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Showing posts from 2013

Law Students - Make a New Years Resolution not to get a 2.2 degree or Suffer the Consequences for the Rest of your Career

A message for all law students in their 1st, 2nd or even 3rd year.  Make one New Years Resolution as follows: "I will not get a 2.2 degree. I will work harder and get a 2.1." In fact you could make two resolutions - the other resolution would be to get as much legal work experience as you possibly can but this does not add as much to your career at this stage as the first resolution so we will stick with this! If you do not get a 2.1 or 1st class degree (and it seems a lot easier these days at certain Universities to get the latter), your legal career will be damaged. Forever. And Ever. And Ever More. 'What a load of nonsense' I hear you say.  'Why would my career be affected in 20 years time by a degree I get when I am 21 years old?' Why indeed! Unfortunately the legal profession is relatively easy to enter at a certain level, but very difficult to enter at another level. The difference is the salary you will earn for the rest of your career.

Employment Allowance - new tax break

The Employment Allowance - new tax break for small firms The Employment Allowance was brought in for the last budget announcement. It appears to be a rather generous tax break which in return for ticking a box when doing PAYE online, SMEs get £2k knocked off their national insurance bill. There seems nothing else to it and apparently it also includes directors' salaries. This may be an attempt to encourage more limited companies to pay more of their senior staff in wages rather than dividends. We received an interesting update recently from a business magazine which included a link to the government's employment allowance calculator - . The start date is April 2014. Lets hope it turns out to be as good as it sounds.. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals . Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Data

How to retain staff during the Christmas Holidays

Retaining Staff after Christmas - A Guide It is well known in recruitment circles that one of the best times to pick up new quality candidates is between Christmas and the New Year. There are a number of reasons for this but the main ones we seem to come across time and again are below. Most of these are avoidable as you will see: Inappropriate comments or behaviour at the staff Christmas party. No staff Christmas party arranged. No Christmas bonus paid. No Christmas cards, presents or bonus paid. No bonus paid despite one being promised (and/or pay rise). Lawyers having too much time to think about their workplace and colleagues when not at work. No chance of any progression and no real plans for the future indicated by the firm. Being called into work between Christmas and the New Year when other senior staff in the firm are still off work (good time for job hunting). No spirit of Christmas shown on the last day before the Christmas break (it is so easy to break

Reference Checks and Rogue Candidates

Reference Checks - Lessons Learned In this day and age, with LinkedIn, Facebook, (very useful resource) and all the other online tools available, one would imagine that it is very difficult indeed for anyone to attempt to submit a CV and not be fully checkable. Unfortunately there are still those out there who try and a recent experience of a candidate registering for locum work has meant a tightening of our procedures as to who gets to register and be introduced for work. A candidate registered with us and started to express an interest in locum and consultancy posts. We were a little bemused by the CV because it had numerous sections on that were more than just a little ambiguous in terms of the work undertaken in the recent past. A check online did not reveal very much at all, but we received a tip off from a firm to say that the candidate's name had been changed slightly and in fact he had received a rather lengthy prison sentence for a

The Legal Practice Course - Unsustainable and Time for a Change?

The Legal Practice Course - time for a change? We recently had a look at a few statistics surrounding the Legal Practice Course. The current cost of undertaking the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law ranges from £10,845 to £13,905. The Graduate Diploma in Law is £7,240 to £9,820 (depends on location). Wolverhampton University fees, as a comparison, are £9,010 for the Legal Practice Course and Manchester Metropolitan charges £5,560 for the Graduate Diploma in Law. According to government statistics there were 93,575 law undergraduates in 2011-2012. In 2011-2012 there were 4,869 training contracts available. Assuming that over half of these are people who don't want a training contract, or go down the BPTC route, this still leaves a lot of potential candidates out there who are not going to get qualified - the figure does not include those entering via the GDL route. If you consider that since 2008 the training contract figure has not increase

Are Local Authorities Ripping off the Tax Payer with the Rates they pay for Locum Solicitors?

I have been writing articles on the discrepancies between local authority rates and private practice solicitor firm rates for locums for some years now. They are starting to get ridiculous. To give a few examples: 1. We have over 500 immigration solicitors on our books. Most have a reasonable amount of experience. In private practice work the going rate on the permanent side is a salary range of about £20,000-£30,000. Very rare to get much more than this. On the locum side the hourly rate will almost always be about £20-23 per hour depending on the length of assignment. This is for legal aid work. For private and corporate immigration the rates can go up to around £30-40,000 and £25-28 per hour. These are competitive market rates - if the market gets tighter, the salaries and hourly rates go up. 2. We have over 1,500 family solicitors on our books, about 200 of these have child care experience. Family solicitor locum rates are usually around the £25 per hour mark, going up to £35 per

Offering Free Services to Clients to attract business - a good idea or a source of great frustration?

Free Services – are they ever appreciated?   I am not sure if a study has ever been done of these, but a recent experience has made us re-evaluate our own offerings. One of the services Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment offers is ‘free CV checks’. This involves lawyers and law students sending us their CVs for us to give them the once over before replying with our general impressions. We pride ourselves on offering this service without any reference to our paid CV services or our recruitment agency work, although we naturally hope that visitors come back and use us. This week I received a CV from a law graduate requesting a free CV check. I had a look through and replied with feedback to say that his CV was unlikely to get him any interviews and needed work. I gave him a few pointers where improvement was needed and also suggested that he may want to get legal work experience to improve his chances (he didn’t have any). Ten minutes later I received an email informing

Duty Solicitor Slots and the Legal Services Commission (LSC) - the story continues...

The Duty Solicitor and LSC Debacle A recent case we have been involved in as recruiters has finally hit the big time. The LSC have been heavily criticised by an MP for their dealings with a duty solicitor. Yesterday Steve McCabe MP stood up in the House of Commons and delivered a speech to question the relevant minister about the matter. I have pasted below his press release, sent out shortly before the speech was made. The link to the Hansard entry is: - gives a bit of information as well about the government's plans. We are involved in the case as the recruitment agency who introduced Mr Majid to Knights Solicitors. This was a last minute introduction, done before a duty solicitor rota deadline in 2010. Mr Sajjad Khan/Ahmad, the senior partner at Knights Solicitors, was arrested by police and is currently due to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary

Has the Co-operative gone completely mad?

Has the Co-operative gone completely mad? In recent times it has been reported that the Co-operative has lost over £3.5 million via its legal division, but at the same time it plans to introduce apprentice-style online legal career training to new employees. The Co-operative has been offering legal services for some time. Salaries appear to be higher than on the high street and the Co-op has never seemed particularly bothered about recruiting staff with particular qualifications – ie solicitors - and are more concerned with experience. At the same time they have an LSC family contract and took on a whole tranche of family lawyers including a high profile lawyer from TV Edwards. It must be asked though – which executive at the Co-op thought there was money to be made in legal services like LSC funded family law work? How does the Co-op plan to make legal services a sustainable service like their funeral arm? Did they really look into the market in any depth before

Unlimited Legal Recruitment for £60 a month deal - last chance to join?

Legal Recruitment £60 Membership Deal for Review Since July 2011 Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment has offered a deal whereby law firms with less than 100 staff pay £60 a month for 5 years and enjoy unlimited recruitment at all levels. At present we have 85 law firms signed up. Some firms are more active than others, but we have members who use us to cover their locums annually, others who recruit once every few years, and others who are constantly on the lookout for new staff. All our members benefit from the lower costs involved in using the scheme rather than one-off recruitment agency services or paying for Law Society Gazette advertisements. The price and system will be reviewed for new applications once we acquire 100 members. The system operates in a similar way to a fixed rate mortgage. You can set your recruitment agency fee outgoings for 5 years at a very low price. We anticipate, following our review, that there will be an increase in the monthly fee for new members and a

CV Reviews - Volunteers Wanted for Free CV Reviews, Covering Letters and Application Form Reviews

CV Reviews - Volunteers Wanted CV Reviews, Covering Letter and Application Forms Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment have been operating a Legal Careers Service for over 10 years. Every August we think of something new to do – one year we contacted all the law departments at various universities to offer our services, another year we offered University Law Societies free careers products. This year we have decided to review five of each of the above at no cost for solicitors, legal executives or anyone else who wants us to. The catch? We will publish your CV, covering letter/email and application forms on our website with our annotated advice and suggestions for improvement. We will redact your contact details and name only. This advice can then be used by others who will be able to comment on our advice and your documents. If you would like to take advantage of this service please email your CV, application form and/or covering email/letter to  Please do not

June Legal Recruitment News available at

June 2013 Legal Recruitment News now available at - articles on working in retirement - advice on locuming for senior solicitors, recent salary levels and hourly rates observed by Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and our most recent legal job market report, also available at Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals . Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here .

