Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2008

June Newsletter for Candidates

June Newsletter 2008 for Candidates "A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns." Don Corleone, The Godfather "Welcome to the June Newsletter for Candidates. I hope you find it interesting." Jonathan Fagan LLM Solicitor (non-practising), MREC, CertRP Managing Director, Limited. E qual Rights for Agency Workers The government has announced this morning that agency workers will have the same employment rights as permanent staff after 12 weeks. This means that in some cases, locums not only get the benefit of good working conditions (ie being able to leave when they realise the senior partner is completely mad), but also gain equal pay to permanent staff. Tom Hadley, Director of External Relations for the Recruitment & Employment Confederation said: “ regulations will impact on the viability of temp and contract work in the UK, especially at such a delicate time in the UK labour market. It i

Interview question – How was your journey?

This question is often asked at the start of an interview, whether it is as you walk into the room or as you sit down and take your coat off. It sounds perfectly harmless as a question, and just one to loosen you up, but it can have alternative implications. Some firms will ask whether you found them alright, and others will just ask how your journey was. If you are living some way away from the firm you are going to for interview, it may be a question they want to ask you to ascertain whether or not you are going to struggle to get into work every day without encountering traffic, or difficulties with the travel. This can be particularly so where a firm have indicated to your recruitment consultant that they are looking for someone locally based prepared to work in the area and commit to the area. It is very easy just to say, fine, thank you, when asked this question and usually stops any further conversation on the point. This may be the best way of dealing with it as if you start to

June Newsletter 2008 for Law Firms

"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns." Don Corleone, The Godfather "Welcome to the June Newsletter for Law Firms and Companies. I hope you find it of interest." Jonathan Fagan LLM Solicitor (non-practising), MREC, CertRP, Managing Director Limited. Equal Rights for Agency Workers The government has announced this morning that agency workers will have the same employment rights as permanent staff after 12 weeks. This means that in some cases, locums not only get the benefit of good working conditions (ie being able to leave when they realise the senior partner is completely mad), but also gain equal pay to permanent staff. Tom Hadley, Director of External Relations for the Recruitment & Employment Confederation said: “ regulations will impact on the viability of temp and contract work in the UK, especially at such a delicate time in the UK labour market. It is also a frustration for recruiters that the d

Outside investment in law firms.

The Law Society Gazette on 1st May 2008 carried an article saying that firms had to shape up for the stock market. So how likely is it that a high street practice is going to be attracting the likes of Duncan Bannatyne from Dragon’s Den and receive pot loads of money to become a national player? I suspect every solicitor knows the answer to this one and it would be simply that it is extremely unlikely that anyone would want to put money into solicitors firm. I suspect the only outside investment that will come into the high street firms and smaller regional commercial practices will be from legal executives and non-qualified family members. I would be extremely surprised if anyone with any business sense wanted to put money in as the returns are so slight on most legal work. The only difference is of course when work is done in bulk and there are reasonable profit margins about. However firms like Hammonds Direct, the other volume conveyancing operations have been the first to announce

The destruction of Legal Aid by the Legal Services Commission?

This week we have been retained by the not for profit organisation in Kent, looking for a housing solicitor to deal with housing law at three county courts in the south Kent area. The post has been part funded by Lottery funding by the looks of it, plus other sources as well as the Legal Services Commission. It has amazed me in the time I have been in the legal profession, which dates back to the mid 1990’s, the number of firms and organisations out there covering specialist advice such as welfare benefits, housing, employment, the non-criminal legal aid side also dramatically, in such a short space of time. I have to say that it looks as if the Legal Services Commission have decimated the provision of advice that was out there, and it has ended up with a small number of firms dealing with the work in areas of high concentration and the rest of it being left to Citizen’s Advice Bureaus and charities to deal with. I always recall from my own days in practice that it was often the most d

Jobs for Australian law students

Every year we get emails and telephone calls from law students and graduates in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with requests for advice. Usually the advice comes in the form of an email about two pages long and lists all qualifications the person has and requests assistance or advice in finding a suitable law job in the UK. Often the person is fairly gifted, has a bit of work experience, and is travelling round the world on a student visa. They contact a lot of agencies in the UK to see if they can pick up some work whilst they are travelling. It has got to the stage now where our agency ( ) is unable to help or even read their emails simply because of the number, and we have to delete them without giving detailed advice. Therefore I hope this blog entry is picked up by Australian and New Zealand law students as the best advice that our company can give. Firstly, we are unable to assist you find temporary placements or get work experience in the UK. Our a

Referral fees. What’s the point?

In the Law Society Gazette last week was an article on referral fees with a leading insurer questioning whether solicitors could actually afford to pay them. My experience of referral fees relates to personal injury, company commercial, conveyancing and medical negligence matters. It also relates to experience in the recruitment industry, where one agency will pay another one a referral fee for cross-referring into different fields. I have to say that I am yet to come across anyone apart from claims management companies who appear to have made any money out of paying referral fees. Often the fees are fairly hefty, and eat into the profit margins quite substantially. I seem to recall a firm telling me they had signed up to an internet conveyancing referral site that was charging in the region of about £200 to £300 for each of its referrals. If you consider that an average conveyance will only cost in the region of about £500 to £700, it does not leave much left for a solicitors firm to

Sole supplier agreements – what is the point?

Ten Percent Legal Recruitment offer sole supplier arrangements with solicitors firms, in house departments and local authorities up and down the UK. We have been offering them for a good number of years, and almost every campaign we have ever run has resulted in a successful placement. In recent years quite a lot of firms have tried to avoid them in the hope that they pick up more candidates by going to multiple recruitment consultants and sourcing candidates from various locations, websites and publications. What is the point of having one agency handling your recruitment for you? The first benefit is the cost. If you take a retained consultancy with our company ( ) the fee is automatically reduced by at least 30 percent, if not higher. The actually fee depends on the length of the contract, and also the quality of the type of placement that you are putting with us. However if you consider that our usual fee is 15 percent you are likely to be paying around ten pe

What fees do recruitment consultants charge?

