Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The December 2006 UK Legal Recruitment Market Report

Report dated November 29th 2006, covering the present condition of the legal recruitment job market in the UK.

next report due - January 31st 2006

Prepared by Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of ten-percent.co.uk limited; specialist legal recruitment consultants for solicitors and legal executives seeking legal jobs and law firms seeking staff in the UK.

This report is based on our recruitment activities in the legal job market for the past month, and is updated on a regular basis. It is divided into commercial and high street areas. .

November - end of recruitment season. Xmas Shopping and the New Year await!

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment is made up of a number of different websites and you can register to improve your prospects via any of our sites. Our sites simply offer law jobs, and we are totally committed to legal recruitment - we operate http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/, our main site, http://www.jonathanfagan.co.uk/ (property, wills, probate, litigation), http://www.conveyancing-jobs.co.uk/, http://www.crime-solicitor.co.uk/ (crime - duty solicitors, police station accredited reps and NQ), http://www.eastmidlandslegal.co.uk/, http://www.yorkshire-legal-recruitment.co.uk/, http://www.hampshirelegal.co.uk/, http://www.homecountieslegal.co.uk/ and http://www.chancerylane.co.uk/ (UK corporate and commercial solicitor recruitment by email). All our sites are an integral part of our legal recruitment group.

We remain at the forefront of online recruitment, and currently feature fairly prominently on Google, Yahoo and MSN Search in the top 5 at most times. We retain our commitment to donate 10% of our annual net profits to charity.

We have slowed down, after a very busy summer, and although vacancies are continuing to come in on most fronts, the locum posts have slowed, and interviews are minimal. I think firms suddenly find their workload picks up at this time, and recruitment moves towards the back burner in time for Christmas. We are still adding vacancies at a fairly rapid speed.

Registration of New Posts
We are still finding that a larger number of employers than usual are registering legal job posts with us at present, but that this is averaging about 3 per day at the moment, down from 10 at its peak. Locum posts have slowed down now after the summer break and will not pick up again until after Christmas I suspect.

University Careers Advice and CV Workshops
Diversifying slightly from the report, I have been to a University this week to give careers advice to LPC students on how to prepare CVs. What really surprised me was talking to the tutors and finding out that the course was full up. Students now pay tuition fees of about twice as much as I paid c10 years ago, and I thought this would put some off (or at least scare them into working for a law firm before committing to a career in law). However their attitude was exactly the same as mine and others was so many years ago - almost waiting for contracts to land on them without needing to write any letters etc.. The CVs were not great on the whole, and it was nice to be able to go and give the advice I wish I had received when at University! I would have also thought that some would have been put off by the upheavals in recent years, and also the salary levels that NQ solicitors get, which can be less than the secretaries.

General Outlook - Gloomy for LSC funded work - lower salaries and less opportunities

The fields of law have again been shifting, and we are finding more non-Legal Services Commission funded posts are beginning to take precedence on the high street. Increasing numbers of medium sized practices are still ditching the publicly funded work as they find it harder to justify continuing when the returns are so meagre. Carter seems to be scaring family and crime departments at present.

TP Locums (now Interim Lawyers) - is our new locum service for assignments of over 1 month. we have found already that there can be a large number of assignments out there at certain times of the year, particularly in conveyancing.

It remains the same as always at NQ level - just not getting the vacancies into us in the same quantity, which is still unusual as at one point we did a lot of business in introducing recently qualified solicitors. Conveyancing outside London is an exception - some firms specifically asking for assistant solicitors who need to be supervised, which of course means NQ salary levels! More and more of our recruitment is now focused more on experience rather than qualification. Commercial litigation remains a barren wasteland, and we have not had an NQ post for commercial litigation in since 2004. Commercial property seems to be expanding at all levels, and a large number of posts have come in for the field.

