Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2006

Guide to being a nice boss at Xmas

20.12.06 how to be a nice boss towards your solicitors, fellow partners, legal executives, paralegals, secretaries and office cleaners at Christmas 1. Don't throw things at your staff. Particularly the Law Society Conveyancing Handbook - it hurts! 2. Don't get drunk at the Christmas party - this always leads to consequences remembered for decades afterwards. Whether this involves rambling incoherently about how useless one of your staff is, or some minor act of vandalism, your colleagues will remember you for it the following day even if you forget. 3. Give out Christmas cards - sign them neatly and legibly, so that your colleagues know who are you when they put it up at home. Do not scrawl your usual signature straight across the greeting. 4. Firing staff on Christmas Eve could lead to your car windows being put in, and your car tires let down. Your workforce would probably symphathise... 5. Having a Christmas party is always a good thing, even if they are usually tedious affa

19th December Legal Job Update

posts just into us as follows: 3077 Conveyancing, Commercial property Small practice near Chichester seek a locum to permanent solicitor at senior level. Chichester, Sussex, South Coast negotiable 3078 Crime South East London firm seek a crime solicitor, with police station accreditation, but from NQ level upwards, to join their firm. South London negotiable 3079 Wills & Probate Wiltshire firm seek a wills & probate lawyer to join their firm. Wiltshire, South West negotiable 3080 Family Panel member and supervisor for LSC sought by Pinner firm of smaller size. Firm concentrate on family law work, and deal with LSC and privately funded matters. Pinner, Middlesex, South East negotiable 3081 Wills & Probate Birmingham firm seek a wills & probate solicitor to join their team. Birmingham, West Midlands negotiable 3082 Commercial Property, Company Commercial, Landlord & Tenant Three commercial/commercial property lawyers sought for an immediate start by an East London fir

Christmas and Charity Giving

19.12.06 Christmas, Charity Giving and Legal Jobs.  We have just entered the Christmas quiet period, when everyone has better things to do than look at the internet for legal recruitment consultants and legal jobs, so everything quietens down until the New Year when the New Years Resolutions have kicked in and firms start to find their staff are on their way off to new pastures! As a result, if you are looking for legal jobs now, chances are you will find that not a lot happens until the New Year. If you have been thinking about a move, but not sure when to make it, a good time is the New Year - partners have had a chance to think about future progression, and where to expand or replace, and everyone tends to be in a relatively generous mood, which leads me onto my next point for this article - why do we give the Ten-Percent Foundation 10% of our profit to charity?  Well, when we set up the company, we wanted to link into the charitable giving angle as a means for promoting the company

Solicitors not working for peanuts

18.12.06 Firms complaining that there is a lack of quality out there and no candidates applying for their jobs, are often the same firms who offer rates of pay so low a solicitor cannot purchase a former local authority house! I regularly read about the shortage in good quality staff, and also get called by some firms about this, asking why we are unable to find a conveyancing solicitor for them or a licensed conveyancer. Some firms, who shall remain nameless, give us specifications so tight we are not sure that there are any solicitors able to join their firm, let alone some of our 3500 lawyers! An example of this would be a call we had last year that went "hello, we are X firm of solicitors, looking for a 3 year PQE conveyancing solicitor able to do residential conveyancing, commercial property, licensing, company commercial law and civil litigation, looking for a salary of up to £28k pa and able to start immediately. We are not paying your full fee as we do not think it is wort

City lawyers wanting a life of crime

13.12.06 City lawyers wanting to do a "John Grisham" and get down on the street. Every year we get a load of lawyers from magic circle firms wanting to "do a John Grisham" as it is known in the trade, and get down with the boys on the street. The phone call usually goes like this: "hello - this is a general query really and I am not sure if you can help me." "I work for Linklaters/Clifford Chance/Allen & Overy/some US firm/etc.. and I want to change my career direction - I feel it is important to do something I will enjoy, and I have decided to do crime work. Can you tell me about jobs X Y and Z?" At this stage many years ago I used to get quite excited. Afterall, this is a high calibre candidate looking for work, and someone with considerable talent. However, as I have become more hardened to the job, I now ask two questions. 1. Have you heard of the Legal Services Commission and Carter? 2. What do you consider a reasonable salary to live of

Solicitor Mums returning to work

Solicitors returning to work after having children It is apparently the case that mothers returning to work after starting a family suffer the highest employment penalty of any group. (Equalities Review). Mothers with children under 11 are 37% less likely to be offered a job than equivalent males. Single mums suffer even worse figures - with it rising to above 40%. Firms should not ask questions about childcare or how you will deal with work and children, although we know that some do. It is very hard for mothers to get back to work at times - not only do they have to make childcare arrangements, collect and drop children from nursery etc.. but also research shows that they are still expected to do the housework! Some mothers also report lacking confidence to go back to work or do their job again after caring for their baby at home. If you are a mother thinking about returning to work or about to go off on maternity leave, have a think about discussing the situation with your curr

Bargain Lawyers

11.12.06 Bargain Candidates Some firms seem very pleased at times when a candidate accepts an offer that is considerably below the market rate, but we think this is a false economy. I can think of two firms in recent times who have been aware of a candidate's limited geographical search area, or perhaps their requirement for supervision for various reasons, and have seized upon the option of offering a significantly lower salary than they ought reasonably to have done. Salaries that would possibly enable the person to afford Housing Association rent, and then perhaps to live a little bit if they took a second job in a fast food joint! When speaking to the partners, they have been really pleased with this, and we have actually been thanked for finding such a good candidate! This is a very short sighted policy, and we usually let the firm know this. Firstly, the candidate is going to start looking almost immediately for an alternative post, secondly they are not exactly going to be v

Paralegal Rant

08.12.06 Paralegal Rant Having run CV and careers workshops last week at a UK University, I have to take this opportunity to have a rant about entrants to the legal profession. Some law students (on the LPC especially) seem to think that legal work is going to come naturally to them, and they need to make no effort at all to find work. I ran workshops to review CVs for students and then give guidance on how to improve the CV's and explain where the CV fitted into the scheme of things. Having reviewed all the CVs, I could easily see who was going to get a training contract and proceed, and who was going to struggle. Starting the review, I looked through the CV as if I was a recruiter with 200 on the desk. I spent about 10 seconds going through. Usually this entailed a look at the name, the degree classification, and the work experience and background of the applicant. What surprised the group I think was the fact that work experience was so important. There were candidates there wit

Lawyers Work Life Balance

07.12.06 - Work Life Balance It becomes particularly acute once the candidate gets to about 3 years PQE, and realise that there is life beyond work, and other issues such as rearing a family, paying a mortgage and buying a house come into play. The legal profession as a whole suffers from a poor attitude towards the work life balance, as it results in a lot of despondent lawyers wondering what on earth is going on. I think it may be to do with the traditional approach to law that still survives in a lot of towns. This leads me onto another rant that is a particular bug bear, but one not relevant to this article about the quality of the frontage and state of offices of law firms, but that is for another day! What should lawyers be doing and how many hours is healthy? Firms need to be aware that solicitors are human beings, not robots. If you have a solicitor doing 60 hours per week at your offices, chances are he or she is doing it a) because you are not paying them enough to cover a mo