Candidate Legal Recruitment News Nov 2011

Career Coaching Day in London – Wednesday November 16th
Job Market Report – 1st November 2011.
Vacancy Update
ABS’s – any sign of any recruitment yet?
How to Write a good Personal Profile Section on a CV.
Salaried Partnership offer – should you take it?

Legal Job Market Report 3rd November 2011

October has been a very busy month in legal recruitment. Traditionally the Autumn is the busiest time of year for recruitment, tailing off as we get towards Christmas. During October the job advertisement levels in the Law Society Gazette have reflected the level of business we have been doing. Some weeks the Gazette has been full of adverts and other weeks it has been quite quiet. Overall though business is up.  Conveyancing and Wills and Probate vacancies appear to be trickling back onto the market and we are getting wind of a number of these.

As we approach November 14th and the Duty Solicitor deadlines a good number of firms have been trying to increase their Duty Solicitor numbers within firms. It has to be said that this is a lot less during this year. Part of this I think is related to the fact that business through duty slots is considerably down on previous years.

I can be fairly confident of this because one of the large legal recruitment companies has decided to become an expert in duty solicitors in recent times and have been plastering the Law Society Gazette with adverts for freelance duty solicitors across the UK for a couple of large law firms.  I suspect that these firms are attempting to capture a significant proportion of the market so that when competitive tendering comes in the bigger companies will be in a good position to take a considerable chunk of the work at a low price per case.  I can see a time when the likes of Serco and Capita get involved in the crime solicitor market and one of the big players gets taken over and turned into a call centre operation with freelance advocates being paid a low hourly rate.

Freelance Duty Solicitors are strongly advised to think carefully before staying on a freelance basis unless they are picking up substantial work off their duty slots. There have been a number of instances in the last 12 months when freelancers have made very little money and therefore have accepted salaried posts as low as £27,000 to £30,000 as their freelance work has netted them so little over the past 6-12 months. Other fields have been busy.  We have picked up posts as varied as environmental law consultancy work in the Midlands, mental health, welfare benefit posts (very rare these days), corporate commercial, taxation and commercial property.

The vast majority of the posts coming through to our job board are now being posted by clients who have signed up to the £60 per month scheme. This means that all candidates are guaranteed consideration by the law firm they have applied to, provided they are suitable, and recruitment on the whole tends to occur after the vacancies have been advertised. Over the past 3 years we have had a large number of firms toying with the idea of recruitment and decided the last minute to pull out, wasting everyone’s time and money.  We hope the new scheme has erased this and that when a vacancy is placed recruitment occurs.

In October the Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment £720 a Year Service had over 120 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 up to the new £60 a month scheme.

Legal Career Coaching Day – Wednesday November 16th – Central London

Do you have a particular problem or issue with your career that you would like to discuss with Jonathan Fagan, experienced legal career coach, solicitor and recruitment consultant? Jonathan is holding another career day in London on November 16th. For details please email For details of our career coaching service, please visit

Vacancy Update – vacancies registered 1st October – 4th November

For full details of our vacancies, please visit
14463 Children Panel Solicitor Family/Matrimonial Solicitor Slough
14462 Conveyancing Solicitor Conveyancing Fee Earner – all Cardiff
14461 Prison Law Supervisor Prison Law Fee Earner – all East London
14460 Duty Solicitor – Freelancers – Rota Slots Crime Duty Solicitor East-Central London
14459 Wills & Probate Lawyers Wills & Probate Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14458 Trusts Lawyer Trusts Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14457 Telecoms Lawyer Telecoms Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14456 Tax Lawyer Tax Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14455 Residential Development Lawyers Residential Development Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14454 Residential & Commercial Conveyancing Lawyer Residential & Commercial Conveyancing Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14453 Property Litigation Lawyer Property Litigation Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14452 Professional Negligence Lawyer Professional Negligence Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14451 Planning Lawyer Planning Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14450 Personal Injury Lawyer Personal Injury Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14449 Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyers Mergers & Acquisitions Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14448 Mental Health Lawyers Mental Health Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14447 Media/Entertainment Lawyers Media/Entertainment Law Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14446 Landlord & Tenant Lawyers Landlord & Tenant Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14445 Insolvency Lawyer Insolvency Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14444 Information Technology Lawyer Information Technology Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14443 Immigration Lawyers Immigration Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14442 Housing Lawyers Housing Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14441 General Practice Lawyers General Practice Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14440 Family Lawyers Family/Matrimonial Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14439 Employment Lawyers Employment Law Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14438 Dispute Resolution Lawyer Dispute Resolution Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14437 Debt Recovery Lawyers Debt Recovery Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14436 Conveyancing lawyers Conveyancing Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14435 Consumer lawyers Consumer Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14434 Construction Lawyer Construction Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14433 Company Commercial Lawyer Company Commercial Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14432 Commercial Property Lawyer Commercial Property Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14431 Commercial litigation lawyer Commercial Litigation Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14430 Civil Litigation Lawyer Civil Litigation Fee Earner – all Maidstone
14429 Conveyancing Solicitor – Residential and Commercial Residential & Commercial Conveyancing Solicitor Telford
14428 Family Fee Earner Family/Matrimonial Fee Earner – all Ipswich
14427 Family Solicitor Family/Matrimonial Solicitor East-Central London
14426 Conveyancing Lawyer Conveyancing Solicitor Portsmouth
14425 Wills & Probate Lawyer Wills & Probate Fee Earner – all Portsmouth
14424 Commercial and Residential Conveyancing Solicitor Residential & Commercial Conveyancing Solicitor Portsmouth
14423 Police Station Accredited Representative Police Station Reps Accredited Police Station Representative West London
14422 Crime Solicitor Duty Crime Solicitor West London
14421 Family Solicitor LSC and Privately Funded Family/Matrimonial Solicitor East London
14419 Social Welfare Caseworker Welfare Benefits Fee Earner – all Cardiff
14418 Crime Solicitor Crime Solicitor Southend-on-Sea
14416 Family Lawyer or Fee Earner Family/Matrimonial Fee Earner – all Dartford
14414 Personal Injury Solicitor Personal Injury Solicitor South West London
14413 Solicitor Environmental Law Solicitor Coventry
14410 Clinical Negligence Locum Solicitor Clinical Negligence Solicitor Liverpool
14409 Crime Solicitor Duty Birmingham Crime Solicitor Birmingham
14408 Mental Health Caseworkers and Lawyers Mental Health Fee Earner – all North London
14407 Crime Solicitors Duty Crime Duty Solicitor North London
14405 Tax Solicitor in Kent Tax Solicitor Maidstone
14403 Family Solicitor Family/Matrimonial Solicitor Reading
14402 Family Solicitor Family/Matrimonial Solicitor Cardiff

How to Write a good Personal Profile Section on a CV.

The first thing to say about a personal profile section is that if you have nothing to say, the best personal profile section for you would be an empty one and the space used more effectively for something else.

You only need a personal profile section to explain about six points. These are

1. Your job title
2. The number of years’ experience you have
3. Any particular tempting assets for a prospective employer
4. The location you seek work
5. How much you want
6. When you are available.

An example of this in a legal career context would be :

“A conveyancing solicitor with 5 years PQE and a personal following worth £120k, looking for a suitable post in North West London. Salary levels £40-£50k, notice period 2 months”.

By including this information it makes it possible for anyone looking at the CV to immediately see who the person is, and whether or not they wish to continue to read the CV or move onto the next one.

This section is one of the hardest to get right because if the personal profile is no good then it is highly likely that anyone looking at the CV will immediately form a negative perception of the writer.

The personal profile we have included above complies with the three second rule.

The three second rule is the theory that you have three seconds to impress the reader of your CV before they give up and move onto the next one or fail to take in exactly who you are and what you are looking for.

A personal profile that just contains a load of buzz words and subjective information is completely useless and a total waste of time and space.

An example of this would be

“A gregarious and outgoing law graduate with a can-do attitude to work. Possessing a sense of humour and an ability to achieve great things. Looking to progress career and demonstrate my great ability to any prospective employer”.

We see so many of these on CVs and it is sad to think that it is possible that someone somewhere is advising people to include this nonsense.  I would imagine that pretty much every employer would agree that this type of entry is a complete waste of time and effort and should be avoided like the plague.

If this is all you have to write on your CV leave the personal profile section off. Profiles are only really relevant if you have something specific to the post or type of firm you are applying to and if not then it is best to let the employer simply read what you have done to date in your work experience and your academic career.

I have been offered a salaried partnership – should I take it?

Recently my firm have offered me a role as a salaried partner and informed me that I am being promoted.  My salary will remain the same because they cannot afford a paying fee but I will be invited to partnership meetings and asked to assist with the management of the firm. What should I do?

This is a very common occurrence in law firms up and down the UK at the moment.  Firms are finding it hard economically and there is an increasing reluctance to share the equity and profits in a law firm due to shrinking margins.  I suppose you could say that this has been the case for many years and equity partners have always been reluctant to share the profits unless there is an obvious benefit for them.

Salaried partnership is something to think about very carefully indeed.  I remember doing work experience many years ago in a law firm in Yorkshire with an old wise solicitor who was working as an assistant solicitor on a good wage at the time.  He had been offered salaried partnership with his firm and he had politely declined.  The reason for this was that he would get the same money as he already did but for increased risk to his professional career and for more work as the partnership expected him to take over some of the management roles.

It is important to bear this in mind. Whilst being a partner of a law firm is a great achievement and very often the pinnacle in your legal career, it also carries considerable risks and disadvantages.

Firstly, as a salaried partner you take on some of the liability for any wrong doings in the law firm. This means that if any disciplinary proceedings are brought then it is likely they will be brought against you as well as others in the firm.  If you decide to go and set up on your own and take on your own professional indemnity insurance there may well be risks there as well.  If you come from a practice that has a bad professional indemnity insurance record then this will have an effect on your own efforts to obtain professional indemnity insurance later on.

Furthermore, if there is no salary increase but an expectation that you undertake some of the management of the business, then in actual fact it is not a promotion but a demotion because you are now taking on two roles instead of one and getting paid less money per role.

Make sure if you decide to consider a salaried partnership role seriously that you check the accounts carefully. Get a copy of them and pay an accountant to go through them with you.

By doing this there will be no hidden surprises that come back later also ask to see the bank statements for the past year so that you can check that nothing untoward is going on from that angle as well.

Some firms like to offer written terms for partnership but others have been pretty notorious over the years at not offering anything in writing. It is important to get this and make sure that the partnership agreement is water tight. If you are going to become a partner consider the position with restricted covenants. Do you really want a restricted covenant in the contract that prevents you from taking clients with you to another firm if there is going to be no paying increase and you are going to be expected to share the burden of management? Afterall your fellow partners are likely to be able to walk away and take clients with them.  Even if you agree to a restricted covenant it is very often the case that partners write to all their clients to advise that they are leaving and to state the firm they are going to. This may minimise any effects a restricted covenant has on you from this angle.

In summary make sure that you are taking the salaried partnership for the right reasons. It has to be a genuine step up to benefit your career and not simply an excuse for someone at partnership level to give you more work to do.

No sign of any ABS Legal Recruitment – yet….

Further to the massive change that has apparently happened in the legal sector, I can say that so far we have received no indication of any vacancies being posted by new ABS law firms.  We have had a request from one of the new brands to advertise on our website (slightly surprising being that we have criticised them heavily!) but no sign as yet of any new entrants to the legal profession looking to recruit large amounts of solicitors to sweep up the business.  I am hardly surprised. With the amount of legislation and regulation that affects the legal profession, any cutthroat operators looking to make a quick buck by recruiting armies of paralegals to undertake work are going to have to take a considerable amount of time to plan their operation in order to make any money at all. Furthermore, with the possibility that referral fees are going to get banned very shortly, (for somewhat spurious reasons that are still not entirely clear) I would imagine a good number of companies are watching the space very carefully before making a decision to step in.

If and when we get any ABSs we will post information on this site. We did have a caravan park operator looking to recruit an in-house solicitor on an overwhelmingly generous salary of £25,000. The person had to be (to put in the caravan park owner’s words) “Top notch”, “highly experienced” and “from a good quality firm background”.  I did delicately suggest that the salary being offered was about a 3rd of the usual level for this type of candidate but the person in question sounded quite insulted at this and said that there were plenty of people out there looking for a job and he was sure they would recruit. The vacancy disappeared a few days later when the manager got in touch to say that they had managed to find someone. If you have recently accepted a post as an ex-city lawyer with over 5 years’ experience in property and litigation and are based somewhere in the East Midlands/East Anglia please get in touch to reassure me that you have not accepted a salary of £25,000….

Salary Review Update

The Ten-Percent Legal Salary Survey is available online – Click the link below to view the surveys, which are broken down into geographical areas:

Our most recent Crime Solicitor salary list is available on our blog at

About Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Formed in April 2000, Ten-Percent is an innovative recruitment membership service run online for law firms and employers across the UK and offshore offering free recruitment to members. Over 1,300 law firms and companies have used our services, and we have over 8,000 solicitors & legal executives registered for opportunities, as well as other fee earners and support staff. We donate 10% of our annual profits to charity.


Jonathan Fagan

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