Legal Recruitment News for March 2013

Legal Recruitment News – March 2013


Welcome to the March edition of Legal Recruitment News. We have included our job market update, new candidate lists, articles on how to post an effective job ad and top interview questions for 2013.

Legal Recruitment News is written by Jonathan Fagan, MD of the Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment group (Interim Lawyers, Ten-Percent £60, Ten-Percent Legal Careers and TP Transcriptions).

Job Market Update – March 5th
The job market has been hijacked in February by outstanding skiing conditions in France. I have to confess spending a pleasant week in the Alps enjoying the steady fall of fresh powder every morning and discovering the joys of French wi-fi in the evenings to keep up with clients and work. At the same time recruitment is never helped whenever politicians talk about the prospects of a triple dip recession. I wait with great excitement for 2015 to arrive so I can hear politicians talking about a quintuplet dip recession…

This month’s market report is broken down into four sections, as there is quite a wide disparity between our various lines of work.

LSC areas of work
There are still plenty of firms out there struggling to survive on the various trainee plumber rates being paid by the LSC for highly qualified legal work (not that any bias has crept into this writing). A whole tranche of smaller firms signed up to the most latest round of family contract awards and ended up with a miniscule number of matter starts. I doubt very much whether a lot of firms will have been able to arrange for an LSC family supervisor to actually work for them in view of the small number of cases they have been given.

With redundancies in the past 6 weeks at a number of larger firms still paying salaries of £35k or more to senior crime solicitors, I suspect we may have reached the end of the line for LSC funded work to be a viable career option for more junior solicitors to even contemplate.

We have been through deadlines for LSC contracts in the past two months in family law, housing, debt and immigration. The supervisors required for immigration law contracts are virtually impossible to find (IAAS Level 3). Housing and Family supervisors still exist in good numbers, but the number of firms who can actually afford them is another matter entirely! If you have a need for a contract supervisor, let us know. We only assist members of Ten-Percent £60 with these types of vacancies – for details please visit

Crime is coming up again and the next CDS12 duty solicitor deadline is May 14th (as far as we know). Duty solicitors are finding it increasingly hard to get salaried posts at any firm in the country now – most firms are trying to either comply with the LSC terms for salaried duty solicitors only, or alternatively they are just ignoring the LSC and continuing with the self-employed staff on a monthly retainer plus hourly rate. I remain sceptical as to whether the LSC actually have the resources left to bother going after firms who supposedly ‘flout’ their unworkable regulation. We have a large number of duty solicitors available this year including those looking to work in other industries for the majority of the time and just do the minimum required to retain their duty status. This is almost certainly the future for most lawyers.

Property and Private Client
Finally we have seen sustained recruitment for conveyancing and wills & probate in a range of law firms across the UK. There appears to be a renewed drive to expand teams and replace departing staff at a number of law firms. Locum and permanent have yet again picked up for the third month in a row. We are noticing more firms taking increased care over employing staff who have moved around in recent times and recruitment is not (or likely to be) the free for all it was in 2006.

Corporate Commercial
The commercial arm of the industry is fairly steady. Although recent adverts have increased in number for a range of medium to larger sized firms, I would estimate that at least 75% of vacancies are being advertised across a range of employment agencies, meaning that the numbers are somewhat misleading. Redundancies are still occurring as firms offload aging staff (and better paid), still a very common practice.

Still quiet – occasionally ebbing and flowing. Now is the time to start getting bookings in for 2013, particularly summer holiday cover. A number of our locums have their years fully booked already, but we have plenty of capacity. Employing locums or contractors is a way to expand or cover busy periods without committing to a new member of staff. The only downside is that locums can be slightly more expensive. In the current market this is not so much of a problem because there are plenty of them out there, which is keeping the price down.

Any questions regarding the above? Contact me via LinkedIn (, Facebook, Twitter (@tenpercentlegal) or old fashioned email –

Jonathan Fagan, March 5th 2013.

10 New Candidates in last 24 hours
Selection of new candidates registered in the past 24 hours. Got a permanent vacancy or locum assignment? Get in touch and we will send over CVs to assist, sometimes almost immediately. Over 10,000 solicitors and legal executives are registered with us.
Twitter: @tenpercentlegal
Tel: 0207 127 4343

04031200 Conveyancing Locum – Res and Com. 9 years PQE. Permanent also. London.
04031906 Conveyancing & Wills and Probate Solicitor looking around Berkshire.
04031642 Legal Cashier – 5+ years experience. Thames Valley. Permanent.
04031525 IP/Media/Entertainment Solicitor. 15 years PQE. London. Permanent salaried roles.
03031812 Conveyancing Locum – Res and Com. Leeds/Yorkshire. 15 years PQE.
02031625 Legal Cashier – Locum and Permanent. Over 10 years experience. London and Essex.
04032327 Crime Solicitor with HR and Duty Status – 5 years PQE. Relocating to London.
04031935 Children Panel member looking in Lancashire and Manchester.
04031325 Duty Solicitor looking for freelance VHCC and Crown Court work – Manchester.
01031017 Family Solicitor, Nottingham. 15 years PQE.
01031420 Wills & Probate Locum – London and South East. 25 years PQE+.
28022150 LSC Housing Supervisor – West Midlands or London.

How to post an effective job advertisement
So many advertisements we see in the back of the Gazette are completely rubbish. So bad that most solicitors just scratch their heads when reading them. Put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker looking for a new position and try reading one.

Usually one of the following is missing:

  1. The level of experience required.
  2. Any indication on salary levels. Competitive or negotiable does not help.
  3. The location of the firm.
  4. Contact information.
  5. Anything to sell the vacancy to the candidate.
  6. A call to action other than ‘get in touch’.

The first thing to say about job advertisements is that they are advertisements. The clue is in the title…. You can’t expect a candidate to want to join your firm and be really grateful for the opportunity you are offering them. It doesn’t work like this. You have to sell to them. What have you got to offer? If all you have to offer is a 30% split of any work they bring to your firm plus office space, you are either going to end up with an alcoholic solicitor about to be struck off or some crazy person who may decide to set fire to your filing cabinets at any time. Candidates need selling to – why should they want to come and work for your firm? What have you got to offer?

Consider these two job ads:

  1. Conveyancing solicitor needed. Non-smoker who can do own typing essential. Time wasters need not apply. Must have own following and work on fee split. Apply in writing by closing date in 7 days. Letter and CV must be handwritten.
  2. Conveyancing Solicitor required by medium sized solicitors firm based near to train station, 20 mins from London Victoria. All levels considered – salary range of £30-40k. Partnership a possibility in 2-5 years time. Email or call 02070271234 for an informal discussion.

Which one would you go for? You can leave off the salary range – not essential – but very useful at filtering candidates from the outset.

Be nice to the applicants when they apply – you can be as horrible as you usually are later but in order to recruit you must get them through the door! Do not send them abrupt emails prior to interview informing them to check the specification before continuing – ie – “you must have a following to be considered” or “please provide a copy of your practising certificate and three references.”

Are you employing a member of staff or looking to go into business with the person? It is important not to get the two mixed up. If looking for someone to go into business with (ie bringing their own sources of work) do not give them too many specifics from the start.

Charity Donations
The Ten-Percent Foundation currently has about £4,500 to donate before the end of March 2013 to a range of causes. We like giving money to legal charities or charities with links to solicitors or charities operated or established by solicitors.

If you have any suggestions please email Jonathan Fagan at The foundation likes to donate sums of around £500-£1,000. No form filling is required and we prefer specific projects or smaller charities.

The Ten-Percent Group of Legal Recruitment websites gives 10% of annual profits to charity. Apart from a small blip caused by the recession in 2008, we have carried on with this tradition since we formed in April 2000. So far over £35,000 has been donated to charities in the UK and Africa including LawCare.

10 Top Interview Questions for 2013
Interviews have got a lot tougher in recent times – reports of honest feedback being given (‘candidate was useless and just mumbled’ or ‘candidate was completely over the top and needs to calm down’) means that employers are being much more selective as to whom they invest in and employ.

Here are our top 10 interview questions for 2013:

  1. Outline ‘quantitive easing’ in 20 seconds.
  2. I see you have moved about a bit. Does nobody like you?
  3. Why were you made redundant in 2007?
  4. Have you used the recession as an excuse for your own poor performance?
  5. Why hasn’t your billing increased in the last 2-3 years?
  6. How do we know you will not just take a better job in 6 months?
  7. What is your ideal job and how do we differ from it?
  8. What steps have you taken to reduce your own exposure to credit?
  9. Have you paid your mortgage off yet? Why not?
  10. What would be a good hourly rate/annual salary for you at this stage in your career? What about in 3 years time?

For 300 legal job interview questions for law firms please email me – and I will send you them over in pdf format by return.

We look forward to hearing from you if we can assist further.

Warm regards

Jonathan Fagan

Register Vacancies – Locum or Permanent
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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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