April 2016 Legal Recruitment News

Legal Recruitment News April 2016

Legal Job Market Update (also published on the main Ten-Percent.co.uk website).

March 2016 has been a busy month in part, but the Easter break has had an effect as ever on recruitment. It is always interesting how every Easter firms leave locum recruitment until the last minute and then start hunting for cover on Maundy Thursday! Most locums have the Easter week off and we got very little response from any of ours to assignments coming in for the 4 day week.

Permanent vacancies have been coming in and placements have been occurring, but not in the numbers we would expect to see for March after such a busy 12 months on the recruitment front.

Conveyancing has gone a bit quieter but there remains a clear lack of good available candidates. We were expecting a mad rush for locum and contract lawyers to assist with the large increase in buy to let purchases before the rules changed. However this has not really taken place although I have heard from a number of firms to say that they were completely manic in the last week of March before the deadline.

Wills & probate is busy and there remains a discrepancy between salary expectations and salaries being offered. Candidates are not widely available and there is still a major demand for private client locums as a result (and an ensuing shortage of good locums!).

Litigation – both civil and commercial – is still very quiet. Not a lot going on at all. Corporate commercial work is always sporadic for us as we are not on larger firm Preferred Supplier Lists – although we do try to change this from time to time!

April is always going to be a quiet month – usually the quietest month of the year for us as the tax year finishes and firms start afresh. Plenty of new vacancies often come in as partners find themselves quieter due to the school holidays but remembering the recent busy period and therefore attempting to recruit new staff. Unfortunately candidates are often far too busy in April thinking about other things like a burst of nice weather, enjoying the sun and booking holidays!

A summary of work we did in March is below.

March 2016 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments up
* Conveyancing vacancies – busy
* Commercial Property vacancies – some
* Wills & Probate vacancies – some
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – few
* Market outlook – work will now increase as we enter the busiest recruitment cycle of the financial year (April – June).

Current live vacancies: 632
New permanent vacancies added in March: 27
New locum vacancies added in March: 52
New candidates registering: 70
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies March: 3.6 (OK)

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment publishes the number of new vacancies, new candidates and indicate the increase or decrease from the previous month. We aim to assist the legal profession by showing the market from our perspective. Our clients tend to be high street law firms and smaller sized commercial practices.
The average job strength gives a good indication of the market because:
1. A Poor Job Strength on vacancies indicates a struggling market. When trade is bad, employers seek options for increasing turnover which involve sourcing candidates with their own following and no salary.
2. A Strong Job Strength on vacancies indicates a buoyant market, particularly if it is in connection with an increase in numbers of new vacancies.
Vacancies are each graded 1-5, with 5 being a very strong vacancy and 1 being a very weak vacancy.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes for the Ten-Percent website and the Legal Recruitment blog, an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk.

The Co-operative Bank, Co-operative Legal Services – an amazing demonstration of subliminal referrals

An elderly relative has recently died in our family and I rang the Co-operative Bank to ask them what information they required from the family in order to remove a name from a joint account.

I called the main bank number and explained I was simply making an enquiry about name removal. The operative asked me for the bank account number in question and a bit more information about the deceased. I gave them this and was advised that I would be put through to the probate team who would be able to advise me.

After waiting for about 5 minutes I spoke to someone I thought was in the bank’s probate department who advised me that I simply needed to take a certified copy of the death certificate into a local branch or post it to head office. He then advised me that he just needed to take a few more details from me for their “Bank Notification Scheme” and that it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. I agreed to this, but suddenly remembered a letter in the Law Society Gazette some time ago from a solicitor who had experienced something similar and asked who I was speaking to. A referral presumably had occurred because I was informed that no longer was I speaking to the Cooperative Bank but instead I was communicating with the Cooperative Legal Services.

This was of course the standalone Cooperative Legal Services ABS and I had been referred to it! I hung up immediately, fairly shocked that in such a delicate time the Cooperative, an organisation priding itself on its ethical approach to customers, had attempted this subterfuge on me.

I really had no idea that this had happened – neither operative indicated that my query was being handed over to a separate law firm (which is in essence what the Cooperative Legal Services is) and I can only presume that after about 10 minutes of taking information from me the operative would have finally advised me that I was speaking to him about using their probate service and provided me with a quote for this. As it happened I already knew that probate was not required – the elderly relative in question had no assets – and I had not at any time been asked to consent to being transferred through the law firm or indeed asked a question about probate.

It is a good example of how referrals can be made. So many marketing gurus go on and on about cross-referrals within organisations – highlighting the services of a litigation department to wealthy property purchasers with senior positions in business is but one example.

The Cooperative, it appears, have taken this approach to another level… Very cynical marketing I think – well below the level one would expect from an ethical business..

