Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More Family LSC Supervisor Info (yawn)

We have yet another LSC family supervisor deadline almost upon us - the 20th December - although quite why this has happened when so many firms were working to the 5th December is beyond me. The LSC are a law unto themselves when it comes to deadlines I think! If law firms miss deadlines that is one thing, whereas if the LSC miss a deadline they simply extend it by a few weeks.

Anyway, anyone registered with us for family law work will be pleased to see the back of these latest deadlines because we have been bombarding them with emails about firms looking for full time salaried supervisors and consultant supervisors working through a monthly retainer system.

I have heard that you can work for more than one firm, provided you are not supervising more than 4 caseworkers. This means that technically you can work for 4 firms all with one caseworker each? Who knows. There doesnt seem to be any guidance on this anywhere and I understand that if you call the LSC the accounts managers dont seem to know either.

Guidance on LSC SQM Supervisor status can be found here:

http://www.legalservices.gov.uk/docs/forms/Supervision_Forms%281%29.pdf

Anyway, if you are a firm or a consultant looking to be married up with a firm needing an LSC supervisor for family or vice versa, let me know. We have just helped a consultant who is part time with a firm in the North of England to join a firm in SE England as their supervisor on her day off each week.

This has to be the way it works in future I suspect as the money in LSC funded work is so awful.

Jonathan Fagan, MD, Ten-Percent

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Monday, November 21, 2011

Family LSC Contracts Awarded - Family Vacancies increase

We have started to see an influx of family and child care posts coming through from firms who have been awarded an LSC contract in the recent rounds of applications and who now need to find themselves a panel member.

So far, most of these are coming from smaller sized practices around London, usually up to about 5 partners, and based outside the centre - East, South East, North and West London.

This is going to move into other areas I suspect as we get closer to the deadline in two weeks for the firms to indicate who their supervisor is.

If you are considering signing up for a firm as a supervisor, whether on a contractual or salaried basis, please let us know and we can keep you informed with vacancies. I understand that you do not need to live near the firm, and someone working as a locum in another area of the country could sign up to a firm as their supervisor (subject to usual LSC requirements).

So far we have:

Berkshire
South East London
East London (x2)
North London
West London
South West London

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Alternative Business Structures - no sign of any ABS Legal Recruitment yet

Further to the massive change that has apparently happened in the legal sector, I can say that so far we have received no indication of any vacancies being posted by new ABS law firms.

We have had a request from one of the new brands to advertise on our websites (slightly surprising being that we have criticised the whole franchise concept!) but no sign as yet of any new entrants to the legal profession looking to recruit large amounts of solicitors to sweep up the business.

With the amount of legislation and regulation that affects the legal profession, any cutthroat operators looking to make a quick buck by recruiting armies of paralegals to undertake work are going to have to take a considerable amount of time to plan their operation in order to make any money at all. Furthermore, with the possibility that referral fees are going to get banned very shortly, (for somewhat spurious reasons that are still not entirely clear) I would imagine a good number of companies are watching the space very carefully before making a decision to step in.

If and when we get any ABSs coming through to us we will post information on this site. We did have a caravan park operator looking to recruit an in-house solicitor on an overwhelmingly generous salary of £25-30,000. The person had to be (to put in the caravan park owner’s words) “Top notch”, “highly experienced” and “from a good quality firm background”. I did delicately suggest that the salary being offered was about a 3rd of the usual level for this type of candidate but the person in question sounded quite insulted at this and said that there were plenty of people out there looking for a job and he was sure they would recruit. The vacancy disappeared a few days later when the manager got in touch to say that they had managed to find someone. If you have recently accepted a post as an ex-city lawyer with over 5 years’ experience in property and litigation and are based somewhere in the East of the country please get in touch to reassure me that you have not accepted a salary of £25,000….

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Duty Solicitors - Are the Streets of London Really Paved With Gold?

Question from Duty Solicitor:

We have spoken and corresponded a number of times over the last 8 yrs or so and I wonder if you are able to help at this juncture of my career. I am interested in freelancing which would mean my duty slots to a large firm. In London I am informed a £1200 retainer is available plus an average of £50k pa working hard one week a month - sounds like a no brainer!

The agency in London I have spoken to who are recruiting on behalf of 3 major London firms certainly talk the talk - but I am suspicious of how much rota work I would get given the volume of freelancers and employed solicitors on the rotas.

I want some security of earnings before I commit myself.

Answer from Jonathan Fagan, MD Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Hello. If it assists, let me tell you about 2 candidates we placed last year in London as freelancers (both central London) - one with a 1 partner firm, the other with a 20 solicitor practice.

