Legal Recruitment Newsletter March 2012
Legal Job Market Report 1st March 2012
February 2012 was again a very busy month in recruitment, but again vacancies are going up and down like a yo yo. One minute we are flat out, the next very quiet. Very different to recruitment of old, where there was a constant drip of vacancies and candidates coming into us. The main thing we are noticing is that there is starting to be a bit of a shortfall in numbers of applicants. I think some candidates have got a bit fed up of constantly applying for vacancies where the goalposts change or the firm decide not to recruit right at the last minute, and others have simply left the profession.
An example of the goalposts changing recently occurred with a firm in the South East who shall remain nameless. Firstly they advertised a vacancy – very simply this was for a solicitor to do a form of litigation. We sent this out to our candidates and sent over CVs. Next, they decided that they no longer needed a solicitor, it required the services of a legal executive. We sent out the vacancy and provided CVs. Thirdly, they decided that not only did they need a legal executive, they needed one who had a following. At this point we gave up, anticipating that if we found one with a following, no doubt the firm would require the candidate to own a private jet, live in the Seychelles and be able to speak Ukranian as well!
This is quite a common problem at the moment, and unfortunately certain law firms are creating a name for themselves in doing this repeatedly. There is a firm in central London where we will not get any candidates applying unless they are recently in to us, simply because the firm have such a bad reputation at changing the goalposts or not getting back to either us or the candidates about interviews. Very frustrating!
If you are planning to recruit, make sure you know what you are looking for before sending out the job specification to agencies and before advertising the vacancy anywhere. This does not apply to any of the firms who have joined us as members because they recruit directly and access full CVs with contact info at an early stage.
Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment is now the preferred supplier to over 50 law firms, and they continued to post vacancies with us throughout February.
Locum posts have recently dropped off.
Commercial posts are picking up through our specialist corporate/commercial and in house website –www.jonathanfagan.co.uk
– recent vacancies have been in media law (in house), regulatory posts and general corporate commercial and commercial litigation.
On the high street side we have actually seen recruitment occur in conveyancing, which is good news, plus a wide range of work including family law, property litigation, crime (starting to get very busy this year) and personal injury.
In February we saw 97 new solicitor and legal executive registrations with us.
Application Forms for Legal Jobs – waste of time?
As well as recruiting solicitors, we also coach solicitors on the careers side. I have recently been working with a number of entrants to the legal profession on their training contract applications to the larger city law firms. It is quite fascinating to see the application forms and the sheer length and complexity of them.
As a recruiter, I am starting to question why the process cannot be shortened somewhat for everyone concerned. I know it will put a few administration assistants out of a job, and ruin a few dinner party conversations amongst senior partners at some of the larger London law firms as to who has the longest form, but what about adopting the following strategy for recruitment at training contract and vacation placement level? Surely this will save time and costs?
1. Get each applicant to go online and fill out a form consisting of:
a. Their name, address, postcode, telephone number and email address.
b. Their A Level grades or equivalent.
c. Their degree class or anticipated class.
d. Nothing else.
2. At the closing date, use automated software to cull anyone who has not got a minimum of a 2.1 and AAA or ABB at A level. We think this happens anyway at most firms.
3. Send each remaining applicant a list of questions you want them to answer.
4. Give each applicant a ring and interview them for 5 minutes on the basis of these answers.
5. Select from the list of applicants remaining and call these candidates in for interview.
I would hazard a guess that no-one reads the long winded answers on these forms that students can spend literally days filling out. Furthermore, why do the firms need to know most of the information they ask for when the vast majority of applicants will get rejected on academic performance? It seems a total waste of time and quite demoralising for the armies of applicants currently out there looking to break into the city and spend 2 years working flat out! Recruitment can be speeded up so easily now with the advent of the internet. Its been around a while now, but I think it gets underused in situations like this….
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. You can comment on this article at www.legalrecruitment.blogspot.com
Register Vacancies – Permanent or Locum, Qualified Lawyers or Support Staff
If you could conduct the perfect interview how would it go? Here is our suggestion. If you have any others, let us know via www.legalrecruitment.blogspot.com or our facebook account.
1. Set up the interview room with the interviewee’s chair in an odd position.
2. Get one of your employees to sit in the waiting room and engage the interviewee in conversation about anything non-work related.
3. When greeting the interviewee, shake their hand for a minimum of 5 seconds.
4. See what they do with the chair.
5. Interview questions as follows:
a. If you were conducting this interview, what would you want to find out about yourself?
b. Tell me about yourself in 30 seconds.
c. Tell me about myself in 30 seconds.
d. If I was to go onto the internet and find out about you, what would I find?
e. If I was to tell you that there is no salary offered for this role and I want you to pay me to work here, what would you say?
f. Tell me a joke.
g. What is 24 x 67?
h. If man had three legs, what added benefits would there be to our lives?
i. As a bank manager, would you ever loan money to a solicitors firm who did not have a website or presence?
j. Five people are in a room. How do you determine which one is a leader?
k. Are you a leader or a team player? Do you want my job?
l. If we were to ask your office cleaner about you, what would they say?
m. Have a look at this file. Do you think we have done enough work on it or not enough?
n. How do you streamline a business like ours?
I think this interview would last about 20 minutes and give you sufficient information about a candidate to know whether you would want to employ them or not.
