Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Law Students - Make a New Years Resolution not to get a 2.2 degree or Suffer the Consequences for the Rest of your Career

A message for all law students in their 1st, 2nd or even 3rd year. 

Make one New Years Resolution as follows:

"I will not get a 2.2 degree. I will work harder and get a 2.1."

In fact you could make two resolutions - the other resolution would be to get as much legal work experience as you possibly can but this does not add as much to your career at this stage as the first resolution so we will stick with this!

If you do not get a 2.1 or 1st class degree (and it seems a lot easier these days at certain Universities to get the latter), your legal career will be damaged. Forever. And Ever. And Ever More.

'What a load of nonsense' I hear you say. 
'Why would my career be affected in 20 years time by a degree I get when I am 21 years old?'

Why indeed! Unfortunately the legal profession is relatively easy to enter at a certain level, but very difficult to enter at another level. The difference is the salary you will earn for the rest of your career.

If you are happy earning £20,000 to £30,000 for pretty much the remainder of your career (until you are 65 years old) feel free to not bother working very hard at your degree and get a 2.2 or even worse a 3rd.

Chances are you will end up doing paralegal jobs for about 5 years, followed by a training contract you may well have managed to source courtesy of your paralegal work. When you qualify and apply for other firms who will pay you more than £15,000 some will reject you. Those that do not are likely to only offer you between £20,000 and £30,000. After about 3-4 years you will apply for other jobs, advertised at better pay levels, and be unpleasantly surprised when you get rejected. It may be that the firm you are applying to do not like your first firm, but more likely they will take one look at your degree and decide you are a bit of a slacker.

If you are not happy earning £20,000 to £30,000 do yourself a favour and work harder. It will change your life. Honestly.

Barristers

I won't even go near the barrister side of the profession. OK you've talked me into it.

Got a 2.2, no family links, not head boy or girl, not captain of the rugby or netball team or national champion debater coupled with no quality legal work experience in Chambers that lasted more than 5 days? Don't even bother doing the BPTC. Unless you are a glutton for lots of punishment and unrewarded effort coupled with forking out for the LPC as well as the BPTC once you have finished.


'I don't care, I'll just work as a legal executive.' 

Of course you will. After all, firms are crying out for lots of underqualified legal executives with 2.2 law degrees and no legal work experience. Legal executives tend to be grafters who have worked their way up through the ranks - secretaries, PAs, unqualified fee earners. Very few make the decision to become an ILEX out of choice. People tend to fall into this route and there is nothing wrong with this. However doing a law degree is not really going to push your career forward very much when going down this route.


A Horror Story
Let me tell you a horror story in one last effort to make you realise how important my advice above is.

I have recently been recruiting for a specialist solicitor post with a Tier 1 Legal 500 law firm. The field of law will stay anonymous at this stage. The firm require someone with about 4-5 different areas of expertise, most of which any solicitor working in any law firm in the country in this field of law will have. Salary levels are probably 50-75% higher than these candidates will get elsewhere. We have had applications from all types of candidates; those with outstanding experience in some areas and some from those with a bit of experience of all the areas.

However a lot of candidates have been unpleasantly surprised by instant rejection. We have even had telephone calls from indignant candidates asking why we haven't progressed them. I'll let you into a secret... this firm only recruit candidates with consistent academic achievement, even though they are looking at solicitors with 10-20 years PQE (PQE stands for Post Qualified Experience).

Consistent academic achievement means a minimum 2.1 degree classification plus good A levels (or equivalent). It does not mean a 2.2 degree followed up by a masters degree to try and hide the 2.2 degree as this is not academically consistent.

So even though perhaps it shouldn't, your law degree has an effect on you for the rest of your career. Get used to it. You are entering one of the most rigid professions in the country (after doctors and dentists) and getting a 2.1 degree is yet another burning hoop you have to jump through.

Does a 2.2 make a difference to who you are? I am not sure about that but whether this is right or wrong we do notice from time to time that candidates with poor or low academic results are more likely to have a grammatical or spelling mistake on their CV. Does this follow through into the candidate's work? Who knows. However legal employers seem to think so....

Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and Interim Lawyers.


