March 2016 Legal Recruitment News

Welcome to the March 2016 edition of Legal Recruitment News, including a Legal Job Market Update, new candidate & vacancy 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). Some of the articles below are published separately on the Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment website and our Legal Recruitment blog –

Legal Job Market Update
February has been a month of two halves again (I say this every year). We spend the first week watching the post-Christmas recruitment spike recede and then skiing holidays together with half term breaks kicking in. Locum work has picked up towards the end of the month.

Permanent vacancies are slightly down and salary levels are a bit mixed as well. Some firms are expecting candidates to take similar salary ranges to existing staff and are not budging at all on these, but other firms are taking a more pragmatic approach.

Conveyancing has gone a bit quieter but there is a clear lack of good candidates. By good candidates I mean those that are based locally to the firm, have a steady employment history and reasonable salary expectations.

Wills & probate is busy but there is a discrepancy between salary expectations and salaries being offered. This hasn’t yet resolved and there is a still a major demand for private client locums as a result.

Litigation – both civil and commercial – is very quiet. Not a lot going on at all. Corporate commercial work is always sporadic for us as we are not on larger firm Preferred Supplier Lists.

Work will get very busy in the next two weeks, with the lead up to Easter, but then as we go into Easter we enter the zombie phase of recruitment – this tends to be the quietest time for recruiters apart from Christmas. Firms are too busy dealing with the year end, clients are too busy dealing with the Easter break, and candidates are busy eating Easter Eggs and visiting National Trust properties (our family did 4 Easter Egg hunts at NT houses last year!)..

A summary of work we did in February is below.

February 2016 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments up
* Conveyancing vacancies – busy
* Commercial Property vacancies – some
* Wills & Probate vacancies – some
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – few
* Market outlook – work will be increasing into February and March 2016.

Current live vacancies: 622
New permanent vacancies added in February: 41
New locum vacancies added in February: 30
New candidates registering: 109
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies February: 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. Our clients tend to be high street law firms and smaller sized 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 involve sourcing candidates with their own following and no 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

CV Writing – Tips for Getting Noticed
Here are 10 top tips from us on how to get your CV noticed by employers:

1. Make sure your CV is extremely detailed and contains all the work relevant to the application you are making. Information such as details of billing levels for the past 3 to 4 years of practice, examples of cases dealt with, details of additional work undertaken that was not just fee earning, such as supervising staff and business development, and full information on the number of files worked on at any one time are all useful.
2. Include testimonials from former clients giving details of where they met you, how you obtained their business and their thoughts on you as a practitioner.
3. Put together a draft business plan demonstrating how and where you would be looking to obtain work both for yourself and the firm you are trying to join (only really relevant for senior roles).
4. Include references from recent former employers and a solicitor who knows you in practice.
5. Include your last staff appraisal (if fairly brief and very positive).
6. Telephone or email the recruiter or firm before making the application to discuss the role; then send over the CV and the extra information (together with proof of ID and residence) and then follow this up with an additional email to check that it had all arrived safely.
7. Be more interested in telling the employer what you can offer them. So many candidates get this confused. Job applications are not there for you to tell somebody all about yourself, but rather to tell somebody or indicate to them what you can do for them by providing evidence. Without doing this, job applications can be very poor indeed.
8. Send the CV as a Word document, not pdf.
9. Do not attach a covering letter by email but put this in the email body.
10. Don’t delay on applying and sending over a CV, particularly if applying via agents.

Independent Schools, Solicitors and Manipulated Statistics?
The Sutton Trust, a foundation with the aim of encouraging more state educated school children to attend better quality universities and reach the higher echelons of society, has published a report in the last few days. It has concluded that 74% of judges, 71% of barristers and 51% of solicitors went to independent schools, with 78% of barristers and 55% of solicitors going to Oxbridge.

I have to pick fault with this research – when you look at the sources of information used by the Sutton Trust to determine these figures they have basically been through the Chambers Directory. Great. The report seems to have been penned by an academic, but the selective nature of the report makes wonderful headlines but is almost certainly inaccurate to a wide extreme. Damned lies and statistics and all that.

