Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, August 24, 2007

August 2007 Legal Job Market Report

August 2007 - holiday season and wettest summer for years almost over

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment is made up of a number of different websites and you can register to improve your prospects via any of our sites. Our sites simply offer law jobs, and we are totally committed to legal recruitment - we operate, our main site, (property, wills, probate, litigation),, (crime - duty solicitors, police station accredited reps and NQ),,,, and (UK corporate and commercial solicitor recruitment by email). All our sites are an integral part of our legal recruitment group. We also offer a locum service for assignments of more than 1 month at  

We remain at the forefront of online recruitment, and currently feature fairly prominently on Google, Yahoo and MSN Search in the top 10 at most times. We retain our commitment to donate 10% of our annual net profits to charity. 

Registration of New Posts
We have found that new vacancies have dropped slightly, as partners of law firms go off on their holidays and find better things to do, such as watch or play cricket!

General Outlook for Permanent and Temporary Recruitment
For permanent placements the fields of law are shifting, although I have looked back and discovered that we are still placing crime solicitors, despite previous gloom and doom - it seems that London has become a desert for recruitment thanks to the redundancies, but everywhere else seems to have the occasional post.
Conveyancing is good - lots of work on both the temporary and permanent side coming in - although again London central not moving very fast. Other areas appear to have a bit of a shortage.
Personal injury - not very good, although commercial and civil litigation have picked up slightly.
In the temporary fields - TP Locums - - is finding increased numbers of assignments out there as firms struggle to attract new blood into firms, and are finding it easier to take locums for contract work and then ditch them when any source of work dries up.
It remains the same as always at NQ level - just not getting the vacancies into us in the same quantity - there are firms out there interviewing at present, and there seem to be increases across the board in the amount of work available. More and more of our recruitment is now focused more on experience rather than qualification.
Commercial litigation remains a barren wasteland, although we have had a couple of commercial litigation posts into us now, including an NQ one (second since 2004!).
Commercial property remains busy, and there is a real lack of any candidates in that field at times. Property litigation as well seems to be the 'in' thing, and I expect this to increase in time, as more and more issues arise for the new generation of landlords out there.
Age Discrimination and Newly Qualified Solicitors 
Things have not changed very much at all - I rue the days spent reading all the legislation and attending courses - what a waste of time! Our agency has never discriminated on any front, and I have been happy to put forward 70 year old lawyers for NQ jobs if they wish me to. Firms can do as they please really - if they want to ignore an application they will do, but just dress it up as something else. Still lots of ads for NQ-3 years PQE solicitors, which firms of specialist employment lawyers were advising recruiters to cease doing. I have noticed an increase in firms taking on older solicitors, which is good.
Conveyancing Jobs
Conveyancing - this has now picked up, and we are getting requests for CVs at all levels, although still not the mad mayhem it was a few years ago. The market is still improving for conveyancing - but salary levels have not increased very much. The Home Information Packs are a great unknown and sound a complete waste of time, let alone a scam to create yet another service industry that isnt really needed, and some firms are a bit wary about what the effect will be of these.. Click here for advice for NQ solicitors There remains a shortage of conveyancers in and around Leeds at present..

Crime Work
I have been writing essays on crime recruitment, but in short, we have now withdrawn all advertising for crime solicitors in London, and have started to avoid the work from the candidate end wherever possible to a certain extent. I am still getting people registering at high speed, but a few weeks ago we sent all the firms with registered vacancies with us in London (over 80) an email to ask if recruiting, and 2 got back to say yes! Most indicated that they were making redundancies or cutting salaries to survive, and I just view the whole thing with despair. What most people forget is that behind the rhetoric of loaded crime solicitors remains an army of completely committed workers getting paid less than milkmen to do some of the most undesirable jobs in the country for no thanks whatsoever, but at the same time performing one of the most vital civil liberty functions in the legal profession. I have noticed registrations from NQ solicitors asking for 15-17k salaries, and this perhaps is the most worrying aspect of all...
One glimmer of light remains the sudden emphasis on higher rights in job applications, as firms are currently starting to see that getting into the higher courts is one way they can increase their turnover, and I suspect barristers are definitely starting to look over their shoulders..., - both useful resources for further recruitment information.