Interview Survival Tips
Top tips for surviving legal job interviews:
1. Do not exaggerate your abilities.
We have recently had a conveyancing candidate claim she could run files from start to finish and work independently. The solicitors firm in question arranged a full test to check this and discovered that actually this was definitely not true. The partner confided to me that if the candidate had been honest with the firm from the outset they would almost certainly have made an offer but lacked the trust to do so following the untrue claim to competency.
2. Promote yourself mercilessly.
Make sure you continually push yourself to the firm and don’t let the interviewers take over the interview. So many interviewers are skilled at talking about themselves and lack any ability to ask the interviewee any relevant questions. You may think that a one-sided interview has gone well, but this is unlikely if you haven’t actually said anything!
3. Never, under any circumstances, reveal your personal opinions on politics, religion or general thoughts on the nation. Try to sit on the fence.
4. Questions about negative points should be used to your advantage wherever possible. Try to dodge the questions – watch or listen to an interview with a politician for lessons on how to do this. They have an agenda for any interview with points to get across and they stick to these..
5. Think carefully about your responses, but do not take too long. A 30 second delay is probably a bit too much for anyone to bear! I used to work with a solicitor who was an expert at this. He paused for very long periods of time and then spoke. It was virtually unbearable!
6. Practice. Think through awkward questions and deal with them in advance.
7. Smile or look interested at all times. Maintain eye contact or be considered nervous, shifty or just plain rude.
8. Try to always think about what the interviewer is looking for – a competent lawyer, someone they can work with who has similar interests, someone who is going to be an asset to the firm.
9. Do not make things up to make yourself look good. So easy to do in the heat of the moment, but something that will often come back to haunt you..
10. Enjoy the experience and relax. The more relaxed you are, the more chance you have of being offered the job. Very easy to say – very hard to do..

Low Cost Recruitment Product for Small Law Firms – Ten Percent Unlimited
Before going any further I need to say that this particular article is a sales pitch. If you are not interested please ignore and accept my apologies!

Ten-Percent Unlimited is a service set up by us back in 2011 with the aim of making the use of a recruitment agency cost-effective in a time of great financial difficulties for all in the profession. It is still going strong – we have over 100 members – most of whom are sole practitioners or smaller sized law firms.

The Unlimited Recruitment service offers law firms the chance to recruit as many permanent or locum candidates as needed over a period of 5 years in return for a monthly payment. It works in the same way as an insurance policy. There are no restrictions on numbers (although vacancies have to exist and we do operate a fair usage policy – so far never used). No other similar services exist in the recruitment industry. One of our larger competitors tried doing something like Ten-Percent Unlimited (we confess to having shamelessly copied them) but have ceased to offer their product.

So within a 5 year period you may recruit a few locums for cover each year, a replacement conveyancing solicitor, a couple of legal secretaries, possibly a paralegal or two and have a look to expand the firm into a new area of law with an additional fee earner. All of this would cost considerable amounts in advertising and/or recruitment agency fees. However with Ten Percent Unlimited you simply pay a monthly fee.

Advantages? Plenty – including fixed price recruitment, large cost savings, access to a large bank of candidates.

Disadvantages? A sales pitch would not list any, but we have found the following: a commitment to a full 5 years without an option to cancel and success cannot be guaranteed (would be impossible for any recruitment process to do this).

One of our recruitment consultants works full time on our Ten Percent Unlimited member firms’ recruitment needs and is always happy to talk about the service. If you would like a chat with Clare Fagan, please give her a ring on 0207 127 4343 or email clare.fagan@ten-percent.co.uk. www.tenpercentunlimited.co.uk.

Lawyers identified as high earners by the BBC – surely some mistake?

Recently the BBC did a study on salaries to be expected by graduates entering the different professions (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34475955) – this was in the context of analysing how much junior doctors were paid. Lawyers came out top and the BBC gave an average starting salary of £37k.

This week the Law Society Gazette have given exposure to a pretty obvious press release from an investment company, Bower Cotton, who had done a far reaching study of c.100 lawyers to determine that over 40% were going to rely on property to fund their retirement. I suspect that the press release has been copied word for word into the Gazette! The article also refers to it being possible for lawyers to be ‘amongst the top earners’ and having a good amount to invest.

Both of these are strong evidence of either a high level of ignorance or a total lack of interest in checking facts before producing articles. Quite how the BBC got to the average they did in their article is not clear. Working with hundreds of smaller sized and fairly normal/average solicitors firms gives us the awareness that the majority of lawyers will not have seen salaries similar to those quoted in the article in the first 5 years of their career.