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.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop
 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Employment Allowance - new tax break

The Employment Allowance - new tax break for small firms

The Employment Allowance was brought in for the last budget announcement. It appears to be a rather generous tax break which in return for ticking a box when doing PAYE online, SMEs get £2k knocked off their national insurance bill. There seems nothing else to it and apparently it also includes directors' salaries. This may be an attempt to encourage more limited companies to pay more of their senior staff in wages rather than dividends. We received an interesting update recently from a business magazine which included a link to the government's employment allowance calculator - www.employmentallowance.com/allowance-calculator. The start date is April 2014. Lets hope it turns out to be as good as it sounds..

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

How to retain staff during the Christmas Holidays

Retaining Staff after Christmas - A Guide

It is well known in recruitment circles that one of the best times to pick up new quality candidates is between Christmas and the New Year. There are a number of reasons for this but the main ones we seem to come across time and again are below. Most of these are avoidable as you will see:
  1. Inappropriate comments or behaviour at the staff Christmas party.
  2. No staff Christmas party arranged.
  3. No Christmas bonus paid.
  4. No Christmas cards, presents or bonus paid.
  5. No bonus paid despite one being promised (and/or pay rise).
  6. Lawyers having too much time to think about their workplace and colleagues when not at work.
  7. No chance of any progression and no real plans for the future indicated by the firm.
  8. Being called into work between Christmas and the New Year when other senior staff in the firm are still off work (good time for job hunting).
  9. No spirit of Christmas shown on the last day before the Christmas break (it is so easy to break up an additional hour early on Friday 20th!).
  10. A realisation over the Christmas that the candidate really hates the firm and it is time for a change.
8 out of 10 of these can be easily avoided. Replacing and recruiting staff is a very expensive business. Much cheaper to keep your existing employees!

Jonathan Fagan is a solicitor, qualified recruitment consultant and Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed here - www.linkedin.com/in/jbfagan

 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

Reference Checks and Rogue Candidates

Reference Checks - Lessons Learned

In this day and age, with LinkedIn, Facebook, Company-check.co.uk (very useful resource) and all the other online tools available, one would imagine that it is very difficult indeed for anyone to attempt to submit a CV and not be fully checkable. Unfortunately there are still those out there who try and a recent experience of a candidate registering for locum work has meant a tightening of our procedures as to who gets to register and be introduced for work.

A candidate registered with us and started to express an interest in locum and consultancy posts. We were a little bemused by the CV because it had numerous sections on that were more than just a little ambiguous in terms of the work undertaken in the recent past.

A check online did not reveal very much at all, but we received a tip off from a firm to say that the candidate's name had been changed slightly and in fact he had received a rather lengthy prison sentence for a multi-million pound VAT fraud, which might well explain why the CV was a little vague!

On discovering this we removed the candidate from our records but discovered him applying for roles on some of our satellite sites. He had not described himself as a solicitor but had become a 'legal consultant' since his incarceration.

Lesson learned! We have tightened up our procedures to try and ensure that candidates like this are unable to access our clients and vacancies.

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 Legal Practice Course - Unsustainable and Time for a Change?

The Legal Practice Course - time for a change?

We recently had a look at a few statistics surrounding the Legal Practice Course.

The current cost of undertaking the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law ranges from £10,845 to £13,905.
The Graduate Diploma in Law is £7,240 to £9,820 (depends on location).
Wolverhampton University fees, as a comparison, are £9,010 for the Legal Practice Course and Manchester Metropolitan charges £5,560 for the Graduate Diploma in Law.

According to government statistics there were 93,575 law undergraduates in 2011-2012. In 2011-2012 there were 4,869 training contracts available.

Assuming that over half of these are people who don't want a training contract, or go down the BPTC route, this still leaves a lot of potential candidates out there who are not going to get qualified - the figure does not include those entering via the GDL route.

If you consider that since 2008 the training contract figure has not increased, it means that there are probably well over 100,000 law graduates since 2008 who have not entered the legal profession via the solicitor route.

Thinking through the cost of the LPC - if you now complete this and get a training contract on the high street, assuming your salary remains less than £16,000 for the first two years of your training and less than £25,000 for the next two years, you are going to take about 6 years to pay off the fee (paying it at £200 a month). A mortgage and a family must remain a very distant possibility for most NQs at the moment.

Does this level of cost really create a sustainable future flow of potential trainee solicitors, or just deter those who do not have relatives and connections already in the business? Has the time come to restrict the academic institutions from providing LPC courses to those who stand little or no chance of ever progressing with a legal career?

Jonathan Fagan is a solicitor, qualified recruitment consultant and Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed here - www.linkedin.com/in/jbfagan

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, October 17, 2013

Are Local Authorities Ripping off the Tax Payer with the Rates they pay for Locum Solicitors?

I have been writing articles on the discrepancies between local authority rates and private practice solicitor firm rates for locums for some years now.

They are starting to get ridiculous.

To give a few examples:

1. We have over 500 immigration solicitors on our books. Most have a reasonable amount of experience. In private practice work the going rate on the permanent side is a salary range of about £20,000-£30,000. Very rare to get much more than this. On the locum side the hourly rate will almost always be about £20-23 per hour depending on the length of assignment. This is for legal aid work. For private and corporate immigration the rates can go up to around £30-40,000 and £25-28 per hour.

These are competitive market rates - if the market gets tighter, the salaries and hourly rates go up.

2. We have over 1,500 family solicitors on our books, about 200 of these have child care experience. Family solicitor locum rates are usually around the £25 per hour mark, going up to £35 per hour for professional locums and those in demand with repeat bookings. Salaries are usually around the £22,000-£40,0000 range.

Local authorities and NGOs are paying immigration locums around £30-35 per hour. To put this into context, this equates to a salary of £63,000 (7.5 hour day, 5 day week, 48 week year). Local authorities are paying child care solicitors up to £45 per hour, which equates to £81,000.

Why?

I went to a meeting one of our local authorities put on about 5 years ago when they switched over to a new way of working - the use of a Recruitment Process Outsourcing company. This basically meant the council outsourcing their HR department and a private contractor managing all the use of temporary staff across the county.

Suddenly any agency who wanted to supply to the council had to go through this company, which required agencies to purchase high levels of insurance, employ all locum staff and set fixed percentage rates for certain types of candidates - eg 18% for a solicitor.

The council staff assured us that this was the future. It meant lots of savings for the council in time, money and effort. I sat there at the time and thought that this was only going one way and that involved the council HR department laying off their staff. This was the only way the council were going to save money and this was all to do with the HR departments being extremely lazy and not wanting to call round more than one agency to find someone.

I shook my head in disbelief that someone could be so daft as to outsource their own job.

In fact I know that the main council employee was later being coached to find another post after being made redundant - less than 1 year after this meeting!

So why do I think that local authorities have ripped off the tax payer?

I think the LAs have created an artificial recruitment market with unsustainable hourly rates. The amounts indicated above for family law for example are more than most commercial property locums get in London in private practice.

Furthermore, most local authority locum posts tend to be longer term rather than shorter so the cost to the councils must be astronomical.

If our local council wants to get a locum in for 2 weeks to cover annual leave then they would have to contact their outsourcer and lodge the vacancy. The vacancy is then posted on a job board and an alert sent to a load of recruitment agencies at 'Tier 1'.

These agencies get first bite at the cherry. Each one will post CVs onto the site as quickly as possible, which are forwarded across to the council. If none of these are suitable, the Tier 2 and Tier 3 agencies will be offered a chance.

Each of these agencies will have had to comply with the outsourcers criteria to be allowed access - this includes employing locums - whereas in private practice most are self-employed and invoice directly - cheaper for all concerned and taking out high levels of insurance.

The market is set up to exclude smaller agencies, who really do not stand a chance of recruiting through the system. In law most locums are registered with a number of agencies anyway and so the Tier 1, 2 and 3 agencies will be almost certainly posting the same candidates.

As a result, every time a locum is used, I reckon the local authority is paying about 50% too much by way of hourly rates.

Is this a scandal?

I suspect most local authority locums will not think so!

After all, it is about time public sector work paid better than private practice, but what is the point in opening up services to the private sector and then creating a closed shop akin to the union dominance of workplaces back in the 1970s?

I reckon that in future this is going to be a scandal exposed in Private Eye or similar..... What do you think?

Jonathan Fagan is a non-practising solicitor and Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, owners of Interim Lawyers. We are not on any local authority panels, although we do have local authority locums!

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.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Offering Free Services to Clients to attract business - a good idea or a source of great frustration?

