Legal Candidate News October 2012

Legal Job Market Report October 2nd
Good morning and welcome to the October edition of Legal Recruitment News from the Ten-Percent Recruitment Group. Our websites include Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, Crime Solicitor Recruitment, Interim Lawyers, Legal-Recruitment and many more.

The market report for September is a little more detailed than July/August. The locum market has quietened down – instead of the usual 10-15 new assignments we have been getting in over the summer the number has gone down to about 3 or 4. September can often either be busy because of interviews running over from the summer or very quiet as law firms get back to the day to day life after taking holidays in the summer or spending more time working out child care for the kids.

Commercial Law Firms and In House:
Quiet, very quiet would be the quick response. We have seen very little recruitment on this side of things. Employers seem to have been holding back in recent times and not much activity spotted at all. We have had a few commercial litigation posts in and a couple of employment locum posts but that is all.

On the High Street:
Redundancies are still occurring. There seems to be an increasing number of crime solicitors registering with us and currently earning £45k, looking for a move. Suspect the vast majority of these are under threat of redundancy as law firms work out the harsh economic realities of not being paid very much more than this by the LSC!

Conveyancing, private client and commercial property is busy. We keep taking locum bookings from firms taking on locums to cope with the extra demand. It seems that large amounts of buying and selling of houses is going on in some parts of the country.

Family – we are expecting a wave of new recruitment as it is almost 12 months from the last round of LSC contract signing. Private family law work seems to be very quiet, although we have recruited a few on this front in recent months.

Our £3,600 for 5 years Unlimited Recruitment Service is still going strong and we are (very) gradually drawing closer to our 100th member law firm. Cost savings to our 60+ firms are already estimated to be around £250,000. Over 60% of members undertake LSC funded work in some capacity and 33% have less than 2 partners. The service is restricted to firms with less than 100 staff. September saw our fastest ever recruitment – a firm signed up and had recruited a senior solicitor within 48 hours. Total cost to date: £60.

In September 2012 we had 99 new solicitors register with us, together with just short of 600 paralegals and non-qualified staff (in response to specific law firm member vacancies). We restrict our candidate database to ensure we only register qualified or suitably experienced staff.

Register Vacancies – Locum or Permanent
£60 Per Month Recruitment Scheme

The Legal Services Commission – are they for real?
We have recently received a very interesting letter from the LSC regarding the duty solicitor rotas. Ten-Percent Legal owns another website called Crime Solicitor Recruitment. This year we decided to incorporate a page on this where we could list all the duty solicitors and firms looking for a move, whether on a freelance or salaried basis. We used the words “duty solicitor rota slot shop” and mentioned the possibility of duty solicitors selling their slots. – see

Having been a crime solicitor many years ago, I was astounded at the speed the LSC moved. A director of communications sent us a letter within 3 days of the page going live, explaining that duty solicitors do not own their slots, duty solicitors cannot be under a contract of service and duty solicitors have to work for a minimum of 2 days per week for a firm in order to comply with the contract.

I have posted the letter on the website as I think it is very helpful to law firms to know how the LSC is thinking! We have since changed some of the wording on the site so as to take out the offending bits about selling rota slots, although this is of course in reality what most duty solicitors do every time they have to go through the 6 monthly CDS12 deadlines.

At the same time as this we have also recently received an email from an LSC family supervisor saying that she has recently been to a course where the LSC made clear that supervisors cannot be external and must be employed FULL TIME by the contracted firm.

I suspect the LSC really do not have a clue how firms are surviving on the hourly rates paid. The answer is that everything, particularly staff salaries, have to be shed in order to do this.

Looking at the current rates for family law, the rate for London for advocacy, attendance and preparation is £48.74 per hour. Even if a solicitor was managing to bill 7 hours per day at this rate for 48 weeks of the year, the maximum amount it is possible to earn doing LSC funded family law per solicitor is £81,883.20.

Working on the one third rule, ie 1/3 profit, 1/3 salary and 1/3 costs, the maximum salary a solicitors’ firm can possibly pay to a solicitor in London to be their LSC family supervisor is £27,294.40. This would require someone to be working 10-12 hour days due to the non-billable work, for 5 days a week, flat out.

Are the Legal Services Commission seriously suggesting that a 15 year PQE LSC Supervisor with Panel membership or Resolution accreditation is going to work a 60 hour week for £27,294.40? Apparently, according to the letter we received, the only exception to salaried status is for partners. How lucky they are!

I suspect one of the reasons the LSC is claiming they are going to crack down on consultancy arrangements (which in reality keep the whole LSC work going as solicitors go off and find better remunerated work to support them including plumbing) is that it is stopping the LSC from shifting the work over in the longer term to companies able to offer economies of scale by using vast armies of paralegals and advocates.

