in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report 4th October 2011

This month has been a busy one. Despite the stock markets continuing to yo-yo up and down, financial crises bounding and the continued uncertainty about change in the structure of the legal profession, firms are recruiting.

One of the main areas in recent weeks has been Family Law. The Legal Services Commission have yet again put out some sort of tender document and firms yet again are making a decision to apply for these, despite knowing that doing this public funded work is almost certainly going to be an almighty headache. No doubt the somewhat (allegedly) incompetent Legal Services Commission yet again will change the criteria, reduce the funding or make the checks even more strict than they currently are.

As the structure of Ten Percent has changed, so has the way we source vacancies.  About 60% of our vacancies now come through our member firms, with the other 40% being advertised on the basis that firms want to consider using our service but are not quite sure and therefore want to see what we can do before they commit.

We have endured a couple of frustrating vacancies where we have located suitable candidates at the right price who are interested in firms. The firms have opted instead either not to recruit or to spend money on full priced agencies and advertising in other sources.  We have even had one instance where a firm had decided not to use us and subsequently approached one of our candidates through an agency who charge 20% at the very least. The saving they could have made through signing up with our £60 service compared with what they will end up paying is astronomical.  Our service is now so unbelievably cheap a few HR managers and senior partners cannot get over the unbelievable bit and are hesitant to commit!

We anticipate the market continuing to get even more busy and frenetic than it currently is. Another bumper month in October is expected with increased numbers of vacancies. We will see the inevitable drop off in work from November onwards that always happens as we approach Christmas. Now is a very good time to be recruiting. There are plenty of candidates looking, any 3 month notice period will take you up to Christmas which makes a good start in January and if you are a medium to large size firm the chances are some of your staff will be handing in their notice very shortly because they are on the market looking elsewhere.

Commercial fields still seem to be very quiet and we have seen a whole host of very high quality candidates from good firms registering because of redundancies in their practices. Whether this is because their firm’s expansion has been linked too closely to the public sector and this has affected overall business we do not know.

In September the Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment £720 a Year Service had over 140 new candidate registrations (solicitors, fee earners and legal support staff candidates). The majority of our clients now interview and recruit directly (through our new service), so we no longer have an accurate record of interview numbers. A number of new firms and existing clients have now signed over to the new £60 a month scheme.

Jonathan Fagan, MD Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. T: 0207 127 4343 or email: jbfagan@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