Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal
Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment are committed to donating 10% of annual profits to charity. We assist with all types of legal recruitment, from solicitors to paralegals. Register online.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Best Legal Job Vacancy ever published by Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - 1st April 2014

Best Vacancy ever published by Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Here follows the best legal job vacancy we have ever seen. 

To apply, please email cv@ten-percent.co.uk, quoting the reference number AP81L500L. 

Job Title: Lawyer

Qualifications Needed: None - experience matters more. 

Salary: £125,000

Areas of Law: Company Commercial

Job Description: A lawyer is sought to deal with a mixed caseload of company commercial matters as and when they come in. At the moment the firm have no work coming in but expect lots in the future when Saturn comes into the delta currently occupied by Uranus. This is a very laid back firm dating from the 1960s and the partners have a very flexible attitude to free love. Sandals and gowns must be worn in the office.

You will be expected to:
  • Attend the office from 11am to 2pm for 3 days a week.
  • Unlock the doors
  • Switch on the lights
  • Sit at your desk and drink coffee/tea/ovaltine
  • Open a file occasionally
  • Read a book 
  • Eat lunch
  • Snoozing is permitted on a Wednesday between the hours of 12pm and 2pm for a period of no more than 1 hour. 
  • Alcohol can be consumed on Thursdays.
Clients: Multi-millionaires, property developers, people with more money than sense and lumberjacks.

Applications: via a CV to cv@ten-percent.co.uk 


Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

How to Improve Your Efficiency, Make your Business work for you and Turn into a System

I have just finished a business book called "The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael Gerber, a fascinating if not slightly too American book on how to get a business working for you and not vice versa. I should start this article by saying that this is not a sales pitch and I have no financial interest in the book!

Mr Gerber is keen to get people in business to stop and think about what they are doing. His key advice is to view your enterprise as a potential franchise and try to get it working like this as quickly as possible. In this way you can either prepare the company for sale, work out where you need to recruit staff or streamline processes and make the whole operation more efficient. He seems to be using some of the Six SIgma techniques that I am sure practice managers are starting to become aware of these days.

Firstly take a look at yourself and your business. Why are you working? What are you working for? Does your current job or company give you the scope to achieve your aims? If not, why not?

Secondly, draw up an Organisation Chart. Write out all the different roles you have within the business. For example, most smaller law firms will probably find that within their firm there are the following posts: Accounts Manager, Accounts Clerk, Receptionist, PA, Secretary, Marketing Manager, Business Development Manager, Sales Director, Solicitor, Paralegal, IT Director, Office Cleaner, Maintenance Fitter, Purchasing Officer, Supply Chain Manager. Naturally most sole practitioners will undertake all of the above apart from the secretary post!

Once you have written out the chart, work out how much you and your colleagues should be doing for each role and what scope there is either to outsource or employ other staff. How many hours are you spending in each position? Is there scope to reduce your hours in those positions that are non-profitable?

Finally have a look at your systems. Do you have systems in place that enable completely untrained and inexperienced employees to run certain sections of your business without any involvement from you or other managers? For example, does the receptionist work to a system of processing each telephone call in the same way. If they are booking a new appointment do they go through a process of handling queries or concerns - eg car parking when visiting the offices, avoiding too much talk on price and more on quality, taking down the source of the referral, know enough about your operations to be able to answer any initial queries - for example which fee earner will be dealing with the client from the outset? If not, can all of this be put into a protocol (borrowing an overused term from the TV series 24) and adhered to every time a new call is made? Is there a system for ensuring that clients are only kept waiting on the phone for a maximum of 3 minutes before a receptionist guarantees a call back. Do you have an online system in place to enable clients to log in and check progress on their case?

Once everything has been transformed into procedures and systems you can take more of a development role than a hands on role. Mr Gerber talks about changing lives by using this technique. Looking at my current workload and trying to think about going through this process I have to say it is probably a question of considerably changing a very strong mindset!

Jonathan Fagan is a solicitor, qualified recruitment consultant and Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed here - www.linkedin.com/in/jbfagan

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.
Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Predictions from a Psychic for 2013 Revisited - how many did he get right?

A Psychic's 2013 New Year Predictions Revisited

Last year we carried an article in our January Newsletter about predictions for 2013 by an expert  online psychic, Craig Hamilton-Parker (taken from www.psychics.co.uk). We have also included his 2014 predictions below to see how he does when we revisit in 2015.