Free Services – are they ever appreciated?  
I am not sure if a study has ever been done of these, but a recent experience has made us re-evaluate our own offerings. One of the services Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment offers is ‘free CV checks’. This involves lawyers and law students sending us their CVs for us to give them the once over before replying with our general impressions. We pride ourselves on offering this service without any reference to our paid CV services or our recruitment agency work, although we naturally hope that visitors come back and use us.
This week I received a CV from a law graduate requesting a free CV check. I had a look through and replied with feedback to say that his CV was unlikely to get him any interviews and needed work. I gave him a few pointers where improvement was needed and also suggested that he may want to get legal work experience to improve his chances (he didn’t have any).
Ten minutes later I received an email informing me that our response was unprofessional and besides what did we know anyway – we weren’t recruiters… I emailed back to point out that it was a free service, we are recruiters and have over 10 years of experience advising on CVs for senior partners and district judges through to law students.
Ten minutes after this I had obviously so enraged this law graduate with my response that he telephoned me. The conversation was fairly brief (I hung up) but in essence the law graduate demanded to know why we had criticised his CV and what gave us the right to give him such negative advice.
After experiencing this and other similar instances of free services provided by our company (one involved finding a graduate a training contract which they didn’t bother turning up for), we have come to realise that it doesn’t matter what price you charge for a service, people always have similar expectations of the service.
A free session of legal advice from a law firm is going to be provided to someone who will have the same expectations of the session if he had paid for it. The graduate described above would have probably responded in the same way if I had charged him the £64.99 we usually charge for a full CV review.
Sometimes I question whether a free service has any effect at all on increasing future business levels. Perhaps charging for a service is the best option to avoid feeling angry, if nothing else?
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes the Legal Recruitment blog, an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk or visit one of our websites.

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
 

Duty Solicitor Slots and the Legal Services Commission (LSC) - the story continues...

The Duty Solicitor and LSC Debacle
A recent case we have been involved in as recruiters has finally hit the big time. The LSC have been heavily criticised by an MP for their dealings with a duty solicitor. Yesterday Steve McCabe MP stood up in the House of Commons and delivered a speech to question the relevant minister about the matter. I have pasted below his press release, sent out shortly before the speech was made.
The link to the Hansard entry is: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130903/halltext/130903h0002.htm#13090344000002 - gives a bit of information as well about the government's plans.
We are involved in the case as the recruitment agency who introduced Mr Majid to Knights Solicitors. This was a last minute introduction, done before a duty solicitor rota deadline in 2010. Mr Sajjad Khan/Ahmad, the senior partner at Knights Solicitors, was arrested by police and is currently due to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Press Release from Steve McCabe: MP slams Legal Aid Agency in House of Commons debate
Steve McCabe, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Selly Oak, is due to bring the Legal Aid Agency, formally the Legal Services Commission, to task over its unfair treatment of a constituent in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 2 September 2013.
Steve McCabe was first contacted by Kamran Majid in summer 2011 when he asked Steve to take up his case. Since then Steve has been trying to get a meaningful and genuine response from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) but to no avail.
Mr Majid was taken on as a solicitor by a firm which were under investigation by the LSC for large scale fraud. Despite this the LSC allowed Mr Majid’s Duty Solicitor submission to be registered with them in May 2010 but then 20 days later the LSC terminated all legal aid contracts held by Knights Solicitors. This meant that Mr Majid could not undertake any of the legal aid work the LSC had previously approved him to do.
Mr Majid requested that he transfer his legal aid work to another solicitors firm as the LSC had done with 15 other solicitors. However, the LSC refused to do this and did not offer any meaningful explanation; it seemed the LSC were somehow implicating Mr Majid in the alleged fraud at Knights Solicitors. This had grave consequences for Mr Majid who felt his reputation was irrevocably damaged; he was put under considerable financial strain and left without employment for 7 months.
After persistent enquiries from both Steve McCabe and Mr Majid the LSC decided to admit that they actually did make an error in allowing 15 other duty solicitors in similar positions to Mr Majid to pursue legal aid work. This happened before and after the sanctions taken against Knights Solicitors. Although the LSC admitted an error they did nothing to correct it and allowed the 15 other solicitors to enjoy a benefit which they denied to Mr Majid.
Steve McCabe also brought this matter before the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman but no satisfactory response from this body.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“I have called this adjournment debate as I do not believe that the LSC, which is a publicly funded body, have acted in a proper way towards my constituent. I do not feel that at any point they have helped me with my enquiries and it appears they have purposefully tried to mislead both myself and Mr Majid.
“The crux of the matter is that the LSC penalised my constituent but allowed 15 other solicitors an opportunity they denied to my constituent. This is clearly unfair and we need to know how they made a ‘mistake’ before and after Mr Majid’s case but can claim they got it right for him. I also want to know why the LSC approved my constituent’s contract with Knights Solicitors if the very same firm was under investigation for fraud and was being shut down only days later.
“Does the LSC not have a duty to protect solicitors that carry out legal aid work? In my opinion Mr Majid is an innocent victim of public bureaucracies who have protected themselves rather than the innocent party and I hope the Minister will pursue this matter. We are talking about several million pounds being lost in fraud and these people at the LSC covering it up and picking on an innocent man. It’s an utter disgrace.”