The freelancer with the 1 partner firm earned about £25k for the year - this included doing prep work for the firm as well as his slots.

The second one is with a 20 solicitor practice and looks as if he may posssibly get up to around £20k.

There are a number of freelancers this year looking for salaried roles. I have a duty in London who has just accepted a salaried role of £27k.

I suspect that the agency is the one who appear to have made themselves duty solicitor experts this year and advertised heavily in the Law Society Gazette - presumably because so many other lines of legal recruitment work have collapsed in recent times......

That said, I have heard of freelancers in the past who have earnt good money.

Similarly I have also been involved when a very large crime outfit changed their terms and conditions and jettisoned entire duty solicitor teams who were earning too much money.

Think carefully before jumping - the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence....

Jonathan

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
- Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Solicitors’ Brands and Franchises - OTT?

It has become a recent trend in the legal profession for solicitors to start forming brand names and franchises. I think this can be traced back to a commentator who appears regularly in the Law Society Gazette called Neil Myerson who is a Professor at a university somewhere in the UK.

Professor Myerson has warned constantly about solicitors’ firms being eaten up by large multi-nationals coming into the market when the alternative business structures start to form in October 2011. Since then we have seen Quality Solicitors, the High Street Lawyer brand and now one called Face to Face. All of these appear to charge their members considerable amounts of money, promising advertising in return and forming large groups of firms able to compete in the national marketplace.

I voice a minority opinion I suspect, but I think that any firm signing up to these brands is probably flushing a rather large portion of cash straight down the toilet.

Franchising, which is what this model is, has been around for many years. You can purchase franchises in anything including Costa Coffee, McDonalds, Burger King, health and fitness clubs, estate agents, and many more. Most of the time these franchises are simply a way for large businesses to spread their operations and ensure other people take on the risks involved. I imagine that for the majority of time most companies are better off not being franchised and instead using the money they would have spent on the franchise to market their own business and brand name. Consider for example the Paul Rooney Partnership, based in Liverpool and advertising on Classic FM across the country for many years for Accident and Personal Injury matters.

Some of these brand names just sound as if a new business has opened up and do not really explain very much about what benefits you get as a consumer from using a firm working through a franchise than using a firm on the high street who have been there for many years.

I particularly admire the latest attempts to franchise with an upfront fee of £25,000 and 8% of profits shared with the umbrella company. What difference would it make if a consumer is looking for a solicitor in Stoke on Trent that one of the solicitors’ firms is called Quality Solicitors, the other is called Face to Face and the final one called High Street Solicitor? The consumer can to firms on the high street who have been there for many years and perhaps have an established brand known to a good proportion of the population.

Look at accountancy. Many years ago a new accountancy brand came onto the scene with the word "tax" in. There seemed to be quite a lot of firms who signed up for this brand, but if you phoned round for a quote these were actually more expensive than the smaller businesses and it was not clear what advantage one got from going through a company with the word Tax in the title as opposed to going through a company called Smith & Co Accountants. In fact in that case I have to confess to being put off the notion of an accountancy firm with the word Tax because at the time I was looking for an accountant, not someone who could offer me taxation advice. I appreciate this may be my own ignorance but this is an example of how franchises and brands can work against you.

The new Face to Face brand is an example of this perhaps. How many consumers want actual face to face advice from their solicitors and how many want 24 hour access via the internet? Does Face to Face really sum up what a consumer wants out of their lawyers or would Lawyer 24/7 perhaps have been the better brand name? Any firm which is thinking about signing up to one of these franchises may want to bear that in mind.

As ever I have not written this article to criticise the companies question, or to try and put down the businessmen setting up these business models. I will allow any comments from anyone linked to any of these businesses onto this site including a web link to your own site.

Afterall, we are legal recruiters and are supplying legal recruitment services to the legal profession and it hardly serves our own purpose to alienate our customers!

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment, specialists for an integrated recruitment service for law firms offering a low cost system for just £60 per month per law firm. For further details please get in touch.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fascinating Tales and Common Queries from Law Firms Enquiring about the Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment £60+ Recruitment Service

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment is slowly (very slowly!) revolutionising the way law firms recruit. In July 2011 we decided to alter our fee structure to do add contingency fee-based recruitment and ask law firms who use our services to pay a monthly subscription as an alternative to paying us a lump sum. We set the monthly subscription at a level so low (from £60) that most firms would not even notice they were paying it.

We also decided to impose a 5 year membership term to stop any firms planning to take a candidate from us and then cancel within a few weeks!

The responses from law firms have been fascinating. They include

"what a fantastic idea. You have altered my view of recruitment agencies as being money grabbing parasites." Partner, Lincolnshire Firm, September 2011.

"your service is outstanding. Within a few days of joining you had found us the candidates we had been looking to recruit for some time." Practice Manager, South East London Firm, August 2011.

We have also had some very interesting responses from some partners as follows:

"If we sign up to your service and recruit from another agency, we will be paying out two lots of recruitment fees."

and:

"This deal discriminates against smaller firms. We shall not be using your services in future." (a good percentage of our clients are sole practitioners and firms with less than 10 partners).

and:

"We only pay contingency fees because we want to pay for success."

Absolutely fascinating. We have also had HR Managers call up to ask why they should give us at least £3,600 when they rarely recruit and it will cost them at least £3,600 whether we are successful or not. They seem to miss the point that their recruitment needs are covered for 60 months - locum, permanent, support staff and fee earners. The service is a membership service, not a one-off recruitment process each time. I suppose after 30 years of recruitment agencies, it is difficult to get away from the mentality of one-off recruitment each time you are looking for a new member of staff.

Some law firms have also tried to argue that they should only have to join once we have found candidates and they have interviewed them. A partner at a medium sized central London firm suggested that the service was expensive and comparable with other deals he was getting from the legal recruitment market.

To be frank, all of the above is a complete load of nonsense. It reminds me of the time I went to a car boot sale to shift a load of possessions when we were moving house.

About half way through the sale, we realised that the remainder of our offerings were not shifting fast enough, and as the plan was to drive home with an empty boot, we started to offer everything at 10p.

Conversations included:

"how much for your skateboard?"

"10p".

"hmm....what's wrong with it?"

"nothing - we just want to sell it."

"hmm.... (examines the skateboard very suspiciously).... I'll think about it."

We did not sell very much at all at 10p. We managed to shift a computer that someone actually haggled us up on - offering us 50p.

Instead we changed the pricing structure to "everything free of charge".

We sat back and waited for a mad rush of customers. It didn't happen. Browsers still came up to the stall, examined the items carefully, asked us how much they were (despite a huge sign saying "Free to a Good Home").

The tale illustrates a human weakness - we are always looking for "the catch". Each one of the partners and HR managers calling me to find out why we are offering recruitment services at such a low price is simply following their human instinct that something is wrong with the service and that is why it is so cheap.

Our catch is the commitment. We want 5 years from each firm. If we get 5 years, we are happy to offer recruitment at a ridiculous price.

Apart from this? No catches. We have been around a long time. We want to mop up the recruitment market and get the majority of UK law firms on board. If we are first level providers to firms, just about any solicitor or support staff member will register with us in the first instance and not bother with other legal recruitment agencies.

Are the days of contingency fees for recruitment agencies in legal recruitment numbered? Probably not. We set the scheme up in 2011, got over 100 law firms signed up and we still do plenty of contingency based recruitment! Its fine with us.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
- Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.
 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Training Contract Application Help - new product from the Ten-Percent Legal Careers Shop

Get immediate assistance with your training contract applications. Purchase online and send over your application forms, covering letters and your CV. Each piece of work costs a certain number of credits. £25 buys 5 credits, which for most applications will cover 2 full application forms or a CV and covering letter. Full credit cost given before work undertaken. Credits can be topped up as needed.

All work is undertaken by a qualified recruitment consultant and solicitor with at least five years experience working within the legal profession.

http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop/product.php?id_product=37

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.


Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.



www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop





Monday, June 13, 2011

Law Graduate sought for Advocacy Experience

We are looking for an LPC student, graduate or LLB graduate to attend at Dudley County Court for us on Friday 17th June at 10am to deal with a Charging Order application. Very straightforward, documentation all ready to go, just can't get there ourselves! Will pay travel expenses plus an hourly rate.

Contact us urgently if you would like to be considered. 0207 127 4343. Jonathan Fagan, MD, Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.










Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop



Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Transferring a Training Contract

I was wondering if maybe you could help me! I am currently a trainee solicitor and looking to transfer my training contract....
Could you recommend any routes? I am applying via the conventional route.

Very difficult! There is no route as such - the way most people transfer is simply to identify potential firms who may be interested and write to them. Alternatively apply for an advertised training contract in a smaller sized practice and indicate that it will take you x amount of time shorter than any other trainees because of your existing experience.

Make sure that your existing firm does not find out. This is very important. After all you will want something to fall back on if everything else fails.... If you are experiencing problems at work speak to the Trainee Solicitors Group - most solicitors have been where you are now and experienced every type of behaviour in the book - bullying, alcoholic partners, mentally unstable employers etc...

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.




Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop


Friday, June 03, 2011

Careers - Changing Fields of Law to get more Advocacy Experience

Careers Enquiry:
I am a trainee solicitor. I have been working in benefits, debt, housing and family. I have enjoyed these subjects, and have gained a lot of experience in the Legal Aid sector. The main problem is that I have not been able to do very much advocacy. This was something I always enjoyed throughout my degree and LPC. I also enjoyed the subject of criminal law throughout my studies and carried out a number of work experience placements in this area. I am considering transferring to Crime, but I am not sure how to make this change. I did an advanced criminal module on the LPC, but I do not have my police station accreditation.

Advice:
Firstly, do not jump out of the frying pan and into the fire! It appears that you have not really gained any experience in crime, and neither have you experienced advocacy and whether it is something suitable for you depends on this experience. Changing fields of law is not a decision to be taken lightly - it can come back to haunt you throughout your career.

If at all possible, go and get experience in crime before taking the step to change. Perhaps a week off work and work experience with the CPS or shadowing a solicitor in another firm in another town?

See if you can get some advocacy work in your current fields of law and make absolutely sure advocacy is something you are comfortable with. A lot of solicitors fall into crime work and find it very stressful as it can be a difficult area to work in at the best of times.

Good luck with your thoughts. Jonathan Fagan, MD and Legal Career Coach - www.ten-percent.co.uk

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.




Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here. www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

North West Legal Recruitment Market a Cold Spot in 2011

Query from Client: Hi Jonathan, you may recall we spoke last summer when I used your application review service (I got down to the final 5 but lost out to a much more experienced candidate from London). I'm emailing you because I've just googled "legal recruitment market 2011" and what appeared was a blog written by you in January 2011. In the blog you stated that the North West (especially Manchester) would be a recruitment "cold spot" for 2011. Can I ask (1) why this is and (2) as 2011 progresses, is re recruitment in Manchester still very quiet?

My answer to this is as follows:
1. Manchester and the surrounding area have been hard in recent months by the collapse of Halliwells, the Consumer Credit Solicitor fiasco and other smaller firm closures.
2. The Manchester and North West legal markets at corporate level appear to be very dependent on the business of a couple of large companies, local authorities and government funded project work.
3. With the reduction in public spending happening, we think the Manchester legal job market will remain stunted and a cold spot for some time, together with the North East and Newcastle.
Please correct me if I am wrong - we are locally based (one of our offices is in North Wales) so would love to see the area boom! Jonathan Fagan, MD
Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Newly Qualified Solicitors - Don't Panic!

NQ Solicitor? Don't panic. Expect to work hard finding a suitable job
Every year we get called by NQ solicitors with the following questions:

1. When should I register?
2. How much should I be paid?
3. What does NQ or PQE mean?
4. I am not sure if my current firm will be keeping me on - what should I do?

Our answers depend on individual circumstances, but in a nutshell:

1. As early as you can. Unless specialist. register with a number of job boards and agencies. Very important to get wide coverage of all options. Give no-one consent to send out your CV without your permission.
2. Depends on circumstances. Visit our website for salary reviews or email to ask us.
3. Newly Qualified and Post Qualification Experience.
4. Look around as much as possible and use any job offers to lever an offer out of your existing firm if you want to stay.

Visit our website at https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/newly-qualified-solicitors/ for further advice.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. 




Selling Training Contracts and Work Experience - is it legally and morally acceptable?

We have recently heard about a firm in the North of England offering training contracts for £20,000 and work experience for a lot less. I suspect the Law Society may have something to say if anyone ever reported the firm for doing this, but we were thinking about it from a moral standpoint.

Many years ago we were approached by a redundant manager from a large manufacturing company who had taken an LLB and LPC in his later years. He could not get anything from any law firm, which was fairly understandable as he had no experience and academic performances were not great.

This candidate came up with the idea of offering to buy the equity of a law firm. My understanding is that he was intending to purchase part of the freehold or leasehold of a law firm's building and then waive the rent over a period of time in return for the chance to do work experience and a training contract with the practice. I recall that he had a number of serious enquiries!

Even if it was legal to sell training contracts, I hope we do not go down that route as a profession. It seems that the entrance into law is so easy with every university selling LLB courses, LPC and BPTC qualifications for figures seemingly plucked from the sky, but no-one ever gives the harsh reality of how much a law student would be earning once they have qualified into any firms other than central London commercial firms.

I reckon I would have been happy to pay about £5,000 to do a 2 year training contract in a decent commercial firm. How much would you have forked out?