Age Discrimination and Newly Qualified Solicitors
Things have not changed very much at all - just have a look in the back of the Law Society Gazette for adverts containing the 2-4 years PQE, and 0-2 years etc.. There was a lot of talk that anyone doing this would be liable for all sorts of things under the new Age Discrimination regulations. It doesnt seem to have scared off that many recruiters yet, with legal jobs just stating the PQE. I noticed that some recruiters have removed the PQE however. Our sites give the PQE as an indication. Clearly if a firm is wanting someone to supervise or manage, an NQ solicitor is not going to be permitted to do this under the Law Society regulations (3 years PQE or more in most circumstances), so there is some justification on that front. Salary levels will indicate exactly who will be suitable for the post on the whole. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment has always aimed to be an equal opportunity agency, and never discriminates on the grounds of anything. I have not come across any law firms who have done so, although QLTT lawyers without relevant UK experience may be an interesting conundrum for firms in the future...

Conveyancing Jobs
Conveyancing - this has now picked up, and we are getting requests for CVs at all levels, although still not the mad mayhem it was a few years ago. The market is still improving for conveyancing - we have recently had a run on Central and Greater London firms, but salary levels on the whole are down on previous years.


Crime Work
Crime work is another area where we are not entirely sure what is going on at present. In years gone by every duty solicitor who registered with us would get plenty of interviews, but in London for example we are hitting a lot of brickwalls at present. Duty solicitors elsewhere are OK. There are some of the larger firms recruiting at present in large numbers in the hope of picking up lucrative contracts if the Carter report does kick into play, but others have shut their doors to see what happens.
I have heard from two larger practices that they are renegotiating their contracts with duty solicitors to reduce the fees due and to lower salary levels in anticipation of Carter coming into play. A load of duty solicitors are registering with us on this basis as well.
Not sure in part however whether this is due to the oversupply of duty solicitors for general crime work, or whether the firms are all starting to look towards cutting back somewhat on crime work. I expect it to pick up soon as the pattern tends to be in a wave motion and we are coming off the foot of it at present! Police station accredited reps are still in demand in most areas.
Freelancers seem to be getting posts frequently. I suspect that recruitment will be poor in crime for a good time now, as firms realise the harsh realities of Carter, and that crime really is not going to pay very much. As a former crime solicitor I sympathise, particularly with the comments by Carter about solicitors not going out to the police station at night! I don't remember many ex police officers doing my callouts at 2am!
This year the key fields of law on the high street side so far remain family (in some areas), crime (outside London), wills & probate, conveyancing and commercial property. Commercial litigation and personal injury remain extremely difficult to source work for on the NQ front and in fact we still get many litigators contacting us about each litigation post coming up in London.
Litigation posts as a whole appear to be coming back into fashion after a few years of nothing arising. We have picked up a few in the last month or so.
In terms of geographical areas, we remain very strong in Hampshire, the South Coast, Kent, East Anglia, Essex, the South West, East & West Midlands, North Wales, the North West including Manchester, Chester, Liverpool, Yorkshire and Cumbria.
We are finding it harder these days to source work in Bristol and Leeds. Birmingham not good either. These areas appear to be completely saturated with candidates and agencies. In Leeds for example it is next to impossible to source good litigation posts.

Conveyancing
Conveyancing jobs are increasing dramatically as the property market carries on at pace. The Law Society Gazette has had a number of firms across the UK advertising recently, and we have noticed a continued marked increase in responses to our updates to firms for conveyancing lawyers with experience and also at NQ level. We have struggled to find conveyancing locums for example, when opportunities are plentiful on the whole.
Most other areas apart from London remain unaffected for anyone with 1 year PQE upwards, and interviews have been arranged across the UK for conveyancers with 2 years PQE upwards with no alterations to the norm at this time of year.