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
 

Has the Co-operative gone completely mad?

Has the Co-operative gone completely mad?
In recent times it has been reported that the Co-operative has lost over £3.5 million via its legal division, but at the same time it plans to introduce apprentice-style online legal career training to new employees.
The Co-operative has been offering legal services for some time. Salaries appear to be higher than on the high street and the Co-op has never seemed particularly bothered about recruiting staff with particular qualifications – ie solicitors - and are more concerned with experience.
At the same time they have an LSC family contract and took on a whole tranche of family lawyers including a high profile lawyer from TV Edwards.
It must be asked though – which executive at the Co-op thought there was money to be made in legal services like LSC funded family law work? How does the Co-op plan to make legal services a sustainable service like their funeral arm? Did they really look into the market in any depth before taking the plunge?
One would have thought that it doesn’t take much research to work out that a high profile family lawyer from TV Edwards earning say £65,000 is going to need to do about £190,000 worth of work in a year (or add value to the business for the same amount) to justify their existence. How on earth would this happen when most LSC funded family law work is paid at a rate that would require a solicitor to bill 100 hours a week to get anywhere near to this?
Yes, but the probate is where the money is. This is almost certainly true, but how many people feel comfortable talking about probate to a funeral director or a call centre operative recommended by a funeral director? How many prefer to speak to the local solicitor who will almost certainly be cheaper, and also be considered by the client to be more accessible and available than a legal adviser speaking to them via the telephone from Cardiff?
Have the Cooperative gone completely mad? Quite possibly. After all they did buy up rather a lot of toxic debt from a building society lending to anyone and everyone around that well-known boom town of Stoke-on-Trent…..
Does any of this benefit solicitors firms in competition with organisations like the Co-operative? Who knows…..
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes the Legal Recruitment blog, an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk or visit one of our websites.

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
 

Unlimited Legal Recruitment for £60 a month deal - last chance to join?

Legal Recruitment £60 Membership Deal for Review

Since July 2011 Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment has offered a deal whereby law firms with less than 100 staff pay £60 a month for 5 years and enjoy unlimited recruitment at all levels. At present we have 85 law firms signed up. Some firms are more active than others, but we have members who use us to cover their locums annually, others who recruit once every few years, and others who are constantly on the lookout for new staff. All our members benefit from the lower costs involved in using the scheme rather than one-off recruitment agency services or paying for Law Society Gazette advertisements. The price and system will be reviewed for new applications once we acquire 100 members.

The system operates in a similar way to a fixed rate mortgage. You can set your recruitment agency fee outgoings for 5 years at a very low price. We anticipate, following our review, that there will be an increase in the monthly fee for new members and a staggered fee system for firms of differing sizes.

If you would like to be one of the last 15 firms to benefit from the £60 universal fee for 5 years before we complete our review, please get in touch as soon as possible – full details about the scheme can be found at www.ten-percent.co.uk/membership-services 
 
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, August 12, 2013

CV Reviews - Volunteers Wanted for Free CV Reviews, Covering Letters and Application Form Reviews

CV Reviews - Volunteers Wanted CV Reviews, Covering Letter and Application Forms

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment have been operating a Legal Careers Service for over 10 years. Every August we think of something new to do – one year we contacted all the law departments at various universities to offer our services, another year we offered University Law Societies free careers products.

This year we have decided to review five of each of the above at no cost for solicitors, legal executives or anyone else who wants us to.

The catch? We will publish your CV, covering letter/email and application forms on our website with our annotated advice and suggestions for improvement. We will redact your contact details and name only. This advice can then be used by others who will be able to comment on our advice and your documents. If you would like to take advantage of this service please email your CV, application form and/or covering email/letter to cv@ten-percent.co.uk.

 Please do not telephone us regarding this and please do not expect a response to your email. We will only respond to the lucky five in each category once we have reviewed the documents and posted them onto our website with our feedback. This could take about 6 weeks, depending on our recruitment workload at the time.


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. 

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop
 
  

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

June Legal Recruitment News available at Legal-Recruitment.co.uk

June 2013 Legal Recruitment News now available at www.legal-recruitment.co.uk - articles on working in retirement - advice on locuming for senior solicitors, recent salary levels and hourly rates observed by Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and our most recent legal job market report, also available at 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

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Legal Recruitment News April 2013

Legal Recruitment News is out for April 2013.

Please visit http://www.legal-recruitment.co.uk/legal-recruitment-news-april-2013

This month's articles include an extract from this blog on whether swearing is ever acceptable in business and asks whether postgraduate legal education is a rip off. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment includes a legal job market update and there is also an extract from the KPMG job survey for April 2013. Click the link above to visit the site and read the newsletter.

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, March 18, 2013

Is Swearing Ever Acceptable in Business when Speaking to Clients?

Last week I attended the Recruitment Expo, which is a little bit like a day of CPD together with trade stands.  One of the seminars was delivered by a very well-known recruitment trainer and someone highly respected within the business, particularly for his headhunting courses.  As part of his quick 20 minute presentation, this trainer was giving 20 objections and how to overcome them.  (i.e. when clients are prevaricating before agreeing to either speak to you or take on a member of staff through you as a recruiter). 

A couple of times in the first 10 minutes he used fairly mild swear words as part of his presentation.  These didn’t seem to be out of place per say although they did make me consciously aware that he had just sworn to his audience.  However,  when he got to his point about clients phoning and giving out vacancies he used the phrase "Well F**k Me", not once but twice. He then went on to use the “F” word at least twice more.

I should say that when it comes to swearing I am not exactly an angel myself! 

What made this so unusual was the setting in which the trainer had decided it was appropriate to use such strong language.  He was speaking to a room of virtually complete strangers, some of whom are high level HR Directors and recruiters working for multi-nationals as well as owner managers of smaller recruitment agencies such as myself.  He had no idea who anyone in the room was or what their sensitivities were for use of this strong language. 

I sensed that he wanted to use the language to almost stun his audience into waking up or listening more closely or to simply shock us into action. 

His point was a very valid one and one I had not really thought of before (going off a tangent here - stay with me!) which is that when a client phones us completely out of the blue with a permanent vacancy you could almost guarantee that:
  1. The vacancy is complete and utter rubbish and will involve something like a requirement for an Oxford educated solicitor speaking fluent Lithuanian solicitor who wants to work in Bognor Regis and get paid £6 an hour,
  2. The lawyer phoning us will almost certainly have called another 10 agencies who will almost immediately proceed to call the same candidates and annoy them all tremendously and 
  3. Even when you find them the perfect candidate (having achieved the impossible) the firm will then decide they don’t wish to recruit because the whole thing was an exercise being run to see what would happen if they did decide to recruit. 
However, personally I felt there was no need to use such strong language and although it does not offend me if somebody uses words like that, it made me feel very uncomfortable in that particular setting. 

I was fascinated by what the trainer had to say and a colleague from my company went on one of this chap's headhunting courses many years ago and came back armed with lots of CDs and extras which I spent time listening to and found very useful.  However I would hesitate before booking onto one of his courses again because I thought it undermined his professionalism to use this type of language in that type of setting.  

Whilst I would expect that type of language if I was playing cricket with a group of blokes in the changing rooms and after a match where we had just been slaughtered, I would not expect it as an owner manager and director of my own business sat in a room with lots of other similar people. I thought to a certain extent it showed a lack of respect for me and the remainder of the audience and I was not impressed to say the least.

So the question is, is it ever appropriate or acceptable to swear to a client or on a course? 

I lectured at Huddersfield University for about 5 years, giving LPC students advice on CVs and interview technique.  In that time I don’t think I ever swore once and I think if I had sworn I would have felt mortified afterwards. It simply would not have felt appropriate to swear whilst giving a course.  