Mr Hamilton-Parker charges £1.53 per minute for his services, and looking at this list I suspect it is money well spent.

Online Psychic Predictions for 2013 - how many did Craig get right?
1. War in the Middle East - February. Israel will attack Iran. Incorrect. Thank goodness.
2. Terrorist attack on Chicago in the summer. 1/2 marks - Boston in April.3. Syrian uprising to continue. Iran to invade. 1/2 marks. Iran hasn't invaded.4. Poor grain harvest to occur in Russia. Incorrect. Up 30% on 2012.
5. Robert Mugabe will be assassinated in the Autumn. Incorrect.
6. Revolution in China - June 2013. China to split up. Incorrect.
7. Google will be attacked by terrorists. Incorrect.
8. Search engine to be released in Europe - funded by the EU. Incorrect.9. Spain's economy to fall apart. Incorrect. 10. Ed Milliband to be replaced by Yvette Cooper. Incorrect.11. Nick Clegg to fight off a challenge from Vince Cable. Incorrect. 12. Victoria Beckham to launch a range of maternity clothing. Not entirely sure so half marks!
13. Kate Middleton to announce she is pregnant in May 2013. Impossible.
14. Simon Cowell to become more spiritual. Is there any way of assessing this?

Total score (allowing for the Victoria Beckham maternity wear prediction as it is not clear whether or not she has produced a range): 2 out of 14.

Craig's predictions for 2014:
1. The Dalai Lama will be taken seriously ill.
2. Pope Francis will initiate a new spiritual mission to help the mentally ill.
3. Syria will be partitioned into Alawite and Sunni provinces. Assad will go into hiding.
4. Gunman rampage in Kansas. Similar attack on the London underground.
5. Strange luminous plankton seen under the sea that cannot be explained by scientists.
6. Remains of an ancient civilisation uncovered in Greenland.
7. Oprah Winfrey launches new spiritual chat show bringing many world religious leaders to book.
8. UK postal strikes backed by other trade unions and transport brought to a standstill.
9. Nick Clegg resigns
10. Massive fire in Mexico City
11. New Orleans flooded again
12. Factory explodes in Southern USA causing a chemical cloud.
13. Australia has biggest bush fire ever.
14. Japan builds a nuclear bomb
15. US economy soars ahead.
16. Massive riots at the Brazilian World Cup.

These are taken from www.psychic.co.uk.

If you would like to make your own predictions for 2014 please add your comment to this article. We will then revisit all of them in January 2015. 

See if you can beat the psychic!!





Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
- Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop
 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Law Students - Make a New Years Resolution not to get a 2.2 degree or Suffer the Consequences for the Rest of your Career

A message for all law students in their 1st, 2nd or even 3rd year. 

Make one New Years Resolution as follows:

"I will not get a 2.2 degree. I will work harder and get a 2.1."

In fact you could make two resolutions - the other resolution would be to get as much legal work experience as you possibly can but this does not add as much to your career at this stage as the first resolution so we will stick with this!

If you do not get a 2.1 or 1st class degree (and it seems a lot easier these days at certain Universities to get the latter), your legal career will be damaged. Forever. And Ever. And Ever More.

'What a load of nonsense' I hear you say. 
'Why would my career be affected in 20 years time by a degree I get when I am 21 years old?'

Why indeed! Unfortunately the legal profession is relatively easy to enter at a certain level, but very difficult to enter at another level. The difference is the salary you will earn for the rest of your career.

If you are happy earning £20,000 to £30,000 for pretty much the remainder of your career (until you are 65 years old) feel free to not bother working very hard at your degree and get a 2.2 or even worse a 3rd.

Chances are you will end up doing paralegal jobs for about 5 years, followed by a training contract you may well have managed to source courtesy of your paralegal work. When you qualify and apply for other firms who will pay you more than £15,000 some will reject you. Those that do not are likely to only offer you between £20,000 and £30,000. After about 3-4 years you will apply for other jobs, advertised at better pay levels, and be unpleasantly surprised when you get rejected. It may be that the firm you are applying to do not like your first firm, but more likely they will take one look at your degree and decide you are a bit of a slacker.

If you are not happy earning £20,000 to £30,000 do yourself a favour and work harder. It will change your life. Honestly.