Legal Recruitment News April 2013

Legal Recruitment News is out for April 2013. Please visit This month's articles include an extract from this blog on whether swearing is ever acceptable in business and asks whether postgraduate legal education is a rip off. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment includes a legal job market update and there is also an extract from the KPMG job survey for April 2013. Click the link above to visit the site and read the newsletter. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals . Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

Is Swearing Ever Acceptable in Business when Speaking to Clients?

Last week I attended the Recruitment Expo, which is a little bit like a day of CPD together with trade stands.  One of the seminars was delivered by a very well-known recruitment trainer and someone highly respected within the business, particularly for his headhunting courses.  As part of his quick 20 minute presentation, this trainer was giving 20 objections and how to overcome them.  (i.e. when clients are prevaricating before agreeing to either speak to you or take on a member of staff through you as a recruiter).  A couple of times in the first 10 minutes he used fairly mild swear words as part of his presentation.  These didn’t seem to be out of place per say although they did make me consciously aware that he had just sworn to his audience.  However,  when he got to his point about clients phoning and giving out vacancies he used the phrase "Well F**k Me", not once but twice. He then went on to use the “F” word at least twice more. I should say that when it comes to

10 Top Interview Questions for Lawyers in 2013

10 Top Interview Questions for 2013 Interviews have got a lot tougher in recent times – reports of honest feedback being given (‘candidate was useless and just mumbled’ or ‘candidate was completely over the top and needs to calm down’) means that employers are being much more selective as to whom they invest in and employ. Here are our top 10 interview questions for 2013 - try them out if you are a law firm and as a candidate get ready for them! I was at a training course last week where the trainer basically stated that anyone who claims their business was affected by the recession has only themselves to blame. Not entirely sure how - after all it was a little unexpected to say the least - and if that mentality is starting to show, then it is likely it will also affect recruitment as well. Outline ‘quantitive easing’ in 20 seconds. I see you have moved about a bit. Does nobody like you? Why were you made redundant in 2007? Have you used the recession as an excuse for

When are Careers Advisers and CV Experts going to stop telling people to include skills and other waffly nonsense on a CV?

You may be able to judge from the above title that we are slightly biased on this point, but having just read through my 30th CV for the day and getting ready to throw the monitor out of the window and bang my head on the desk repeatedly, I have to ask the following question: Which idiot told careers advisers that employers like to see skills in the profile section of a CV? Anyone want to own up? I can't see any logical reason for including them. Let me give you some examples from the CVs I have been reading today.   An enthusiastic and ambitious graduate with broad work experience and focused on building a career in the legal profession. This candidate is in fact a highly experienced property fee earner, but my first reaction having read this would be to delete the email and CV.   An experienced and highly competent civil commercial litigation solicitor who works well under pressure to consistently meet strict deadlines. Fluent and effective communicator with strong

Getting Feedback from Legal Job Interviews - is it worth it?

Getting Feedback from Interviews – Is it Worth It?   This week I have coached a junior lawyer who came to see me for interview practice following a series of interviews where she had been rejected. She had been given feedback on one occasion and the feedback had been that she was too timid and appeared to lack confidence.   After interviewing her for 30 minutes, albeit in a practice scenario, it was pretty clear that this was not someone who was timid or lacked confidence and in fact a very able interviewee.   She was clear, lucid, able to answer complicated questions immediately without pause, come up with examples for competency based interview scenarios (e.g. describe a situation when …) and was not fazed by any rude or negative questions.   In fact, in terms of the standard she was at I would say she was more than competent as an interviewee and certainly did not lack confidence or was timid. However, she was a very slight woman, fairly short and extremely softly sp