Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, July 10, 2020

Legal Recruitment News July 2020

 Legal Recruitment News from Ten Percent Legal. Includes a discussion on Professional Indemnity Insurance for Locums, the state of the Conveyancing job market, senior solicitors being at risk of redundancy, a Legal Job Market Report and July 2020 hourly rates for locums.

Click here to read:

https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/legal-recruitment-news-july-2020/

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. 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.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Senior Solicitors more at Risk of Redundancy than the Office Cleaner

The Law Society Gazette recently (July 2020) ran an article regarding the concern at Magic Circle and city firms that newly qualified solicitors will be seeing pay cuts and it may be a rocky year ahead for newly qualified and trainee solicitors.  

Struggling NQ City Solicitors?  


Examples are given by the Gazette of Allen and Overy paying £90,000 to newly qualified solicitors rather than £100,000 and Clifford Chance cutting newly qualified pay to £94,500. Hogan Lovells trainees will receive £85,000 as opposed to £90,000 when they qualify.

The Law Society Gazette talks about newly qualified pay bouncing back the following year and it being a worry for newly qualified solicitors that they are going to get these low levels of salary.

 

Vodafone Chief - a Dislike for Law Firms 


On the next page of the Gazette there is actually an article from the Head of Legal at Vodafone who has said she is troubled by rapid moves to lay off junior lawyers and to further support staff in private practice law firms. It looks as if the head of legal at Vodafone, Rosemary Martin, did not enjoy her time when she was in private practice as she says that she felt very uncomfortable that huge attention was paid to the partners and hardly anything was paid to all the other people in the law firms. 

Surely Some Mistake? 


We think both the Gazette and the Head of Legal at Vodafone are mistaken. Although salaries may be slightly dented to levels only high street solicitors can dream of, the likelihood is that, rather than junior lawyers being overly affected by the pandemic, it is much more likely that this is going to be the middle level of lawyers in private practice and in house. 

Anecdotal Evidence


Our anecdotal experience so far is that the solicitors most likely to have been laid off or furloughed at the start of the pandemic are solicitors in their 50's, working full time, but not at equity partner level. 

There are obviously good business reasons for this. It makes sense for a struggling law firm with high overheads to seize the opportunity to get rid of their highest expense. A 50-year-old senior solicitor costs money whereas a 25-year-old newly qualified solicitor on a fairly low level of salary does not cost as much. 

When the work picks up obviously equity partners and senior staff will be undertaking as much of the work as they possibly can to maintain their fee levels and using the assistance of the more junior staff. 

Partners Retain Work

 

It is similarly possible that the equity partners and senior staff will retain as much of the work for themselves as possible in order to justify their existence and by doing so deprive the next level down in terms of staffing from any fee earning opportunities. It is these members of staff who we think are more likely to face layoff and redundancy rather than the junior staff. 

Dreamworld Salaries

 

The figures given in the Law Society Gazette for the central London city firms are salaries that most of the 120,000 solicitors in England & Wales can only dream of throughout their career even when they are 30 to 40 years qualified.. It is these figures of course that get picked up in the press and grossly distort the earning potential for most legal practitioners in the UK who can only dream of receiving salary of this kind of scale.

Gap in the Market


The senior staff who have been laid off already or face redundancy over the coming months are those most likely to be lost to the profession forever. Our experience back in 2008 was that the same thing happened. Firms actively recruited younger and more junior members of staff and overlooked senior members of staff and those above 45 years old. 

High Locum Numbers


It is partly why there is currently a glut of locum solicitors desperately seeking work in certain areas of law because they turned to locuming when the last recession hit and have not been back into permanent work sense. Moving from locum to permanent is a very difficult thing to do at the best of times and it has been an issue for many years that firms actively discriminate against anyone who has tasted the freedom of locum work when looking to recruit into permanent roles.

To give another anecdotal example of why older solicitors are more likely to lose their jobs and then struggle to get back into the market is a telephone call I had recently with a senior partner of the firm looking to sell his practice and retire. He wanted to take on a partner to join his practice and eventually purchase his equity and I duly sourced him a good candidate with their own following and an active interest in taking equity in the medium term. His immediate response was virtually to rule this person out because they appeared to be of a certain age.

More at Risk than the Office Cleaner


So if you are a fairly senior solicitor and do not have an equity-linked position I suspect you are more at risk of losing your job than the office cleaner.

The high risk category back in 2008 was quite clearly anyone aged over 45, working in a full time role on a salary at the higher end for the firm they work for.

Author


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. 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.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Large Companies and Invisible 90 Day Payment Policies

 
This has happened to our companies so many times over the years that we almost sigh whenever a large organisation or company wants to do business with us. We know that although there may be plenty of work coming our way, we are not going to get paid for a substantial period of time afterwards.

Example

Take recent work for a university. We undertook their order, spent considerable time making sure that everything we were doing was satisfactory for them, the institution had specific requirements that resulted in us needing to invest in further technology and software updates, and we completed the work as they requested. The invoice we submitted was not substantial and we had costs ourselves that had to be met out of our accounts whilst we waited for payment.