Barristers

I won't even go near the barrister side of the profession. OK you've talked me into it.

Got a 2.2, no family links, not head boy or girl, not captain of the rugby or netball team or national champion debater coupled with no quality legal work experience in Chambers that lasted more than 5 days? Don't even bother doing the BPTC. Unless you are a glutton for lots of punishment and unrewarded effort coupled with forking out for the LPC as well as the BPTC once you have finished.


'I don't care, I'll just work as a legal executive.' 

Of course you will. After all, firms are crying out for lots of underqualified legal executives with 2.2 law degrees and no legal work experience. Legal executives tend to be grafters who have worked their way up through the ranks - secretaries, PAs, unqualified fee earners. Very few make the decision to become an ILEX out of choice. People tend to fall into this route and there is nothing wrong with this. However doing a law degree is not really going to push your career forward very much when going down this route.


A Horror Story
Let me tell you a horror story in one last effort to make you realise how important my advice above is.

I have recently been recruiting for a specialist solicitor post with a Tier 1 Legal 500 law firm. The field of law will stay anonymous at this stage. The firm require someone with about 4-5 different areas of expertise, most of which any solicitor working in any law firm in the country in this field of law will have. Salary levels are probably 50-75% higher than these candidates will get elsewhere. We have had applications from all types of candidates; those with outstanding experience in some areas and some from those with a bit of experience of all the areas.

However a lot of candidates have been unpleasantly surprised by instant rejection. We have even had telephone calls from indignant candidates asking why we haven't progressed them. I'll let you into a secret... this firm only recruit candidates with consistent academic achievement, even though they are looking at solicitors with 10-20 years PQE (PQE stands for Post Qualified Experience).

Consistent academic achievement means a minimum 2.1 degree classification plus good A levels (or equivalent). It does not mean a 2.2 degree followed up by a masters degree to try and hide the 2.2 degree as this is not academically consistent.

So even though perhaps it shouldn't, your law degree has an effect on you for the rest of your career. Get used to it. You are entering one of the most rigid professions in the country (after doctors and dentists) and getting a 2.1 degree is yet another burning hoop you have to jump through.

Does a 2.2 make a difference to who you are? I am not sure about that but whether this is right or wrong we do notice from time to time that candidates with poor or low academic results are more likely to have a grammatical or spelling mistake on their CV. Does this follow through into the candidate's work? Who knows. However legal employers seem to think so....

Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and Interim Lawyers.


Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop
 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Employment Allowance - new tax break

The Employment Allowance - new tax break for small firms

The Employment Allowance was brought in for the last budget announcement. It appears to be a rather generous tax break which in return for ticking a box when doing PAYE online, SMEs get £2k knocked off their national insurance bill. There seems nothing else to it and apparently it also includes directors' salaries. This may be an attempt to encourage more limited companies to pay more of their senior staff in wages rather than dividends. We received an interesting update recently from a business magazine which included a link to the government's employment allowance calculator - www.employmentallowance.com/allowance-calculator. The start date is April 2014. Lets hope it turns out to be as good as it sounds..

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.
Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

How to retain staff during the Christmas Holidays

Retaining Staff after Christmas - A Guide

It is well known in recruitment circles that one of the best times to pick up new quality candidates is between Christmas and the New Year. There are a number of reasons for this but the main ones we seem to come across time and again are below. Most of these are avoidable as you will see:
  1. Inappropriate comments or behaviour at the staff Christmas party.
  2. No staff Christmas party arranged.
  3. No Christmas bonus paid.
  4. No Christmas cards, presents or bonus paid.
  5. No bonus paid despite one being promised (and/or pay rise).
  6. Lawyers having too much time to think about their workplace and colleagues when not at work.
  7. No chance of any progression and no real plans for the future indicated by the firm.
  8. Being called into work between Christmas and the New Year when other senior staff in the firm are still off work (good time for job hunting).
  9. No spirit of Christmas shown on the last day before the Christmas break (it is so easy to break up an additional hour early on Friday 20th!).
  10. A realisation over the Christmas that the candidate really hates the firm and it is time for a change.
8 out of 10 of these can be easily avoided. Replacing and recruiting staff is a very expensive business. Much cheaper to keep your existing employees!

