Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Graduate Jobs in Law

24.04.07 Paralegal and graduate jobs in law - where are they and how do I find them?
It is the time of year again when 1000's of law students start intensive revision for their examinations, and at the same time sit back and wonder where they are going to look for a job once qualified. It is also the time of year again when we get inundated with telephone calls from them asking "have you got any training contracts" or "where shall I look for a paralegal post", or just "um er have you got any jobs?"

There are now even more people looking for legal work, and even less jobs, partly as a result of the demise of criminal law and the opportunities there being tightly monitored by firms at present, and also because law is becoming more accessible at universities, and there appear to be more and more people from previous years still on the lookout.

First thing to do is to brush up your CV (quick ad here for our CV Services), secondly to sit back and realise that the CV is probably more important than most other pieces of paper you own, and thirdly to write a plan of action - what do you want to do - are you aiming for summer work first, a training contract second, or have you got plenty of experience already and just seeking a training contract? Which fields of law interest you, and do you know what salaries different areas of law attract? Finally dont bother calling agencies to start with (particularly us) as usually unable to assist unless you have specific prior experience in an area of law.

If you get really stuck you could try our legal careers coaching service (http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/career.htm) - we have slots available in Oxford in May if you are interested.
Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Are the streets of London paved with gold? Regional Variations in Salary Levels

Regional Variations in Legal Recruitment

We often get enquiries from solicitors wanting to relocate, and when this happens, invariably when going from the south to the north the salary range is impossibly high to source posts, and when going from the north to the south the salary range asked for is impossibly high to source posts! Why?

There is an element of Dick Whittington when people move south - the streets of Croydon or Guildford are paved with gold aren't they? After all, the average house costs a million, and therefore someone has to be earning good money.

When people move north they think about flat caps, ferrets, terraced houses for £18,000 and serious deprivation. Got to be serious money to be made there - someone has to be dealing with the companies and the people working in all that industry?

We have advised firms on numerous occasions to give relocation packages when offering candidates coming a long way to find a new post. It is a good tax efficient way of getting someone an additional fee to start work, and also to ease the wage bill over time. Candidates like it, and it doesnt cost the earth to add £1-2k onto any offer for this.

It is also important to emphasise the billing within a firm, so that a candidate is aware that although there is potential to make good money, salary levels in the area are a direct result of the average fee earner generating X in income. A Sheffield firm will pay less than a Reading firm on the whole, basically due to variations in the cost of living etc.., but it will not be substantially less in any field other than corporate..

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Crime Solicitors - the end of an era? Apocalyptic warnings from 2007

Crime Solicitor Recruitment - end of an era?

We are slowly starting to see the writing on the wall for the criminal solicitor firms and jobs that we have been dealing with for many years. One of our important strands of work when we first set up was crime, as a result of our specialist knowledge of the market, and our ability to speak the same language.

However, what has happened in the last few months is quite astonishing from a recruiter's perspective. We have had duty solicitors call us in tears after firms have called them into advise that there is no future at the firm, others call up to say that their firms are not sure of their future, and wondering where their next mortgage payment is going to come from, duty solicitors informed that their salaries and package levels are going to be reduced as soon as the new measures come in or with immediate effect, firms making widespread redundancies of anyone earning over a certain level, and generally a state of despondency has arisen.

I have spoken to solicitors who have clearly been under the influence when calling and sounding slightly suicidal, and I have also spoken to a load of people calling our free careers advice lines wanting to enter the profession to practice in crime, and my advice has had to be that they cannot have chosen a worse time to do this.

Others have called to see if there is any way out of crime and into other fields, and of course everyone else is looking at the same options - the CPS, the various government agencies undertaking prosecution work, local authorities etc..

It is amazing how fast this has come about - from one month of fairly buoyant crime recruitment, some firms expanding and others taking on more staff into nothing more than a quagmire of chaos in some areas.

Of course all of the above is anecdotal, but with more and more crime solicitors registering every day, including some who detail the redundancies that are taking place at their firms at present, it is clearly not a very healthy time to be in this strand of the profession!

One glimmer of light has been 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 need to start looking over their shoulders...