One of the reasons law firms and solicitors spend time trying to work out arrangements that include monthly retainers and hourly rates is so that both can survive. If the LSC were more realistic as to the rates being paid at present for legally aided work it may remove a lot of the need for lawyers to work out ways of working that legitmately fit the LSC contractual requirements.

After all, I don’t hear of many senior LSC staff working for £27,294.40…. Happy to retract this comment of course if they are all working 60 hour weeks for £25k.

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a former, fairly inept, crime solicitor with plenty of experience dealing with the LSC! Further articles on all topics available at

Document and Template Precedents Wanted
Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment has a link to, a rapidly expanding online document store, and the site is looking for precedent legal documents and templates to add to their business shop – you can view the shop and current documents for sale at

Most solicitors and fee earners build up a high quality precedent bank over their careers. offers you the chance to make money from any documents, precedents or ebooks you may have on your computer. Each item is sold separately and commission paid to the document creators.

To make further enquiries, please email or complete the form online at

Locums – are you getting updates from us?
A quick note to say that if you are a locum or looking for locum work you should be getting regular updates from us. In the last month we have had family, conveyancing, wills & probate, employment, commercial litigation and civil litigation locum assignments in. All the locums on our lists should have had details of these for the relevant areas. If you have not received anything please email us at and check that we have you listed as a locum.

Salary Review Update
The Ten-Percent Legal Salary Survey is available online – Click the link below to view the surveys, which are broken down into geographical areas:

Our most recent Crime Solicitor salary list is available on our blog at

Interview Question & Answer – Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

This question is difficult to answer if you are giving honest answers in an interview.

Hopefully you will not be giving honest answers in an interview setting but rather answers that you think the interviewer wants to hear. The honest answer to both this question and the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time” question is probably that you either intend to retire, work for yourself, set up a different firm or be happily plodding along in a firm where you are being paid a good salary.

This is not however what the employer often wants to hear.

They want to hear that you would be happy to be working in the post you are currently interviewing for or possibly having done such a good job you are in line for promotion to a different position.

This is because when employers recruit they do not see just the first few months or the first few years in their heads, they see the next decade or so with you working in the same position.

This does change a little bit with larger employers who are naturally expectant of you to be considering promotion at some stage, but smaller employers invariably are looking for someone to be committed to their firm and the position they are applying for.

One of the main points given for feedback when somebody is unsuccessful in a job interview is either that they are too experienced or too inexperienced for the post they have applied for. The excuse is often given that the employer feels that the person will be bored in the role because it is too junior, or that they do not think the position will stimulate the person enough or vice versa.

This question of where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time is often used to determine how committed you are to this type of role.

A sample answer is:

“In 10 years’ time I would be happy to be still working in this position for your firm or in any position that you have deemed me fit for in the meantime. I am looking for stability and in return I am happy to commit to your firm for the long term”.

A sample answer for a trainee solicitor or training contact would be:

“I aim to qualify and remain with the firm I have worked with as a trainee for a considerably long time. I hope that I am able to exceed your expectations in the short term and remain with you for the long term.

(Interview Question and Answer taken from the forthcoming Ten-Percent Careers book – 100 Legal Interview Questions and Answers. Release date is Dec 1st 2012.

Vacancy Update 2nd October

New in today – Cost Draftsman (self employed) – Cardiff, Family and Housing Paralegals – Cardiff. Duty Solicitor – salaried or freelance – Woking/SW London. Monthly retainer duty solicitors – Peterborough and all areas of London.

