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Mastering the GLS Assessment: A Guide for Aspiring Legal Professionals

If you are planning on applying to work in the Government Legal Profession (formerly known as the Government Legal Service, or GLS, which is what it will be referred to in this document), then you are going to need to familiarize yourself with the application process. Additionally, to increase your chances of acceptance, you will need to prepare.

The recruitment and application process for a position with the GLS is highly competitive and lengthy. Candidates will need to complete several interviews, a written test, and examinations.

What is the GLS? What does the recruitment process entail? How do you prepare for applying for a position with the GLS? In order to find the answers to these questions and more – and increase your chances of being accepted – keep on reading.

What Is The Government Legal Service?

The Government Legal Service (abbreviated to GLS, as which it is commonly referred) is a part of the broader Civil Service. Employees of the GLS support Her Majesty’s Government (HMS). Recently, the Government Legal Service has been changed to the Government Legal Profession, and is also referred to as the Government Legal Department.

As stated above, for the purposes of this article, we will continue to use “GLS.”

In terms of political affiliations and stances, the GLS is neutral, and the function is to advise the government of the United Kingdom, as well as government departments, on matters that pertain to legalities and policies. Additionally, the GLS represents the government and government departments in court proceedings.

Working with the GLS differs from working with private practice firms in that all of the work that employees do in this position is completed in-house, and the government of the United Kingdom is an employee’s only client. The GLS employs an estimated 1,800 lawyers, and there are approximately 60 trainee positions offered each year.

These positions are held across four different locations throughout the UK, including London, Manchester, Leeds, and Bristol. The Treasury Solicitor serves as the head of the government’s legal profession.

What Does Working With The GLS Entail?

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Often, the work that lawyers who are employed by the UK government undertake is sensitive in terms of politics (despite the fact that the GLS is supposed to be politically neutral), complicated, and must be completed under tight deadlines.

Furthermore, lawyers who work for the GLS must complete a variety o work that relates to both private and public law, and these professionals are often in the public eye. There are several roles under the GLS, which include:

  • Preparing legislation
  • Advisory work
  • Handling litigation

Anyone who is thinking about applying for a position with the GLS should take the GLS “Success Profiles” into consideration. The GLS measures all candidates against these “Success Profiles” during their recruitment process. “Success Profiles” include the following:

  • The ability to communicate and influence
  • Proficiency in skills that relate to the legal profession
  • The ability to make appropriate and effective decisions
  • The ability to work with others
  • Success at delivering work at pace
  • The ability to develop oneself, as well as others
  • Self-motivation

Additionally, anyone who is thinking about applying for a position with the GLS should also take the wider Civil Service Success Profiles requirements into consideration, as well as the core values of the Civil Service.

The core values of the Civil Service include:

  • Honest
  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Impartiality

The GLS is a government department under which the Legal Trainee Schemes (LTS) functions. Other departments include the National Crime Agency, the Competition, and Markets Authority, and the HMRC.

What Are The Qualifications?

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If you are thinking about applying for a position with the Government Legal Service, prior to completing the application process, you first need to make sure that you are eligible to work for the GLS, both in terms of qualifications as well as nationality. It is important to note that at the time of writing, the GLS was not offering the SQE route to qualify for employment.

In order to qualify to hold a position with the GLS, you must have at least a 2:2 in an undergraduate degree or the equivalent; however, it does not matter which university you obtained the degree from or which school you attended.

Additionally, you are not required to provide details that pertain to GCSE and A-level results when you are applying for a position with the Government Legal Service.

What Does The Government Legal Service Application Process Entail?

The process of applying for a position with the Government Legal Service involves four stages. The process begins with completing and submitting an application form. You will also need to successfully complete three tests, which are given online, and complete a video interview. Attending an assessment day is the final stage of the GLS application process.

Below, we’ll break down these four stages in more detail.

GLS Application

First, you will need to complete an online application. It is important to make a good impression and market your skills and abilities. The primary portion of the online application pertains to the last three years of your employment history, as well as descriptions of your work and a section where you will list any volunteer work you have completed.

You’ll need to provide information about your academic qualifications, though recruiters won’t see this information.
So long as you meet the above-mentioned eligibility requirements, you should receive an invitation to take the first of three online tests.

GLS Tests

The three online tests are more challenging than the online application. You will need to pass each of these tests in order to be considered for assessment. As such, preparing and practicing for these tests is crucial.

The online tests include the following:

  • Situational Judgement Test. This is an untimed test that consists of 16 questions. You can submit answers one time only and cannot go back to previous questions. The questions pertain to hypothetical situations that you would encounter on the job, as well as tests that measure your judgment.
  • Verbal Reasoning Test. If you pass the SJT test, you will be invited to take the verbal reasoning test. This is a timed test. You will have 24 minutes to complete eight sets of four questions. The questions measure your ability to comprehend, assess, and interpret information. You will be given texts that are followed by a series of questions that relate to the information in the texts.
  • Critical Reasoning Test. Upon successful completion of the previous test, you will be invited to take the critical reasoning test. You’ll have 30 minutes to complete this test. The questions that are provided in this test pertain to critical reasoning. You will read a series of texts and answer questions that pertain to assumption, inference, deduction, evaluation, and interpretation.

GLS Video Interview

Upon successful completion of all three online tests, you will then be invited to partake in an online video interview. You will need to use a computer or tablet for the interview. The interview involves reading a collection of text-based questions and then recording your answers to these questions.

It takes about 20 minutes to complete the interview, and the intention is to assess your motivation for working with the GLS. It also measures your responses to behaviors that are required and considered integral in this position.

Assessment Stage

This is the last chance that you will have to secure a position with the GLS Trainee Scheme. It involves spending a half-day at a GLS assessment center. Before you attend the center, you will be asked to take part in a video chat, where you will receive more information and can ask questions.

You can also indicate the department you prefer should your application be successful. This stage entails both a written assessment, as well as a panel interview.

Government Legal Service Written Exercise

You will be presented with a practical problem that relates to the legal field and will need to analyze that problem and provide your answer in writing. The written exercise takes about one hour to complete. While no prior legal knowledge or experience is necessary, it is helpful, as the problems you will be presented with will be legal in nature.

Government Legal Service Interview

The interview takes about 70 minutes. You will meet with three recruiters, two of who will be senior lawyers. First, you will be asked to defend and discuss the written advice you provided. The second will be split in three parts:

How To Prepare For The GLS Assessment?

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It has been said that the tests are the most challenging part of the GLS application process. In order to improve your chances of success, preparing for these tests by taking practice exams is highly recommended. Doing so will not only familiarize you with the process but will also improve your confidence levels.

We highly suggest heading to Job Test Prep which has some of the best preparation materials on the market. In addition to practice tests, you should also make sure that you are well-rested prior to completing any section of the assessment and that you are ready to answer questions and provide detail.


If you are seeking employment with the GLS, preparing in advance will help to boost your chances of proceeding through the application process – and will improve your chances of being invited to hold a position with the UK’s Government Legal Service.