Furthermore, the vast majority of private practice solicitors are not going to be amongst the top earners. Most are more likely to be extremely average – £30-40k is the expected level of salary for most solicitors working on the high street in law firms throughout their careers. It is unclear whether many lawyers have undertaken any retirement planning at all. What do you do to gain an income on retirement if your monthly income is too low to do much more than pay the mortgage and keep the family fed and in clothes?

I am not sure who has a vested interest in promoting the high salary figures, which in my experience only apply to large national law firms or London City law firms. Providers of the Legal Practice Course and the LLB? The profession generally? After all it benefits us all to have the pool of applicants as large as possible in order to keep salaries low.

I look forward to the day when I read an article that starts “Revealed – most lawyers earn less than teachers and police officers – contrary to popular opinion”.

New Vacancies Registered in the last 7 days (NB: location indicated is the postcode area).
VAC-16399 Company Commercial Locum – Worcester
VAC-16398 Conveyancing Locum – Leeds
VAC-16396 Company Commercial Locum – Portsmouth
VAC-16395 Family Law Locum – Romford
VAC-16393 Senior Wills & Probate and Property Solicitor – Watford
VAC-16392 Civil Litigation Solicitor – Stoke-on-Trent
VAC-16391 Litigation Lawyer – West-Central London
VAC-16390 Wills and Probate Locum – Llandrindod
VAC-16389 Residential Conveyancing – Enfield
VAC-16385 Employment Law Locum – East London
VAC-16384 Civil Litigation Solicitor – Leicester
VAC-16383 Conveyancing Locum – Plymouth
VAC-16382 Residential Conveyancer – Cardiff
VAC-16381 Senior Conveyancer – Peterborough
VAC-16380 Immigration Paralegal – Sutton
VAC-16379 Family/Housing Law Caseworker – East London
VAC-16378 Duty Solicitor – West London
VAC-16377 Legal Cashier – Bradford
VAC-16375 Commercial Property Lawyer – Southend-on-Sea

Any interest in any of these roles please email cv@ten-percent.co.uk

New Candidates Registered in the last 7 days.
CAN-25576 Law graduate and residential conveyancing paralegal with further document review experience. Looking for a post in London. Speaks Turkish.
CAN-25577 July 2017 qualified solicitor with experience in residential conveyancing, family and commercial law. Previous 3 years conveyancing experience prior to training contract. Looking for a post in London.
CAN-25578 April 2016 qualified solicitor with experience in crime, family law and Court of Protection work. Police station accreditation. Looking for a crime or family post in Hampshire or Sussex.
CAN-25579 Litigation fee earner with experience from 2011 onwards in civil litigation, debt recovery, property litigation, landlord & tenant, personal injury and clinical negligence. Looking for a post in South Wales.
CAN-25581 Experienced housing law caseworker with some further experience in family law and personal injury (RTA). Looking for a housing post in Essex and North or East London.
CAN-25582 July 2016 qualified solicitor with around three years wills & probate experience prior to qualification, looking for a suitable role in the Essex area. This candidate can handle a wills & probate caseload with little or no supervision.
CAN-25583 Qualified legal secretary looking for a suitable role in the Greater London region.
CAN-25585 1999 qualified litigation solicitor specialising in employment law, both defendant and claimant experience. Looking for locum posts in the North West and North Wales.
CAN-25588 Legal secretary with experience in insurance litigation, personal injury, clinical negligence, commercial litigation, construction, corporate finance, employment law, private client and insolvency. Looking for a permanent role in Manchester.
CAN-25589 April 2016 qualified solicitor with experience in civil litigation, contentious probate, family law and residential conveyancing. Looking for a litigation post in London.
CAN-25590 Legal office manager with experience from 2004 onwards. Looking to return to a management/administrative post following a career break. Looking for a post in London.
CAN-25591 September 2015 qualified family law solicitor. Looking for a post in London.
CAN-25593 Paralegal with around 18 months experience in residential conveyancing work, looking for a suitable role in the Greater London area.
CAN-25594 2012 qualified solicitor with experience in Personal Injury, Commercial Contract Disputes, Professional Negligence, Debt Recovery, Landlord & Tenant, Personal Insolvency, Contentious Probate, Boundary Disputes, Property and Construction Disputes. Looking for a suitable role in the Staffordshire region.
CAN-25595 1991 qualified family law solicitor with Law Society Family Panel and Resolution Panel membership available for locum assignments across the Midlands region.
CAN-25596 Legal administrator/admin assistant with around 7 months conveyancing experience. Looking for a conveyancing support role in Essex, North or East London.
CAN-25597 2016 qualified solicitor with experience in company commercial law, IP and media & entertainment law. Looking for a post in London.
CAN-25598 Licensed conveyancer with over 20 years of residential conveyancing experience. Looking for locum posts in London and the South East.
CAN-25599 January 2008 qualified personal injury solicitor, looking for locum posts in Central, East or North London.
CAN-25600 June 2013 qualified litigation solicitor mainly specialising in personal injury (RTA) but with additional experience in general civil litigation including debt recovery and landlord & tenant and immigration. Looking for locum posts in Central Manchester or West Yorkshire.
CAN-25602 2008 qualified solicitor with experience in family law, company commercial, litigation and immigration. Looking for a suitable role in the Bristol and South West.
CAN-25603 2011 qualified crime solicitor with duty status and significant managerial exposure looking for a post in the North Yorkshire region.
CAN-25604 2015 qualifier looking for a residential conveyancing and/or wills & probate role in the Greater London region.

