Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Is it possible to work as a Paralegal when you are a Qualified Solicitor

 
This question comes up all the time and is quite a common query that we imagine the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are getting better at answering due to the sheer number of people asking the question. Many years ago the advice seemed a bit varied at times, but we have recently had a candidate who wanted to work in a locum role in the short term and waiting to go back on the Roll and get a practising certificate after some time spent outside the profession. She has been given fairly concise advice on whether she could work as a paralegal whilst waiting to be readmitted which we are repeating here.
This article is written as a discussion point and is not intended to be advice in any shape or form. For full advice on your particular set of circumstances please speak to the SRA (or whoever else you like, but please do not depend on the information in this article!). The SRA have a simple online test to determine if you need a practising certificate and this is available here: https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/guidance/ethics-guidance/when-do-i-need-a-practising-certificate-/
The simple test appears to be that if your name is not on the roll of solicitors in England and Wales, either as a practising or non-practising solicitor, then the SRA have no problem with you taking work as a paralegal or non-qualified lawyer, provided you do not hold yourself out as a solicitor. Conversely, if your name is on the roll of solicitors, even if you are classed as a non-practising solicitor, then you cannot work as a paralegal and would have to apply for a practising certificate and have this in place.
We make no comment at all on whether this is a good idea, a bad idea or something that should be prohibited, but we see a number of locum conveyancers, private client lawyers and corporate commercial lawyers working this way for a host of differing reasons. We also repeat that you should speak to the SRA if you have any questions about this issue and not depend on this article..



Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Legal Recruitment News February 2020

February 2020 Legal Recruitment News is available here to read:

http://www.legal-recruitment.co.uk/february-2020-legal-recruitment-news/


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Poor Customer Service and How to Improve It


We use a number of job boards to post our vacancies on. One of these job boards is Reed.co.uk. We have been customers of Reed for over 10 years and have always found their job board to be very cost effective and worthwhile, although they really want to sack their PR agency - the TV ads are terrible!

They started out as a recruitment agency themselves before setting up a job board and offering other recruitment agents free credits to post on it. Before long they had turned into a major player in the job board market.

After Christmas 2018 we saw a spate of job advertisements coming our way from our clients right across the UK and with all shapes and sizes of job vacancies. We were very pleased to see this because our concern was that after Christmas and the arguments about Brexit just before, we would see a dramatic slowdown in work, but this did not happen in the first few weeks of January as we saw an increase in the number of applicants coming our way via our own sites.

Email Issue - nothing to do with us

We saw nothing of the sort in relation to Reed. Reed sent us precisely no CVs at all after Christmas, and this surprised us greatly because of the number of applications we were getting elsewhere. At first we thought it was an anomaly, but after a few days of not receiving any CVs we thought we had better check with our software company to make sure that there were no errors at their end. Our software company, Logic Melon, confirmed that everything was running to plan at their end, and so I contacted Reed.

The telephone call, which no doubt has been recorded for training and monitoring purposes, consisted of me asking the Reed sales operative what the problem was, and whether any issues had been reported through the lack of CVs being sent to us. I should add that by now we were aware of a number of CVs from candidates who had applied but where Reed had not actually sent us a copy of the CV.

The Reed sales operative informed us that they had been having problems because of one of their suppliers, namely their email service provider who had experienced difficulties, and were working to resolve it. The sales operative assured me that the service would be up and running as soon as possible and was about to come off the phone at that point.

I asked him why a company of the size of Reed had not got in touch with its customers to notify them of the problems with the service, and to warn them to check their accounts to make sure they were getting CVs through, particularly because the whole purpose of having a Reed account is to attract applicants to your vacancies. If no applicants are coming via the job board there is no point advertising on it. The Reed operative informed me that it wasn’t Reed’s fault and it was actually their supplier. I have to confess I did get a little bit hot under the collar at this point and pointed out that if I contacted my clients when anything went wrong and blamed everybody else other than myself I wouldn’t have any clients very long at all. It was about 5 minutes into the conversation before the man from Reed actually said that Reed were sorry for the inconvenience caused. I still had to ask after this for Reed to send me an update once the service was resolved so that we could stop needing to check continually to see if any CVs had been added to the system.

This is a classic example of a failed sales opportunity. Reed knew they had a problem, they knew what the problem was and they knew that a number of their clients had been affected. They chose to tell nobody about the problem and to instead leave their customers to work out themselves that there had been an issue. Even once the customer had worked out themselves that there had been an issue, they then had to go through a process of ringing Reed to find out that Reed knew already that there was a problem, and even then Reed did not offer any form of apology and instead blamed the supplier.

So how could Reed have dealt with this matter more effectively? 

The first thing they should have done was to contact all their customers to tell them that there was an issue on the system and to keep an eye out for any CVs not arriving safely from candidates applying for jobs. They could then perhaps have extended everyone’s contracts for a month or given them extra CV credits by way of an apology, as I don’t think we would have thought much of the incident other than to be impressed that Reed had informed us that there was an issue. By completely failing to inform us of the issue, and instead tried to blame someone else and not apologising at all at any point without being prompted, was just really poor customer service, and for a company the size of Reed one would expect considerably better.

This is fairly common in dot com companies where no-one ever wants to apologise for anything or even speak to the customer because they don’t really care and they’re so big they can get away with ignoring you. I am not sure whether this applies to Reed, but I have to say I was mightily disappointed at the attitude shown to me on the phone. The salesman who spoke to me was not rude in any way, but he had clearly been briefed by somebody not to apologise or to take any action to support the customer who may or may not be experiencing an issue with the service.

This article is written by Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment who regularly blogs on issues affecting the recruitment industry and also the legal profession. He is available for press and media comments at cv@ten-percent.co.uk.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Psychic Predictions for 2020 - how did he do in 2019?



Annual Predictions - how did the professional psychic do?

We have been following the predictions of Craig Hamilton-Parker of psychics.co.uk for some years now - it is fascinating to see how he fares every year with his previous year's predictions.
Here are a selection of Craig's 2019 predictions together with our scores: 

THERESA MAY GOES - She survives until Brexit on the 29th March but resigns immediately afterward. (correct - sort of)
HARD BREXIT BUT NO IRISH BORDER
The Irish border is left open. A ruptured border allows the free flow of international goods into Europe. Ireland eventually enforces the border. (incorrect - so far...)
POUND SOARS AFTER BREXIT
The City of London sees unprecedented activity and a general improvement after a sharp initial fall. (incorrect - no brexit yet!)
NEW POLITICAL PARTY FORMED
I have spoken about this in the Sun newspaper psychic predictions in 2017. I believe it will happen this year and will draw politicians from all parties. (correct!)
BORIS JOHNSON BECOMES TORY LEADER
In a close fight with David Davis, Boris eventually becomes PM (correct!)
GENERAL ELECTION CALLED
Late in the year, maybe in September, there will be another election. Tories win we see the rise of a new political party. (correct and incorrect but title is accurate..)
PROPERTY MARKET IGNITES: FIRST TIME BUYERS REWARDED
The government offers huge incentives to first time buyers. Incentives for tenants to buy from Landlords. (incorrect)
BUSINESS BRIBES
A top company is accused of fixing an international deal using bribes. There is a Scottish influence connected with this story. Nicola Sturgeon implicated. (incorrect)
UK FLOODING
Large swathes of the country see record flooding. Hardest hit are the West Country and Lancashire. (incorrect)
INDUSTRIAL EXPLOSION (the UK and or the USA?)
A large factory explodes. Initially I ‘saw’ in my psychic predictions a Gas Works but I feel that there are chemicals involved. (incorrect)
RUDI GIULIANI BETRAYS TRUMP
Trump promotes Rudi Giuliani to a high office. Giuliani turns on Trump when a new scandal hits the fan. Rudi Giuliani will one day run for president. (incorrect - so far..)
RIOTS IN CHINA: DEBT BUBBLE BURSTS
China plunges into recession and people take to the streets. (incorrect)
RUSSIA HIT BY METEORITE
A large meteorite hits Russia and makes the international news. This is not a threat to the world but a wakeup call that we pay more attention to avert future problems. (incorrect).
If we have inaccurately marked any of the above please let me know, but we reckon Craig's predictions were correct on the basis of 4 out of 13...

Here are a selection of his predictions for 2020:


War in the Middle East
Trump Reelected
Boris Marries Carrie Symonds
Meghan Markle Pregnancy
Revolution in China
European Economic Crisis
After some temporary leaders and a period of strife, Yvette Cooper becomes the leader of the Labour Party.
Prince Charles will be hit by an egg.
Elizabeth Warren will be the Democrat Presidential Contender
We will revisit in January 2021 with a score! Incidentally psychics are available now to speak to at £1.50 per minute on the website above...

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Views on Local Authority Locum Solicitor Rates



Local Authority Rates for Locums - a view from a local authority locum

A locum with experience of the local authority market very kindly emailed us over an outline of their experience of the locum market during their career to date."I am responding to your request for feedback on locum rates. I worked as a locum employment solicitor for local authorities [for 10 years]. All roles were through an agency. I often worked on large employment tribunal cases and would be involved in recruiting other locum solicitors so I have some insight into their hiring processes.My initial roles (Northern England) were paid at £18 and £21 respectively although this was because the agencies concerned misled me about market rate. I found out that [one council] had initially taken me over other locums as I was so cheap!I then worked at [a West Midlands Council] for around £32 per hour, although I was able to negotiate a higher rate due to the need to live away from home.

I eventually ended up at a [North West Council] for around £40 an hour and then [a Yorkshire Council] for £45 per hour. The feedback from agencies was that I was at the top end of local authority rates for employment work.The bottom fell out the locum market (for employment solicitors anyway) around 2008. I had managed to negotiate the high rate at [a Yorkshire Council] as they knew my work but procurement took over the management of hiring locums and tried to force everyone onto setrates. I was offered £28 per hour which I refused. I then worked at [a West Midlands Council]. I was on £28 as a senior solicitor and a junior locum solicitor was paid £24. Most local authorities were offering similar rates at the time - this was the first time I had periods of no work since I'd first started working as a locum. I was offered a job at an [East Anglian Council] for £28 and I think I was offered a similar rate to return to [a West Midlands Council].My last locum assignment was in 2014 in [a Northern England Council] and I was paid around £32. At that point I decided to stop working as a locum because it was no longer lucrative.There had been some scandal where a local authority had paid one of their locums around £90 (allegedly!) as he was a friend with a senior officer at that council. It seemed to have some impacton scrutiny of local authority pay although in all honesty, the recession was the bigger factor in pushing pay downwards and those rates don't seem to have recovered.

Generally most local authorities had set rates after 2008 and there was less flexibility to push those rates for an exceptional candidate. One of the ironies of public sector work is that generally the legal teams are able to get the client teams to pay the cost of instructing counsel whereas the costs of a locum are met by the legal department which is working to a tight budget - therefore the legal team will get a locum as cheaply as possible in the knowledge that they can use counsel for more complex work."We would like other comments from current and former local authority locums - what hourly rates have you come across in local authority locum roles and in which general locations in the country? You can email us at jbfagan@ten-percent.co.uk. All correspondence received in strictest confidence by Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited.
 

Family Solicitor Locum Rates - a view from a family law locum


A locum with experience of family law locuming in both private practice and local authority has kindly emailed us over an outline of their experience of the locum market during their career to date. This includes their local authority experience but also rates in the family law market.

"When I started 5 years ago I was charged at £28 per hour. This was through an agency. I qualified [over 20 years ago] and am an accredited mediator and children panel lawyer but also do finances and private law for which I also have accreditation . This carried on for about 3 years on different contacts at roughly the same rate .

I took on a local authority contract direct. This paid £40 per hour. They were a total nightmare. Didn’t pay on time. Wouldn’t pay if the IT wasn’t working and I couldn’t do matter related time. The worst employer ever. I did 10 months as it was local but I would never go back.

I’ve done numerous contracts since then all at £40-£45 per hour mainly for private client but some care. I have a different agent and feel that the rate reflects my many years of slog and getting accredited. I see my “ old “ agency is still offering roles for senior people at £24-28 per hour which makes my blood boil as they depress the rate for everyone. Transport and parking is so expensive these days rate that the first and sometimes second hour of my day represents my travel costs and parking for that day so I feel £40 is reasonable."

We would like other comments from current and former local authority locums - what hourly rates have you come across in local authority locum roles and in which general locations in the country? You can email us at jbfagan@ten-percent.co.uk. All correspondence received in strictest confidence by Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited.


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search 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.

January 2020 Legal Recruitment News

January 2020 Legal Recruitment News is available here to read:

http://www.legal-recruitment.co.uk/january-2020-legal-recruitment-news/

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals.