Legal Recruitment News August 2015

Legal Recruitment News – August 2015
Welcome to the August 2015 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).

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Legal Job Market Update
This is our first newsletter since the start of June, so the job market report covers two months. June and July are very busy times for us, both on the locum side and permanent. The locum side remains very busy going into August. Conveyancing and commercial property are still the key areas. During July it has been difficult to source conveyancers for immediate starts but now we are into August conveyancers are starting to indicate availability again.

Permanent vacancies have been more mixed in June and July. The average job strength has decreased slightly to 3.4 for July, which is still healthy. However a number of firms have indicated vacancies that failed to materalise or were adjusted downwards (ie we want a solicitor but only want to pay paralegal rates). There are also still firms trying to recruit solicitors to work on percentage splits, and this is not a good sign. This type of arrangement seems to work for a couple of larger companies (although their staff include a number of our locums who do small amounts for them) but rarely leads to successful longer term recruitment in our opinion.

Salaries still remain at levels that haven’t moved for some time in a lot of sectors but I remain optimistic that things will change shortly if the economy stays strong. The election and the legal aid uncertainty have both played a part in the profession not seeing an increase across the board.

Conveyancing has been busier – since the start of July conveyancing posts have made up 48% of our vacancies.

Wills & Probate has dropped off – it is still a difficult area to recruit for on the permanent side unless at NQ level and I think some firms have given up. Locum roles are now difficult to fill – very few good quality private client locums currently available.

Commercial Property remains difficult. There still remains a gap between the salaries applicants seek and salaries being offered by law firms. There has however been an increase in locum availability.

Family Law has picked up a bit but remains fairly quiet for permanent roles. Locum work has been busier this year than last.

Litigation – both civil and commercial still very quiet. The same applies for corporate commercial although locum commercial roles have increased a bit. In House roles have picked up but there seems to be a fairly high level of uncertainty with jobs being posted but then changing or being withdrawn.

Employment law work has remained pretty poor. No change here for some time. Tribunal fees being reviewed by Michael Gove, but presumably this will be to see whether he can make money for private companies out of them rather than actually improve access to justice..

June/July 2015 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies up
* Locum assignments up
* Conveyancing vacancies busy
* Commercial Property vacancies busy
* Wills & Probate vacancies down
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – up but low number
* Market outlook – stable.

Current live vacancies: 474
New permanent vacancies added in June/July: 71
New locum vacancies added in June/July: 94
New candidates registering: 311
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies June/July: 3.4 (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. Traditionally our clients have been high street law firms and smaller niche 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 usually also involves contacting recruitment agencies in the hope that they have candidates with their own following and not looking for a 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 or visit one of our websites.

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

Candidates Registered in the last 7 days
05080915 Conveyancing Locum available 2-3 days per week in Yorkshire and Manchester.
05080908 Commercial Property/Company Commercial Locum available from mid-September for assignments in Lincs, Notts, Yorkshire and surrounds.
04082214 Commercial Property Solicitor, 1 year PQE, looking for permanent posts in Reading.
04081330 Residential Conveyancing Solicitor Locum available from September 18th. London and surrounds.
04082143 MHRT Panel member looking to do more crime work. London. Solicitor.
04081052 Family Solicitor – part time – has run a department. Essex. Permanent or locum.
04081034 Costs Draftsperson – looking for work in central London. Permanent. £25k+.
03081615 Family Solicitor looking for permanent posts in the West Midlands. PT or FT.
24777 Experienced practice manager and legal cashier looking for a suitable post in the West Midlands. Full-time or part-time considered.
24770 2008 qualified property solicitor dealing with both commercial and residential work looking for a suitable post in the Hampshire region.
24759 Experienced property executive looking for a suitable role in the Hampshire region.
24739 2013 qualified personal injury solicitor looking for a suitable post in the Bedfordshire area.

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. Hourly rates go up during the summer (June-September). NB: These rates are intended as a guide only. Hourly rates can vary according to the location, duration and level of expertise.

June 2015 Private Practice Law Firm Rates:
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 1-5 years PQE, handling residential standard sale price only – £25-28 per hour (slight variation for central London – £25-30 per hour).
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors & ILEX – 5-35 years PQE, handling all levels of conveyancing including managing a department – £25-38 per hour, including central London.
* Commercial Property Solicitors – 1-40 years PQE – usually mainly light commercial conveyancing rather than light and heavyweight. £35-50 per hour.
* Wills & Probate Solicitors and Executives – 3-35 years PQE – £30-42 per hour.
* Family Solicitors – 4-40 years PQE – £24-30 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. Rates higher for high court work.

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

Salary Myths and the Legal Profession
The legal profession is plagued by salary myths. How many times have high street solicitors been speaking to acquaintances and informed that as they are a solicitor they must be earning loads of money, at least 6 figures? How many law students still start their degree course thinking that once they qualify their salary will be at least £60k so well worth spending the £20k or so on the LPC? Do the general public really understand that once legal aid is gone they will need to pay proper hourly rates to get a lawyer to represent them in court rather than the amounts worked out prior to 1992 that are less than a car mechanic earns?

Recently the Law Society ran an advertising campaign pointing out the benefits of using a solicitor. I wonder if it is time they ran a campaign to demonstrate the realities of a legal career and the prospects a potential solicitor will have when they qualify? I remember my wife was recently in discussion with a friend who thought that a solicitor earnt at least £100k per annum because she had seen this figure in the press. The friend did not appear able to accept that wages of £40k were considered good by most high street lawyers as she was so used to hearing the claim that lawyers were money grabbing and unbelievably wealthy, which of course is the usual press line.

Highlighting the following points may help improve the image of the legal profession generally:

1. The maximum wage a conveyancing solicitor will earn in their career is likely to be £45k per annum.
2. Less than 20% of solicitors work in law firms where any member of staff earns more than £60k per annum.
3. The typical starting salary for an NQ solicitor outside the City of London is £25-28k.
4. In some law firms there are legal secretaries who earn more than the fee earners they support.
5. A good sized percentage of solicitors seek to leave the profession within 10 years of qualification.
6. More money can be earnt working as a plumber or electrician than practising as a high street solicitor.
7. Solicitors spend a good portion of their working days advising clients (briefly) without charging.
8. Whilst a couple of solicitors made millions out of coal mining claims through trade union links, and another couple seemed to do well from leads provided by insurance firms, most solicitors are not ambulance chasers and do not do Personal Injury work. Even those who do personal injury work tend to earn less than £50k unless they represent the NHS (or work in local authority departments).

Perhaps an advertising campaign like this now would help the crime solicitors fighting the legal aid cuts – so many people still think solicitors earn a fortune and ought to take a cut in pay to reflect the austere times. A bit of reality may assist…

Summer 2015 10% Donations – nominations needed
It is time for us to take any nominations for our charitable trust – we are due a trustees meeting within the next 4 weeks. We hope to provide continuing support to a number of our existing charities, including the British Stammering Association, LawCare and a school in Tanzania, but apart from this we are open to suggestions. We do not, as a matter of policy, donate to any charity paying staff more than £75k. Email any suggestions to

How to be a Locum – new pdf guide
We have produced a new 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 – click the link on the left hand side of the page.

About Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
We are a specialist legal recruiter, covering 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. Jonathan Fagan is a qualified solicitor and still (reluctantly!) undertakes litigation on behalf of the company when required.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment also owns Interim Lawyers, a specialist locum service. We operate an outsourced UK based typing service as well – 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 (hence our name). We have carried on with this tradition since we formed the company 14 years ago. So far over £66,000 has been donated to charities in the UK and Africa including LawCare and the CAB.

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


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

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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