Hourly Rates of Pay for Locum Solicitors and Legal Executives
Locum hourly rate payment varies widely according to the demand, length of assignment, level of experience and advance notice available. NB: These rates are intended as a guide only. Hourly rates can vary according to the location, duration and level of expertise.

April 2016 Private Practice Law Firm Locum Rates:
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 1-3 years PQE, handling residential standard sale price only – £28-30 per hour (variation for central London – £29-33 per hour).
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors & ILEX – 5-35 years PQE, handling all levels of conveyancing including managing a department – £30-£40 per hour, including central London.
* Commercial Property Solicitors – 1-40 years PQE – £35-45 per hour.
* Wills & Probate Solicitors and Executives – 3-35 years PQE – £35-40 per hour.
* Family Solicitors – 4-40 years PQE – £25-30 per hour. Occasionally this goes up to £35 per hour for short notice or a few days cover.
* Civil Litigation – 1-35 years PQE. £25-35 per hour. These rates cover mainstream litigation – eg county court and small claims matters.
* Corporate Commercial Locum Solicitors – 5-45 years PQE. £35-75 per hour. Usual rate in small-medium law firms is around £40-50 per hour.
* In House Locum Solicitors – 3-35 years PQE. £35-60 per hour. Usual rate in a larger sized blue chip company legal department is c.£50 per hour.

NB all rates exclude agency fees. If you use Interim Lawyers/Ten-Percent Legal we charge 18% of the rates and bill you monthly. The rates are for self-employed locums billing firms directly on a weekly basis.

Hourly Rate, Weekly Rate and Salary Equivalents:
£25 per hour = £937.50 per week or £45,000 per annum (assuming a 7.5 hour day and a 48 week year).
£30 per hour = £1,125 per week or £54,000 per annum.

We have over 11,000 lawyers registered with us. To request CVs for a specific vacancy please register your vacancy – Locum or Permanent

Locums Available Immediately
We have over 700 candidates registered for locum work. Register Vacancies – Locum or Permanent

How to be a Locum – pdf guide
We have produced a guide on how to be a locum. This includes sections on getting work, realistic expectations, hourly rates, popular fields of law, payment, insurance, umbrella companies and much more. Available for download at no charge from www.interimlawyers.co.uk – click the link on the left hand side of the page.

About Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
We are a specialist legal recruiter, covering both permanent and locum roles across the whole of the UK. Over 11,000 lawyers are registered with us and we have access to a range of external and internal job boards and websites where we do not have candidates available ourselves. We also assist with recruitment advice and assistance, regularly advising partners and practice managers on suitable salary and package levels.

Our company is unique for a number of reasons, including the fact that we are not shy to publish our fee structure and also donate a chunk of our profits to charity each year. We offer unlimited permanent and locum recruitment for a fixed monthly fee or one-off fees depending on the job. We donate 10% of our profits annually to charity, hence our name.

We have three recruitment consultants, Jonathan Fagan, Clare Fagan and Pete Gresty, together with our finance director Pearl McNamara. Together we have over 40 years of experience in the legal profession.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment also owns Interim Lawyers, a specialist locum service. We operate an outsourced UK based typing service as well – www.uk-transcription.co.uk and are preferred suppliers to a number of institutional clients and law firms across the UK and overseas.

The Ten-Percent Group of Legal Recruitment websites gives 10% of annual profits to charity. We have carried on with this tradition since we formed the company 15 years ago. So far about £80,000 has been donated to charities in the UK and Africa including LawCare.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our newsletter and look forward to hearing from you if we can assist further.

Warm regards

Jonathan Fagan

E: jbfagan@tenpercentgroup.com
T: 0207 127 4343

Register Vacancies – Locum or Permanent

Jonathan Fagan is a solicitor, qualified recruitment consultant and Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed here – www.linkedin.com/in/jbfagan

Legal Recruitment News is produced by Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment – you can view all versions of the e-newsletter at www.legal-recruitment.co.uk.

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