Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What do Crime Solicitors do?

31.07.07 What does a Crime Solicitor do?

We occasionally run series of articles on this site with a different theme, and this one is all about what different types of law actually mean... at this time of year, we get a lot of calls from would be trainee solicitors hunting for holiday work, vacation placements and training contracts, and most probably have very little idea as to the reality of life as a solicitor in a certain field.

A crime solicitor used to have a little bit of credibility about him/her, but in recent times it has almost become an embarrassment to be one. Rates for the work haven't gone up in years, and currently a crime solicitor could earn more working the night shift at Asda stacking shelves than going to a police station on a murder representation.

A field to avoid if at all possible, unless hooked on adrenalin bursts, no sleep for weeks at a time, 18 hour working days for no recompense, or a strange desire to see that justice is done fairly. A typical day of a crime solicitor involves going to the Magistrates Court for 9.15am to apply for bail for anyone held overnight in the cells, seeing them (often somewhat smelly) and taking instructions, followed by a lengthy wait in the court for their case to come on. At the same time dealing with any post in overnight (often CPS letters or results of other enquiries), and seeing other clients due in court the same morning for other cases. Dealing with all of them at once, and in any event by 12pm/1pm. The afternoons at larger firms are often spent running trials, which start at about 2pm, and can last as long as the magistrates want to sit for, which is usually about 4.45pm. After work the on call rota for the police station kicks in, and you can be then going to the police station on call for clients arrested in the mid afternoon time (a popular arresting time for officers), and these callouts can end up going well into the evening and night. the following morning you can be back at court repeating the whole thing all over again. If you cannot get about 6.5 billable hours out of the day, you will be struggling to make any money out of the work. v.depressing, nobody likes crime solicitors - not the police, your client, the court or the general public until they get arrested!

Pay is usually v.poor. Starting salaries are about £22k up to £25k, and the rate for a 3 year PQE with duty solicitor status is currently around £32-35k.
Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us! www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm

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