Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Investors in People – what’s it all about?

Ten Percent Legal Recruitment has been recommended for Investors in People status (still waiting for accreditation to be confirmed), and it has been interesting to see what the whole assessment entails. We have always been very open with everyone who has worked within the company and also anyone who has asked us questions about the company as well and we hope that this is a good place to work.

Obviously being in a sales and performance driven industry means that it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the approach we have seems to be very open with very little discipline or rigidity in the way that we work. As a result of this, most of our consultants work on flexible hours and this means that we are able to recruit a good standard of consultant to work for us as they do not find many opportunities elsewhere.

The IIP basically is a way of recognising the way that an organisation works and giving it value so that external organisations can see that the level has been attained internally. We hope, for example, that local authorities will use us more, because at present they seem to only use the larger agencies who are able to spend the time dealing with the rather extensive paperwork that usually goes with that type of work. IIP should open doors for us in that some of these organisations may start to use us if they can see that we are of a similar level to the companies they’re currently using but considerably cheaper. It has also been useful to go to start the assessment in that it has made us look at our systems ourselves and see where we need to improve or create better procedures or protocols. Sometimes when you’re working within a company it is very hard to take a step back and see what you are currently doing and to improve it. You can also miss business or opportunities that are out there if you are not aware of all the work that is going on within the organisation. We hope that we are successful, but it has been very useful to start the process off in any event.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment and can be contacted at cv@ten-percent.co.uk

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bradford and Bingley gets nationalised – effect on housing market

What fault can be placed at the door of the banks and building societies who are facing serious collapse at present?

Bradford & Bingley Building Society were nationalised because of the amount of potentially dodgy mortgage debt they have and concerns about their ability to keep trading when the capital that was supporting them has gone.

There has been a lot of blame on the banks and the building societies for this situation, but one of the things that has not come up in this is the buy to let applicants themselves.

Five years ago, I was talking to someone who had entered the buy to let market who had purchased their first flat with a genuine set of details, before moving on and purchasing countless other properties and flats using what can only be described as fraudulent documents and making statements that were clearly not true and hence, obtained in a pecuniary advantage by deception. The key to all of this was mainly that they would make the application for the first property and then use the same information to make an application for a second one without mentioning that they already have the first one, or alternatively creating sources of income that did not exist, or alternatively to that, claiming that they lived in each of the properties that they had the mortgage on.

Whilst the banks and building societies have to be blamed in part for this, in that sufficient checks were clearly not made to make sure that the information being provided was true, it is clear that there has been rather a lot of fraud committed by various buy to let landlords in respect of their mortgage applications to purchase the properties they’re letting out in the first place.

It has clearly been a bit of a gold rush for some people but it must be of great concern to a lot of buy to let landlords at the moment to see how they are going to pay their mortgages if the cost of rental property is not increasing, yet the cost of mortgages is going up rather dramatically.

Perhaps in the climate we are currently in buy to let mortgages will suddenly become a thing of the past, apart from when there is solid evidence to back them up.

The same applies with self certification mortgages, which are very useful if you are self employed, but are left wide open to potential fraud and also people taking on more liability than they actually have the ability to pay for.

Let’s just hope that the current position does not affect conveyancing and similar markets for too many months to come.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment, he also regularly writes and commentates on the state of the legal job market. You can contact him at cv@ten-percent.co.uk

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why should I go on a Ten Percent Legal Careers Workshop?