If I was being employed as a professional to deliver certain advice to students and it’s almost felt like a badge of honour to be doing this in a professional capacity as a non-practising solicitor.  I suspect that the students I was delivering my advice to would have found my advice reminished if I had used strong language as part of my presentation.

I used to work as a criminal defence solicitor (when pay was just appalling rather than impossible to live on).  

The clients regularly sat and went through a pack of cigarettes in my presence, peppering their language with very strong “F” and “C” words every other word and I rarely felt uncomfortable with them doing this because I accepted it was part of their language and the setting we were in. Afterall if I was facing 14 years in prison for armed robbery I would probably want to smoke a pack of cigarettes and swear every other word myself. 

However I don’t think I ever swore to a client because I felt (and still do feel) that if I had done this I would have been considered less of a lawyer in their eyes.  They hadn’t come to me for advice because I was a friendly person who was on the same wave length as them and could get down with the boys and use as much bad language as they did, they came to see me because I was a qualified professional and respected member of society (regardless of what politicians try to paint as an alternative picture of solicitors). 

The same applies when I work as a recruitment consultant.  If I know a candidate well then my language may be slightly less formal, but for everyone else I deal with I try to have the same level of professionalism that I did as a solicitor.

I could only see one circumstance when it would be acceptable to swear and that would be when quoting someone else or to get over a particular point in a story.  Personally I cannot see any other reason why you would want to use such strong language either with client or with professionals on a training course. 

You may beg to differ with this and I would welcome any comments.

I have also put a link to this article on our Facebook and Linked In pages where you can add your own comments and thoughts.  

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes the LegalRecruitment blog, an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession.  You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk or visit one of our websites.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

10 Top Interview Questions for Lawyers in 2013

10 Top Interview Questions for 2013
Interviews have got a lot tougher in recent times – reports of honest feedback being given (‘candidate was useless and just mumbled’ or ‘candidate was completely over the top and needs to calm down’) means that employers are being much more selective as to whom they invest in and employ.


Here are our top 10 interview questions for 2013 - try them out if you are a law firm and as a candidate get ready for them! I was at a training course last week where the trainer basically stated that anyone who claims their business was affected by the recession has only themselves to blame. Not entirely sure how - after all it was a little unexpected to say the least - and if that mentality is starting to show, then it is likely it will also affect recruitment as well.
  1. Outline ‘quantitive easing’ in 20 seconds.
  2. I see you have moved about a bit. Does nobody like you?
  3. Why were you made redundant in 2007?
  4. Have you used the recession as an excuse for your own poor performance?
  5. Why hasn’t your billing increased in the last 2-3 years?
  6. How do we know you will not just take a better job in 6 months?
  7. What is your ideal job and how do we differ from it?
  8. What steps have you taken to reduce your own exposure to credit?
  9. Have you paid your mortgage off yet? Why not?
  10. What would be a good hourly rate/annual salary for you at this stage in your career? What about in 3 years time?
For 300 legal job interview questions for law firms please email me – jbfagan@ten-percent.co.uk and I will send you them over in pdf format by return.

Jonathan Fagan is MD of 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. 
 

Friday, February 22, 2013

When are Careers Advisers and CV Experts going to stop telling people to include skills and other waffly nonsense on a CV?

You may be able to judge from the above title that we are slightly biased on this point, but having just read through my 30th CV for the day and getting ready to throw the monitor out of the window and bang my head on the desk repeatedly, I have to ask the following question: Which idiot told careers advisers that employers like to see skills in the profile section of a CV? Anyone want to own up? I can't see any logical reason for including them. Let me give you some examples from the CVs I have been reading today.  

An enthusiastic and ambitious graduate with broad work experience and focused on building a career in the legal profession.

This candidate is in fact a highly experienced property fee earner, but my first reaction having read this would be to delete the email and CV.  

An experienced and highly competent civil commercial litigation solicitor who works well under pressure to consistently meet strict deadlines. Fluent and effective communicator with strong attention to detail, focused on achievement of objectives. Hardworking and reliable professional with a breadth of different experience since qualification. In the wider community in particular known to be determined, flexible and discreet. Now seeking alternative roles to reflect capability and experience.

This is a highly experienced litigation solicitor looking for locum work.

I am a conscientious & adaptable worker who enjoys working within a team environment as well as having the opportunity to work on my own initiative. I quickly absorb new procedures & techniques in order to meet deadlines & budget controls. I’m personable, presentable & articulate with the ability to reach all set targets. I am a loyal employee & a consistent achiever. I’m a good communicator & a reliable hard working individual. 

