Here is our summary of the current state of the legal job market:
Locum Recruitment – Busy
There is a demand for annual leave cover for most departments in most areas of the UK and this is going unfilled at times, particularly in the property sector. We think a lot of firms discouraged annual leave in June and so an increased number of lawyers taking holidays now. There are locums available in all fields of law, but it is still a lot harder to find locums prepared to travel into offices to work than it is to find remote working locums… We have availability for all fields of law across the UK, although office based conveyancing locum work is still very hard to source for.
Ad hoc assistance is becoming increasingly common in private practice and in house legal departments, with consultants taking on 3-5 different firms and handling work in particular fields of law as it comes in. This can be very cost effective for the firms and also liberating for consultants – who can work extremely flexible hours rather than 9-5. It can also be a bit hit and miss at the moment, with some firms collecting consultants like football stickers but never seeming to have any work..
Locum assignment updates here: https://www.interimlawyers.co.uk/category/locum-solicitor-updates/
Permanent Recruitment – Busy
There is a clear trend now that follows recruitment patterns being reported nationally – there is a shortage of candidates in all areas of law and at all levels of PQE. On average we get around 80-100 new solicitors, legal executives and fee earners registering with us each month as new candidates. In the last month we logged 42 new candidates. We have large numbers of new vacancies being added, but they actually outnumber the new candidates!
Property vacancies are common at the moment. I am hearing reports of conveyancers at some firms burning out or simply leaving without giving notice due to the working conditions and intensity of the last few months. In these circumstances I doubt very much whether the few residential property lawyers looking for work are going to be particularly enthusiastic to join another firm where the recruitment blurb includes the requirement to be ‘hard working’ or ‘very motivated’. Firms need to think carefully about how to attract in quality candidates at this point in time.
Vacancies can be viewed here: https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/vacancies/
Law Firms for Sale – Busy
The market has been boiling away this year but interest from buyers has dropped slightly over the last few weeks. We are seeing an increased number of new firms coming to market – mainly retirement sales of established firms.
Two firms registered this week as follows:
100244 Well established central London Solicitors’ Firm looking for a sale. Turnover c.£650k.
100245 North West based HR and Employment Law Consultancy for sale as a going concern. 75 ongoing client contracts in place. Turnover c£135k.
Full list at https://www.jonathanfagan.co.uk/law-accountancy-firms-for-sale/. For a confidential discussion please ring 01824 780937 and speak to Jonathan Fagan or email email@example.com.
Ten Percent Legal Recruitment Statistics
General Statistics for June 2021 (bracketed number is for June 2020)
New permanent vacancies added: 45 (11)
New locum vacancies added: 34 (15)
New candidates registering: 42 (110)
REC/KPMG UK Job Market Report
(we are members of the panel contributing to this report)
Robust demand for staff drives unprecedented increase in permanent staff appointments
Availability of workers deteriorates at record pace…
…leading to sharper rise in starting pay
KPMG Partner Comment:
“June’s data confirms that momentum in the jobs market continues to surge, with improved business confidence leading to record high recruitment activity. As we move towards the final easing of pandemic restrictions, permanent role availability increased at the quickest rate since the survey began in 1997 and temporary roles rose to the greatest extent for 23.5 years. But for the fourth month running we’re seeing a decline in the availability of candidates to
fill all these new roles and the most severe deterioration for 24 years.”