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

What do Company Commercial Solicitors do?

30.07.07 What does a Company Commercial 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 company commercial solicitor is usually well paid, deals with a lot of administrative work, and spends an inordinate amount of time being nice to directors of companies from back bedroom start ups through to blue chip multinationals. In essence, company commercial work is all to do with compliance with various regulations, and ensuring that the operation of a company is within the legal framework of legislation. Quite a lot of time is spent reading contracts, agreements, shareholder paperwork, and chairing meetings. This is one area of the law where your LPC can actually have some relevance!

One of the perks of the post is that often you can spend quite a lot of time being nice to clients, and this can involve corporate hospitality with boxes at football matches, race days, bonding sessions whilst playing golf etc..!

Pay is usually good, and a company commercial solicitor at 2 years PQE can be earning anything from about £35k in the regions up to about £90k or more in the city. The regional firms tend to have a very broad spectrum of work for their comp coms, whereas in the city the specialism is broken down into about 20 different smaller areas of work, which can include corporate finance, taxation, mergers & acquisitions, PFI, and contract work. Working in a smaller practice will usually require a much broader range of knowledge, although you always have counsel's opinions to fall back on if you get stuck..

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

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  

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What do Family Lawyers do?

Family Solicitors - what do they do?

Family law tends to be concentrated at the high street end of the legal profession, with the majority of family lawyers dealing with matters for both private or legal services commission funded (legal aid) clients, where there is probably one large asset (a house), a couple of children, and warring parents.

Family law is divided up into sectors - there is divorce and ancillary relief (the latter is the financial aspects of divorce - who gets what), children work (contact, residence and restrictions on living arrangements) and injunctions for domestic violence.

If you are thinking of doing family law at the higher end of the scale, the majority of the work is ancillary relief - who gets what from the money put together in the marriage. At the lower end, it is likely to be a mix of children and domestic violence with straightforward divorces with no finances involved.
Family lawyers tend to be a breed unto themselves. There can be a lot of "my client says your client smells, and I think so too", and rather a lot of passion involved in the efforts to obtain the best outcome. It can be very stressful work, with stressed out clients, busy courts, lots of paperwork to keep on top of, and billing can take over 12 months to bring in for larger cases.

Solicitors can have up to around 50 cases ongoing at any time, depending on the size of the files. If you dont like advocacy by the way, this is not a field to get into - family lawyers have to constantly do this, even if not in court - you are often negotiating with the other side, the courts and various institutions to get the best result for your client...

The Legal Services Commission - The Legal Aid Board - have gradually reduced what work there was at the bottom end of the market, and a lot of firms have pulled out of the work completely, having experienced working for £10 per hour for slightly too long. The majority of work these days is privately funded.
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

Monday, July 09, 2007

Weather and Recruitment

Weather and Legal Recruitment

Legal recruitment is a fickle thing. Some years ago, when the second Gulf War broke out, recruitment of lawyers plummeted. We found all our clients suddenly deciding not to recruit at the same speed they were a few months beforehand, and our consultants twiddling their thumbs. Similarly September 11th 2001 and 7th July 2005 also had a profound effect on us, with people glued to their television screens and the BBC website rather than the Ten-Percent site unsurprisingly!

In the same vein we also find that major football tournaments affect our recruitment, with The World Cup being particularly interesting last year. On the dates of the matches involving England, we discovered that the morning would be frenetic - people wanting CVs, firms wanting interviews, and candidates wanting advice, and in the afternoon we were completely quiet with no interest from anyone!

At present, the bad weather is increasing our workload. Firms are recruiting, candidates are applying, and the market continues its evolvement with waves of work coming and going. Interestingly, when the weather changes again, and the sun comes out for a prolonged period (of more than a day), we will suddenly see our workload plummet, as people have better things to do with themselves than search for new posts.

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/vacancies

What does a conveyancing solicitor do?

09.07.07 What does a Conveyancing Solicitor do? A new series of "What does a lawyer 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.

Conveyancing Solicitors - what do they do?
Conveyancing is usually divided into two areas of work in a high street setting - firstly there is residential conveyancing, and secondly there is commercial conveyancing. The difference is exactly that - one is houses for individuals or investors, the other is offices and premises for business or commercial interests.
On the whole, high street firms tend to deal with residential conveyancing and some light commercial work - eg chip shops, post offices, individual shops etc.. Larger companies deal with large developments of both residential and commercial work - eg an out of town shopping complex, or a new housing development of say 400 homes.
A residential conveyancing solicitor has a mainly desk based job. She will spend the majority of her time dealing with clients wanting to instruct her, writing to other parties to request information, be this the local authority, the Land Registry, the other side's solicitors etc.. Quite a lot of the work is done online now, which makes life a lot easier for computer literate lawyers, and hell for those not quite there yet!
There is very little to deal with out of the ordinary unless dealing with instructions from the landed gentry, farmers, and anyone with a slightly older title, as most of the work is now covered by the records kept at the Land Registry. I have heard it said many times of the years that this is a dying area of law for solicitors, but it just seems to keep going - it is so complex that solicitors are almost always needed in every office, and even the bigger volume conveyancing operations get a major headache dealing with some sales and purchases and have specialist solicitors to deal with problem matters.

Solicitors can have up to 70-80 cases ongoing at any time, and the work can be stressful in a different way - there is usually a lot of pressure on lawyers to keep the fees coming in, and move as fast as possible with clients, and the clients are constantly on the phone asking what is going on with their case. Everyone blames the solicitor for any delays, and usually the solicitor is unable to defend herself!

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