This is a legal cashier.

All of the above have one problem - none of these entries give me any evidence, hard or soft of their experience or ability.

I can call myself hardworking, but any of our candidates who tried calling this morning and discovered that I was playing golf may beg to differ!

I can also call myself a 'good communicator' or 'personable', but really who cares? Am I really bothered if someone calls themselves a good communicator? No! I dont care one bit.

Am I interested if someone has conducted over 200 hearings in the County Court in the last 12 months and has personal recommendations from satisfied clients? Yes, absolutely!

I know there are lots of CV writing companies out there who prepare CVs with this type of waffly nonsense on it and numerous experts on the web, but please, please, please dont do it. You are wasting space on your CV and the time of the reader of your CV. We don't care. We just want to see hard evidence of your experience and ability. Dont waste our time or yours...

Jonathan Fagan is a solicitor (non-practising) and MD of 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.

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, February 04, 2013

Getting Feedback from Legal Job Interviews - is it worth it?

Getting Feedback from Interviews – Is it Worth It?

 
This week I have coached a junior lawyer who came to see me for interview practice following a series of interviews where she had been rejected.

She had been given feedback on one occasion and the feedback had been that she was too timid and appeared to lack confidence. 

After interviewing her for 30 minutes, albeit in a practice scenario, it was pretty clear that this was not someone who was timid or lacked confidence and in fact a very able interviewee.  She was clear, lucid, able to answer complicated questions immediately without pause, come up with examples for competency based interview scenarios (e.g. describe a situation when …) and was not fazed by any rude or negative questions.  In fact, in terms of the standard she was at I would say she was more than competent as an interviewee and certainly did not lack confidence or was timid.

However, she was a very slight woman, fairly short and extremely softly spoken. 

I was curious to know who the interview was who provided this feedback, and guessed that it was a slightly or extremely overweight middle-aged man with a deep voice.  I was correct.

This feedback is completely useless to the interviewee. All it does is demonstrate the interviewer’s misconceptions and preconceived ideas that a woman who is fairly short and slender is firstly timid and second because she is softly spoken lacks confidence. Furthermore it damaged the interviewee's confidence unnecessarily.

So how useful is getting feedback from interviews?

 
Usually feedback supplied from someone who is being honest can be very helpful and constructive. Unfortunately the vast majority of feedback is neither.  HR Departments will often come up with some wishy washy response that is concocted and bears no relevance at all to the reasons you were rejected for a post.  This is partly because they are scared of being sued under employment legislation and secondly because very often they can’t remember who you are after interview.

Similarly feedback from an interviewer like the somewhat ignorant man in the example above can damage your confidence and affect your future prospects, even though what they say may not be true.

Problems with Feedback

The difficulty with interview feedback is that very often the feedback does in fact run the risk of leaving the employer open to some form of litigation, whether this is sex discrimination or even race discrimination.  There are so many times I have been told by an employer after we have sent a candidate for interview that the candidate was smelly, unkempt, likely to go off on maternity leave, had a difficult accent to follow and wasn’t sure how clients would cope, too short, too fat, too tall, too old, too young, female etc. 

After they have given us this feedback they then say but can you please make something up to say we’ve simply rejected them.
 

Why bother getting feedback from job interviews?


So what is the point in getting feedback?  The answer to this is simple. The more you stay in touch with an employer the more likely it is they will offer you a job or an opening will come up and you will be in the right place at the right time, even after they may have rejected you for a post. 
 
There have been so many occasions over the years I have been in recruitment where a candidate has pushed and pushed us to chase for feedback and eventually after two or even three months firms got back to say that they were impressed by the person’s tenacity and would like to offer them a job.
 
Quite often companies and employers do not have any set in stone recruitment procedure and it can be fairly fluid as to when they decide to recruit somebody. Although they may have advertised in a certain month, it may be that they change their mind and decide to not recruit for another couple of months until work picks up again.  You may just happen to be in the right place at the right time when it comes to that particular recruitment if you keep chasing for feedback from an interview a few months before.

Summary 


So in summary it is good to get feedback from interviews even though most of the feedback you get will be complete nonsense and not relate at all to you, BUT it does mean you stay in touch with the employer and it increases your chances of success.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of 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.

www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop