Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, July 20, 2007

Legal Recruitment Market Report - July 2007

July 2007 - the changing face of high street 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 www.ten-percent.co.uk, our main site, www.jonathanfagan.co.uk (property, wills, probate, litigation), www.conveyancing-jobs.co.uk, www.crime-solicitor.co.uk (crime - duty solicitors, police station accredited reps and NQ), www.eastmidlandslegal.co.uk, www.yorkshire-legal-recruitment.co.uk, www.hampshirelegal.co.uk, www.homecountieslegal.co.uk and 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 also offer a locum service for assignments of more than 1 month at www.ten-percent.co.uk/locum.htm  

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

Registration of New Posts
We have found that new vacancies have gone up again, as firms suddenly find a little more time to think about recruitment and consider strategic plans for expansion or merger etc.. over the next few months.

General Outlook for Permanent and Temporary Recruitment
For permanent placements the fields of law are shifting, with an effect being noticed from the delay in implementing the HIPs, the Land Registry threatening to take conveyancing over virtually with an online service, and crime disappearing as a viable option for practitioners to remain in. 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. 

In the temporary fields - TP Locums - www.ten-percent.co.uk/locum.htm - is finding increased numbers of assignments out there as firms struggle to attract new blood into firms, and are finding it easier to take locums for contract work and then ditch them when any source of work dries up.

It remains the same as always at NQ level - just not getting the vacancies into us in the same quantity - there are firms out there interviewing at present, and there seem to be increases across the board in the amount of work available. More and more of our recruitment is now focused more on experience rather than qualification.
Commercial litigation remains a barren wasteland, and we have had one NQ post for commercial litigation in since 2004 (and out again pretty fast!). Commercial property seems to be expanding at all levels, and a large number of posts have come in for the field. Property litigation as well seems to be the 'in' thing, and I expect this to increase in time, as more and more issues arise for the new generation of landlords out there.

Age Discrimination and Newly Qualified Solicitors 
Things have not changed very much at all - I rue the days spent reading all the legislation and attending courses - what a waste of time! Our agency has never discriminated on any front, and I have been happy to put forward 70 year old lawyers for NQ jobs if they wish me to. Firms can do as they please really - if they want to ignore an application they will do, but just dress it up as something else.

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 - but salary levels have not increased very much. The Home Information Packs are a great unknown and sound a complete waste of time, let alone a scam to create yet another service industry that isnt really needed, and some firms are a bit wary about what the effect will be of these.. Click here for advice for NQ solicitors There remains a shortage of conveyancers in and around Leeds at present..

Crime Work
I have been writing essays on crime recruitment, but in short, we have now withdrawn all advertising for crime solicitors, and have started to avoid the work wherever possible to a certain extent. I am still getting people registering at high speed, but a few weeks ago we sent all the firms with registered vacancies with us (over 300) an email to ask if recruiting, and 3 got back to say yes! Most indicated that they were making redundancies or cutting salaries to survive, and I just view the whole thing with despair. What most people forget is that behind the rhetoric of loaded crime solicitors remains an army of completely committed workers getting paid less than milkmen to do some of the most undesirable jobs in the country for no thanks whatsoever, but at the same time performing one of the most vital civil liberty functions in the legal profession.

One glimmer of light remains the sudden emphasis on higher rights in job applications, as firms are currently starting to see that getting into the higher courts is one way they can increase their turnover, and I suspect barristers are definitely starting to look over their shoulders...

www.crime-solicitor.co.uk, www.ten-percent.co.uk - both useful resources for further recruitment information.

High Street Fields
This year the key fields of law on the high street side so far remain 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. Personal injury has picked up a little bit in recent weeks, with posts being registered in different areas. 
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. Birmingham not good either. These areas appear to be completely saturated with candidates and agencies. Leeds has picked up as the mad overflow of agencies has ceased to have the same effect. 

Conveyancing
Conveyancing jobs are increasing dramatically as the property market carries on. 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 - www.crime-solicitor.co.uk 

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, with increasing numbers in the North West. East Anglia and the Home Counties are doing well at present, together with the South Coast, and the East Midlands is resurgent. London posts remain few and far between. Try visiting www.jonathanfagan.co.uk 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 
Not that mad anymore - Carter catching up I think... - although outside of 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 reasonably confident of securing a good number of legal job interviews for you - the south west is a particular hotspot - Plymouth firms in particular. 

Company Commercial and other Commercial fields - www.chancerylane.co.uk 
Chancery Lane is our corporate & commercial recruitment specialist arm and you can get details at www.chancerylane.co.uk. The site specialises in the range of commercial fields usually associated with London City and regional practices - corporate commercial, mergers & acquisitions, shipping, 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 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 (www.tp-secretaries.co.uk) most of our posts are for solicitors and ILEX candidates.  

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

Contact for Work

Contact Ten-Percent and register for our jobfinder service . You can contact Jonathan Fagan directly on 0845 644 3923 or at jbfagan@tenpercent.co.uk if you would like to discuss career opportunities. You can also read his blog, Legal Recruitment. 
We can provide you with regular updates of vacancies and firms across our entire family of websites. www.jonathanfagan.co.uk for 1-5 year PQEs in conveyancing, litigation or private client legal recruitment, commercial work at www.chancerylane.co.uk or try our other regional sites www.yorkshire-legal-recruitment.co.uk or www.homecountieslegal.co.uk, www.eastmidlandslegal.co.uk
You can also view our selection site at www.lawyer-recruitment.co.uk  

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