14685 Small firm based in the Kingston upon Thames area are looking for a freelance duty solicitor, required for SW London, Surrey or Woking. Full or part time hours available. Salary available.
14683 Firm in Enfield, Greater London are looking for salaried crime solicitors with duty slots or freelance duty solicitors to work for a monthly retainer and split fee arrangement.
14682 Firm in Dorset are looking for a wills & probate solicitor for a permanent, full time post based initially in Shaftesbury and then moving on to Sturminster Newton. The firm are looking for an experienced candidate, ideally with around 4 years PQE.
14681 Highly experienced legal cashier/legal accounts person needed by established Kent firm. Initially full time but likely to become part time as role progresses
14680 Established Kent firm are looking for a crime solicitor or similar with LSC supervisory rights for a crime franchise including prision law. They must be very familiar with the contracts. Part or full time roll-option of court work and police work is available. The firm will consider salaried or freelance employees.
14679 Established firm in Reading with a number of offices in the South are looking for a duty solicitor to work on a salaried basis. Salary 35K.
14678 Established firm in South West London are looking for solicitors from any fields to join their team. The ideal candidate MUST have a client following. The firm will consider all option – salaried, fee split etc.
14677 Established firm in South West London are looking for solicitors from any fields to join their team. The ideal candidate MUST have a client following. The firm will consider all option – salaried, fee split etc.
14676 East London firm seek an immigration lawyer with supervisor status. Looking for someone who has Level 3 accreditation and hence is on the IAAS.
14675 Duty Solicitors sought – firm looking to pay Duty Solicitors a retainer of £1,300 per month plus an hourly rate. Central London – large practice.
14674 Immigration Supervisor – Level 2 or Level 3 – need to have IAAS Supervisor status. Firm are medium sized and based in South West London.
14673 West London (Hammersmith) firm interested in receiving CV’s from crime solicitors. They are looking for people who would be content to attend out of hours police station work as they are trying to reduce their reliance on outsource agencies for this work. Will of course consider all applicants as long as they are happy to be running around London in the middle of the night and at weekends. Ideally with duty solicitor status but also without considered.
The firm would also consider Police Station Reps.
14672 Legal cashier or costs draftsman sought by central London firm near to Waterloo station. Medium sized practice with both privately funded and LSC funded clients. Well regarded and fairly high profile. LSC billing is the main part of the post.
14671 Firm in Cheltenham seek a specialist child care solicitor specifically to undertake work for parents of children with Special Educational Needs primarily dealing with appeals to SENDIST (the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal). They are looking for anyone with some experience in this area, solicitor, legal executive, paralegal, locum or secretary and will look at part or full time, permanent or temporary. Generous salary.
14670 Firm in East Sussex are looking for duty solicitors to work either on a salary or for a monthly retainer and percentage fee split.
14669 Oxford firm are looking for duty solicitor to work on a salaried basis or for a monthly retainer and percentage split.
14668 Middlesex firm are looking for a crime solicitor with duty status who can also deal with another area of law – immigration, employment law, personal injury, clinical negligence, family or general civil/commercial litigation.
14667 Small, North London firm are ooking to recruit a solicitor with 1-3 year PQE who is also a qualified lawyer in India to head their India Desk. The ideal candidate should have knowledge of UK laws and Indian Laws and should be able to advice commercial laws of both jurisdictions.
The person must be willing to travel to India.
14666 A high street law firm in North West London is looking for a freelance duty solicitor to work on a monthly retainer plus percentage fee split. The firm will be responsible for the renewal of the practising certificate.
14665 Our clients, a firm of solicitors based in Skegness, handle a broad spectrum of industrial disease work including, lung conditions, noise induced hearing loss, repetitive strain injuries, asthma and dermatitis. Their team is rapidly expanding and we are looking for the right candidate with a minimum of 2 years experience of handling their own industrial disease caseload, in particular noise induced hearing loss claims.
14664 Full time duty solicitor required for specialist criminal practice in Reading. The ideal candidate must be a confident and engaging individual capable of working as a team member whilst also taking responsibility for his/her own case load. They must be willing and able to attend police station in unsocial hours. This is a salaried post.
14663 Experienced commercial and residential conveyancing solicitor needed for busy firm in Norwich to assist head of department. Partnership prospects for the right candidate. Salary based on experience.
14662 Large firm in Kent are looking for an experienced wills & probate solicitor. Ideal candidate should have at least 5 years PQE.
14660 Crime duty solicitor required for up and coming firm in Shepherds Bush, West London. Higher rights of Audience would be a distinct advantage. Either in house or on a freelance basis. Generous package offered to the right candidate.
14659 Family Solicitor or Fee Earner sought on a part time basis – looking for someone to be in the office and handle a caseload. LSC and privately funded work.
14658 Duty Solicitors sought on freelance basis by Bromley firm. Monthly retainer plus hourly rate.
14657 Family Supervisor sought by Bromley firm – on a consultancy basis. Will need to have SQM LSC Supervisor status.
14656 Children Panel member and LSC supervisor sought by SW London firm. Looking for someone urgently who complies with the SQM supervision standards for the LSC. Salaried or freelance arrangement possible.
14655 Firm in Tamworth are looking for a duty solicitor with at least 1 yrs PQE. Knowledge of francise and higher rights an advantage. The bulk of work is in the Staffordshire area (Burton, Tamworth, Lichfield, Cannock and Nuneaton). Candidate should be considering long term committment to the area and must have own vehicle. Full range of criminal work handled, never a dull moment, good career prospects for the right person.

Register Vacancies – Locum or Permanent
£60 Per Month Recruitment Scheme

Legal Recruitment News is produced by Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment – you can view all versions of the e-newsletter at Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment was established in 2000 and donates 10% of profits to charity, hence the name.

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