strategy, we’ve been exploring ways to apply design principles to legal documents and advice, enabling us to provide a better service to our clients. What we’ve done with the new offer letter – from a visual, structural and process perspective - showcases what is possible within the confines of legally binding contracts.” Finn Griggs, graduate recruitment partner at Linklaters, added “We’ve had positive feedback from our future joiners, and we’re already seeing an uplift in the speed of response to the new offer letters since we launched the new template earlier this summer.”

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