High Street Fields
This year the key fields of law on the high street side so far remain crime (outside London), wills & probate, conveyancing and commercial property. Commercial litigation and personal injury remain extremely difficult to source work for on the NQ front and in fact we still get many litigators contacting us about each litigation post coming up in London. Personal injury has picked up a little bit in recent weeks, with posts being registered in different areas. 
Litigation posts as a whole appear to be coming back into fashion after a few years of nothing arising. We have continued to pick up these in the last month or so. 
In terms of geographical areas, we remain very strong in Hampshire, the South Coast, Kent, East Anglia, Essex, the South West, East & West Midlands, North Wales, the North West including Manchester, Chester, Liverpool, Yorkshire and Cumbria. 
Conveyancing jobs are increasing dramatically as the property market carries on. The Law Society Gazette has had a number of firms across the UK advertising recently, and we have noticed a continued marked increase in responses to our updates to firms for conveyancing lawyers with experience and also at NQ level. We have struggled to find conveyancing locums for example, when opportunities are plentiful on the whole.
Most other areas apart from London remain unaffected for anyone with 1 year PQE upwards, and interviews have been arranged across the UK for conveyancers with 2 years PQE upwards with no alterations to the norm at this time of year.  
Crime - 
Wills & Probate 
Wills & Probate has been an interesting field. Large number of firms looking as they have seen the potential in dealing with IHT work and trusts, which is inevitable following recent house price boom. Quite a lot of vacancies have also come into us from other areas in this field, with increasing numbers in the North West. East Anglia and the Home Counties are doing well at present, together with the South Coast, and the East Midlands is resurgent. London posts remain few and far between. Try visiting if interested in receiving further details for private client posts. 
Commercial Property 
There remain posts in almost every town for commercial property solicitors from NQ upwards. Firms have almost taken the collective decision that this is going to be the next boom area, and it is time to increase the size of their departments. Commercial property solicitors are in demand for recruitment in every area, and it seems even smaller practices are trying to get in on the action. After the last mini property blip a few years ago, a similar occurrence happened in the legal job market - the commercial property sector boomed. Commercial property solicitors outside of London can contact us (NQ still awkward in some areas) and we would be confident of securing a number of interviews in most areas of the UK, with plenty of the medium to large regional practices looking to take on staff. 
Family Law 
Not that mad at all - still posts there, but not that many - Carter has caught up I think... - although outside of London anything above 3 years PQE and if possible panel applications in already is going to result in interviews. East side of London currently poor. This remains a poor area to be looking at NQ level though - if you are a panel member outside the North East (which historically has been very poor for family law recruitment), we would be reasonably confident of securing a good number of legal job interviews for you - the south west is a particular hotspot - Plymouth firms in particular. 
Company Commercial and other Commercial fields - 
Chancery Lane is our corporate & commercial recruitment specialist arm and you can get details at The site specialises in the range of commercial fields usually associated with London City and regional practices - corporate commercial, mergers & acquisitions, shipping, competition, tax, banking, corporate finance, IT and IP, commercial property and construction. We hope to be expanding rapidly, and as this happens we will increase the amount of information we include in this section. 
Most areas have vacancies which have gone unfilled for a long time for senior and mid level company commercial solicitors not expecting London City firm salaries. Company commercial in the home counties quite popular as usual (3 years PQE upwards). Register with to stay up to date. 
The Ten-Percent site attracts solicitors and legal executives from across the UK, who register both with us and our specialist sites for our legal recruitment services. Although we deal with most legal jobs, including a subsidiary site for permanent legal secretaries ( most of our posts are for solicitors and ILEX candidates.  
Our sister sites, and are usually fairly busy (the latter dealing with conveyancing and private client recruitment). Particular hotspots are detailed below. 
Contact for Work
Contact Ten-Percent and register for our jobfinder service . You can contact Jonathan Fagan directly on 0845 644 3923 or at if you would like to discuss career opportunities. You can also read his blog, Legal Recruitment. 
We can provide you with regular updates of vacancies and firms across our entire family of websites. for 1-5 year PQEs in conveyancing, litigation or private client legal recruitment, commercial work at or try our other regional sites or,
You can also view our selection site at  
New legal job vacancies into us in the last few weeks are as follows: please click here for our full vacancy database
Recent Vacancies (in since our last report)
Any interest, please drop us an email to, quoting the ref. no and attaching a CV. 
3398          Conveyancing lawyer sought by Manchester practice - would be heading the department.       Manchester, North West          Conveyancing
3397          Conveyancing solicitor or executive possibly with another field sought by firm in Westbury, Wiltshire. Old established practice.                                             Westbury, Wiltshire, South West         Conveyancing
3396          Experienced non-qualified fee earner sought - whether a secretary wanting to step up or an existing paralegal, to deal with a mix of private and publicly funded family law work.            Crowborough, Sussex, South Coast          Family
3395          Company commercial solicitor sought by Exeter firm - all levels considered   Exeter, Devon, South West                 Company Commercial
3394          Crime solicitor - duty solicitor qualified - sought to join Cornwall practice.       Cornwall, South West    Crime
3393          Private client lawyer sought to join personal estate planning team.     Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, South East                 Wills & Probate
3392          Commercial property solicitor sought by Devon based firm to deal with expanding workload that includes SMEs, leasehold, developer clients etc..                          Devon, South West    Commercial Property
3391          Commercial property solicitor sought by central Nottingham firm at assistant level.     Nottingham, East Midlands                 Commercial Property
3390          One of the few remaining LSC funded firms for civil litigation and PI has been in touch to register a post for an experienced solicitor to deal with a mix of LSC and privately funded litigation work.         Tunbridge Wells, Kent, South East                 Civil Litigation, Personal Injury
3389          commercial litigation solicitor sought at two levels - first one on contract at a fairly senior level, the second a recently qualified commercial litigation solicitor.     Beckenham, Kent, South East            Commercial Litigation
3388          Private client lawyer sought to head department of medium sized practice in Cambridge.        Cambridge, East Anglia        Wills & Probate
3387          PI post in Southport with medium sized practice.               Southport, Merseyside, North West            Personal Injury
3386          Liverpool suburb firm seek a commercial and residential conveyancing solicitor - all levels considered.                 Liverpool, Merseyside, North West       Commercial Property, Conveyancing
3385          Conveyancing & commercial property solicitor sought by central Liverpool firm.         Liverpool, Merseyside, North West          Conveyancing, Commercial Property
3384          Crime solicitor sought on full time basis in Hereford - police station accreditation or soon to be essential, with court work also.                                                    Hereford, Herefordshire, West Midlands          Crime
3383          Litigation solicitor sought by Plymouth firm rapidly expanding of larger size. Will be dealing with a varied caseload, which will include property litigation. Will need to be IT literate and with good experience.         Plymouth, Devon, South West                                                          Commercial litigation, Property Litigation
3382          Private client or residential conveyancing solicitor sought by Folkestone firm. Partnership prospects.  Folkestone, Kent, South Coast                                                Wills & Probate, Conveyancing
3381          Company commercial solicitor or lawyer to work in Birmingham on a part time basis, working about 2 days per week. General company commercial post.             Birmingham, West Midlands   Company commercial
3380          Company commercial solicitor sought by Peterborough firm. Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, East Anglia                 Company Commercial
3379          Commercial property solicitor sought by Cambridge firm with reasonable experience. Cambridge, East Anglia                 Commercial Property
3378          Private client lawyer sought by Lytham St Annes firm - full supervision and support provided. St Annes, Blackpool, Lancashire, North West                        Wills & Probate
3377          Conveyancing solicitor sought by central Bristol practice.  Bristol, South West           Conveyancing
3376          Wills & probate solicitor sought at assistant level (will be helping in a department) with opportunities to deal with overseas work as well. Medium sized international law firm. Taxation and trusts work also. Other vacancies for a conveyancing secretary, accounts clerk and bookkeeper.             Central London      Accounts Clerk, Book Keeper, Conveyancing Secretary, Wills & Probate
3375          Conveyancing solicitor, legal executive or licensed conveyancer sought by central London practice in EC1. Looking for someone to develop the residential conveyancing work coming into the commercial practice, and expand further. Good prospects.                                                  Central London      Conveyancing
3374          Commercial Litigation solicitor sought with good experience by Derby firm of medium size.    Derby, East Midlands    Commercial Litigation
3373          Conveyancing solicitor or executive sought by Redcar firm.   Redcar, Cleveland, North East   Conveyancing
3372          Smaller sized practice seek a solicitor to join and assist with privately funded immigration or other field (if following in other field).                                        Enfield, North London, Middlesex, South East            Immigration, Conveyancing, Litigation
3371          Licensed Conveyancer sought in the Oxfordshire area to join a new firm of licensed conveyancers set up.                 Oxfordshire, South East                      Conveyancing
3370          Conveyancing Personal Moving Consultants sought by somewhat innovative online operation based in Richmond, Surrey        Richmond, Surrey, South East             Conveyancing
3369          Conveyancing solicitor sought by central Bristol firm of small-medium size.   Bristol, South West                 Conveyancing
3368          Solicitor to deal with a mix of family and civil litigation matters near Cambridge sought. All levels considered.                 Cambridge, East Anglia                       Family, Civil Litigation
3367          Commercial litigation sought by Somerset practice in market town - main areas are employment and commercial litigation, with property disputes, estate litigation.  Somerset, South West           Commercial Litigation
3366          Conveyancing post for a solicitor or executive in Darlington. Darlington, County Durham, North East                 Conveyancing
3365          Company commercial solicitor sought by Ashton under Lyne firm.     Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, North West                 Company Commercial
3364          Conveyancing solicitor sought by Hoylake firm on the Wirral. Hoylake, Wirral, Cheshire, Merseyside, North West                 Conveyancing
3363          Company commercial solicitor sought by Stockton on Tees firm of medium size        Stockton on Tees, Teesside, North East  Company Commercial
3362          Conveyancing post in Middlesbrough with a medium sized firm.        Middlesbrough, Teesside, North East                 Conveyancing
3361          Conveyancing position in St Helens with a medium sized practice.     St Helens, Lancashire, North West                 Conveyancing
3360          Crime post in Newbury with a medium sized practice. Wanting someone coming up to or already a duty solicitor.                 Newbury, Berkshire, South East           Crime
3359          Swindon firm of smaller size seek a residential conveyancing solicitor to join their practice.     Swindon, Wiltshire, South West                                                          Conveyancing
3358          Lincoln firm are on the lookout for a residential conveyancing solicitor to join - medium sized practice well known in the area. Lincoln, Lincolnshire, East Midlands     Conveyancing
3357          Sussex firm, rapidly expanding, with vacancies across a range of departments. Company commercial post is at 3 years PQE upwards, residential conveyancing the same (will include equestrian, country and agricultural work), wills, trust and probate work at 3 years PQE upwards, Commercial Property at NQ level and upwards, and an experienced commercial property solicitor also. Employment law post is for a solicitor to expand a telephone advice line on employment law matters.                 Uckfield, Sussex, South Coast             Company Commercial, Conveyancing, Wills & Probate, Commercial Property, Employment
3356          Residential conveyancing fee earner sought ideally with about 2-3 years experience and able to manage their own caseload. Same firm also seek a commercial property solicitor able to deal with a broad range of property transactions across a varied client base including particular expertise dealing with local and national charities. Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, South East                                      Conveyancing, Commercial Property
3355          Non-contentious solicitor with own following or leads required to join a medium sized practice in central London.                                      Central London      Conveyancing, Wills & Probate, Commercial Property
3354          Residential conveyancing solicitor or executive sought to handle residential caseload, plus some commercial if possible     Enfield, North London                         Conveyancing
3353          Paralegal sought to deal with mix of mental health and family law work. Some experience in both ideally.                 Central London                                    Mental Health, Family
3352          Family solicitor for 60-40% split of private to LSC funded work, wanting someone to handle their own caseload.                 Epsom, Surrey, South East                 Family
3351          Wills & Probate solicitor sought by Selby firm to deal with a range of work (job spec available) - will consider anyone with accountancy qualifications - trusts, estates, marketing etc..  Selby, North Yorkshire   Wills & Probate
3350          Local organisation in Birmingham seeks a solicitor with family, conveyancing and one other field to join and develop their privately funded legal service.           Birmingham, West Midlands   Conveyancing,Family, Personal Injury, Wills & Probate, Immigration

Bonus Schemes for Lawyers

Bonus Schemes - an update/recent experience

Bonus schemes are either loathed or hated by solicitors. I recently read an article about recruitment consultant's salaries, which was talking about the average bonus given to consultants and the way it was done.

It was surprising to find that in what is considered a sales orientated environment, most consultants were getting something lower than 20% above their basic salary as a bonus, whilst it seemed the average was closer to 5-10%.

Solicitors have traditionally been very wary of such schemes, as usually they are weighted so far in favour of the employer, they are a complete waste of time. I have come across schemes that require 5 times the salary to be earned before the scheme kicks in, and then only 10% of earnings paid. I have also come across schemes where the whole firm has to earn x before one particular candidate gets any extra payment.

However, a recent experience brought me in contact with what I think is the most generous bonus scheme I have come across yet. If you are interested in finding out which firm this is, you would need to be a conveyancing solicitor with about 3-10 years PQE looking in the South West!

The firm offer every solicitor the same package, which is 10% of everything they earn. So if they earn £20,000 in fees, the solicitor gets £2,000 of that. In addition to this, the solicitor also gets 5% of anything their subordinates earn.
I must say that I have always found working for bonuses the better option than salary - salary results in drudgery - people work to survive, rather than living to work occasionally, and salary ends with people clock watching and not being interested in their activities each day. Bonus schemes that work can galvanise whole teams of people to push towards achieving goals, and bring in higher fee income for the firm.

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What does PQE stand for?

15.08.07 What is PQE, and how important is it to law firms?

PQE stands for 'Post-Qualified Experience', and is usually given in years or half years for solicitors and also for legal executives as well.

In terms of job advertisements, it was envisaged by various experts on age discrimination that it would no longer be an accepted method of describing vacancies by law firms, as it should not matter how many years experience you have for a post, rather it should be more based on your ability.

However since 2006 and the new laws, very little has changed, because in reality solicitors need certain levels of PQE before they can undertake certain tasks. For example, a 1 year PQE solicitor is legally unable to supervise an office - they have to be 3 years PQE before they are allowed to, and also have passed a management course recognised by the Law Society (some solicitors believe the latter to be a simple money spinning operation by various course providers, but I could not possibly comment).

So if you see a requirement for PQE in a job description, chances are it specifically relates to the salary levels the firm envisage offering, and this is now the way we advise firms to describe posts. It works quite effectively, because it means that if a 25 year PQE solicitor applies for a job advertised for a 1 year PQE solicitor, they are aware that the salary level is going to be somewhat lower than they expect for the level of experience...

We would not usually recommend an NQ (Newly Qualified) Solicitor applying for a post advertised as being for partner level!

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Advice for a paralegal looking for a training contract

13.08.07 Advice for a Paralegal looking for a Training Contract

Hi there - I would be very grateful if you could please give me so advice. I feel as my law career is going nowhere. I have nearly 3 years continuous paralegal experience which i have gained in different departments. I spent 2 and a half years with one firm and i have recently started in a new firm. I have applied for numerous TC s and don't seem to be getting anywhere. I am at the point of giving up.

I was wondering whether it was my CV that was letting me down. Is it possible you could have a look at this for me please and comment on it. I have attached it for your consideration. Any advice would be gratefully received..

I have also thought about re-doing my A levels  as the results I  gained were not fantastic and again I feel these have let me down. I did discuss this with my old boss and he said that as I had done them 10 years ago and also because I have quite a lot of experience now then my A levels are not
really a factor, but I cant help wondering  if re doing them would stand me in good stead.

