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Showing posts from April, 2008

Crime Solicitors back in demand

28/04/08 Crime solicitor recruitment – back again on the agenda. In recent weeks, there have been a whole new glut of duty solicitor posts coming onto the market. In the Law Society Gazette last week for example, I counted at lease 20 duty solicitor vacancies across the UK, but particularly in London. This relates to the cut off point at the beginning of May for duty solicitors to register slots with a specific firm. Quite a lot of the firms we have been speaking to who have been looking for duty solicitors appear to be on the look out for duty solicitors who wish to sell their slots to them effectively, and simply act as consultants to the firm, doing occasional work on their behalf but making sure their slots are assigned. If you are thinking of going down this route, be aware of a recent horror story that a solicitor in the Midlands experienced. He had an agreement with a firm where he became their consultant and freelanced for them at courts being paid a percentage of each case he

Help finding a Training Contract or Work Experience

28/04/08 Strategy for finding a training contract or legal work experience. We have found often in the years that we have been advising law students and graduates on searching for training contracts or work experience placements that people go about it in a very slapdash and haphazard way. Most people prepare standard questions, standard covering letter and a standard CV and look in the training contract handbook and online at places like and send out as many applications as they can without actually thinking through what it is they’re looking for and what they personally can offer the particular firm. The same people may have gone about preparing for their A levels in quite the opposite way many years before. They may have spent six months revising, covering every point, researching every issue and then revising every matter that needed to be dealt with in their exams. However, because careers advice at universities and institutions can be so poor (or there can be next

Newly Qualified Solicitors - heads of department jobs?

28/04/08 Newly qualified solicitors – head of departments? We recently had a firm register a vacancy with us for a family solicitor at newly qualified level on the high street, dealing with private work being paid in the early £20,000’s. I thought this was quite a straightforward vacancy as it fitted in the area for the salary, family lawyers are increasingly hard to find posts for, got plenty of candidates. However after sourcing three to four candidates, and arranging interviews, we sent the first two candidates to the firm and eagerly awaited a response. When our consultant got in touch with the firm to find out how they had got on, they told us that one candidate was going to make an offer and the other candidate was no good. We contacted the candidates for feedback and they both told us the same thing. The first one said that she had been there five minutes when the senior partner of the firm had informed her that she was going to be head of department for family law. I’d not real

Legal Practice Course - professional course or just a rip off?

25/04/08 Legal practice course providers cashing in on unsuspecting law graduates? It has been announced today in the Law Society Gazette that the College of Law are opening a new branch in Manchester to compete with rivals BPP. If one assumes that the new college will host a further 200 to 300 new students it is surely yet another sign of the industry that has grown up around training potential solicitors and lawyers on a somewhat desperate audience or also quite captive. It has been considered for many years that a respectable career can be had in the legal profession and that students and graduates should strive towards qualification as a lawyer, whether solicitor or barrister. The reality is often very much different and that there are simply not enough jobs for trainee solicitors or for solicitors once they are qualified for there to be too many legal practice course graduates. One of the problems with this approach by the College of Law is that it almost gives off the picture tha

difficult Interview Question

Interview question “Is that your natural hair colour?” Believe it or not, this question was asked by a firm of solicitors in the South East of England. How do you answer such difficult questions without appearing defensive, angry or simply wanting to throttle the interviewer? Firstly you should think about whether this is actually a firm you want to work for and how you could end the interview effectively and quickly without too much confrontation. However if you think it’s just a momentary blip on the part of the interviewer and you’re very keen on the firm and the post they’re talking about, there are a couple of things you could do to deal with this question. 1. Answer it in a humorous way i.e. perhaps you could suggest my hair is normally pink but I have to dye it green and then black to get it into its current state. 2. Hit the ball back into their court and ask whether they dye their hair and if that’s why they’re wondering what brand you used to dye yours. 3. Ask them if they’re

Multidisciplinary Partnerships MDP

25/04/08 Multidisciplinary Partnerships: Are they all that they’re cracked up to be? There’s been a lot of talk recently in the news, Law Society Gazette about the drastic changes that will take place when multidisciplinary partnerships come in. It’s expected that these will be at the end of 2008 and that the legal profession will be revolutionised by them. Over the last eight years, I have been doing legal recruitment and I’m clear that it’s probably not going to be the revolution that the soothsayers of the legal profession expect. Over this time I have regularly been approached by companies, whether accountants or financial advisors or claims management, request details of solicitors who want to go into practice as either an employee or as part as their company. The reason for this is because the companies see the benefit of having a solicitor there earning money for them, when they see the hourly rate that they’re paying an external solicitor’s firm framework. However, when they ac

I'm about to qualify as a solicitor - help!

23/04/08 I’m just about to qualify but the legal job market is awful – help! Every year since 2000 legal recruitment has been on a wave. Some months there can be lots of recruitment, lots of legal jobs, and lots of opportunities for all levels of the profession. There seems to be almost a collective enthusiasm about taking on more staff, expanding operations and generating new work. Other months, it can be completely flat, with no work for anybody, no placements and very little going on. This can be fuelled by media speculation and hype about the state of the market or actual events in reality, for example, the Iraq war of 2003. In the current climate I predict that there will be a glut of newly qualified conveyancing solicitors coming onto the market who will struggle to find work, or will find work, or will have to take salary reductions with their current firm or look at other areas within their existing firms as opposed to looking to move on to new legal jobs. Well, what do you do

Law Society and Regulatory Authority staff struggling to find work

Former Law Society and Regulatory Authority staff applying for work in solicitors firms – why do they find it so hard? We get quite a number of former caseworkers from the Law Society applying for work through us, and it is very interesting to read their CVs and see the attitude that seems to prevail in the establishment. Firstly, there appears to be some bitterness amongst several of the applicants against solicitors in general, and this may be because the recruits are LPC and LLB qualified, and have been unable to find a training contract. It almost seems as if they have taken satisfaction in having the power over the same law firms who have rejected them at some stage in their career, and cannot get away from the bitterness that has gone with this over the years. Others are overseas qualified lawyers, whether South Africa or Australia etc.. and have struggled to locate private practice work, and almost seem to have fallen into the roles which are usually better paid than the work th

Law Society Gazette and negative coverage of the legal profession

Law Society Gazette (main legal profession journal) continues its negative coverage... It has been noticeable in recent weeks that the Gazette appears to want to come up with stories saying how awful the market is at the moment. The examples below are just a few of the recent stories that have been in the magazine. 1. An article on the number of interventions "soaring" in 2008. 2. An article with quotations from management consultants saying that firms cannot sell, others are folding and the property market is in collapse. In neither story did the Gazette mention the numbers or give any evidence of the background to the information they had published. I think this is irresponsible journalism in the vein of the Daily Express and its Diana stories, and the Daily Mail and its prophecies of impending doom! The interventions story mentioned a figure of 22 interventions in something like 2 months, which is not exactly armageddon! Apologies to the editor if I got the numbers wrong..

Lawyers working in offshore jurisdictions

Lawyers working in offshore jurisdictions In 2002, we were approached by a Bermudan firm of good repute and medium size, looking for a recruitment agency in the UK to handle their recruitment of a conveyancing lawyer. We agreed a sole supplier arrangement which basically involved us placing advertisements in the Law Society Gazette, handling the enquiries that stemmed from that, and telephone interviewing the candidates in the first instance. We also posted out to Bermuda a copy of each CV for the 75 applicants, together with our recommendations for actual face to face interviews in London. As it happened, they decided to fly out a professional locum for a week to see whether he was of interest, and then 2 weeks later informed us that they were compelled by law to employ a Bermudan lawyer who had applied for the post. What is the moral of the tale? Firstly, posts in places like Bermuda are greatly sought after, as not only is the location perceived to be glamorous, the pay tends to be

April Legal Job Market Report 2008

Report dated 2nd April 2008 on the UK legal recruitment & job market from Ten Percent Legal Recruitment Consultants. next report due - 2nd May 2008 Prepared by Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of limited; specialist legal recruitment consultants for solicitors and legal executives seeking legal jobs and law firms seeking staff in the UK. Click here to visit our online vacancy database This report is based on our recruitment activities in the legal job market for the past month, and is updated on a regular basis. It is divided into commercial and high street areas. Before viewing this information, please click here to read our disclaimer. View our daily legal recruitment articles and blog April 2008 Report 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 opera

Response to Law Society Gazette Editor

Dear Mr Rogerson, Many thanks for taking the time to respond. I suspect the Daily Express uses the same justification when they print headlines day after day for months on end about the pending collapse of the property market, the end of the world and Princess Diana conspiracy theories. They are just reporting news.. My point is that you are the leading trade magazine for the legal profession, but at times you appear to collectively act as if it is your job to criticise solicitors and give them a good kick up the proverbial behind. Your selection of news is of course subjective, and I have to say that you appear to select news which does not help the profession feel good about itself, and also does not really have any foundation in the reality of everyday working life as experienced by the majority of the legal profession. The solicitor who discovered their job had disappeared the day after the article was not introduced by ourselves, and you do not need to be sorry for recruitment com

Response from Law Society Gazette Editor

SirIt would certainly be grossly ‘irresponsible’ for the Gazette to self-censor when eminent legal business commentators – and Professor Mayson is one of the most eminent – deliver uncomfortable messages. Our editorial policy is quite clear. We ‘do not avoid controversial issues and issues of relevance’. If someone of Professor Mayson’s stature forecasting a major job shake-out is not a ‘matter of relevance’, then I don’t know what is. Had someone with no knowledge of or insight into the profession made these predictions then there would have been no story. With regard to your assertion that the Gazette has a ‘negative view’ of the profession, you seem to be confusing the medium with the message - ‘shooting the messenger’, to use the common term. Nowhere does the Gazette state that Mayson is right. The views expressed in the Gazette are those of their author, as our editorial policy also makes plain. Indeed, the editorial of the same issue suggests he may be overstating his case. Moreo