Try it and let us know!
Register Vacancies – Permanent or Locum, Qualified Lawyers or Support Staff
Training your Secretaries to sell
We are all bad at this. I have to confess to having not really trained some of my colleagues in the various packages that Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment sells. For example we offer £60 per month recruitment to law firms with less than 100 employees, but recruitment via www.jonathanfagan.co.uk for law firms with more than 100 employees. Similarly we also sell a host of careers products and regularly take calls for these as well.
How do we do? I have checked a few times by cold calling our call centre staff and also the office. Most of the time we are OK, but the advice below relates specifically to law firms.
It is a very common bug bear about law firms that on the whole secretaries are not the best people to take initial first calls. One of the main issues about calling firms of solicitors is getting straight through to a fee earner who can assist there and then with any queries and demonstrate added value. Added value is a major sales issue and regularly crops up in marketing speak. As far as I can gather in recruitment it involves taking your clients to play golf regularly or reducing prices, but in law firms it is surely demonstrating that you know what you are talking about and you value the client enough to give them direct access to a knowledgeable employee.
When a potential new customer calls up, you should ensure they are put through as quickly as possible to a fee earner. Fee earners should be made to understand that new customers are the source of the cash paying their salaries.
Not only does this demonstrate added value, but also indicates the quality of your firm. So many times I call a law firm and get an extremely abrupt receptionist who knows nothing about me or why I have called. A few times I have called London firms and someone has picked up the phone and said “call back” before hanging up! What if that call had been from a customer with a case worth £30k?
The same applies with emails. Quite a few firms have auto responders for any queries and these are really important. They demonstrate that the firm have received the customer’s enquiry and will get back to them. Without an auto responder it is hard to know whether an email has actually arrived safely.
Secretaries need training in sales. There are no two ways about it. These are very often your sales team, whether you like it or not. What about incentivising them? Bonuses for positive feedback or increased take up following a certain length of call? You could ask customers about their first impressions of your secretaries/sales team and reward the secretaries accordingly. This could spice up your work place a little bit….
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment.
Register Vacancies – Permanent or Locum, Qualified Lawyers or Support Staff
£60 Legal Recruitment Statistics
Our innovative new scheme offering all law firms the chance to cover their legal recruitment costs for just £60 per month for 5 years (and yes, we do mean all legal recruitment costs – there are no charges), enables you to control your recruitment budget whilst filling vacancies.
Some firms use us as sole suppliers, but others purchase the service as an add-on to their existing recruitment provision. After all, what have you got to lose? £60 per month to save thousands, potentially tens of thousands of pounds in recruitment costs? We estimate that since July 2011 firms using the scheme have already avoided recruitment agency fees totalling over £100,000.
50+ firms have now signed up.
We have over 8,500 qualified candidates registered with us. These include:
1,394 crime solicitors, police station reps and legal executives. Of these, at least 307 are duty solicitors and over 1,000 are 1+ year PQE solicitors.
1,988 conveyancing solicitors and legal executives. 1,205 of these have 3 years PQE or more.
891 wills & probate solicitors and legal executives. At least 100 of these are STEP.
702 commercial property solicitors. At least 490 of these are over 3 years PQE.
139 corporate finance solicitors.
126 legal cashiers.
935 personal injury solicitors, legal executives and fee earners.
627 corporate commercial solicitors. At least 360 of these are over 3 years PQE.
643 commercial litigation solicitors. At least 365 of these are over 3 years PQE.
237 solicitors and legal executives who describe themselves as professional locums (at least 500 locums on our books)
1188 civil litigation solicitors and legal executives
667 employment solicitors and legal executives
96 intellectual property solicitors
1,568 family solicitors and legal executives. We recently managed to get LSC supervisors for over 90% of the supervisor vacancies on our books before the December 2011 deadlines and every member firm had a selection of LSC family supervisors from us to choose from. One firm even managed to recruit within an hour of the LSC deadline expiring after signing up with us minutes beforehand. At least 960 of our candidates have 3 years PQE or more in family law.
774 of our candidates are based in the North West
952 of our candidates are based in the Midlands
785 of our candidates are based in Yorkshire and the North East
1138 of our candidates are based in Anglia and Essex
422 of our candidates are based in the South West
279 of our candidates are based in Wales
1765 of our candidates are based in London
1037 of our candidates are based in the South Central region (Hampshire to Oxfordshire)
939 of our candidates are based in the South East (Kent, Sussex and Surrey)
We cover all types of law, from high street through to commercial practice. Our member firms can recruit at all levels, whether permanent, locum, support staff or solicitors, fee earners and legal executives. Each vacancy is sent out to all relevant candidates on our database, posted on a variety of job boards, and via social networking including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Our related site, www.tenpercentfinancial.co.uk
can also assist with the recruitment of IFAs and accountancy staff (included in the monthly price).
Interested in finding out more? Reply to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org), call us on 0207 127 4343 or visit our website at www.ten-percent.co.uk
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We provide ongoing typing contracts and also work on a one-off basis. Our transcribers are all based in the UK and we maintain a high standard of quality output. Our transcribers are experienced secretaries from the legal profesison, medicine or general business and some are educated to degree level and higher.
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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 fixed monthly fee 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.http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/
Please email us details of any vacancies to firstname.lastname@example.org
or register the vacancy online on our website.