Crime
Crime firms still remain wary on the recruitment front, and a few have again started to close or merge, which tends to happen whenever any large change is being spoken about at the LSC. We have continued to find NQ-1 year PQE posts in short supply, but we continue to assist duty solicitors across the UK find local posts and relocation positions to and from the North and South, and we have a good knowledge of working conditions at quite a large number of firms across the UK. Our specialist site http://www.crime-solicitor.co.uk/ caters for police station reps and solicitors. Accredited police station qualifications work a treat - there are very few firms out there now who will look at non-accredited crime solicitors unless the salary levels compensate for this (ie 18k or thereabouts). Carter and his review are going to have an effect in months to come I think.

Wills & Probate
Wills & Probate has been an interesting field. Large number of firms looking as they have seen the potential in dealing with IHT work and trusts, which is inevitable following recent house price boom. Quite a lot of vacancies have also come into us from other areas in this field, although the North West remains fairly poor in terms of work quality and salaries paid to solicitors to do this work. East Anglia and the Home Counties are doing well at present, together with the South Coast, and the East Midlands is resurgent on this front. London posts remain few and far between. Try visiting http://www.jonathanfagan.co.k/ if interested in receiving further details for private client posts.

Commercial Property
There remain posts in almost every town for commercial property solicitors from NQ upwards. Firms have almost taken the collective decision that this is going to be the next boom area, and it is time to increase the size of their departments. Commercial property solicitors are in demand for recruitment in every area, and it seems even smaller practices are trying to get in on the action. After the last mini property blip a few years ago, a similar occurrence happened in the legal job market - the commercial property sector boomed. Commercial property solicitors outside of London can contact us (NQ still awkward in some areas) and we would be confident of securing a number of interviews in most areas of the UK, with plenty of the medium to large regional practices looking to take on staff.

Family Law
Mad as always outside London - anything above 3 years PQE and if possible panel applications in already is going to result in interviews. East side of London currently poor. This remains a poor area to be looking at NQ level though - if you are a panel member outside the North East (which historically has been very poor for family law recruitment), we would be confident of securing a good number of legal job interviews for you - the south west is a particular hotspot - Plymouth firms in particular. In June we have had over 40 newly qualified family solicitors register for the London area alone, which leads us to believe that a) salary levels are going down, b) LSC work is being ditched, c) departments are closing and redundancies being made. All of the above makes it a bad time to be hunting for a family post at NQ level on the whole! This has stayed the same in October. LSC work is vanishing at a rate of knots!

Company Commercial and other Commercial fields
March 2006 saw the rebranding of our Chancery Lane Legal Recruitment website - the site specialises in recruitment for corporate and commercial solicitors looking for a service without the bombardment by telephone of calls usually associated with recruiters asking how the weather is or how you are doing. The site simply offers introductions, and you can get details at http://www.chancerylane.co.uk/. The site specialises in the range of commercial fields usually associate with regional practices - corporate commercial, mergers & acquisitions, shipping (OK not usually that regional!), competition, tax, banking, corporate finance, IT and IP, commercial property and construction. We hope to be expanding rapidly, and as this happens we will increase the amount of information we include in this section.

Most areas have vacancies which have gone unfilled for a long time for senior and mid level company commercial solicitors not expecting London City firm salaries. Company commercial in the home counties quite popular as usual (3 years PQE upwards). Register with http://www.homecountieslegal.co.uk/ to stay up to date.

The Ten-Percent site attracts solicitors and legal executives from across the UK, who register both with us and our specialist sites for our legal recruitment services. Although we deal with most legal jobs, including a subsidiary site for permanent legal secretaries (http://www.tp-secretaries.co.uk/) most of our posts are for solicitors and ILEX candidates.

Our sister sites http://www.crime-solicitor.co.uk/, and http://www.homecountieslegal.co.uk/ are usually fairly busy (the latter dealing with conveyancing and private client recruitment). Particular hotspots are detailed below.

