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Showing posts from September, 2008

What rates do locums charge?

Recently, a firm have asked us to find them a locum but do not know what exactly a locum does or how much exactly they cost. A company called us to ask us for a locum to cover for between three and seven weeks. We checked with our locums, found three or four and arranged one of these who was particularly strong and available. They interviewed him and he was quite happy with their set up and he was keen to take the position. We then had a telephone call from the managing director informing us that his budget was £100 a day and would that person be able to work within that. Our locum gave us the answer we expected, somewhat incredulous, how dare they waste my time. It was almost as if the company thought that locums charge less than permanent staff as a permanent member of staff on this person’s salary would be earning over £40,000. It would mean that on the rule of thumb, a locum rate would probably be closer to £60,000 for that length of time. How much does a locum charge? It depends

ECJ ruling on Age Discrimination

It’s been reported that the recommendation at the first level of the ECJ has ruled that automatic ages for retirement are not direct age discrimination. A case was being brought to say that the idea of forcing someone to retire at a particular age was in breach of age discrimination regulations, from memory I think this was a partner of a large London law firm who was bringing the case. I understand that there are a further 125 cases of a similar nature that are waiting on this decision, no doubt the claimants will be a little disappointed by this outcome, which although is not yet finalised is fairly likely to be followed through by the court when it makes its decision. There have been calls by various trade bodies to legislate on this ground either in favour of specifying an operation in terms of pensions or to remove it entirely as to allow flexible working. There have been suggestions that it is a great relief that the automatic age retiring requirement is being allowed to stop in

Alternative ways to work for solicitors

In the last few weeks, we have seen large numbers of redundancies across the board. Every day a new area will see solicitors registering for work. It seems to be sporadic that one day it could be Hull, another day Guildford, for as firms shed capacity and downsize in order to survive the fall in the market, there are rather are rather a lot of lawyers out of work. Some of them, in particular, conveyancing solicitors in the current climate have no prospect of sourcing new work, as there is nothing out there for them to consider. People simple do not have the need for conveyancers when the market is so poor. However, we are starting to see new possibilities opening in terms of ways for solicitors to work. A quick example of this, is the rise in commission only posts. Basically this means that you work for a firm for nothing, well, almost nothing. You are paid according to results, so if you find work and do it, the firm pay you commission. This means that they do not need to risk paying

Conveyancing in the current job market

We have written articles before on the state of the conveyancing market at present, but I thought a quick update on the current position may help (although the news is not particularly optimistic). In 2007 nearly every single week, we received a new conveyancing job, if not two, three or even five to ten on some occasions. At the start of this year, we had almost 700 conveyancing posts registered with us and pretty much all of them were live (some firms fill the posts and do not tell us or alternatively put them on hold). We have gone from 700 vacancies down to ten, if that. No-one is currently recruiting for conveyancing. The market is dead in the water, and it is not clear how long it will take before it picks up again. Almost every firm in the UK with more than two or three solicitors has made redundancies and while some of these are clearly attempts to get rid of dead wood or cut salaries, there is certainly an underlying trend going through that the markets are changing and convey

What do you do if you do not know the answer to a question in interview?

This is a very difficult piece of advice to give. Firstly there is no real correct answer, because if you do not know the answer to a question, either because you lack the requisite knowledge, the interviewer has asked the most ridiculous question or you are so nervous about the interview your brain has fried and are panicking. The first instance, if you do not the answer because you do not have the knowledge to answer the question, it is often best to take a little bit of time to think about whether you can come up with an answer that perhaps is somewhat vague or bluffed, and a good way of doing this is to ask for a glass of water. Have a sip of the water whilst you think about it. If nothing is forthcoming afterwards, you then have to move on to plan B. You can also consider simply saying, I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that, and if it is a question that would require knowledge of some sort, you could perhaps say, if I was in practice or if I was in a work environment, I would

New start up firm – reality or dreams?

Recently Ten Percent Legal Recruitment ( ) has been involved with two start up firms who have requested CVs for a range of candidates to set up law firms at a time when the market may not actually be ideal. The first of these was a non-qualified lawyer looking to invest her own money and a backer’s into a new firm with between two and six solicitors working in a range of law, including family law, corporate immigration and corporate commercial. We received paperwork through to show what the firm’s intentions were and how they intended to proceed, and also information about the sort of candidate they were after. We contacted candidates, advising them as per usual that this was a start up firm and could never make it into reality and got a good response, particularly in the current market with the number of vacancies being fairly reduced. After numerous meetings and interview, an offer was made to a family solicitor and fairly senior level, with good media exposure

If you had a million, how would you spend or invest it?

