Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March 2008 Newsletter for Candidates

March 2008 Newsletter
Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Newsletter for Candidates - March 08
from Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

1. Chancery Lane Legal Recruitment
2. The Worst Interview Question 2008 Competition..
3. Recession - what recession?
4. 'Future plans' question/answer
5. Negotiating pay rises in the new tax year following today's Budget
6. Making a name for yourself as a lawyer

Welcome to the March Newsletter from Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment.

1. Chancery Lane Legal Recruitment is a new legal job board with over 1,500 vacancies already live on it. The site will expand rapidly, so be sure to keep an eye on it.. You can also visit our site at to get our updated posts. Our vacancy database is improved since a recent software change, and you can now search very specific areas.

2. Worst Interview Question competition 2008

The winner of the worst interview question was the poor Mrs T from Slough, who endured the following horror:

"Is that your natural hair colour?"

No interview technique can prepare you for that, although I wonder what the firm were getting at - were they suggesting Mrs T had grey hair she was hiding, or perhaps she was wearing a wig? This was a larger size solicitors firm, who probably ought to have known better...! Would you perhaps counter this question with "no - usually its pink - by the way, is your hair naturally that oily or did you just forget to wash it?"

She gets a £10 Amazon gift voucher for her troubles..

The runner up was Mr G.S in London who got "what would be your fantasy perfect day in the office?" thrown at him. I would imagine the answer "not actually being in work" may not have gone down well.

The January worst answer competition was won by David Barker, a partner at Burnett Barker Solicitors in Bury St Edmunds, ( who had the following gem to contribute:

"And now, are there any questions that you would like to ask either about the firm or about the position?"

"Yeah. D'you get a fag break?"

Many thanks to all those who entered.

3. Recession, what recession?

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment has seen a changes in fortune for the better this month. At the start of the year, there was a great feeling of foreboding amongst solicitors I think that everything was about to change, and the market drop. However, our statistics equal last year for our placements on the permanent side, and as permanent recruitment is usually the first to drop off, we think that the legal job market is buoyant. We are good on all permanent fronts, not so good on temporary fronts, although this is fairly normal for us. Will pick up on the latter in a few weeks I suspect as moves start to take place.
Conveyancing is just about holding still, although starting to see a trickle of redundancies. London has not had much action this year yet, but I seem to recall this being the same for the last few years. One interesting change this year was a recent vacancy we picked up for central London, which attracted over 30 applications from solicitors. In usual recruitment circles, this is probably quite a low pick up rate, but for legal recruitment it is extremely good. A good few of these were applying as a result of impending redundancy at their existing firm, so this is a marker that the residential property market has probably slowed down a bit, and things are changing.

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. Commercial property remains busy, and there is a real lack of any good candidates in that field at times. has been recruiting lawyers since April 2000, and has over 2,000 legal jobs and 4,000 solicitors registered for permanent and temporary work.

To read the full report please visit or the main website

4. Future plans - "what are your future plans for yourself and your family?"

This question was recently asked of a young female solicitor attending an interview, in a way she felt at the time was perfectly innocent, but later on thinking back about it, felt slightly suspicious about the motives behind it.

I have advised potential trainee solicitors on how to answer this, and that is to be open about it and honest - if you deal with the question in a negative way, you are unlikely to get the job.. For potential trainee solicitors, this is v.hard to deal with.

For solicitors, I think it really boils down to the type of firm you want to work for - if you feel that the firm are asking the question to see whether you intend to take maternity leave very shortly, is this an issue for you to have to deal with? What would they be like when it comes to taking time off for child care or maternity related issues? You could perhaps ask them to clarify the question in the first instance - ie; explain that you want to remain locally based due to family ties, or progress your career to support your family, and see what they come back with...

5. Negotiating pay rises in the new financial year

The budget has just come out, and your costs are likely to have risen. Alcohol has gone up by 4p per pint, or 14p per bottle of wine. Car tax is changing, although wont affect most road users. There is a new capital fund to help women entrepenneurs (I wonder whether this will assist any lawyers wanting to establish new firms?), and cigarettes have gone up 11p per packet.

When you approach an annual review, it is important to be aware of your figures - you need to explain why you deserve a pay rise, what you will achieve in the forthcoming year to justify that pay rise, and what the firm have done to deserve having you work for them. The budget figures above can be incorporated into the argument...

6. Making a name for yourself as a lawyer

Ever wondered how famous lawyers get famous, apart from those with family connections? There are lots of ways to do this, but the main one is the art of self-promotion. If you have a case that you think will attract media attention (and of course help your client), why not email your local paper and tell them? If you deal successfully with an issue for a client, why not ask them if you can use the fact in your website, or write a brief article for the local papers on the subject and mention the case?

Well known lawyers tend not to be necessarily those who are the best at the job, but perhaps those who you hear about consistently. Nick Freeman, the lawyer known for his motoring defence work has an excellent website and appears in the press quite often giving interviews etc.. without wishing to cast aspersions, I suspect he has done quite a lot of promotion himself over the years to get to where he is today...
For more information visit our website:

Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director, Limited
Tel: 0207 127 4343

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