87 Days - a pure coincidence?

Our payment terms are 21 days. We got to the end of the 21 days and issued our usual set of reminders, one after 7 days, another one 7 days later and a final one 7 days after that. This took us to 42 days and there was no correspondence or communication at all from the university. We then entered the credit control process with this institution whereby we sent them a statement indicating the interest and costs that were going to have to be applied if we had to take this further to court level. Still no response.
A further letter was written to the institution advising that unless payment was made within 7 days we were going to have to issue proceedings against them, and we still had nothing back from them. We were just thinking about what to do next, as to take a large client to court can be similar to cutting your nose off to spite your face if all future business from them ends, when after 87 days the client paid up.

Xero Tool

One of the very handy features of Xero accounts software (we thoroughly recommend it, although their customer service seems to range from non-existent to 'sort it out yourself') is that it indicates to you the average time it takes a client to pay, and when we looked at this particular client there was a very clear pattern showing that the client regularly pays at around or just within 90 days. This had happened again here.

Boot on the Other Foot

I have often wondered how these companies work the other way round – if for example with the university one of their students didn’t pay within the time of the invoice, would the university allow them 90 days to pay in the same way they have allowed themselves 90 days to pay our invoice? Or would they come down on them like a ton of bricks and be either throwing them off their course or issuing court proceedings against them if payment was not received in time?

How to Deal with 90 Day Terms? live with it

The key to working with these companies and institutions is just to accept that someone in the purchasing and supply section has come up with the wonderful idea of not paying anybody for that length of time, thus showing a higher level of cash in the bank for those months and gaining extra interest on any sums retained for that period.
There is no option for smaller businesses to do this because larger companies simply would not deal with them again, or go after them for the money very quickly indeed.
Take Reed the jobs board. If they do not receive payment against their invoices within 48 hours they send out a reminder and start bombarding the clients with emails asking for payment. I would hazard a guess that a supplier to Reed would probably not be afforded such generosity when submitting their invoices.

Summary

Clearly the government legislation aimed at ensuring larger business cough up when they should fails completely, because enforcement is dependent solely on the courage of smaller businesses to speak out against the larger companies or organisations, and regrettably, us included, most choose not to do so.


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. 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.

Legal Recruitment News June 2020

Legal Recruitment News June 2020 - articles on the legal profession, legal job market updates, hourly rates, careers advice and more.

http://www.legal-recruitment.co.uk/legal-recruitment-news-june-2020/

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. 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.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Legal Recruitment News May 2020

Legal Recruitment News May 2020 including job market report, locum hourly rates, CV writing services, remote working, business meetings and more.

Click here to read the pdf version.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. 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.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Legal Recruitment News March 2020


http://www.legal-recruitment.co.uk/legal-recruitment-news-march-2020/

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.
 

Lawyers and Accountants earn £80,000 a year, if not a lot more


 
In November 2019, during the winter election campaign, a BBC Question Time audience member informed the panel that he was a member of the working class and considered that £80,000 salary was not a lot of money and that it was a bit of a struggle surviving on this. He expressed incredulity, along with a significant portion of the audience, when Richard Burgon, a Labour MP, stated that he had been a solicitor before getting into parliament, and that his salary had been £40,000.
It is one of the oldest examples of fake news that exists in society today, and dates back many years. Solicitors & accountants are considered by the general population to earn a lot more money than the average wage. The big 4 firms in accountancy and the city law firms in London distort the figures somewhat and make headline news, detracting away from the reality for the majority of fee earners in both professions.
Our own consultants were astonished to hear this assertion because we work with solicitors in all parts of the profession, including the high street and at sole practitioner level, and we know that salary levels for 90% of solicitors are lower than £45k.
Similarly we also work with accountancy practices and undertake the recruitment of senior accountants. We know that exactly the same issue arises. At least 75% of accountants working in public practice do not earn more than £45,000 per year.
It is unfortunate that this perception exists because it does mean increasing numbers of people applying to enter the legal profession and the accountancy profession without actually knowing the true facts as to how hard it is to make a living out of accountancy or law, and that the vast majority of lawyers and accountants do not earn large amounts of money.
The next time somebody stands up on a mainstream political show and states that lawyers and accountants earn huge amounts of money, maybe, just maybe, somebody on the show can be well enough informed to correct the obvious fake news immediately, before they spread the myth even further. Its good news for the various universities offering LLB, ACCA and LPC courses, but I am not sure about the professions in general.


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Is it possible to work as a Paralegal when you are a Qualified Solicitor

 
This question comes up all the time and is quite a common query that we imagine the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are getting better at answering due to the sheer number of people asking the question. Many years ago the advice seemed a bit varied at times, but we have recently had a candidate who wanted to work in a locum role in the short term and waiting to go back on the Roll and get a practising certificate after some time spent outside the profession. She has been given fairly concise advice on whether she could work as a paralegal whilst waiting to be readmitted which we are repeating here.
This article is written as a discussion point and is not intended to be advice in any shape or form. For full advice on your particular set of circumstances please speak to the SRA (or whoever else you like, but please do not depend on the information in this article!). The SRA have a simple online test to determine if you need a practising certificate and this is available here: https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/guidance/ethics-guidance/when-do-i-need-a-practising-certificate-/
The simple test appears to be that if your name is not on the roll of solicitors in England and Wales, either as a practising or non-practising solicitor, then the SRA have no problem with you taking work as a paralegal or non-qualified lawyer, provided you do not hold yourself out as a solicitor. Conversely, if your name is on the roll of solicitors, even if you are classed as a non-practising solicitor, then you cannot work as a paralegal and would have to apply for a practising certificate and have this in place.
We make no comment at all on whether this is a good idea, a bad idea or something that should be prohibited, but we see a number of locum conveyancers, private client lawyers and corporate commercial lawyers working this way for a host of differing reasons. We also repeat that you should speak to the SRA if you have any questions about this issue and not depend on this article..



Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Legal Recruitment News February 2020

February 2020 Legal Recruitment News is available here to read:

http://www.legal-recruitment.co.uk/february-2020-legal-recruitment-news/


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Poor Customer Service and How to Improve It


We use a number of job boards to post our vacancies on. One of these job boards is Reed.co.uk. We have been customers of Reed for over 10 years and have always found their job board to be very cost effective and worthwhile, although they really want to sack their PR agency - the TV ads are terrible!

They started out as a recruitment agency themselves before setting up a job board and offering other recruitment agents free credits to post on it. Before long they had turned into a major player in the job board market.

After Christmas 2018 we saw a spate of job advertisements coming our way from our clients right across the UK and with all shapes and sizes of job vacancies. We were very pleased to see this because our concern was that after Christmas and the arguments about Brexit just before, we would see a dramatic slowdown in work, but this did not happen in the first few weeks of January as we saw an increase in the number of applicants coming our way via our own sites.

Email Issue - nothing to do with us

We saw nothing of the sort in relation to Reed. Reed sent us precisely no CVs at all after Christmas, and this surprised us greatly because of the number of applications we were getting elsewhere. At first we thought it was an anomaly, but after a few days of not receiving any CVs we thought we had better check with our software company to make sure that there were no errors at their end. Our software company, Logic Melon, confirmed that everything was running to plan at their end, and so I contacted Reed.

The telephone call, which no doubt has been recorded for training and monitoring purposes, consisted of me asking the Reed sales operative what the problem was, and whether any issues had been reported through the lack of CVs being sent to us. I should add that by now we were aware of a number of CVs from candidates who had applied but where Reed had not actually sent us a copy of the CV.

The Reed sales operative informed us that they had been having problems because of one of their suppliers, namely their email service provider who had experienced difficulties, and were working to resolve it. The sales operative assured me that the service would be up and running as soon as possible and was about to come off the phone at that point.

I asked him why a company of the size of Reed had not got in touch with its customers to notify them of the problems with the service, and to warn them to check their accounts to make sure they were getting CVs through, particularly because the whole purpose of having a Reed account is to attract applicants to your vacancies. If no applicants are coming via the job board there is no point advertising on it. The Reed operative informed me that it wasn’t Reed’s fault and it was actually their supplier. I have to confess I did get a little bit hot under the collar at this point and pointed out that if I contacted my clients when anything went wrong and blamed everybody else other than myself I wouldn’t have any clients very long at all. It was about 5 minutes into the conversation before the man from Reed actually said that Reed were sorry for the inconvenience caused. I still had to ask after this for Reed to send me an update once the service was resolved so that we could stop needing to check continually to see if any CVs had been added to the system.

This is a classic example of a failed sales opportunity. Reed knew they had a problem, they knew what the problem was and they knew that a number of their clients had been affected. They chose to tell nobody about the problem and to instead leave their customers to work out themselves that there had been an issue. Even once the customer had worked out themselves that there had been an issue, they then had to go through a process of ringing Reed to find out that Reed knew already that there was a problem, and even then Reed did not offer any form of apology and instead blamed the supplier.

So how could Reed have dealt with this matter more effectively? 

The first thing they should have done was to contact all their customers to tell them that there was an issue on the system and to keep an eye out for any CVs not arriving safely from candidates applying for jobs. They could then perhaps have extended everyone’s contracts for a month or given them extra CV credits by way of an apology, as I don’t think we would have thought much of the incident other than to be impressed that Reed had informed us that there was an issue. By completely failing to inform us of the issue, and instead tried to blame someone else and not apologising at all at any point without being prompted, was just really poor customer service, and for a company the size of Reed one would expect considerably better.

This is fairly common in dot com companies where no-one ever wants to apologise for anything or even speak to the customer because they don’t really care and they’re so big they can get away with ignoring you. I am not sure whether this applies to Reed, but I have to say I was mightily disappointed at the attitude shown to me on the phone. The salesman who spoke to me was not rude in any way, but he had clearly been briefed by somebody not to apologise or to take any action to support the customer who may or may not be experiencing an issue with the service.

This article is written by Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment who regularly blogs on issues affecting the recruitment industry and also the legal profession. He is available for press and media comments at cv@ten-percent.co.uk.