This question was asked by a City firm recently and I have heard of it before on numerous occasions. It requires you to think carefully from a financial side and also to have a good grasp of financial terminology and an understanding of more general concepts that are effecting the financial markets at the time of the interview. If somebody asked me that question, I would have an answer in my head because I think about where to invest £1 million if I ever had it all the time. I think my answer would be as follows: If I suddenly received £1 million, I would immediately put it all in a savings account whilst I considered what to do with the money. I would be looking for at least 4.5 percent and I would start consulting financial advisors as to where would be the best places to invest. My interest would be particularly in looking to invest or purchase companies to expand my businesses rather than simply to invest in products or savings vehicles. I would be particularly interested in invest

Interview techniques for employers

This article is a discussion of interview techniques for employers and in particular how to get the most out of your interviews and to avoid the common pitfalls. The first thing you must do when interviewing for a position is to decide actually what you are looking for and what is important to achieve out of employing that particular candidate. One thing we often find with employers is that they have very unreasonable expectations as to what exactly they are looking for in their employee. For example, a central London company like to recruit professionals from a City background with impeccable academics. This sounds great but the salary they are offering is less than a secretary would get for a post in a central London firm. This means that if they do find anyone with the background they are looking for, the chances are they will be completely unfit for any employment and probably in copious amounts of debt or alcoholics. There are other firms similarly who try to recruit very junior m

Interview question - overcoming a hurdle

Interview question – Describe a situation where you have been involved in a team and had to overcome a hurdle to achieve your aims. This sort of question is probably every interviewees’ worst question. People who have been interviewed more than once or who have practiced interviews before attending any will have a stock answer ready and prepared for exactly this sort of question whether it be this sort of thing or something along the lines of describing a situation where you have had to achieve a result and overcome problems within the team etcetera. The first thing to say is that you need to think of something that is actually in a team. You must listen to the question carefully because if the question requires you to describe a situation where you have to overcome a hurdle, you also need a hurdle to overcome. One of the main let downs with this question amongst interviewees is that they don’t listen to the question and just he

BVC Student Applications.

We have had a spate of calls in recent weeks from BVC students and graduates phoning up to inform me that they are looking for temporary work and can we help them. I usually refer such telephone callers to our blog as I have written about this countless times on different issues for different graduates and law students but for some reasons BVC students and graduates seem to think that they are a cut above all the other students and graduates for some reason known only to themselves. I even had one yesterday who when I said we were unable to assist said, “You are a legal recruitment agency, aren’t you?” I find such attitudes amazing, when someone is phoning me to get a favour and yet phones up and speaks to me as if I should be grateful that I am talking to them. It also seems to be a common failing that amongst graduates and students to realise that such approach just does not work in the legal profession and that firms and chambers do not look for aggression, but rather for someone wh enter the legal market

"In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools." Doris Lessing, 1919. It has been reported today that are going to enter the legal market with comparison prices for conveyancing, personal injury and wills & probate. The Law Society Gazette wheeled in the usual experts to profess the end of the solicitors profession as we see it, and to warn of the need to get on board or wilter away. In fact, it serves as an opportunity to increase your business. If you go onto and do a search in any of the categories for a service, you will usually not find companies like Tescos or the Coop as producing the cheapest. If you shop at Tescos and compare their prices to a much smaller enterprise for groceries for example, Tescos is usually not very cheap. From personal experience, our local organic store is actually cheaper than Tescos on the vast majority of vegetables and fruit. The same will a

Disabled students and the legal profession

We received an email from a disabled student yesterday asking what to do about revealing her disability to potential law firms. She explained that she was concerned that people would consider the practical and not want to employ her or interview her as it would be too costly for the law firm. She wondered whether it was appropriate to tell firms that she had a disability and to explain what it was from the date she first made contact. My advice would be to consider each firm carefully. If you are applying to a large London practice or regional commercial firm, you would probably find they would actively encourage you to apply formally as most are very well equipped to cover access in wheelchairs. I have been in quite a few of the London firms and regional firms. I have to say that most have lifts and disabled access. There are also quite a lot of disabled lawyers. I think for example of a barrister who was in a wheelchair and regularly was in court dealing with cases with no problems a

How to handle negotiations for job offers

In the current market, job offers are issued in a somewhat nervous manner at times. Recently we have experienced a firm getting very nervous about negotiation and withdrawing completely from a job offer. A solicitor was offered a post in a small to medium firm in the south east. At three years qualified, the salary was very good and was in line with figures you would expect to see in a good firm across the UK. The candidate accepted the offer immediately and a contract was sent out. Upon receipt of the contract, the candidate decided that there were points in it that needed to be negotiated and discussed further, so they got back in touch with the firm with a list of requests. The firm considered these and within about two hours had withdrawn the offer. So what had the candidate done wrong? Firstly, in the current market, firms are very nervous about everything. Whether this is recruitment or purchase of new equipment or just business in general, they are terrified that something is go