Legal Recruitment News June 2015 from Ten-Percent Legal

June 2015 Legal Recruitment News

Welcome to the June 2015 edition of Legal Recruitment News, including a Legal Job Market 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 April, so the job market report covers both months. April and May are usually characterised by large peaks and troughs. Firstly we get Easter, which generates a large peak of job vacancies followed by troughs around the holiday weeks. Secondly we have May Bank Holiday, which follows the same pattern, and finally we go through Whitsun, which again results in a very quiet week with busy periods preceding it. Not only have we had the holidays affecting the market, but a general election has reared its head as well. Quite a few senior partners contacted us the week after the result came out to say that they had held back on permanent recruitment until they knew the result of the election.

Permanent vacancies coming in have generally been of good quality – the average job strength has increased to 3.6 for May and this is a good sign of a healthy recruitment market. However we are starting to see a few smaller firms trying to recruit solicitors to work on percentage splits, and this is not a good sign. We currently decline these vacancies and refer firms onto other agencies who are happy to work them, as such arrangements rarely lead to successful longer term recruitment.

Salary levels are not yet showing signs of going up this year, although hourly rates for locums are healthy. 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.

Conveyancing has gone a bit quieter – in May conveyancing posts made up 25% of our vacancies. Locum roles have been very busy sporadically for a couple of months. Locum availability remains OK but increasingly locums are getting booked up for the duration of the summer.

Wills & Probate has dropped off – it is still a difficult area to recruit for on the permanent side unless at NQ level. Locum roles are difficult to fill again despite increased availability in April.

Commercial Property is still difficult. There remains a dearth of applicants prepared to work for the wages being offered. In one instance we have a locum working on a fairly long term assignment until a firm recruit a more junior member of staff. There has been a slight increase in locum availability.

Family Law remains quiet for permanent roles. Locum work has increased slightly.

Crime is still non-existent. As you would probably expect we did not see many duty solicitors move firms prior to the last duty deadline. This is looking to be a thing of the past, and I await lots of calls from firms needing crime advocates to work on zero hours contracts and monthly retainers at ridiculously low levels after the LAA award contracts to firms who haven’t actually done any crime work before (as seemed to happen when the family and care contracts were awarded in 2011).

Litigation – both civil and commercial still very quiet. The same applies for corporate commercial although locum commercial roles have increased a bit.

Employment law work has picked up a little.

May 2015 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments up
* Conveyancing vacancies busy, Commercial Property vacancies busy
* Wills & Probate vacancies down
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – up
* Market outlook – stable.

Current live vacancies: 593
New permanent vacancies added last month: 26
New locum vacancies added last month: 41
New candidates registering: 112
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies last month: 3.6 (strong)
Increase/Decrease in new vacancies from previous month: -33%
Increase/Decrease in new candidates from previous month: -13%

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

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 – £30-38 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 – £22-30 per hour. Very 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 considerably 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 10,500 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

UK Job Market Report from KPMG
The KPMG and REC job market report has been released for the UK, showing the following main points:

Strongest increase in permanent staff appointments in eight months
Temp billings growth eases to six-month low
Acceleration of pay growth for permanent and temporary staff

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

“There has been a resurgence of recruitment into Britain’s boardrooms, with businesses poaching top talent to drive their companies forward. This surge of executive hires is a strong indication of underlying business sentiment and their ambitions for the future. However, while the highest paid are benefiting from the recovery, demand for permanent staff remains more muted in the manufacturing sector. This section of the market is often the first to stall in tough economic conditions and the last to recover, emphasising the divergent fortunes facing job seekers in today’s market. The declining pool of available labour continues to force pay up. With two in five recruiters in the UK reporting falling candidate availability, spiralling salary growth remains a concern as businesses bid against each other to secure skilled staff.”

Getting Articles Promoted Online – the Pitfalls
A number of law firms appear to have signed up with article writing companies who spend their days trawling websites and blogs trying to get their submissions included. In the last week we have had 5 enquiries from agents acting on behalf of solicitors firms who want to pay us a sum of money to put an article on one of our websites.

This does sound like a good idea – what could be better than an article provided by someone else that we haven’t had to write ourselves, and paid for?

Unfortunately, and in the real world, these articles do immense harm to both your brand and ours if we were to accept the payment and post the article.

Firstly, it is very likely your article will appear on at least two websites at the same time. Secondly, you can almost guarantee that the vast majority of the article will not be relevant to the website it has been posted to, which is highly likely to against you in the rankings. Thirdly, even if anyone ever saw your article in the rankings, they would wonder why it was appearing on or some similar site which had no bearing at all on the article content. The companies pushing your content really have no interest where it ends up.

We often get contacted by SEO companies because many years ago I wrote a couple of articles entitled “What is a family solicitor” and “what is a crime solicitor”. These have ranked relatively well and SEO companies surf the web, discover the articles and ask if they can post as well. Would an article by a solicitors firm offering divorce and advising on the pitfalls really be relevant for a legal recruitment company website? I think not. More importantly Google would probably think not as well…

The best way to get articles on the web is to contribute to forums, comment on other articles, post on LinkedIn via groups, and most importantly start to see your website as something your clients and potential clients will want to visit to get advice from, rather than a burdensome nuisance that costs you lots of money. A regularly updated website seems to make all the difference to SEO rankings these days and also means that people actually want to hang around and see what you have to offer. Make yourself known as an expert in your field online, and people will start to hear of you.

Summer 2015 10% Donations
It is yet again 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 LawCare and the 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, although occasionally one slips through the net. 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. 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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