Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

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