in Staying in Your Job

How to Survive the Recession, a guide for lawyers

Surviving a recession is a little like writing a blog – you have to constantly look at your save button to ensure you dont lose any work as I have just lost this article and am now retyping it!

Top tips are:

1. Make sure you are invaluable to your firm. Even if you are last in, first out, there is no reason why you cannot contribute to the fee generation capabilities of your firm or department and make the partners think twice before making you redundant.

2. Think up new sources of work – consider every threat an opportunity – some areas have been hit more than others. I have come across a firm today looking to change their focus from property work to contentious probate, as they have seen the possible slow down in property to be affecting their fee income rather dramatically. No-one is immune from changes in business – it can happen anywhere and to anyone. Even in established markets things can change.

3. Dont let your employers talk themselves into a recession and a round of redundancies. I come across firms all the time saying that a particular legal market is going to slow down or stop, and they need to stop working in it, but stating this without any hard evidence. The Law Society Gazette is very bad at contributing to these opinions – we have seen recruitment put on hold on numerous occasions in the past 3 years because of a particular headline on the front of the Gazette.

4. Look to get extra strings to your bow, but do not waste your money on qualifications where experience is more important – there is no reason why a wills & probate solicitor cannot look towards the IFA qualifications, and I have heard recently of reports that financial planning is going to be all the rage soon because of the legislation requiring fee based advice rather than commission…

5. Don’t panic! Our interest rates are still very low, things will pick up in all areas sooner or later.

Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!  Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at

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 20 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 You can contact Jonathan at