There are over 110,000 solicitors in the UK. How many of these are in the Chambers Directory? Does Chambers really list the elite solicitors in the profession? I remember being in practice and our firm being listed. This seemed to consist of a researcher calling round firms in the local area and those firms expressing an opinion on who the best firm was for a particular field of law. If they had asked me this I would have almost certainly given the name of the firm most unlikely to affect my business interests!

The real motivation behind the report seems to be to maintain funding for The Sutton Trust’s projects at getting more students from disadvantaged backgrounds into larger sized solicitors firms… However these firms traditionally select students on a range of criteria concentrating mainly on extremely high academic achievement plus a good mix of extra curricular activities/sports. Chances are that if you are likely to achieve strong academic grades you are going to be at a good university like Oxford/Cambridge and not at the Polytechnic of Westmoreland…

Large Company buys up loads of law firms, attempts to take over the high street law market – and fails. Quelle surprise?
Hmm. Slater & Gordon are struggling – job losses, share value dropping, company turnover plummeting.. Our local radio station seems to have stopped playing adverts mentioning the local law firm brand aged 100 years+ with the added catchphrase “part of Slater & Gordon”.

Is this going to be a new competition? Guess how long the new legal market entrant is going to last?

When are large multinationals and organisations going to realise that high street law is profitable to a certain degree but seemingly very dependent on a relatively small scale operation?

Anyone remember the bulk conveyancing operations of the 1990s and 2000s? Barnetts in Southport is a good example. The senior partner there seemed to be the Law Society Gazette favourite whenever a quote was needed on modernising the way high street law firms worked. He was forever commenting on how profitable everyone could be if only they looked to the future. Now look at them – RIchard Barnett was struck off for using a loan to pay off his firm’s overdraft in a desperate effort to stay afloat.

So many worries about Tescos Law – Quality Solicitors setting up in WH Smiths, the Cooperative Legal Services division expanding, the AA and even Stobarts trucking have all had a go. Have they been lured in by very inaccurate media reports of fat cat solicitors raking it in from legal aid and volume conveyancing/personal injury operations?

Who is going to be next – perhaps Sainsburys could take over a large regional law firm and attempt to conquer the world?

Agency accused of inventing staff
A legal recruitment agency, Dawn Ellmore Employment (never heard of them) has been caught by inventing staff – full report at

This has attracted lots of comments from disgruntled lawyers about agencies faking their identities, making up staff and qualifications and pretending that they are much bigger than they are. I thought I would take the opportunity to reassure anyone the slightest bit interested of the following:

1. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment really does exist and has done so since April 2000. We have other websites linked to our main site – Interim Lawyers. JonathanFagan, HomeCountiesLegal, EastMidlandsLegal, Crime-Solicitor and many more.
2. Our MD (me) is legally qualified. I am a solicitor of the non-practising variety.
3. We have three recruitment consultants – Jonathan Fagan, Clare Fagan and Pete Gresty. We all exist.
4. We are all qualified as recruitment consultants for what its worth. Not sure it makes much difference really! Clare Fagan is also a qualified GP. Very useful when someone cuts their finger on the office printer.
5. We strive to be ethical. So much so that we have always donated 10% of our profits to charity every year.

New Vacancies
New Vacancies Registered in the last 7 days (NB: location indicated is the postcode area).
VAC-16330 Conveyancing Locum Ipswich
VAC-16329 Personal Injury Locum Solicitor Bristol
VAC-16328 Wills and Probate Locum Solicitor Kingston
VAC-16326 Conveyancing and Wills & Probate Lawyer Ipswich
VAC-16325 Commercial Property Solicitor Ipswich
VAC-16324 Personal Injury/Civil Litigation Solicitor Cardiff
VAC-16323 Conveyancing Partner Bath
VAC-16321 Conveyancing Locum West London
VAC-16320 Property Litigation Solicitor Peterborough
VAC-16319 Commercial Lawyer Southend-on-Sea
VAC-16318 Private Client Solicitor Leicester
VAC-16316 General Practitioner Southall
VAC-16315 Commercial Property Solicitor Gloucester
VAC-16314 Family Solicitor East London
VAC-16313 Conveyancing Locum Slough
VAC-16311 Family Law Solicitor West London
VAC-16310 Legal Accounts Clerk Coventry
VAC-16309 Private Client Locum Portsmouth
VAC-16308 Litigation Paralegal Peterborough
VAC-16307 Commercial Property Lawyer Peterborough
VAC-16306 Conveyancing Legal Secretary Peterborough
VAC-16305 Locum Legal Cashier East-Central London