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

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Telephone Sales calls in the off peak season

Sales calls in the off peak season

I can usually tell when recruitment is going through a quiet period - we get sales calls from all and sundry. I have been in the trade for 7 years now, and prior to this practised as a solicitor, and you can almost guarantee that whenever the office goes quiet, someone phones up to sell something. In all that time I have never purchased any of their services, and even ones that sound interesting have never sent through their details in writing when requested. On one occasion in practice when I was a solicitor I pretended to have a heart attack halfway through the conversation and then hung up. The salesman was so cross he called the senior partner and complained that I had shown a lack of professionalism on the telephone!

I usually allow sales calls about 10 seconds of my time, and then hang up. If you take the calls you are wasting billable hours, and each call takes you away from whatever you were concentrating on, and as a result this affects your work. I am not sure what the statistics are for cold calling, but they can't be that impressive. The major annoyance for me is the amount of times they use your name per sentence - nice technique for remembering your name, but extremely annoying to listen to.

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Travel Expenses for Interviews

How to get travel expenses paid for job interviews

Firstly, be aware that a lot of employers want to do the decent thing when it comes to interviews, and are open to requests. They are highly unlikely to offer to pay travel expenses unless you ask! This boils down to the same issue arising throughout my legal job advice notes below - you have to prepared to be proactive in interviews, and not expect everything to be handed to you on a platter. Usually as recruitment consultants we recommend asking at the end of the interview whether the firm have a policy on travel expenses for interviewees, and see what the response is. You will get an idea as to how the partners will be to work with as well as possibly getting your expenses reimbursed. If the interviewers get shirty with you and ask why you want your travel costs paying, it is clearly a firm you may not want to be spending your hours working at! If they reasonably explain that the firm has no policy but that they do not normally pay expenses, again it is a reflection as to how they will be to deal with on a daily basis, and the same applies if they agree to pay the expenses. The standard practice re interview costs is for the candidate to bear them, and it is increasingly rare for a firm to pay them. However if you dont ask, you dont get!

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Technical Questions in Interviews

Asking technical questions in a legal job interview

As recruitment consultants, we are not sure that this is good practice. Firstly, at an interview a candidate is nervous and slightly wary, secondly partners of law firms are notorious for asking questions that no-one on the interview panel knows or understands, and thirdly the questions tend to be so long that the interviewee has forgotten what the start of the question was before you get to the end! We think the better option is to have a file of work ready, hand it to the interviewee, and ask them what they would do in a particular scenario. You can then keep adding extra tasks or problems as you go on. You can also ask the interviewee to explain particular matters arising from the file, and assess their abilities to interact with clients, handle files, deal with their caseload, and how they deal with a stressful situation.

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at

Legal Vacancy Update April 2007

New legal jobs into us over the last week as follows:

3217 Charities solicitor sought by Sheffield practice. Full job description available. Sheffield, South Yorkshire Charity
3216 Bath firm seek a private client lawyer to join their practice. Bath, Somerset, South West Wills & Probate
3215 Senior conveyancing solicitor sought by central London firm. Central London Conveyancing
3214 Residential and commercial conveyancing solicitor sought by commercial practice in central London. Looking for someone to bring a bit of work ideally at senior level, and continue with their commercial property and residential conveyancing work. Niche area of care homes currently dealt with as part of the caseload. Central London Conveyancing, Commercial Property
3213 2 conveyancing roles - first one in Kingston, Surrey - looking for someone to join a department, and the second in Barnet, Herts to join a small team and give supervision in a caseload including new build and residential work. Kingston, Surrey, Barnet, Hertfordshire, South East Conveyancing
3212 Senior conveyancing solicitor sought by central London firm Central London Conveyancing
3211 Private client solicitor or executive sought for 2-3 day per week post in Central London. Central London Wills & Probate
3210 Hartlepool firm seek a conveyancing and commercial property solicitor to head their department. Small department consisting of 3 fee earners. Hartlepool, Teesside, North East Conveyancing, Commercial Property
3209 Private client solicitor or executive sought by a Deal firm. Deal, Kent, South East Wills & Probate
3208 Conveyancing solicitor sought to join company assisting home inspectors and preparing home information packs Tolworth, Surrey, South London, South East Conveyancing
3207 Large central Leeds firm seek a conveyancing solicitor of 3 years PQE upwards, a conveyancer with experience and case management software knowledge, and a probate lawyer for a central Harrogate office. Also interested in talking to anyone who wants to merge or amalgamate to central Leeds. Leeds, Harrogate, West Yorkshire Conveyancing, Wills & Probate
3206 Commercial property solicitor sought by Whitstable office of firm in Kent. Mixed bag of development and general commercial work. Whitstable, Kent, South East Commercial Property
3205 Manchester firm (Didsbury) seek a conveyancing solicitor. Manchester, North West Conveyancing
3204 Central Chester firm (in the rows) seek a property solicitor to deal with both residential and commercial conveyancing work. Chester, Cheshire, North West Conveyancing, Commercial Property
3203 Crime post in Huntingdon with busy department and a firm that covers other fields of law as well. All levels. Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, East Anglia Crime
3202 Prison law specialist sought by Legal 500 firm based in Tonbridge. Will consider all levels and qualifications. Police station accredited candidates are particularly welcome. Tonbridge, Kent, South East Prison Law, Crime
3201 Personal injury solicitor or executive sought to join team of 10 in Kings Lynn practice of larger size. Will also look at someone with civil litigation experience as well or leaning that way with some PI. Kings Lynn, Norfolk, East Anglia Personal Injury
3200 Private client solicitor sought by Bournemouth practice to deal with admin of estates, tax issues, trusts, wills, powers of attorney and court of protection work. Bournemouth, Dorset, South Coast Wills & Probate
3199 Residential conveyancing post, but commercial experience welcomed by small firm in West London (Shepherds Bush) to assist senior partner with caseload. The firm has a 50/50 split in residential and commercial work. West London Conveyancing
3198 A small but expanding practice in Rickmansworth seek solicitors at all levels post qualification to join and expand departments in areas indicated. Firm with commercial outlook and partners from the city. Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, South East, North London Company Commercial, Conveyancing, Commercial Property, Employment, Civil Litigation
3197 Conveyancing solicitor or FILEX sought by expanding firm in Hedge End, Southampton for solely residential work. Hedge End, Southampton, Hampshire, South Coast Conveyancing
3196 Trade union firm in Cheadle Hulme seek an employment solicitor to join them - will be dealing with tribunal work from trade union client. Package includes option for company car. Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, North West Employment
3195 Residential conveyancing lawyer and a commercial property lawyer sought by firm in nice town very close to Ipswich. Will consider someone with both or separate lawyers. Ipswich, Suffolk, East Anglia Conveyancing, Commercial Property
3194 Crime solicitor sought at duty level to join a Southend specialist practice with both prosecution and defence work. Up to 45k on offer. Southend, Essex, South East Crime

Any interest, feel free to get in touch! Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at
www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm 

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Redundancies at Law Firms

04.04.07 Help, I've been made redundant - what do I do?

In the current LSC climate, this is starting to happen quite regularly in London particularly, amongst groups of solicitors not used to redundancies! Duty solicitors are being hit quite badly, as firms seek to offload them and reduce their costs. Suddenly people are being handed P45's and told to find another post, and this is something of a shock, especially when you have a mortgage to pay..

The first thing to do is not panic and jump at the first job that comes along. In crime, this is easier said than done, as duty solicitors are not finding any jobs, let alone the first one that comes along! You need to take stock of the situation, and sit back and have a think about where you want to be in a few years time - with another firm, retired, another field of law, a different occupation? Have you been looking to have a break in recent years and never got round to it? Wanting to travel?

See the occasion as an opportunity rather than a calamity, and don't read too much into the term "redundancy". It happens all the time in some areas of law - conveyancing and personal injury have had their moments..

Finally, register with a good legal recruitment agency (like www.ten-percent.co.uk of course!) and we will be delighted to discuss your options with you.

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Interview Answer 10

Legal Interview Question 10 - What is your alternative career, should law not be the avenue for you?

This is a loaded question really - on the one hand you can say - well, I don't expect to be anything but a solicitor, and I always get to be what I set out to be, and on the other hand you may feel this smacks of arrogance, and say that you would like to be an accountant, as you are pretty good with numbers. Hard to give a definite response to the question - you could try the humour route, and say you would like to play for Aston Villa or be a rock star, but interviews with lawyers tend to be pretty humourless experiences, and some partners have a very peculiar sense of humour! My best advice is to aim for something fairly vague - to try and avoid giving too much indication that you have thought much about it (ie you think you may fail to get work as a solicitor) and go for either something business related (eg set up a small business) or lighthearted - eg a legal secretary!

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online UK legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at