September 2014 Legal Recruitment News

Legal Recruitment News – September 3rd 2014

Welcome to the September 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, Ten-Percent, Ten-Percent Legal Careers and TP Transcriptions).

Job Market Update – September 3rd
Summer 2014 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies up
* Locum assignments up
* Conveyancing vacancies up, Commercial Property vacancies up
* Crime vacancies gone, Personal Injury vacancies disappearing
* Employment Law vacancies – non-existent
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few here and there
* Family vacancies – up
* Further increase in proprerty vacancies attracting very few applications. Commercial property solicitors extremely difficult to source. Conveyancers difficult to find.
* Market outlook – still very buoyant. Salaries now rising.

Current live vacancies: 593
New permanent vacancies added in August 2014: 32
New candidates registering: 91
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies in May: 3.8
Increase/Decrease in new vacancies from previous month: -8%
Increase/Decrease in new candidates from previous month: -12%

Key points from the KPMG Job Market survey for August 2014:

▪ Stronger growth of permanent and temporary staff appointments

▪ Record decline in availability of permanent candidates

▪ Starting salary growth close to June’s survey-high

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, said:
“For the first time in months we are witnessing churn in the labour market. It seems that employees are finally beginning to wake up to the opportunities available to them, with the
rates of growth of both permanent and temporary placements accelerating simultaneously. Perhaps it’s true that ‘every person has their price’ because the movement in labour is
coinciding with another rise in starting salaries. Just a few months ago employers couldn’t tempt staff to switch roles, but indications are that employees’ caution over change is being
replaced with hunger for something new.”

This review is undertaken by a market research company 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. KPMG report that the Midlands is the place to be for candidates moving and employers paying good money to get them, but this is far from reality for the legal profession – the Midlands is not a prime area for recruitment and never has been!

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.

Candidate Registrations in the last 3 days
28081520 1 year PQE residential and commercial conveyancing solicitor looking in London for a new post. Salary levels around £35-40k min.
27082232 Commercial Property Solicitor, 10+ years PQE, looking in Cumbria. Permanent – salary expectations high.
28081612 Conveyancing Solicitor with 2 years experience looking around East London. Permanent.
03090919 Conveyancing Solicitor, 2 years PQE, experienced working in a HNW environment, looking at central London firms. Permanent, salary £45k +.
02091214 Litigation Solicitor Locum looking in Edinburgh.
02091141 Legal Cashier seeking work in and around Kent and SE London. Permanent.
01091921 Employment Paralegal, 2 years experience, looking in London. Permanent.
01091509 Conveyancing Paralegal looking in Greater London. Permanent.
28081022 Property Solicitor looking for locum or permanent roles. 6 years PQE. London.
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
We have over 700 candidates registered for locum work. Register Vacancies – Locum or Permanent

How to Retain Staff in a Busy Job Market
With over 11,000 solicitors and lawyers on our books, Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment is usually well placed to see when a firm is doing the right things and when it isn’t. It costs a minimum of £4,000 each time a fee earner leaves a firm and joins another one – not just in recruitment costs but also in training, fee earner hours, administration and the like. Quite a lot of job hunting is done because of current salary levels – this is why the top tip is to pay the right amount!
Here are the top 5 ways of ensuring that your key staff do not up sticks and leave whenever the recruitment wave is on the up (key times of the year are September, January and April-June).
1. Pay them the right amount.
This is the biggest bug bear amongst employees. They read the papers, they watch the news. And they know that the markets are on the up. They also know that your firm is very busy, and when a firm is very busy it means profits and turnover are going up. There is rarely any memory retained about the fact that you kept them on during extremely difficult times a few years ago. No doubt there is a vacancy somewhere on the internet offering money that is off the scale for your firm and no doubt your employees are tempted… Keep track of salaries by reading the job adverts in the back of the Gazette – this will give you a good idea of rates. Greater London levels are at the high end – the North West and North East are still pretty low.
2. Make sure you review salaries and pay.
Even if you don’t increase pay, go through the motions of ensuring that you at least consider reviewing it. Annual or 6 monthly reviews go down extremely well – this is often the only chance an employee has to discuss their income with anyone. Listen carefully, don’t judge.
3. Consider flexible working arrangements.
One of the key reasons for staff seeking a move is to try and negotiate flexibility around other interests and family life. There are some firms out there who are notoriously bad at considering altering hours, increasing annual leave or allowing work from home. You are behind the times – this is now becoming the new norm. 9am to 5pm at most small to medium firms is no longer essential. Think carefully – it doesn’t cost you anything and can score highly in the loyalty stakes.
4. Make sure you have a happy working environment.
We recently had a call from a candidate looking to make a move because the partners at their firm shout at each other (not at the staff). This was making the working environment extremely unpleasant. Listen to the way your staff speak to each other – are there obvious problems? Do team bonding – it doesn’t hurt to go for a drink or a meal every now and again on a Friday night – who knows – you may even enjoy it.
5. Make sure your office environment is nice to work in.
Have a look around your offices – are they nice for your staff to sit in for 7-10 hours a day? Do clients feel comfortable? Do you feel comfortable? When was the last time you painted the window frames? Do you need to make a trip to Ikea for some new chairs?
It doesn’t cost much to improve and just a few small and quick adjustments could save you £1000s in retaining staff.

Cut the Clutter on your Desk and save time
I recently read an article about saving time – with tips including outsourcing everything you possibly can, delegating as much work as possible and avoiding meetings. One of the tips was to reduce the clutter on your desk because looking for documents and items can take up so much of your time.
These are the three things to do with paperwork on your desk:
1. Delegate It
2. File it
3. Bin it
Apparently most of the stuff we file away never gets seen again and in fact it would have been better to bin it from the outset. There is a professor in the USA who tips all his paperwork each month into a desk drawer and at the end of the month he throws the whole lot into the bin. I think this is extremely brave and would never dare to be so bold, but it is certainly one way to get rid of stuff off your desk!
There should be no paperwork on your desk at the end of the day – instead it should be in a filing tray, an action tray or the bin. Stationery should be in a desk tidy or drawer. Go and buy some trays at lunchtime and invest in a desk tidy for your pens. It makes the world of difference turning up to work to find a blank slate rather than piles of papers.

The Easiest and Quickest Way to Grow your Business
There are 5 ways to grow your business – increase customers, get customers to buy more, increase the value of each transaction, increase prices or increase efficiency.
By far the quickest and easiest way, according to expert pricing accountant Peter Hill, is simply
to increase your prices. He issues a challenge to businesses – if you want to increase your profits in one, easy step, increase your prices by 5% immediately.
A quick example would be a conveyancing quote I recently had. We contacted three law firms to get a price on selling a field (sale transaction is less than £20k) and got quotes of £475, £400 and £200.
Thinking about it now – if the £200 quote had been £210 it still would have been the lowest price, and if I had been a bit distrustful of the low quote I still would have gone with the medium quote with a 5% increase at £420.
Applying this to our own business does not really work, because in recruitment most of our business is on a percentage basis and varies according to the salaries being paid, not the work put in. However to an hourly rate firm (ie a solicitors practice) this could make a big difference.
Assuming your firm (limited company) turned over £100k last year with £60k profits and paid corporation tax at 20% on the profits, you would have managed to make £48k after tax. If you increase your prices by 5% you would have turned over £105k, with £65k profits and made £52k after tax. The extra 5% price would have generated you £4k in net profit.
Not bad for just adjusting your prices slightly upwards.
The downside is of course the annoyed customer who wants to know why the price has just gone up. Peter Hill suggests that you should ignore them and concentrate instead on the vast majority of clients who are happy with the service and as a result will pay to stay.
Are you brave enough to try it? We are going to give it a go with one of our non-recruitment businesses. I’ll keep you posted with the results in 12 months time.

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 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. 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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