Any interest in any of these roles please email

New Candidates
New Candidates Registered in the last 7 days.
CAN-25473 Experienced legal cashier looking for a suitable post in the Greater London region.
CAN-25476 February 2005 qualified FILEX legal executive specialising in residential conveyancing. Looking for locum roles in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands.
CAN-25477 2004 qualified family law solicitor and family law panel member with supervisory status. Looking for a post in Middlesex or West London.
CAN-25478 Senior company commercial legal counsel with experience in commercial contracts, commercial litigation and IP. Looking for locum company commercial or commercial litigation posts ideally working from home.
CAN-25480 October 2015 qualified litigation solicitor dealing with civil litigation, debt recovery and costs. East Midlands.
CAN-25483 2014 qualified solicitor and in house legal advisor with experience from 2013 onwards. Dealing with company commercial law, commercial contracts, M&A, employment law and regulatory law. Looking for in house or company commercial posts in Surrey, South West or Central London.
CAN-25484 1992 qualified FILEX legal executive specialising in personal injury and industrial disease and working at Head of Department level. Looking for an industrial disease post in the North West.
CAN-25485 1979 qualified conveyancing solicitor looking for residential conveyancing locum posts around Bedfordshire and North London.
CAN-25487 Fee earner specialising in personal injury including catastrophic injury, wills & probate including LPA and judicial review. Looking for personal injury posts in South Wales.
CAN-25488 Paralegal with experience in residential and commercial conveyancing, company commercial law and civil and commercial litigation. Looking for a post in London. Speaks French. Locum or permanent.
CAN-25490 2012 qualified Licenced Conveyancer looking for a suitable role in the Greater Manchester region.
CAN-25492 Legal executive specialising in housing law and civil litigation. Looking for locum posts in the South West.
CAN-25495 Qualified paralegal and legal secretary with high street legal experience. Looking for a paralegal or legal support role in East London.
CAN-25496 May 2015 qualified property solicitor handling a caseload of residential and commercial conveyancing. Looking for a post in Surrey or SW London.
CAN-25502 Legal secretary and legal administrator with experience in conveyancing, family law and wills & probate. Looking for a post in Hertfordshire and N London.
CAN-25503 1982 qualified Scottish lawyer specialising in in house company commercial law and compliance.
CAN-25504 March 2009 qualified personal injury solicitor, looking for locum roles in London and the South East.
CAN-25505 December 2015 qualified litigation solicitor dealing with personal injury and professional negligence with further experience in costs, general civil litigation and debt recovery. Looking for a post in Manchester, Greater Manchester and the North West.

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. NB: These rates are intended as a guide only. Hourly rates can vary according to the location, duration and level of expertise.

Feb 2016 Private Practice Law Firm Locum Rates:
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 1-5 years PQE, handling residential standard sale price only – £25-30 per hour (slight variation for central London – £29-35 per hour).
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors & ILEX – 5-35 years PQE, handling all levels of conveyancing including managing a department – £25-£35 per hour, including central London.
* Commercial Property Solicitors – 1-40 years PQE – £30-45 per hour.
* Wills & Probate Solicitors and Executives – 3-35 years PQE – £30-40 per hour.
* Family Solicitors – 4-40 years PQE – £24-28 per hour. Occasionally this goes up to £35 per hour for short notice or a few days cover.
* Civil Litigation – 1-35 years PQE. £25-33 per hour. These rates cover mainstream litigation – eg county court and small claims matters.

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

How to be a Locum – pdf guide
We have produced a 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 both permanent and locum roles across 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.

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. We have carried on with this tradition since we formed the company 15 years ago. So far about £80,000 has been donated to charities in the UK and Africa including LawCare.

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

Warm regards

Jonathan Fagan

T: 0207 127 4343

Register Vacancies – Locum or Permanent

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

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