February 2016 Legal Recruitment News

Welcome to the February 2016 edition of Legal Recruitment News, including a Legal Job Market Update, new candidate update, current locum hourly rates and articles. Legal Recruitment News is written by Jonathan Fagan, MD and non-practising solicitor of the Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment group (Interim Lawyers and Ten-Percent).

Legal Job Market Update
January has been a busy month in the sense that it has included a large number of permanent vacancies posted; the usual burst of activity after Christmas.

Very often this is caused by the partners at firms having time off and the chance to think about recruitment for the coming months, and so we get a good number of vacancies from our Ten-Percent Unlimited member firms being added to the system. To give you an idea of numbers, we have had 5 commercial property roles, 23 conveyancing posts, 4 wills & probate, 9 support roles, 1 family post, 2 legal cashiers and 2 company commercial posts.

Reed and other job boards every year describe a day in January as being by far the busiest for job hunting – Blue Monday – the 3rd Monday in the month. Personally I have always thought this is just a cunning marketing ploy so this year we checked the figures out. On Monday 18th January we had 46,000 hits on our website. This is not bad, but the following Wednesday we had 48,000 hits and other days at a similar level. So not much difference really! It is a good marketing ploy though – always gets plenty of coverage in the media..

It is also the time of year when a few law firms of smaller size ‘try it out’ and call senior candidates for interview for posts advertised at specific vacancy levels, before pitching a profit share arrangement to them in the hope that someone likes them and joins with a following. One of these turned out to be a firm with links to a crime outfit and claiming to be dealing with super yacht sales! The mind boggles..

A summary of work we did in January is below.

January 2016 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies up
* Locum assignments up
* Conveyancing vacancies – busy
* Commercial Property vacancies – some
* Wills & Probate vacancies – some
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – very few
* Market outlook – work will be increasing into February and March 2016.

Current live vacancies: 612
New permanent vacancies added in December: 41
New locum vacancies added in December: 21
New candidates registering: 110
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies December: 3.2 (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.

Charity Donations – a study of the accounts
Choosing a charity to donate money to is not a particularly easy task. Every year the trustees of the Ten-Percent Foundation sit down to work out how to distribute our small funds to worthy causes. The Ten-Percent Foundation is a charitable trust linked to Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. Every year the company donates 10% of its profits to charity via the Foundation, usually to charities suggested by clients and candidates.

For donations, the Ten-Percent Foundation has preset criteria as follows:
1. The charity/organisation deals with a range of work that appeals to us.
2. The charity has no ulterior motive – eg religious teachings or political leanings.
3. The charity appears to do some good and does not just hoard money or spend it frivolously.
4. The charity pays its staff a reasonable and not excessive level of remuneration. For us the level is £75,000 as an absolute maximum. We do not believe a charity, which by definition is dependent on donations and support from the general public, should be paying staff a higher salary than this level and we would only ever expect to see 1 or 2 members of staff on salaries of more than £60,000 in very large charities.

We make decisions based on the criteria above and discount any organisations that do not fit within this. Each of the donation is restricted – so the organisation has to use the money in a specific way and report back on it to us (briefly).

I have written a full article with extracts from the registered accounts for 4 charities we decided not to donate to this year – available at http://www.legalrecruitment.blogspot.com. I have included below two of the charities by way of example in this article as they are relevant to lawyers. Neither of the charities have asked us for a donation although the SBA have been suggested to us by clients on numerous occasions. The details I have quoted come from the charity accounts lodged with the Charity Commission.

The Solicitors Benevolent Fund
The aim of the Solicitors Benevolent Fund is to provide relief and assistance for persons in need who are or who have been admitted to the Roll of Solicitors for England and Wales. Relates also to partners of solicitors. Financial assistance is via a grant or a loan.
The SBA has a partnership with LawCare, a charity we support, and also two partnerships with an employment agency specialising in CV coaching and an insolvency practice. In 2014 the employment agency appears to have provided 15 beneficiaries with careers advice and 8 received advice on insolvency. The total income was £1.95 million, with £154,700 of this being donations and subscriptions.

The charity appears to have an investment portfolio worth £14.7 million and secured loans to beneficiaries of £4.1 million.

The facts relevant to our decision as to whether to donate or not are as follows:

Ten trustees of the charity have claimed their travel costs – £6,389. It is not clear how many meetings they attended.
The work undertaken by the charity during the year appears to have been to make arrangements for grants totalling about £600k as well as referring others on to external parties.
The charity employed one person to deal with the welfare, one person to deal with fundraising and two administration and management employees. One of these was the chief executive, Tim Martin. His salary in 2014 was £76,875 with additional benefits totalling £9,297 plus a £2,000 bonus.
The vast majority of this charity’s income appears to be coming from guaranteed sources – investment income, secured loans and residual balances from client accounts.
Most high street solicitors with 10+ years experience earn about £40,000-£50,000 throughout their career. At partner level this can admittedly increase, but the partners are in business and take a risk that is rewarded by the commercial return. Charities do not have the same risk, particularly those with investments and/or external funding.
We calculate the salary of the chief executive to be 4.5% of the total income of the charity in 2014 and 57% of donations received during the year.

No doubt the SBA does extremely worthy and valuable work within the profession, but we feel that it yet again highlights an endemic problem within the charity sector – where do these salaries come from? We asked the SBA for information on how they reach a decision on pay structures for senior executive staff. We received no reply.

Amnesty International
Amnesty is a charity the trustees admire and are keen to support. In 2014 their total income was £13.6 million. Most of their income comes from donations with the remainder from legacies. Employees at the charity cost £1.382 million. Naturally the biggest part of Amnesty’s work requires a considerable amount of staffing, hence the costs. There were the equivalent of 31 full time staff at the charity in 2014.
5 of these staff received income of £352,218 excluding pension contributions, which Amnesty do not publish in their accounts. The main director receives £97k. The other 4 highest earners received £67-68k including the director of fundraising.
This means that 26 full staff equivalents were receiving £1.03 million between them, which makes the average wage at Amnesty £39,607.00.

Our decision: Reluctantly we will not donate to Amnesty International. We find that they fail on criteria 4. Not just one member of staff but five are receiving salaries at a high level. For a charity of this size it is not clear why and how salaries have got to this level.
We asked Amnesty International for information on how they reach a decision on pay structures for senior executive staff. We received no reply.

You can read our full article on the 4 charities we decided not to donate to – includes War Child and Parkinsons UK – at http://legalrecruitment.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/choosing-charities-to-donate-money-to.html

This year (2016) we have donated so far to the following charities and organisations:

£2,000 to the British Stammering Association (supporting an education advice line)
£1,000 to LawCare (promoting the awareness of bullying)
£2,200 to the Kilimatinde Trust, Tanzania (paying for 4 childrens’ education)
£1,000 to the Ace of Clubs (suggested by Hanne & Co) (maintenance of their laundry)
£2,500 to First Steps, Merseyside (domestic violence perpetrators course)
£2,500 to Centre 63, Merseyside (funding their IT equipment)
£721 to Northop Hall Girls FC, Flintshire (purchasing new equipment)
£500 to Unlock (maintaining their helpline)
£500 to Reprieve (admin costs)
£100 to Halkyn Cricket Club, Flintshire (youth cricket costs)

Total amount this year so far has been £13,021 with more to follow.

May the Farce be with you – Duty Solicitor Rotas are back!
Oh dear – yet again crime solicitors find themselves unable to work out what or where they will be in a years time. Hopefully some certainty will come into play sooner or later and the political see saw will balance in the middle for a while. We understand that the new rota deadline is 12th February 2016. If any duty solicitors want to drop us an email we will keep you posted with any vacancies coming our way. We will only process duty solicitor rota vacancies (ie those for solicitors looking to do the minimum to comply rather than full time salaried) for TenPercent Unlimited firms. If you are looking to get out of crime we wrote an article last year about ways of doing this – you can find this at http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go-updated-advice-to-criminal-duty-solicitors/

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.

Jan-Feb 2016 Private Practice Law Firm Locum Rates:
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 1-5 years PQE, handling residential standard sale price only – £25-30 per hour (slight variation for central London – £29-35 per hour).
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors & ILEX – 5-35 years PQE, handling all levels of conveyancing including managing a department – £25-£35 per hour, including central London.
* Commercial Property Solicitors – 1-40 years PQE – £30-45 per hour.
* Wills & Probate Solicitors and Executives – 3-35 years PQE – £30-40 per hour.
* Family Solicitors – 4-40 years PQE – £24-28 per hour. Occasionally this goes up to £35 per hour for short notice or a few days cover.
* Civil Litigation – 1-35 years PQE. £25-33 per hour. These rates cover mainstream litigation – eg county court and small claims matters.

Hourly Rate, Weekly Rate and Salary Equivalents:
£20 per hour = £750 per week or £36,000 per annum (assuming a 7.5 hour day and a 48 week year).
£25 per hour = £937.50 per week or £45,000 per annum.
£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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