Contact for Work
We can provide you with regular updates of vacancies and firms across our entire family of websites. http://www.jonathanfagan.co.uk/ for 1-5 year PQEs in conveyancing, litigation or private client legal recruitment, commercial work at http://www.chancerylane.co.uk/ or try our other regional sites http://www.yorkshire-legal-recruitment.co.uk/ or http://www.homecountieslegal.co.uk/, www.eastmidlandslegal.co.uk

You can also view our selection site at www.lawyer-recruitment.co.uk


Recent Vacancies
3054 Residential conveyancing solicitor, executives and paralegals sought by Cheltenham firm of larger size. The same firm have a vacancy for a commercial litigation solicitor and a commercial property solicitor. All levels considered. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, South West Conveyancing, Commercial Litigation, Commercial Property
3053 Conveyancing solicitor sought at supervisory level by Nottingham suburb firm. Nottingham, East Midlands Conveyancing
3052 Duty solicitor sought by central London firm in the West End. Medium sized practice. Central London Crime
3051 Private client solicitor sought on part time basis by Rickmansworth firm. Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, South East Wills & Probate
3050 Residential conveyancing solicitor sought by central Bristol firm of small-medium size. Bristol, South West Conveyancing
3049 Conveyancing solicitor or legal executive sought by Scunthorpe firm to deal with residential leasehold, freehold sale and purchases, staircasing and shared ownership. Will be dealing with a case management system and managing a small department. Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, East Midlands Conveyancing
3048 Hornchurch firm seek a full time family solicitor with experience. Hornchurch, Essex, South East Family
3047 Commercial property solicitor sought by Bristol firm to join a team dealing with a mix of business property work, mainly leasehold. May also be doing some high value residential property and complex matters. Bristol, South West Commercial property
3046 Eastbourne firm of larger size seeking a residential conveyancing solicitor capable of generating a good amount of income, a commercial property solicitor to assist a team, and an employment solicitor to take up and develop their employment department. Eastbourne, Sussex, South Coast Conveyancing, Commercial Property, Employment
3045 Caseworkers and crime solicitors sought by East London - not duty but police station accreditation required. East London Crime
3044 Private client solicitor sought by larger sized Sheffield practice, looking for someone to deal with mainly wills & probate but with some trusts and tax work. Sheffield, South Yorkshire Wills & Probate
3043 Conveyancing solicitor to head up a residential department in Royston, Hertfordshire. Smaller sized practice. Royston, Hertfordshire, South East Conveyancing
3042 Criminal solicitor sought by Kings Lynn practice of medium size. Kings Lynn, Norfolk, East Anglia Crime
3041 Commercial firm with international offices seek solicitors with following in these fields or corporate finance to join their central London offices. Central London Shipping, Tax
3040 Solicitor sought for primarily family law work with some conveyancing and wills & probate if possible. Rochester, Kent, South East Family, Conveyancing, Wills & probate
3039 Private client executive or solicitor sought, together with an accredited immigration caseworker and a conveyancing executive for Rotherham firm. Rotherham, South Yorkshire Conveyancing, Immigration, Wills & Probate
3038 Conveyancing solicitor or executive sought to supervise property department in Aberystwyth specialising in off plan and remortgage work. Aberystwyth, Dyfed, West Wales Conveyancing
3037 high value estate work for solicitor with extensive tax and trusts experience sought by Oxford firm. Oxford, Oxfordshire, South East Wills & Probate
3036 Crime solicitor sought by Tonbridge firm with good reputation in a range of work. Tonbridge, Kent, South East Crime
3035 Conveyancing executive sought by central Bradford firm. Bradford, West Yorkshire Conveyancing
3034 Conveyancing executive or solicitor sought to supervise a conveyancing department in Flintshire (not far from Chester). Flintshire, North Wales Conveyancing
3033 West End firm seek a residential conveyancing solicitor to join with supervisor status. Central London Conveyancing
3032 Duty solicitor sought by Liverpool practice of smaller size. Liverpool, Merseyside, North West Crime
3031 Conveyancing executive sought by Sheffield firm Sheffield, South Yorkshire Conveyancing