Jonathan Fagan is a solicitor, qualified recruitment consultant and Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed here - www.linkedin.com/in/jbfagan

 Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.
Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Reference Checks and Rogue Candidates

Reference Checks - Lessons Learned

In this day and age, with LinkedIn, Facebook, Company-check.co.uk (very useful resource) and all the other online tools available, one would imagine that it is very difficult indeed for anyone to attempt to submit a CV and not be fully checkable. Unfortunately there are still those out there who try and a recent experience of a candidate registering for locum work has meant a tightening of our procedures as to who gets to register and be introduced for work.

A candidate registered with us and started to express an interest in locum and consultancy posts. We were a little bemused by the CV because it had numerous sections on that were more than just a little ambiguous in terms of the work undertaken in the recent past.

A check online did not reveal very much at all, but we received a tip off from a firm to say that the candidate's name had been changed slightly and in fact he had received a rather lengthy prison sentence for a multi-million pound VAT fraud, which might well explain why the CV was a little vague!

On discovering this we removed the candidate from our records but discovered him applying for roles on some of our satellite sites. He had not described himself as a solicitor but had become a 'legal consultant' since his incarceration.

Lesson learned! We have tightened up our procedures to try and ensure that candidates like this are unable to access our clients and vacancies.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

The Legal Practice Course - Unsustainable and Time for a Change?

The Legal Practice Course - time for a change?

We recently had a look at a few statistics surrounding the Legal Practice Course.

The current cost of undertaking the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law ranges from £10,845 to £13,905.
The Graduate Diploma in Law is £7,240 to £9,820 (depends on location).
Wolverhampton University fees, as a comparison, are £9,010 for the Legal Practice Course and Manchester Metropolitan charges £5,560 for the Graduate Diploma in Law.

According to government statistics there were 93,575 law undergraduates in 2011-2012. In 2011-2012 there were 4,869 training contracts available.

Assuming that over half of these are people who don't want a training contract, or go down the BPTC route, this still leaves a lot of potential candidates out there who are not going to get qualified - the figure does not include those entering via the GDL route.

If you consider that since 2008 the training contract figure has not increased, it means that there are probably well over 100,000 law graduates since 2008 who have not entered the legal profession via the solicitor route.

Thinking through the cost of the LPC - if you now complete this and get a training contract on the high street, assuming your salary remains less than £16,000 for the first two years of your training and less than £25,000 for the next two years, you are going to take about 6 years to pay off the fee (paying it at £200 a month). A mortgage and a family must remain a very distant possibility for most NQs at the moment.

Does this level of cost really create a sustainable future flow of potential trainee solicitors, or just deter those who do not have relatives and connections already in the business? Has the time come to restrict the academic institutions from providing LPC courses to those who stand little or no chance of ever progressing with a legal career?

Jonathan Fagan is a solicitor, qualified recruitment consultant and Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed here - www.linkedin.com/in/jbfagan

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Are Local Authorities Ripping off the Tax Payer with the Rates they pay for Locum Solicitors?

I have been writing articles on the discrepancies between local authority rates and private practice solicitor firm rates for locums for some years now.

They are starting to get ridiculous.

To give a few examples:

1. We have over 500 immigration solicitors on our books. Most have a reasonable amount of experience. In private practice work the going rate on the permanent side is a salary range of about £20,000-£30,000. Very rare to get much more than this. On the locum side the hourly rate will almost always be about £20-23 per hour depending on the length of assignment. This is for legal aid work. For private and corporate immigration the rates can go up to around £30-40,000 and £25-28 per hour.

These are competitive market rates - if the market gets tighter, the salaries and hourly rates go up.

2. We have over 1,500 family solicitors on our books, about 200 of these have child care experience. Family solicitor locum rates are usually around the £25 per hour mark, going up to £35 per hour for professional locums and those in demand with repeat bookings. Salaries are usually around the £22,000-£40,0000 range.

Local authorities and NGOs are paying immigration locums around £30-35 per hour. To put this into context, this equates to a salary of £63,000 (7.5 hour day, 5 day week, 48 week year). Local authorities are paying child care solicitors up to £45 per hour, which equates to £81,000.

Why?

I went to a meeting one of our local authorities put on about 5 years ago when they switched over to a new way of working - the use of a Recruitment Process Outsourcing company. This basically meant the council outsourcing their HR department and a private contractor managing all the use of temporary staff across the county.

Suddenly any agency who wanted to supply to the council had to go through this company, which required agencies to purchase high levels of insurance, employ all locum staff and set fixed percentage rates for certain types of candidates - eg 18% for a solicitor.

The council staff assured us that this was the future. It meant lots of savings for the council in time, money and effort. I sat there at the time and thought that this was only going one way and that involved the council HR department laying off their staff. This was the only way the council were going to save money and this was all to do with the HR departments being extremely lazy and not wanting to call round more than one agency to find someone.

I shook my head in disbelief that someone could be so daft as to outsource their own job.

In fact I know that the main council employee was later being coached to find another post after being made redundant - less than 1 year after this meeting!

So why do I think that local authorities have ripped off the tax payer?

I think the LAs have created an artificial recruitment market with unsustainable hourly rates. The amounts indicated above for family law for example are more than most commercial property locums get in London in private practice.

Furthermore, most local authority locum posts tend to be longer term rather than shorter so the cost to the councils must be astronomical.

If our local council wants to get a locum in for 2 weeks to cover annual leave then they would have to contact their outsourcer and lodge the vacancy. The vacancy is then posted on a job board and an alert sent to a load of recruitment agencies at 'Tier 1'.

These agencies get first bite at the cherry. Each one will post CVs onto the site as quickly as possible, which are forwarded across to the council. If none of these are suitable, the Tier 2 and Tier 3 agencies will be offered a chance.

Each of these agencies will have had to comply with the outsourcers criteria to be allowed access - this includes employing locums - whereas in private practice most are self-employed and invoice directly - cheaper for all concerned and taking out high levels of insurance.

The market is set up to exclude smaller agencies, who really do not stand a chance of recruiting through the system. In law most locums are registered with a number of agencies anyway and so the Tier 1, 2 and 3 agencies will be almost certainly posting the same candidates.

As a result, every time a locum is used, I reckon the local authority is paying about 50% too much by way of hourly rates.

Is this a scandal?

I suspect most local authority locums will not think so!

After all, it is about time public sector work paid better than private practice, but what is the point in opening up services to the private sector and then creating a closed shop akin to the union dominance of workplaces back in the 1970s?

I reckon that in future this is going to be a scandal exposed in Private Eye or similar..... What do you think?

Jonathan Fagan is a non-practising solicitor and Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, owners of Interim Lawyers. We are not on any local authority panels, although we do have local authority locums!

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Offering Free Services to Clients to attract business - a good idea or a source of great frustration?

Free Services – are they ever appreciated?  
I am not sure if a study has ever been done of these, but a recent experience has made us re-evaluate our own offerings. One of the services Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment offers is ‘free CV checks’. This involves lawyers and law students sending us their CVs for us to give them the once over before replying with our general impressions. We pride ourselves on offering this service without any reference to our paid CV services or our recruitment agency work, although we naturally hope that visitors come back and use us.
This week I received a CV from a law graduate requesting a free CV check. I had a look through and replied with feedback to say that his CV was unlikely to get him any interviews and needed work. I gave him a few pointers where improvement was needed and also suggested that he may want to get legal work experience to improve his chances (he didn’t have any).
Ten minutes later I received an email informing me that our response was unprofessional and besides what did we know anyway – we weren’t recruiters… I emailed back to point out that it was a free service, we are recruiters and have over 10 years of experience advising on CVs for senior partners and district judges through to law students.
Ten minutes after this I had obviously so enraged this law graduate with my response that he telephoned me. The conversation was fairly brief (I hung up) but in essence the law graduate demanded to know why we had criticised his CV and what gave us the right to give him such negative advice.
After experiencing this and other similar instances of free services provided by our company (one involved finding a graduate a training contract which they didn’t bother turning up for), we have come to realise that it doesn’t matter what price you charge for a service, people always have similar expectations of the service.
A free session of legal advice from a law firm is going to be provided to someone who will have the same expectations of the session if he had paid for it. The graduate described above would have probably responded in the same way if I had charged him the £64.99 we usually charge for a full CV review.
Sometimes I question whether a free service has any effect at all on increasing future business levels. Perhaps charging for a service is the best option to avoid feeling angry, if nothing else?
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 cv@ten-percent.co.uk or visit one of our websites.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop