Legal Recruitment Newsletter for Employers November 2011

Sponsored by Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Legal Job Market Report 1st 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.

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

Candidates Registered 26th Oct – 1st Nov – A Selection

311011 Duty Solicitor – 30 miles from Stoke. £30k salary and upwards.
311011 Family Solicitor 2 years PQE. Potentially has 60 files to come with her. London
311011 Family Solicitor 2 years PQE. Workington and surrounding areas.
311011 Crime Solicitor, police station accredited. Anywhere in London. £23k salary.
311011 Family Solicitor 10 years PQE. Surrey and Central London. High net worth and LSC experience.
281011 Family Solicitor 1 year PQE. Ashford, Kent and further East.
311011 FILEX Commercial and Residential Conveyancing. Plymouth and South Coast areas.
311011 Accredited Police Station Rep – central London.
311011 In House Legal Counsel – Energy sector. City trained. Salary levels £120k plus bens.
311011 In House Legal Counsel – general areas. £70k.
281011 FILEX Conveyancing Lawyer. 10 years experience. Portsmouth area.
271011 Commercial Property Solicitor – Cheshire, North West and Shropshire. 3 years PQE.
271011 Crime Solicitor Duty – looking around South Midlands and Midlands. Relocating from Berkshire.
271011 Legal Cashier – 10 years experience. Surrey or London. £28k. Range of packages used. ILFM member.

This is just a sample of the 120 candidates registered in the last few weeks. Member firms get full access to our candidate database by paying just £720 a year.

To access the 8,500+ Candidate Database, please visit www.ten-percent.co.uk/membership-services
New £720 a year Recruitment Service

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment is now a service for member firms and employers. We aim to have 100 legal employers signed up to the service by Christmas 2011 and are well on the way to achieving this. A good percentage of our clients are sole practitioners and firms with less than 5 partners. £720 a year covers all your locum, permanent, temporary and contract employment, legal support staff, qualified or unqualified fee earners. You get full access to our CV database and a range of job boards as part of the service. Further details by return email or on our website at www.ten-percent.co.uk/membership-services.

Click here to instantly register legal vacancies

Guide to Interviewing for Employers.
When interviewing potential employees, particularly in a law firm setting, it is important to remember the following advice:

1. HR managers have been trained in specific techniques designed to apply psychology and test a candidate’s personality, but are usually unable to determine someone who you personally would feel comfortable working with. Make sure the person you are employing is someone that you could work with and get on with well in a work setting as well as a social one or an interview environment.

2. Be sure that the person you are employing is technically capable of doing the job. Ask a couple of technical questions during the interview and gauge the response.

3. Write down all the answers that the candidate gives you because if you are interviewing 20 potential employees in one day you are almost certainly going to forget half, if not three quarters of what is said.

4. Refrain from taking over the interview and not giving the candidate an opportunity to speak. A lot of interviews are conducted by interviewers who have not really understood the idea or concept behind interviewing, which is for you to determine that the person you are interviewing is suitable for your company or firm. If you do not allow them to speak, you will never know this. Indeed, the person will go away wondering whether or not you are the slightest bit interested in them when all you have done is spend the time talking about yourself. There is a law firm in Nottingham where the senior partner is very well known for doing this and offering jobs to people at the end of the interview without them actually having uttered a word.

5. Do not be defensive to any questions that are asked by the candidate. Some candidates like to see how you will react as an employer in a situation where you may have been put on the spot or under a stressful situation. They may wish to see how you would react to them asking them, for example. An example of this would be a question such as, “What do you do if you get angry with your employees? Have you ever thrown a book at them?” It may sound a silly question, but if they have come from a firm or company where their former employer was slightly deranged and undertook such exercises on a regular basis, it may be something they feel very concerned about.

6. Smile in the interview. Do not glare at the candidates, and if interviewing as part of a panel try and avoid the situation where one of you acts as good cop and one of you acts as bad cop. This does not work on the whole, unless interviewing very junior members of staff who are desperate for work and may just annoy anyone with a bit of experience in the work place.

7. Think about using a mystery shopper to sit in reception with the candidate when they come in. This can be very interesting. You may find the person is reading your literature or may find them sat reading the paper but you will see them in a more relaxed state than they would have been in the interview. Ask your receptionist or secretary to keep an eye on them as well and to give you their feedback on their greeting to them and the way that they spoke to them when they first came into the building.

8. Avoid asking too many questions which are waffly or require lots and lots of business speak. Anyone can do business talk if they have been on the right courses, but it does not determine whether that person will be any use to your business or firm or gauge how hard working they are.

9. Do try to ask questions that put the candidates on the ropes and make them work hard with their responses. It will give you an idea as to how they react in a difficult situation at work.

10. Don’t forget to ask a moral question and see how they react to it. Such examples would include whether they would report a fellow employee they saw taking paper clips out of the stationery cupboard, or observing a potential criminal act taking place that required police intervention.

11. Finally, remember that the person you will be interviewing could be someone that is going to work with for a long, long time and if you give off an bad impression in an interview, this can last throughout your relationship as employer/employee. It does not necessarily follow that because a potential employee does not like you, they will not want to work for your company, as firstly money talks, and secondly they may see your company or business as an ideal career opportunity as opposed to needing to fit in well with you.

How to save money on advertising – online and offline

This article is from one of our sister companies – http://www.chesterwebmarketing.co.uk/ – SEO and Digital Marketing Consultants for firms across the UK and overseas.

Firstly, try to get away from adwords. We see so many law firms using adwords to get themselves onto Google, but probably 60-80% of their clicks are going to be from competitors curious to see their website, or job seekers looking for work. The cost is tremendous, and you will probably be throwing money around for no apparent reason. Particular examples include low cost conveyancing, when the profit margins are slim anyway, or crime firms advertising for clients.

Secondly, watch your advertising in hard copy. Yellow Pages ads are vital to any law firm, and generate constant traffic. Do you really need a full page ad to attract in customers? Would you be better redesigning your current advert and including more content, making it look more professional and checking your keywords? There are countless examples of large high street firms with full page ads that look like a work experience student has designed them.

Thirdly, think about ways of advertising that cost next to nothing. The most important two of these are Blogging and Press Releases. In our local paper, one of the local solicitors firms seems to issue a press release if so much as a spider crawls across the floor in the office. The local paper is so desperate for cheap news, they print almost anything, and as a result the firm get infinite amounts of free publicity for their various services!

Blogging can cost very little. Invite work experience students in to the office to shadow you for a week, and in return ask them to prepare two articles for your online blog. Make sure the articles are relevant and based on keywords – eg if you are a firm in Littlehampton, you could get them to write an article on the law firms in Littlehampton, or even the nightlife.

These last two tips alone could save your company a lot of money and generate new business in ways you never imagined possible.

Contact http://www.chesterwebmarketing.co.uk/ for details of how we can assist you with the above and your organic search listings on Google, Yahoo and MSN. For evidence of our service in practice type “locum solicitor” into Google, and see where Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and our Legal Recruitment BlogSpot sites are ranked.

Passive Income Streams

This is a relatively new concept for a lot of law firms, although there have been some notable exceptions. It is the idea of developing services that pay you money whilst you sleep. A quick example of this is the Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment website – most of our free careers pages have a Google Adsense account linked to them, with adverts somewhere on the page. Every month we get a cheque from Google for click through payments generated by these pages. This is not substantial, but it certainly nice to see a cheque for something that we have not had to do a lot of work to generate. Another example is a divorce guide online. If you were to write a guide to getting divorced online, and generate publicity for this via your blog and website, you could give a basic outline free of charge, and advertise the remainder being downloadable for say £40. You sign up to Paypal or Google Checkout, include a link to your site, and sit back and watch money come in whenever anyone clicks through. The guide probably would not cost you a lot to prepare (you could again get work experience students to put the basic elements of it together), and again is passive income. There are lots more possibilities out there…

Low Cost Digital Dictation Outsourcing
TP Online Transcription & Typing Service with offices in London and North Wales. We have a team of 20 UK based transcribers offering digital file and tape transcribing services worldwide. Established in 2001, the company has been handling bulk orders (including over 500 hour projects) and one-off assignments for legal and non-legal clients including a large number of UK Solicitors, B&Q, Endemol, the Office of Fair Trading, Sony, Dundee University, Cartridge World, University of Oxford, NHS Tayside, the British Medical Journal, Marie Curie and many more.

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.

We can transcribe from all audio & digital files, whether WAV, WMA, DSS (Olympus) or MP3 (plus a host of other formats), CD or DVD, Standard Cassettes, Mini and Micro Cassettes and Video (VHS). We have FTP facilities. For legal work we are happy to take templates to transcribe into. Our main service for law firms is our capacity to free up ‘in office’ secretaries to undertake daily tasks whilst reducing the backlog of work or any large transcription jobs. For details of the service please visit http://www.tptranscription.co.uk/ call 01352 751945 or email pearl@uk-transcription.co.uk.

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: http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/salary-reviews-for-lawyers-ten-percent-legal-recruitment.html

Our most recent Crime Solicitor salary list is available on our blog at http://www.legalrecruitment.blogspot.com/

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. http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/

Please email us details of any vacancies to cv@ten-percent.co.uk or register the vacancy online on our website.

Legal Recruitment News
For older editions of the Legal Recruitment News, and free articles on recruitment, legal careers, training, SEO & Web Marketing, please visit http://www.legal-recruitment.co.uk/ . You can also visit the http://www.legalrecruitment.blogspot.com/ for over 200 articles on Legal Recruitment including advice for candidates.

Legal Recruitment News and Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
Email: cv@ten-percent.co.uk
Website: http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/ : http://www.legal-recruitment.co.uk/
Tel: 0207 127 4343