3030 Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment seeks lawyers or recruitment consultants in overseas jurisdictions, particularly commonwealth, to join and develop our services. We are a recruitment company with a difference. Particularly interested in Ireland and Scotland. Get in touch with us to discuss. Suitable for a recruitment consultant, law graduate or lawyer looking for a change. Ireland, Scotland, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, New Zealand Crime, Conveyancing, Wills & Probate, Family, Litigation, Company, Commercial
3029 Larger sized east London practice seek two conveyancing solicitors above supervisory status level to join and build their department further. The practice is commercially orientated. East London Conveyancing
3028 East London practice seek solicitors in crime, conveyancing and immigration to join - salary levels will be from 20k. East London Crime, Conveyancing, Immigration
3027 two residential conveyancing lawyers sought by Bournemouth firm for branch office posts. One needs to be at supervisory status, the other can be ILEX upwards. Bournemouth, Dorset, South Coast Conveyancing
3026 South Manchester firm seek a lawyer to join and deal with a non-contentious caseload - mix or either wills probate and conveyancing. South Manchester, North West Wills & Probate, Conveyancing
3025 Residential conveyancing lawyer sought by larger sized firm with offices across South Yorkshire to join their Sheffield or Rotherham office. Sheffield, Rotherham, South Yorkshire Conveyancing
3024 Agency in Manchester looking for freelance solicitors to deal with Magistrates Court work and police stations. Good rates of pay. Manchester, North West Crime, Police Station
3023 Turks & Caicos Islands firm seek a senior lawyer to join their team and deal with conveyancing and company commercial matters. High value work, good pay. Turks & Caicos Islands Conveyancing, Company Commercial
3022 Conveyancing executive sought to manage branch office of licensed conveyancers. Godalming, Surrey, South East Conveyancing
3021 Conveyancing fee earner sought at executive level or below to join a department. Full time post with access to bonus schemes available. Godalming, Surrey, South East Conveyancing
3020 Family solicitor or FILEX required to run a Kidderminster department, dealing with privately funded work. Small department, and will be required to manage it. Kidderminster, Worcestershire, West Midlands Family
3019 Private client solicitor or executive sought by rural Hampshire practice to develop the department. Can do some residential conveyancing as well to make it full time, or work part time. Eastleigh, Hampshire, South Coast Wills & Probate
3018 Leading Eastbourne firm seek a duty solicitor to join them. Well known practice. Eastbourne, Sussex, South Coast Crime
3017 Wills & Probate solicitor sought by probate management company to work in house. Will give training to someone keen to go into this field. Will also consider an executive. Birmingham, West Midlands Wills & Probate
3016 Conveyancing solicitor or executive sought (to work without supervision), and a second conveyancer sought as an assistant under supervision. Firm based in Stoke on Trent - and branch office of large North East practice. Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, West Midlands Conveyancing
3015 Conveyancing solicitor sought to supervise and lead a department in Harlow - looking for someone to develop and manage a small department. Conveyancing paralegal also sought for the same office. Harlow, Essex, South East Conveyancing
3014 Duty solicitor sought by well known North London practice (Enfield) who usually offer good salaries. North London, Enfield, Middlesex Crime
3013 Conveyancing solicitor with Law Society supervisory status required by larger sized East London practice. East London Conveyancing
3012 Commercial propery solicitor sought by Farnham firm. Will consider all levels. Farnham, Surrey, South East Commercial Property
3011 Commercial property and company commercial solicitor sought by Reading practice of medium size. Will be dealing with a wide range of work. Full details available. Reading, Berkshire, South East Commercial Property, Company Commercial


If any of the above posts look to be of interest, please email us as jobs@tenpercent.co.uk with the reference number(s).
We look forward to being able to assist you. If you would like to know about salary levels, get in touch.
Jonathan Fagan, MREC Cert RP LLM Managing Director & Solicitor (non-practising), Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited
Disclaimer
This information is provided strictly on an informing basis. ten-percent.co.uk limited does not supply this for viewers to rely on in any way, and the company accepts no liability for anyone doing so. The above is copyright, and should not be reproduced without ten-percent.co.uk limited's express permission.