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, a non-practising solicitor and legal careers coach.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop




The Law in WHSmiths? Quality Solicitors Law Society Gazette ad

We received our copy of the Law Society Gazette yesterday with an advert attached for Quality Solicitors. They have teamed up with WHSmiths to offer legal services from a range of WH Smiths outlets and there appears to be a recruitment drive for more firms to join the operation in light of this and other expansion.

I was thinking about the WH Smith side of things and noticed that the advert gives 2 scenarios for customers considering which solicitor to instruct - Scenario 1 - Yellow Pages, telephone quotes, internet search and then needing to book time off work to see a traditional solicitor operating during standard office hours, unfriendly receptionists giving quotes, paying up front fees, and nervousness about being in a solicitors office. Scenario 2 - go into WHSMiths and see a Quality Solicitors firm when shopping on a Saturday.

From a marketing perspective, I think the approach Quality Solicitors have taken is commendable. They have obviously invested money in pushing a national brand and aim to get themselves noticed by consumers and business.

However I have been thinking about the WH Smiths side of things and wondering how much of the scenario played out on the front of the flyer is actually ever going to happen.

The last time I needed a solicitor it was for commercial litigation. I looked at http://www.legal500.com/, found the local firms recommended for the work, checked out a few websites to see who was up to date and contactable by email and then called a couple for a price. I spoke to partners on both occasions and got competitive quotes. My decision to go with one firm rather than the other was based on price at the time.

The previous time before that was for a will. I looked at http://www.legal500.com/, found out who the highly regarded local firms were, called up and spoke to a legal executive and booked an appointment once the price was established. This was based on expertise and reputation, both very easy to research now on the web with online directories and forums.

Personally I am not sure a consumer or businessman would ever want to discuss a legal issue with a lawyer, paralegal or sales person in WHSmiths (my apologies to Quality Solicitors - I couldnt tell from your ad which of these would be present - please email to add into the article) on a shopping trip on a Saturday. My wife would probably have kittens for starters, and I wonder whether people will think that the business is claims management or some sort of franchise being operated like a will writers business. Would I get to speak to a partner or solicitor immediately in the same way I did when calling up on the two occasions given above, or simply someone manning the stall and making appointments?

Of course only time will tell whether this is a shrewd move or one that backfires. It would be interesting to know how much business DHL pick up from teaming up with WHSmiths for parcel delivery services. I go into WHSmiths to buy Private Eye, browse books, go to Costa Coffee, look at the games or get a gift card - legal services? I'm not sure. Will the brand pick up passing trade and get business this way?

It reminds me of the RAC and the AA manning stalls outside service stations. How much business comes in from that particular activity? Does it add anything to the brand to be teaming up with the service stations to sell breakdown services to anyone passing or do they just tend to sell to someone desperate at that moment as they think their engine is about to blow and their subscription has expired?

I have not written this article to criticise Quality Solicitors and if anyone from the company or an individual law firm within the group would like to comment, please note that I will post this news item onto the http://www.legalrecruitment.blogspot.com website - all comments added (provided they are not from SEO companies trying to boost rankings!).

It is certainly the case that a lot of law firms need to up their game with marketing and advertising, and so many still live in the Stone Ages. A friend of mine was recently recounting calling round firms in a market town in North Wales for a quote for conveying a piece of land, getting very surly receptionists giving one size fits all prices, opening times that were inconvenient and being extremely depressed at the end of it....

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.










Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.
www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop



Getting out of Law - our experiences from career coaching

Career coaching is a fairly integral part of our business and something we have been doing since 2001. Quite a few of the people who come to see us are solicitors who have completed betweeen 3 and 5 years post-qualification and disillusioned. One of the most popular queries is: "surely there is something more to life than this?".

Getting out of the legal profession is similarly a very popular topic that we spend some time advising on. If you are considering this yourself, please bear in mind the following quick advice.

Lawyers tend to fall into two categories.

1. Those who think they want to leave the legal profession but actually have problems in their workplace.
2. Those who have no problems with the work place but actually thoroughly dislike law and the legal profession.

It is important to differentiate between the two situations if you are considering your own position. Highly paid London solicitors often want to leave their jobs because although they are very well paid they work long hours or there is a partner causing problems at work or systematically bullying staff. Lowly paid high street solicitors often want to leave the profession because they are badly paid. High street solicitors want more money, commercial solicitors want more time.

http://www.lawcare.org/ have a good list on their site of alternative jobs and professions lawyers have gone into that may be of interest. Some solicitors feel trapped as any advice sought is often met with well-intentioned "are you sure, seems a waste to leave after all that training."

For legal career coaching please visit www.ten-percent.co.uk/career.htm
We have two dates available in the next 4 weeks in central London - 24th May and 1st June.

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop