Legal Recruitment News January 14th 2015

Legal Recruitment News – January 14th 2015

▪ Legal Job Market Report
▪ 2015 Predictions from a Professional Psychic and his results for 2014
▪ Top 4 Queries from Law Firms and Solicitors in the New Year
▪ Over 40? Your brain is shrinking. 5 ways to improve brain power
▪ Our 10% donation to charity – deadline approching

Welcome to the January 2015 edition of Legal Recruitment News, including a Legal Job Market Update, locum availabiity and new candidates. 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).

Job Market Update
Comments on the current market from Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment:
“January is a difficult month to give a job market update for. Basically, from the start of December, most new work drops off as everyone goes christmas shopping, attends parties and slows down. In my 15 years of experience in recruitment I have known so many pre-Christmas job interviews to go ahead but produce absolutely nothing. Partners are not in the right frame of mind to recruit, candidates are not able to make decisions and after Christmas everyone changes their mind and the whole thing falls through! For the first time in 14 years we took a considerable number of vacancies in the first week back in January. This has been exceptional. Usually workloads do not pick up until the end of January and then drop off again as partners and solicitors head to the ski slopes. As a result I predict that the legal job market will stay strong for the foreseeable future.”

We have not included the usual Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment statistics in this newsletter as December is so slow, but key points from the KPMG and REC Job Market survey for December 2014 are as follows:
▪ Stronger growth of permanent placements
▪ Temp billings increase at sharpest rate in three months
▪ Strong pay growth underpinned by tight candidate availability

Commenting on the latest survey results, Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, said:

“A strong year for the UK jobs market finished with a flourish as temporary roles saw an upswing in popularity. More than 1 in 3 recruiters suggest that employees looking for short-term roles are being increasingly spoilt for choice as organisations search for help in an effort to fulfil customer orders. Good news for candidates also extends into the pay packet. Once again, a shortage of skills in key areas has led to a rise in the starting salaries on offer. It could mean that 2015 becomes the year in which the candidate finally becomes king.”
▪ Permanent placements rise at faster rate… Recruitment consultants signalled a further increase in permanent staff appointments during December. The rate of expansion was strong, having picked up from November’s 18-month low. However, the number of job vacancies available to people seeking permanent roles rose at the slowest pace since July 2013.
▪ Temporary staff billings growth also accelerates Short-term staff appointments increased at a sharper rate in December. The latest rise in temp billings was the strongest in three months.
▪ Pay growth remains marked Average starting salaries awarded to people placed in permanent jobs continued to rise, with the rate of growth little-changed from the strong pace recorded in November. Temp pay meanwhile increased at the sharpest rate in three months.
▪ Candidate availability remains tight The availability of staff to fill permanent job roles continued to fall in December. Although easing to the slowest in eight months, the rate of deterioration remained marked. Temp availability decreased sharply, with the latest reduction faster than that recorded in November.

This review is undertaken by KPMG and the REC (a recruitment agency trade body) who contact 100s of recruitment agencies across the UK to undertake a monthly questionnaire. We are part of the panel and get exclusive access to the report.

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.

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A Psychic’s 2014 New Year Predictions Revisited
Last year we carried an article in our January Newsletter about predictions for 2014 by an expert online psychic, Craig Hamilton-Parker (taken from We have also included his 2015 predictions below to see how he does when we revisit in 2015. Mr Hamilton-Parker charges £1.53 per minute for his services via telephone consultations.

Online Psychic Predictions for 2014 – how many did Craig get right?
1. The Dalai Lama will be taken seriously ill (incorrect).
2. Pope Francis will initiate a new spiritual mission to help the mentally ill (incorrect).
3. Syria will be partitioned into Alawite and Sunni provinces. Assad will go into hiding. (incorrect).
4. Gunman rampage in Kansas. Similar attack on the London underground. (incorrect).
5. Strange luminous plankton seen under the sea that cannot be explained by scientists (incorrect).
6. Remains of an ancient civilisation uncovered in Greenland (incorrect).
7. Oprah Winfrey launches new spiritual chat show bringing many world religious leaders to book (incorrect).
8. UK postal strikes backed by other trade unions and transport brought to a standstill. (incorrect).
9. Nick Clegg resigns (incorrect)
10. Massive fire in Mexico City (incorrect).
11. New Orleans flooded again (incorrect)
12. Factory explodes in Southern USA causing a chemical cloud (incorrect).
13. Australia has biggest bush fire ever (incorrect).
14. Japan builds a nuclear bomb (incorrect)
15. US economy soars ahead (correct – US economy grew by 5% in last quarter)
16. Massive riots at the Brazilian World Cup (incorrect).

Score: 1 out of 16.

Craig Hamilton-Parker’s Predictions for 2015
1. Prince Harry will get engaged
2. Major volcanic eruptions in Japan and Hawaii
3. National Health and Police strikes with riots in London
4. Joan Collins dies
5. Royal family death
6. Strange fluctuations in the Earth’s Magnetic Field Detected
7. A Nuclear submarine will get into serious problems.
8. 2015 will be a year with a lot of Maritime problems and there could be a very serious disaster – akin to the sinking of the Titanic.
9. Economically, India will rise faster than China in the coming years
10. Josefina Vázquez Mota will become the first female president of Mexico.
11. There will be a bad earthquake during 2015 in Mexico City.
12. Many countries may see terrorist attacks from loan gunmen. I ‘see’ Berlin, Rome and Paris as targets but a simultaneous London attack with be thwarted.
13. There will be a celebrity kidnapping and an attack on a member of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family
14. The Conservatives will win the UK election by a whisker. Cameron will be ousted just after the election despite his electoral success.
15. During 2015 Jeb Bush will gain popularity and will win the American Election in 2016.

I suspect litigation lawyers may make good psychics – after all they spend a lot of time dealing with client enquiries about the strength of their cases. If you can read the mind of a judge surely you can produce better predictions than a professional psychic?

If you would like to make your own predictions for 2014 please email us or visit our blog ( and add your comment to this article. We will then revisit all predictions in January 2015.

New Years Resolutions for Lawyers
Every year we get a number of calls and emails from lawyers relating either to a change in practice or job, expansion or contraction, or new year resolutions – both employers and candidates. These are the top 5 queries since December 29th 2014:

1. “I am a partner of a small practice. I’m tired of doing all the work myself and have decided to expand. I am looking for a partner to join me and share the workload. They’ll need their own following and we can agree a profit share arrangement.”
Great. The vacancy from hell! Firstly, why would anyone want to change jobs to hand over their clients and take on half the administration for a firm where the partner is fed up of doing it himself or herself? What is in it for them exactly? Secondly is this really going to assist the partner in the long term? Would he or she not be better off employing a more junior member of staff to deal with the administration or take on another solicitor to handle workload in order to free him/her up to do more business generation work? A PA with fee earning experience can be a low cost option, or alternatively an NQ solicitor. Despite the full page adverts in the back of the Gazette from a fee sharing law firm it remains one of the hardest types of candidate to find. The current market makes it that much harder..

2. “I’ve decided over Christmas that in the New Year I want to stop practising in conveyancing on the high street and start doing shipping law in the city. Can you help?”
So many lawyers see greener grass on the other side of the fence when it comes to their own practice area. Well paid city lawyers envy the perceived easy lifestyle of their high street colleagues. After all you get to go home at 6pm if you work in a high street firm. High street lawyers see Magic Circle lawyers earning mega-bucks and fancy a bit of it themselves. In House lawyers think private practice offers more earning potential – private practice lawyers think in house lawyers have it easy – flexible hours, pension, career stability etc..
Whatever the change is going to be – make it one based on fact. Never change fields of law without experiencing it first. Whenever I have coached lawyers in the past regarding a change, I have always advised taking a week off work and getting some shadowing or work experience under your belt. Then make decisions that may affect the rest of your career, not beforehand. Finally, accept that some aspirations are impossible. If you do conveyancing in a high street law firm and have a 2.2 and low A levels, you are always going to be up against it when trying to break into city firms.

3. “I want to do locum work because I am looking for flexibility in my career.”
Locums are perceived to earn huge amounts of money by their salaried counterparts. Very often because the salaried counterparts see them receiving hourly rates that vastly exceed their own salaried positions. Locums get an easy life – they work for a few weeks, take time off, travel, pursue other interests, do another few weeks here and there when they need a bit more money. What fun! Unfortunately, unless you are a professional locum conveyancer or private client lawyer this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is true that because of the way local authorities and their staff approach recruitment (I suspect considerably more time is spent on sick leave in local authority legal departments than in house or private practice) there are opportunities to earn good money on an ongoing basis out of being a child care lawyer for a local council. However for all other fields of law locums do not tend to be able to pick and choose assignments if they want to work all year round. A lot of professional locums will travel as well – a good number spend every week away from home around the country. Even then, 9 out of 12 months work is considered a good level to be aiming at. Quite a bit of time is spent indicating an interest for posts and pitching an hourly rate to secure it. This can be quite demoralising when you start out.

4. “I’ve decided to get out of law and become an accountant/nails technician/pilot. Can you find me a job please.”
Again, this is a New Year’s resolution that needs to be based on fact. Get work experience, do the maths, think about it very carefully. Think again. Decide based on clear economic and objective grounds backed up with a little bit of subjectivity… Our first advice is always to think carefully as to whether it is the law you hate or your circumstances. Can you change your circumstances? If you are a solicitor who hates your boss, can you find a new boss? If you are a boss who dislikes your surroundings, workforce or lack of profit, can you do something to change these? Drastic decisions are sometimes made for the wrong reasons.

5. “I am a graduate looking for work.”
Unfortunately we get this one quite a bit. I am sure a lot of law firms experience the same thing as well. We have managed to reduce numbers of calls quite drastically in the last two years by applying filters to our website. On our contact page we ask LPC and LLB graduates to follow a link before they call us. On our site we also offer a work experience scheme whereby anyone without experience can sign up. After candidates have registered we notify them automatically that if they are students or graduates we will not be able to help but they can visit our resource centre with advice and articles to read. This has taken about 75% of these types of calls away from our telephone lines.

Over 40? New Study says that your Brain is Shrinking

Research suggests that our brains start slowing down from the age of 42. The ways in which most of us currently work and live actually exacerbates the problem. Obvious triggers include poor diet, a lack of sleep and not doing enough exercise, but there are more insidious factors at play, too. Letting your brain switch to autopilot to deal with repetitive tasks can slowly kill your ability to innovate, while focussing too heavily on memorising information “depletes limited brain resources better used for functions that promote independence throughout life, such as problem-solving, decision-making and critical reasoning,” say the researchers. Higher-performing brains are those that have learned to block out what they don’t need. Attempts to multitask lead to a build up of the stress hormone cortisol, which slowly kills off brain cells, ruins memory and plays havoc with your immune system. Trying to deal with every text and email as it arrives is similarly damaging. Our brains work best when they are encouraged to focus in on a problem and actively engage with it, not when they are subjected to masses of competing stimulus.

Fortunately, there are ways to save your mind from the ravages of time and office politics. The report highlights five major tips for keeping your brain at its best:
1. Step away from the problem. A five minute break from what you are doing, five times a day, can help clear your mind and help you solve problems more effectively.
2. Don’t multitask – this just slows things down. When we’re interrupted, it can take 20 minutes to get back on track, stretching a 25 minute task into several hours
3. Prioritise – pick the two most important things on your to-do list that you must crack today. Then, dedicate uninterrupted time to doing them.
4. Shake yourself out of routine – doing the same things and thinking the same thoughts day after day will send your brain into a living coma.
5. Innovate or die. Your brain needs to keep creating in order to stay young.
University of Texas BrainHealth Centre
Above study quoted in – 13th Jan

Our 10% Donation
Every year since 2000 we have committed as a company to donate a percentage of our annual profits to charity. This includes any subsidiary companies and operations. For 14 years our board of directors has agreed to 10% (after all, how on earth could we carry on with our business name?). We have now donated over £66,000 to the Ten-Percent Foundation, a small sum in the general scheme of things, but a lot of money for a company of our size.

The deadline for our trustee meeting approaches. If you have any suggestions to add to those already put forward by our clients, law firms and candidates, please please feel free to email them across to me at We look for small charities preferably with interesting projects we can support on an ongoing basis.

About Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
We are a specialist legal recruiter, covering the whole of the UK. A large proportion of our vacancies are based in London and the South East, but we do assist firms elsewhere on a very regular basis. Over 10,500 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.

At present 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.

Warm regards

Jonathan Fagan

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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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