Ten Percent Legal Recruitment is running Legal Careers Workshops in London on Tuesday 16th December for law students and graduates, or anyone wanting to get into the legal profession. The day starts at 10am, finishes at 5pm and is probably the most intensive course you can think of to fit everything relating to starting your legal career into one day and to keep the cost affordable to law students and graduates. In a nutshell it is seven hours of information and practice to ensure that you get the best shot at starting your legal career.
Timetable:
9.45 am Registration and refreshments
10 am Assessment Day Workshop
11.15 am Break for refreshments
11.30 am Interview Workshop
1 pm Lunch (provided)
1.45 pm CV Workshop
3 pm Break for refreshments
3.15 pm Covering letter workshop
3.45 pm Application form workshop
4.30 pm General career and individual questions
The course covers just about every aspect of applying for legal work, going for interviews and assessments and securing a training contract or pupillage, vacation placement post, work experience, paralegal or fee earning work or a mini-pupillage.
We have been coaching law students and lawyers for over eight years. We currently provide careers workshops at Huddersfield University for their LPC students, and responses to date have been very favourable. Feedback can be seen here:- http://www.hud.ac.uk/hubs/news/school/school_news_95.htm
The course will be run by Jonathan Fagan who is a well-known commentator on legal recruitment and Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment. Jonathan is a qualified solicitor & recruitment consultant, and personally coaches lawyers from law students up to senior partners. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment has been around for a long time, and has over 5,000 solicitors registered, 2,000 legal executives, and over 6,000 law firms across the UK and worldwide have used our services.
The course will essentially cover every angle we can think for each of the workshop sessions.
A breakdown of the sessions is as follows:
1. Assessment Day Workshop
Assessment days are a bit of an unknown for most people who have not been on one as they vary so widely between law firms and no-one ever explains what the firm or assessors are looking for. This can lead to all sorts of problems in terms of the way people present themselves when attending assessment days and candidates do not always do themselves justice. We look at each element of a typical assessment day, go through live exercises with you for each of these so that you can have a go at an assessment day scenario. It is the first workshop of the day and it will be a good simulation of a similar environment to a real assessment day. Get the nerves and the mistakes out of the way now so you are ready for the real thing..
2. Interview Workshop
For some assessment days, the interviews are held in the afternoon after a cull has been made at lunchtime. Interviews are one of the hardest parts of any training contract or job application as it is the one chance you have in a very short space of time to make an impression on your future employers. We conduct practice interviews with you and provide feedback as well as going through each type of question that could be put to you, so you can see the different ways of answering and also understand why questions are being asked. Full feedback is provided.
3. CV Workshop
The CV workshop will provide you with an assessment of your current CV and suggest ways of improving it. It is not just standard and general CV advice, the advice you receive will be specialist legal CV advice aimed at tailoring your CV according to your experience and background in a way that makes it stand out.
At the same time, careers advice will be given as it is inevitable in most CVs that extra items are added, such as improving the amount of work experience you have or ensuring that you have presented your interests and activities in a way that employers will want to see. You must submit your CV to us 7 days before the course starts.
4. Covering Letter Workshop
Covering letters are probably not as important as most people think, but there is still a way of writing them and we will go through this with you to ensure that you do not miss the opportunity to sell yourself a little bit more to a future employer.
5. Application Form Workshop
This workshop will cover all aspects of completing application forms and you can bring along your own to go through in the session. If you have any already, we can review them for you before you turn up to the session and go through any parts that need looking at in detail during our workshop.
6. General Legal Careers Advice Workshop
During this session we will look at individual circumstances and talk through options available to you. It is also your chance to ask the course leader any questions you may have on legal careers and the legal profession. The day will also include unlimited numbers of tips for starting a legal career, dropped into the course where appropriate.
By the end of the day, you should have gained an advantage over your peers as you will have a head start in knowing what is going to happen in an interview, how to handle assessment days, how to complete application forms, how to prepare your CV to and preparing covering letters.
The usual cost of receiving individual Legal Career Coaching from Jonathan Fagan is at least £500. Our CV reviews start at £85, and our CV preparation service £154.99. For £150 + VAT you receive a full days worth of advice and practice.
For further enquiries, please email us at cv@ten-percent.co.uk or telephone 0207 127 4343.
Click here to book a place on the course. Numbers are strictly limited.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

BNI Breakfast Meetings – what are they all about?

This morning I have been to a visitors’ breakfast of a BNI breakfast meeting. I have never been to one of these before and I should start this article by saying that I am not a member and have no links to the BNI.

I had looked on the website before I went, as well, as read the email from the inviter that warned me that I would be doing a 45 second speech about my company.

I went to a local golf club for the meeting and there were about 15 people there. I paid £7.50 for a breakfast and the meeting consisted of an introduction from the regional director that lasted about 15 minutes, followed by each person there speaking for one minute about the organisation they were involved with and then a talk by the assistant director on the benefits of being in the Business Network International.

The cost of joining the BNI is £400 for the year with £100 membership fee.

As the regional director pointed out, it actually costs quite a bit more than this because you have to pay for your breakfasts and meetings every time you attend, and the breakfast this morning was £7.50. Incidentally, I had not realised that it would be a sit down breakfast and unfortunately I was unable to eat the fare that was put in front of me as I am a vegetarian. This seemed slightly expensive, and I ordered four pieces of toast and drank a cup of tea, which must rank as the most expensive breakfast I have ever had. Obviously this was not the fault of the BNI, but rather my own for not realising that I would need to tell anyone I was vegetarian.

