Legal Job Market Report – August 6th 2020
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report – August 6th 2020

Good morning. Here is our summary of the current state of the legal job market:

Permanent Recruitment – Picking up
Vacancies are starting to come in, but fall into three camps. First are the vacancies from firms who have genuine need for new staff following usual career or retirement moves etc.. The second vacancies are from firms seeking a bargain – they have a reasonable amount of work coming in and want to recruit, but think there are going to be hoards of interested and quite desperate candidates working for low salaries. The third is a group of firms who have a vague notion of wanting to expand, eyeing up the perceived success of Setfords et al and looking to recruit solicitors who have their own clients and work on a fee share basis.

Locum Recruitment – Quiet but Signs of Life
Still quiet, but on Monday 3rd August we saw a return to a normal day with 5 locum assignments coming in at once! Usually in July and August we get c.3-6 assignments and queries registered each day and at the moment we are lucky to get this number in a week. Increase in rates reflected in our hourly rates guide below.

Law Firms for Sale – Reasonably Busy
We have seen a few deals going through, a few in advanced stages of talks and a number of enquiries. Some enquiries coming through from potential investors looking for distressed firm sales which at the moment are not cropping up as far as we can see. For details of current law firms for sale please click here to view our list.

Permanent Jobs – Candidate Advice
Our advice to candidates looking for new permanent roles is to register and apply for jobs wherever you see them as you would normally, but don’t expect a response from law firms or agencies. As firms and agents update their sites and job boards the jobs ought to be more up to date. There are a number still being advertised where firms have not updated for some time. You never know who may be in need of staff and when the market reactivates itself so it is still worth going through the motions.

Locum Jobs – Candidate Advice
Be prepared to compete for work, which means drop your prices, and if you want the work drop them substantially. Instead of getting 1-2 locums expressing an interest in covering each assignment we are getting up to 40 each time. Make sure we have all your documents on file as we will always go with our Tier 1 locums (fully checked) for roles where possible – and we usually have at least 2-4 available for each post.

REC Guide to the Job Retention Scheme and Furloughed Workers
The REC (our trade body) has produced a very helpful and updated (4th August) guide to the Job Retention Scheme and Furloughed Workers. You can get your copy here –

CIPS UK Services Sector Report (we are members of the panel contributing to this report)
Headlines: New work returns to growth in July amid reopening boost and business optimism improves for the fourth month in a row.

UK service providers reported a strong increase in business activity during July, with the rate of growth the sharpest recorded for five years. New orders also rebounded during the latest survey period, reflecting an improvement in corporate and household spending. Growth was mainly linked to the phased reopening of business operations across the UK economy. Employment was a weak point in July, with staffing numbers falling at a steep and accelerated pace amid concerns of only a partial recovery in longer-term demand from the levels seen prior to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Around 38% of the survey panel reported an increase in business activity during July, while only 24% signalled a decline. However, survey respondents often noted that output had simply risen from an extremely low base and would take a long time to recover to pre-pandemic levels.


General Statistics for July 2020 (comparison is with July 2019)
New permanent vacancies added: 21 (33)
New locum vacancies added: 9 (24)
New candidates registering: 112 (85)

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at