What fees do recruitment consultants charge? There are over 40,000 recruitment consultants working in the UK at this present time. I recently read an article where it said that the recruitment market in the UK is one of the most developed in the world, with other companies less likely to use agencies for permanent work than companies in the UK. Agencies cover just about every walk of life, be it a librarian, a lorry driver, shop assistant or even a solicitor. The reason they have sprung up in such numbers is because of the tax advantages of using one. The entire bill is tax deductible and it means that advertising, time spent dealing with applications by staff, administration costs can all be factored into one fee by handing over assignments to recruitment agencies. Obviously there are good, bad and horrible recruitment agencies, and some truly dreadful ones. The whole industry has a trade body called the Recruitment Employers Confederation (REC) and there are a couple of smaller

How much should a company spend on marketing?

How much should I spend on my marketing budget? This question is probably asked by every business owner in the UK of any business consultant they meet and the answer is almost guaranteed to be, “I haven’t a clue”. There is no rule of thumb or guide as to how much you should be spending on your marketing or advertising budget. It should obviously not bankrupt you, or eat into your profits sufficiently to affect you, and every piece of advertising or marketing must be audited and measured to determine its effects. I was looking on the telephone directory this morning and noticed that a conservatory company had obviously paid a fairly substantial amount of money to be placed on the front of the telephone directory at the bottom of the page. I was thinking about this afterwards and wondering whether this was effective marketing or a complete waste of money, as if I was thinking of buying a conservatory I am not sure that I would look on the front of a telephone directory for a conservatory

Crime Solicitors - the market is booming!

09/05/08 New emergence of crime market In the last few days we have seen an explosion in duty solicitor and crime recruitment. It appears that suddenly duty solicitors have become the flavour of the market and after the last 12 to 18 months of redundancies and dire warnings that everything was going to disappear and that no crime solicitors would be left. I have been inundated in my areas of the country (London, Home Counties, parts of the Midlands) with telephone calls and emails from firms wanting any duty solicitors that we have. Some of them are completely unrealistic, others are slightly more realistic. The sort of salaries that are being indicated at present are lower than previous years particularly so in and around London. So what can you expect if you are a duty solicitor or crime solicitor currently on the market looking for work? In London, quite a lot of the firms are interested solely on a freelance basis, i.e. you sign your slots over to the firm in return for a basic plu

How to Interview -a free guide from Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Guide to interviewing for employers. When interviewing potential employees, particularly in a law firm setting, it is important to remember the following advice: 1. HR managers have been trained in specific techniques designed to apply psychology and test a candidate’s personality, but are usually unable to determine someone who you personally would feel comfortable working with. Make sure the person you are employing is someone that you could work with and get on with well in a work setting as well as a social one or an interview environment. 2. Be sure that the person you are employing is technically capable of doing the job. Ask a couple of technical questions during the interview and gauge the response. 3. Write down all the answers that the candidate gives you, as if you are interviewing 20 potential employees in one day you are almost certainly going to forget half, if not three quarters of what is said. 4. Refrain from taking over the interview and not giving the candidate an op

3rd class degree holders - advice from Legal Recruitment Consultants

07/05/08 Third class degree – should I be looking to become a lawyer? A question we are asked quite regularly by law students is whether they should be looking to start a legal career if they only have a third class degree (sometimes this can be a 2:2 as well). If you have a third class degree it is important to bear in mind the main issue, which is that quite a few firms, if not the vast majority, use the class of a degree as a benchmark to determine whether or not to shortlist that person for interview. Third class degree applicants are very easy to filter, as it is the perfect excuse to get rid of a reasonably sized number of applicants without needing to read the CV. If you see it from the firm’s perspective, if you have 100 CVs for one training contract position then filtering them out via this method is an easy way of reducing the number without needing to do very much work at all or think about it. So I suppose in one sense, it is so difficult to find a training contract with a

Legal job offers in the current market conditions

02 05 08 Job offers in the current legal job market A case emerged yesterday in our company where an interview had been arranged at quite high speed with a firm who were very keen to take on a recently qualified solicitor in a high street field. We arranged the interview, and had a further five or six enquiries from other candidates and as soon as the interview had finished, the firm made a job offer as they were very impressed in the quality of the candidate. They offered the post at £3000 more than the candidate had asked for and asked for a quick response. We phoned the candidate and emailed the job offer through and got a response back that she would think about it and also had other interviews to attend in other areas of the country. When we enquired further, these interviews had been arranged it seemed out of desperation through lack of job interviews or offers in her home area. However she did not want to give them up and she was worried about accepting the first post that came

Support your Solicitor - Law Society advertising campaign

25/04/08 Law Society have announced a “Support Solicitors” advertising campaign. It has been announced today that the Law Society are going to run a £500,000 advertising campaign to support the brand of solicitors. This will involve advertisements saying how good it is to go and see your solicitor rather than to go to the supermarket and see someone there or someone else perhaps. I have to say that the whole campaign seems to be a complete waste of every solicitor’s practicing certificate money and any income the Law Society has. The reason for this is quite simple. Firstly, there has been no indication yet of anyone merely moving into the legal market to compete with solicitors. Secondly, even those players who have come into the market, such as the RAC, the AA, the Co-op and possibly Tesco’s, none have found a way of ensuring their costs are anything lower than solicitors firms on the high street, and hence the model for the provision of legal services remains unchanged in that the c