In the room was a solicitor from a local firm of solicitors who was a fully paid up member. It is becoming very common for solicitors firms to be members of the BNI and to use it for networking.

I am always interested to see, and to speak to junior lawyers at every firm, who almost always are the ones who network and not the senior lawyers. I wonder exactly how much business solicitors firms get out of the BNI and what quality this is on the whole.

I am very new to networking, but generally the idea seems to be to go up to people and try to flog them your business.

However, it appears the BNI work in a slightly different way in that they are trying to get their members to promote all the businesses in the chapter (i.e. the local branch) to sell each other’s products to people that they meet and to give cross referrals.

In the chapter I went to this morning, there was a mortgage broker and an estate agent dealing with rentals. Obviously these two fit hand in glove and probably refer people across to each other quite regularly. Also there was a computer repair company there and obviously this would fit very well with any web design or web marketing companies who attended.

So should I join? I would be very interested to hear from anybody who has anything to do with the BNI as a member or non-member of their thoughts on this. I have spoken to other people who have been along to the meetings and joined and left after a fairly short period of time as they work they were getting from the meetings was not sufficient to market the company and to justify the membership fee.

Obviously at the meeting, I was told of lots of benefits by the people there, but it clearly is in their interest to get as many people to join as they can right across the spectrum.

If you would like to comment, simply add your comment at the bottom of this article. If I have in any way misrepresented the BNI, I apologise. I am still interested in any comment from the BNI, particularly if they would like to offer me a discount for writing such a glowing article about them!

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly comments on the state of the legal profession and the job market. He went to the local BNI meeting with his other hat on, which is as a director of Chester Web Marketing (www.chesterwebmarketing.com).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Credit Crunch Affecting Nine Out of Ten Employers

It has been reported in a survey that 90 percent of employers have said that the credit crunch is affecting their business. The survey by Peninsular Law has found that 74 percent of employers have implemented a recruitment freeze and 64 percent have not ruled out making some of their staff redundant.

Whilst there are no indications of the number of employers surveyed for this report, it is certainly fairly gloomy. The idea of a recruitment freeze is a fairly quick fix option as usually staff wages are the highest cost to a business.

The problem is though that as soon as staff are made redundant, the whole business is threatened, firstly because buyers are aware of the redundancies when they phone up to speak to staff and secondly, when work does come in, the staff that are left find that they have to cope with increased volumes and it has an effect on their productivity as well.

Some of this is certainly a panic on the part of just about everybody with the threat of the words credit crunch, but there are serious concerns in some parts of the economy about the effects of the collapse of banks and the overspread of mortgages to very high risk recipients.

It is a damning indictment on our society that in the good times a lot of companies have not budgeted or allowed for the bad times. The Labour government has been very beneficial over the last ten years and has enjoyed periods of growth and a balanced economy, something that the Conservatives never quite managed in their time in office. This has been to the benefit of a lot of businesses, but now it looks like we may be entering lean times for a while and companies need to start waking up to the fact.

One way to save money is to review all current procedures and contracts and see whether anything can be removed without the company being affected.

Ten Percent Legal Recruitment has removed an out of hours telephone service, for example and instead opted to answer telephones internally through to a certain time and use an answer machine after hours. This has saved us considerable amounts of money in the last two months alone. We have also reviewed our advertising budgets online and offline and because the advertising is attracting candidates when there are fewer jobs, we have reduced these proportionally.

Both of these measures, we hope, will make us leaner in the long term and able to cope effectively with the credit crunch.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment. He regularly writes and commentates on the state of the legal recruitment and job market in the UK and offshore. He can be contacted for press comment or advice at cv@ten-percent.co.uk .

Legal job update November 2008

"An incompetent lawyer can delay a trial for months or years. A competent lawyer can delay one even longer." Evelle Younger.

"Welcome to the November Newsletter for Law Firms and Companies. I hope you find it of interest - we have released our latest legal job market report, and you can find details below." Jonathan Fagan LLM Solicitor (non-practising), MREC, CertRP, Managing Director, Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited.

Legal Job Market Report - Nov 3rd 08 - 66% fall in new Jobs
Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, online recruitment specialists and part of the Ten-Percent Recruitment Group, reported today that legal jobs for solicitors and qualified lawyers registered with them were down by 66% compared with the same time last year.

