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Legal Job Market Report July 6th 2016

Legal Job Market Update from Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment – post Brexit – July 6th

June 2016. What a month. I suspect it will always be remembered as the month when something fairly seismic occurred, but quite what this will be is another matter! Will it be remembered as the start of the UK’s exit from the EU, the month when England lost to Iceland and finally worked out that Harry Kane can’t take corners or free kicks, or the the month when sterling lost its status as a world-leading currency? Is it the start of a glorious new future for the UK as an independent nation setting alluring tax rates or the descent into chaos as financial companies queue up to leave and relocate to Dublin or Frankfurt?

At the start of the month I indicated that we expected June to be quieter and sure enough this came to pass. The Euro 2016 Finals helped reduce business levels at the start of the month but the last week of June has been dead as a dodo (as you would expect). Most people were too busy watching the shenanigans between politicians attempting to climb to the top of the greasy pole in both main political parties. The business side of the UK exit seems to be a side show compared with the changes to the Conservatives and Labour! Hopefully the news channels will move onto other things shortly (like the Chilcot report and the probe arriving at Jupiter) and leave the diplomats to sort out the Brexit mess in peace and quiet!

The Legal Job Market is a very fickle beast. It doesn’t take much for everyone to sit back and carefully think about future recruitment plans. I am not sure what effect Brexit is going to have on future legal recruitment, but I suspect it is going to be long term changes rather than short term. What is likely to happen is a realisation that not a lot has changed in the short term and for things to carry on pretty much as usual. However the decline in the property market in and around London is evident from reports by some law firms of a drop off in work, particularly in the buy to let sector and overseas investment. Similarly the move by Asian banks to restrict lending to investors in the London property market is an issue that may affect conveyancing sooner or later. Is this simply a realignment of the market that would have occurred in any event?

July is usually a very busy locum month, but I am not sure this is going to materialise in the same numbers as previous years. Some firms are still hunting for locums but others seem to be making do. We know where this ends up – I can hardly wait for the Friday night calls at 5.30pm from desperate senior partners looking for residential conveyancers to start on Monday!

Permanent vacancies are currently going through the peak of the recruitment wave which will last until mid-July. Plenty of vacancies coming through – not so many ad hoc responses to new candidates registering though.

Conveyancing for permanent roles and locums is still busy. Locums are still around for summer cover but there is still a clear lack of available conveyancing candidates for permanent work. Commercial property is also very busy on the permanent side but not so much on the locum front. Certain areas of the country including Essex seem to lack any applicants for property vacancies at all for pretty much all levels of PQE.

Family law has started to get a bit busier – we have seen a few vacancies come in – particularly on the locum front. We have seen a couple of employment locum roles as well – very rare these days – but both fell through after Brexit! I wonder if employment law will pick up off the back of this in due course?

Wills & Probate is busy although not as much at the moment. Candidates are not widely available and there is still a major demand for private client locums as a result (and an ensuing shortage of locums!).

Litigation – both civil and commercial – is still very quiet. Not a lot going on at all. Corporate commercial work is always sporadic for us and this has remained so for June.

A summary of work we did in June is below.

June 2016 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments down
* Conveyancing vacancies – busy
* Commercial Property vacancies – some
* Wills & Probate vacancies – some
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – some
* Market outlook – work will stay the same as although we are in the busiest recruitment cycle of the financial year (May – July) the political and economic news is going to reduce new business levels we think.

Statistics
Current live vacancies: 643
New permanent vacancies added in June: 41
New locum vacancies added in June: 54
New candidates registering: 82
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies June: 3.9 (Good)

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment publishes the number of new vacancies, new candidates and indicate the increase or decrease from the previous month. We aim to assist the legal profession by showing the market from our perspective. Our clients tend to be high street law firms and smaller sized commercial practices.
The average job strength gives a good indication of the market because:
1. A Poor Job Strength on vacancies indicates a struggling market. When trade is bad, employers seek options for increasing turnover which involve sourcing candidates with their own following and no salary.
2. A Strong Job Strength on vacancies indicates a buoyant market, particularly if it is in connection with an increase in numbers of new vacancies.
Vacancies are each graded 1-5, with 5 being a very strong vacancy and 1 being a very weak vacancy.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes for the Ten-Percent website and the Legal Recruitment blog, an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk.

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 17 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 www.legalcareercoaching.co.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk