Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Boycott Recruitment Agencies?

A Forum recently had a post on entitled "Boycott Recruitment Agencies and Greedy Bosses!!"

The post reads "Recruitment Agencies are cherry picking their clients & have no courtesy to reply back to your messages unless you call them!! They say they have hundreds of applications to review but by the time they have looked at your CV it’s too late - the dream job you desire is long gone."

As a recruitment consultant I have to say that this probably appears to be the perception at present (we cherry pick the best solicitors and ignore the rest including most NQs). The truth is that we are being hit very badly by the recession as businesses. Think about it - there have probably been over 15,000 redundancies amongst solicitors in England & Wales since April 2008. This is just less than 10% of the workforce. There are no conveyancing jobs at all anywhere. There are no wills & probate jobs anywhere. Crime jobs are disappearing at a rate of knots as firms close the boltholes ready for the best value tendering that is going to wipe a further load of firms off the map (after the Carter review destroyed a load a few years ago). Corporate firms are halting their graduate training programmes and asking trainees to defer a year and actually paying for the privilege to do this. Does anyone seriously think that recruitment agencies have some sort of bypass switch that allows us to ignore all of the above and find jobs for NQ solicitors in this climate?You will start to see a large number of agencies disappearing in the next 3-4 months I think. Already most have stopped advertising in the Gazette, and the ones that are left tend to have the same jobs in every week that usually require a following or some particular specialism. To give you an example of how hard it is to do recruitment at present, one recent job was for a commercial litigation solicitor. Looked easy to start with - we had 3-4 interested candidates with 2 years experience. The firm then wanted a French speaking commercial litigation solicitor, which made it considerably harder. We found one. They then got back to say that they wanted a French speaking commercial litigation solicitor with at least 12 months worth of high court experience. Obviously at this point we started to realise that like the Little Britain character that the goalposts were going to shift again even if a miracle occurred and we found the above - we were expecting to be told they needed a Belgian French speaking commercial litigation solicitor with high court experience. Similarly we have had firms asking for CVs - we have sent them through and heard nothing for weeks on end, despite telephoning, emailing etc.. etc.. Some firms seem to be collecting CVs for a hobby without committing to interview. We have also come across a lot of trainee solicitors being offered £16,500 to qualify by their firms and calling us either very angry or in tears. The legal profession is not in a healthy state at present, but it is affecting everyone at once - from senior partners through to suppliers of services to the profession. NQs unfortunately are right in the firing line, and are going to be badly affected.

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and can be contacted on 0207 127 4343 or at


Anonymous said...

I expect that those firms collecting CV's are smaller, stagnant, firms who normally wouldn't consider paying a "high" salary to a high calibre solicitor and would prefer to let their larger local competitors take them (and let's be honest, everyone's better off in that situation anyway).

Now we're being told that good solicitors are having to be laid off by larger ("soul-less") firms because they have insufficient work and the numbers aren't adding up.

Those normally stagnant firms are hoping that the CV's of these one of these solicitors will fall into their inboxes for them to recruit at a much lower salary - and "he'll be happy to have a job".

I wish I were joking. Depressing times.

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