Jonathan Fagan, MD, said "during October 2007, 57 legal jobs (all at solicitor or higher) were posted with our agency by law firms and in house legal departments. In October 2008 this had reduced by 66% to 19 jobs. We have also recorded a reduction in the numbers of permanent posts as opposed temporary, and our temporary business has increased to 25% of our job postings." Fagan added "it does not follow that this has affected our business however. We specialise in recruiting solicitors, and usually the posts we recruit for have only a couple of applicants if we are lucky, so we would not have filled even a third of the 57 vacancies last October. In the current market we have more candidates available for jobs on our database, so the change is quite apparent". "The market has been hit particularly badly by the influx of conveyancing lawyers trying to get a new post, whether as a conveyancing lawyer or other field. This means that our candidate registration numbers are up, but the vacancies are down. We have gone from 700 conveyancing jobs earlier this year to less than 10 currently live. There is still a lot of optimism though, and law firms are still recruiting litigation lawyers and those making a living out of Legal Services Commission funded work." "I think law firms will see a reduction in the number of agencies bombarding them with sales calls in the near future as a number of recruiters are not going to survive the current economic downturn. Our company is well established with low overheads thanks to our unique online operation, and we also have other strands to our business which can support the recruitment during the credit crunch". Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment donate 10% of their annual profit to charity, hence the name. The company specialises in legal recruitment, and Jonathan Fagan is recognised as an expert in the field, writing the award-winning www.LegalRecruitment.blogspot.com blog. To view the Novermber 2nd 2008 legal job report, please visit http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/weeklyreport.htm

Redundancy & Career Coaching Packages for your Clients - generate income
If you have an employment law department looking for new ways to generate business or income, it may be worth forwarding this through to them. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment is linked to another website JB Fagan & Associates who provide Executive Career Coaching and Outplacement Services.

Your Employment Department can market the Outplacement Service to their clients, and either sell it as a separate service or alternatively provide it as part of their service to clients along with their own redundancy advice services. Particularly applicable to medium-large companies and organisations at junior-senior management levels, our Career Consultants can work alongside your Lawyers to provide a full Outplacement Service including CV, Interview & Career Coaching, Job Applications, Skill Testing, Alternative Career Options and Ongoing Support Packages.

This enables your firm to sell the complete package to their clients - an employee being made redundant with positive thoughts about their former employer is a benefit, whereas one being dumped on the street without ceremony is a threat to future business. For further details or to discuss options, please contact us at cv@ten-percent.co.uk or call 0207 127 4343.Ensuring safe recruitment in a fluctuating market - special offer from Ten-Percent
One of the main concerns of firms currently recruiting is the uncertainty of the work, the fluctuating market and the possibility of paying out fees to recruiters where redundancy will have to be considered in 6-9 months time.

We have been recently trialling a new service where instead of paying us an upfront fee for our services (we remain the cheapest in the UK on this front), you pay monthly for the first 12 months. We are now launching this product for all law firms and in house legal departments across the UK. It is not available to international firms and companies.

If a candidate leaves before the 12 months is up, you pay a fee based on how long the candidate has been with you, so for example if a candidate has completed 3 months with you, you would pay a fee based on 3/12 of the annual salary.

This way you do not need to worry about collecting a rebate if for some reason you need to let a new member of staff go, for example if the market fluctuates yet again.

We have been speaking to law firms in recent weeks, and this seems to be the main fear amongst partners regarding recruitment - it is not that they want to freeze staffing levels, but they are concerned about the overheads like recruitment fees that will inevitably follow if they do go back to the job market.

For details, please email Jonathan Fagan at jbfagan@ten-percent.co.uk

For free access to our candidate database (unlike certain other legal recruiters), please visit our website.

Lawyer Joke
A man sat down at a bar, looked into his shirt pocket, and ordered a double scotch. A few minutes later, the man again peeked into his pocket and ordered another double. This routine was followed for some time, until after looking into his pocket, he told the bartender that he's had enough.The bartender said, "I've got to ask you - what's with the pocket business?"The man replied, "I have my lawyer's picture in there. When he starts to look honest, I've had enough."

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
2nd Floor
145-157 St John Street
London
EC1V 4PY
Tel: 0207 127 4343
www.ten-percent.co.uk
cv@ten-percent.co.uk