Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Cheapskate Law Firm? A Witty (but deadly accurate) Job Application by a Receptionist

We recently received the following job application from an online job board:

"Dear Jonathan,  
You have received a reply to your ad: "Law Firm Receptionist" posted in Reception & Switchboard Jobs in [a greater London area].  
From: Anna
To offer £16,000 p/a you must be either very greedy or not performing well as a company.
I believe that London's living wage is £9.40 p/h. In fact- cleaners earn more in these days.
If I accepted your salary - I would have to choose between either paying my London rent -or buying food. And because I would not be afford to use a public transport to get to work ,- to your office I would fly on a magic carpet. By the way- Would you survive on 16k in London?" 

Hello Anna – many thanks for your application, which we agree with completely!! I have written the following response and posted your application and my response onto the Legal Recruitment Blog (your email address has been removed).

We know of a number of solicitors firms in and around London who seem to think that people go to work simply to help the partners keep ailing businesses afloat or maintain a luxury lifestyle they probably can’t afford.

It doesn’t matter how many times we break the news to some clients that Queen Victoria died in 1901 they still act as if she is on the throne. I suppose there is an option to save money by sleeping rough on the streets during the week and then walk home at the weekend, but I guess you don’t fancy pushing things to that extreme.

The Living Wage is £9.40 per hour. If you assume someone on a salary works full time for 7.5 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 48 weeks of the year, this equates to £16,920. Season tickets for travelling in zones 1-6 appear to cost £227 a month.

So yes you are absolutely right – this firm are potentially advertising a role at less than the Living Wage and it would be very hard to work and be able to enjoy any of the income you earned. We had another firm recently doing the same type of thing - offering £14k - but dangling training contract carrots in front of potential paralegals.

In defence of some of the employers – the hourly rate for legally aided work has not gone up a lot since 1991 and in fact for crime has been reduced by 17.5% as crime solicitors are quite clearly earning too much at £53.84 for complex advocacy in the Magistrates Court. Their hourly rates now equate to a lot less than most garages charge per hour for a qualified mechanic to look at a car.

Other areas of law though not dependent on legal aid have no similar excuse – and if a business is undertaking an uneconomical area of work they ought to be seriously considering their own commercial acumen, not trying to get staff to work for next to nothing.

Sometimes we advertise vacancies that offer unbelievably poor salaries to potential candidates but we are bound to do so by the terms of our contracts with our clients. We can express individual opinions on salary levels, but at the end of the day it is up to jobseekers to vote with their feet and avoid vacancies.

We are considering as an agency refusing to advertise anything that is less than the National Living Wage, or indicating that the National Living Wage is not being met on particular vacancies. Your email has provoked us into further thought on this issue so many thanks.

Solicitors firms fall into 3 categories. The first is the city and commercial sector – these firms pay very high salaries in comparison with their counterparts but why not – they earn it and their staff work amazingly long hours. The second is the decent high street sector- firms generating solid profits based on firm foundations with salaries to ensure longevity and loyalty. The third is the not so decent high street sector where staff are a very temporary commodity with no effort made at all to recruit at a level someone can actually afford to work at.

So thanks for taking the time to apply – we like your wit and hope you go far!

Best wishes

Jonathan Fagan
Managing Director
Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Hourly rates of pay updated September 2016 from Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Hourly Rates of Pay for Locum Solicitors and Legal Executives - September 2016 update

Locum hourly rate payment varies widely according to the demand, length of assignment, level of experience and advance notice available. NB: These rates are intended as a guide only. Hourly rates can vary according to the location, duration and level of expertise.

September 2016 Private Practice Law Firm Locum Rates:
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 1-3 years PQE, handling residential standard sale price only – £28-30 per hour (variation for central London – £29-33 per hour).
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors & ILEX – 5-35 years PQE, handling all levels of conveyancing including managing a department – £30-£40 per hour, including central London.
* Commercial Property Solicitors – 1-40 years PQE - £35-45 per hour.
* Wills & Probate Solicitors and Executives – 3-35 years PQE – £35-45 per hour.
* Family Solicitors – 4-40 years PQE – £25-30 per hour. Occasionally this goes up to £35 per hour for short notice or a few days cover.
* Civil Litigation – 1-35 years PQE. £25-35 per hour. These rates cover mainstream litigation – eg county court and small claims matters.
* Corporate Commercial Locum Solicitors - 5-45 years PQE. £35-75 per hour. Usual rate in small-medium law firms is around £40-50 per hour.
* In House Locum Solicitors - 3-35 years PQE. £35-60 per hour. Usual rate in a larger sized blue chip company legal department is c.£50 per hour going up to c£100-£120.

NB all rates exclude agency fees. The rates are for self-employed locums billing firms directly on a weekly basis.

Hourly Rate, Weekly Rate and Salary Equivalents:
£25 per hour = £937.50 per week or £45,000 per annum (assuming a 7.5 hour day and a 48 week year).
£30 per hour = £1,125 per week or £54,000 per annum.

We have over 11,000 lawyers registered with us. To request CVs for a specific vacancy please register your vacancy using the link at the top of this email or simply reply.
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.