Where do I go from here??? How can I make myself more marketable and stand
out from the crowd???

Firstly, to explain to anyone else who will not have access to the CV, this lawyer has a reasonable CV, laid out OK with plenty of experience in law firms as a paralegal in a very marketable department (wills & probate).
This is quite a common issue at present, with there being so many LPC and LLB graduates out there looking for training contracts, and paralegals spending a couple of years or more working within a law firm doing efffectively the same job as a trainee, albeit in one department, whilst looking for a training contract.
Do not give up. Your CV is not the problem I suspect, as it is informative, well set out, and although could do with a bit of tweaking to add in further information about your roles to date, it may be something else that is holding you back. Your interview technique can't be that bad either, as you have already attended legal job interviews and been recruited!
To get the experience you have had in the last few years is an achievement in itself, congratulations. There are a lot of graduates out there who are unable to even get this.
Have you contacted the Law Society yet to get the paperwork through to reduce the length of any training contract you may need to do? The form used to be called the TC8... You may be able to get 6 months reduction, and if you can agree this in advance, it is a really good marketing point when sending through your CV - ie you will only need an 18 month training contract. 
Have you considered speaking to the Institute of Legal Executives? It may be an option to consider their route if you continue to be unsuccessful in obtaining a training contract. I seem to recall that there are exemptions from various stages of the training, and you may be more successful persuading an employer to consider you a legal executive than a trainee solicitor. Once you have attained Fellowship status, the switch to solicitor status is very easy if you have the LPC already...
Have you made yourself mobile when looking for a training contract? Not many around South Wales, although if you move further afield, eg into London and the home counties, you may stand more success. 
How committed have you been to finding a training contract? It can take a long time and lots of interviews to secure one.... Have a read of our free guide - - this really does work if you remain committed to it, although much harder to get the time if you are already in work.
Try to market yourself as a wills & probate fee earner, as you have this to offer to a firm, which the vast majority of graduates do not.
Dont redo your A Levels - although they have an effect throughout your career, they will make little difference when you have the experience you do already... The same applies to your degree classification, although some of the larger firms will not consider you particularly favourably with this (2.2).
If we can help further, feel free to email me on
You can also visit our website at with over 100 pages of careers advice and articles for law graduates and paralegals on a whole range of topics. Legal recruitment consultants only tend to be able to assist experienced fee earners, but it may be that we are able to help you as a candidate with your experience to date.
Good luck with your search. 
Jonathan Fagan

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What does a locum solicitor do?

01.08.07 What is a locum Solicitor?

We occasionally run series of articles on this site with a different theme, and this one is all about what different types of law actually mean... at this time of year, we get a lot of calls from would-be trainee solicitors hunting for holiday work, vacation placements and training contracts, and most probably have very little idea as to the reality of life as a solicitor in a certain field.

A locum solicitor is a lawyer who works on a short term basis only - sometimes for a few hours, and other times for a few years - to cover for absent members of staff.
Commonly used in local authorities, where staff always seem to require more cover than in private practice (I would imagine this has something to do with the almost impossible working conditions at times, the state of the management in some local authorities, but also the fact that government employers do tend to be slightly better at covering for absent staff than private practice, where at times fee earners can come back to find their desks smothered in paperwork!).

Often a locum solicitor will be self employed, and contract directly with a firm for their services. They will charge a daily or weekly rate for their work. Locums can range from NQ level solicitors up to 45 years PQE +. It usually suits people looking for some flexibility - eg sportsmen and women, or semi-retired practitioners.
A locum will usually be expected to pick up a caseload and run with it, sorting out anything urgent for anything not requiring work on it, and very often they are left to their own devices to get on with it.

The main disadvantage with the set up is that you can find yourself without work for 3 months out of every 12, which is the rule of thumb that most locums work to.
Pay can be varied, ranging from anything around £120 per day for an NQ dealing at a junior level, up to £400 for someone very senior on the commercial side.

Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!