March 2014 Legal Recruitment News

Legal Recruitment News – March 5th 2014

Welcome to the March edition of Legal Recruitment News, including a Legal Job Market Update, becoming an expert in 10,000 hours, 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, Ten-Percent, Ten-Percent Legal Careers and TP Transcriptions).

Register Vacancies – Locum or Permanent

Job Market Update – March 5th

March 2014 – summed up in a few sentences:
Locum work has dropped off. Other agencies have indicated to our candidates that they think firms are currently taking stock and that the locum market will pick up again in a few weeks. We are not entirely sure, but suspect the drop off is simply the bottom of the recruitment ‘wave’ – the job market has always had peaks and troughs and we have just been through a peak. How quickly the wave moves back up again remains to be seen. Permanent vacancies have picked up, but they do this every February/March and this year has been no exception – worryingly we have seen no applications at all for some permanent posts, which is either a sign of a return to a booming market or alternatively a lack of interest in making a move. Market outlook – still buoyant.

CIPS Report for March 2014 – Key findings:
1. Activity and new business growth rates remain sharp
2. Employment growth strongest in four months
3. Confidence in outlook highest since September 2009

Current live vacancies: 539
New permanent vacancies added in February 2014: 17
New candidates registering: 160
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies in February: 2.5
Increase/Decrease in new vacancies from previous month: 0
Increase/Decrease in new candidates from previous month: +40%

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment will now publish 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, but we do also assist in house legal departments and occasionally larger commercial and regional firms allow us to help out! All of this means that our system will hopefully indicate a snapshot of the market across these areas each month.

A few pointers in relation to the above system:
1. New candidates registering only includes qualified or experienced staff – for example we do not register LPC graduates, secretaries without extensive experience, trainee legal executives without any experience and overseas-qualified lawyers with no UK experience.
2. Job Strength Factor is the grading scheme we use internally to note which vacancies are strong and which are weak. See article below.

Job Strength Factor.
Every month we will publish the average job strength – it 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.

Strong vacancies will have the following attributes:
1. A competitive salary.
2. Exclusive or limited access from agencies (ie the firm haven’t sent the post to 10 recruitment companies before us!).
3. Firm with good reputation – both for previous work with us and also generally.
4. Good or excellent prospects.
5. Fields of law that are stable and likely to result in a long term opportunity.
6. Good location – coupled with this our internal assessment of our ablity to fill the vacancy based on current availability from candidates.

Weak vacancies will have the following attributes:
1. Poor salary levels or estimated low salary based on previous experience working with a client.
2. Lots of other agencies involved.
3. Bad reputation on the part of the firm.
4. Poor prospects.
5. Fields of law not likely to be sustainable (consumer credit misselling posts are a good example from recent years!).
6. Poor location – ie a location that we know internally will be difficult to source candidates for.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes 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.

Permanent Candidate Registrations in the last 7 days

04031401 Wills & Probate with Conveyancing Solicitor. 2 years experience. East and West Midlands. Permanent.
04031306 Commercial and Residential Property Solicitor, 20+ years experience. Available for permanent and locum work in and around London.
04031306 Duty Solicitor looking for a new home from May onwards. London and South East.
04031303 NQ Family Solicitor looking around London.
03031309 Residential and Commercial Conveyancing FILEX looking for permanent posts in East Anglia.
02031132 PI, RTA and credit hire paralegal looking for roles in the North West.
28021156 Advanced Family Panel Member looking for solicitor posts in the West Midlands.
28021022 EL, PL and OL plus lung disease solicitor looking in the North West. 7 years experience.
28020937 Conveyancing Solicitor with lease extension experience looking around Greater London. 4 years experience.
27022337 Mental Health Solicitor – accredited – looking around London. Salaried.
We have over 10,000 lawyers registered with us. To request CVs for a specific vacancy please register your vacancy – Locum or Permanent

Locums Available Immediately
0403141754 Property Locum Solicitor with Litigation experience. Greater London area. £30 per hour decreasing. Full availability April onwards.
04031024 Property Locum Solicitor – Residential and Commercial – available for London and Northern Home Counties from 24th March to 23rd May.
04030923 Property Locum Solicitor – Residential and Commercial – 7 years PQE – available for London and Home Counties. Immediate start.
03031319 Property Locum Executive – Residential and Commercial – 15 years experience. Available immediately nationwide.
4236 Solicitor and STEP member available for Wills & Probate assignments nationwide. Full or part time assignments accepted.
4581 Commercial Property Solicitor Locum looking around London and the Home Counties. Available from 17th March.
15966 Family Solicitor Locum. Available nationwide.
3544 Litigation Solicitor Locum – London and South East. 20 years experience.

We have over 700 candidates registered for locum work.

Become an Expert in 10,000 Hours – is it possible?
At the moment there is a journalist who is trying out the above theory – is it possible to put in 10,000 hours and turn into an expert (link to article on our website here)? The journalist has given up his day job and taken up golf, with the intention of becoming a professional by the time he has completed 10,000 hours of practising and training. At present he is on around 5,000 hours and has a handicap of 4 (he started out having never played before).

Could the same be applied to work environments? If lawyers spend 10,000 hours undertaking litigation cases or complex transactions of a particular type, are they likely to turn into experts?

I am not sure. Personally we have used the services of lawyers at both ends of their career – senior solicitors and also quite junior lawyers. With hindsight on the occasion we had a particularly complex transaction for a senior solicitor to handle, we would have been better with a more junior lawyer dealing.

Why? Because the junior lawyer would have taken more interest in the case and perhaps got the detail right. The senior lawyer, who no doubt had completed 10,000 hours on very similar cases, simply couldn’t really be bothered applying his mind to our problem and did not put the effort in. The junior lawyer may well have done so.

In terms of expertise, the senior lawyer was probably light years ahead. But his application was poorer. His ambition and drive was not there anymore. This is quite common in sportsmen and women as well. When footballers make it to the top they seem to take their foot off the pedal a bit. If a particularly tough tackle is required they sometimes take a step back and avoid it. If scoring a goal requires a head to be thrust forward in a position where the defender could take it off you can almost guarantee that a senior pro will try to protect himself, whereas a more junior player will take the risk.

I suspect the same applies to lawyers. More junior lawyers may in some circumstances be more prepared to take the risk and go the extra mile than senior solicitors who try to minimise the risk and effort required as much as possible.
In recruitment this is very true. I have been recruiting for solicitors firms for over 14 years now, and I would like to think that I can spot a poor vacancy from a rubbish firm pretty quickly. If I do spot one it is likely that I will not do very much work on it, if any. As an inexperienced recruiter starting out it is very unlikely I would have taken the same approach. I would have worked the vacancy and may have spent considerable time sourcing candidates etc.. The client would get a better service from the rookie recruiter than they would from the experienced (yet somewhat cynical) recruiter.

So whilst the 10,000 hours theory may well work – I must attempt to improve my batting performance in cricket by implementing it (not sure my wife will appreciate my efforts) – I suspect that external factors including drive, determination, passion and commitment – also play a very big part in separating out success from failure.

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, a non-practising solicitor, author and legal recruitment consultant.

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 donate a chunk of our profits to charity each year. We offer unlimited permanent and locum recruitment for a fixed fee of just £60 per month (terms apply) or 15% one-off fees for permanent and 18% for locum. 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. He also provides a career coaching service to qualified lawyers and law graduates, although this is on a very selective basis.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment also owns Interim Lawyers, a specialist locum service, charging 18% fees for placements. We also own a further 45 domain names and websites. 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 £51,000 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

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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