in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report 10th November 2016

Legal Job Market Update – November 2016

President Trump, Brexit and England knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland. Who would have thought it (apart from the latter of course)… The year of uncertainty continues!

STOP PRESS – Expert Comment on the Trump win by Professor Stadler from Warwick University (received 10 mins ago as a press release): “Trump’s victory brings a similar uncertainty as Brexit did. For UK business it is a particularly big threat as trade with Europe is likely to decline as a result of Brexit.. but the US will also be a more difficult place to trade with. Trump has spoken out against free trade, so expect a dramatic rise in import duty in some industries, such as steel. The negotiations on TTIP are likely to end. This suggests that it will be difficult for the UK to negotiate a deal with the US. We can expect substantial investment in US infrastructure, but this is not likely to benefit UK companies as contracts are likely to go to US companies. UK companies …[should]… set up subsidiaries in the US, so if a company operates in the US it won’t be affected by the new trade barriers. Another effect is that it could be more difficult to get work permits in the US for UK business people.” (Press Release from Warwick Business School).

October 2016 has had the usual drop off in work, with most firms spending more time thinking about Halloween costumes, Bonfire Night arrangements and Christmas Party plans. Candidates are preoccupied with getting to and from work in the dark and dealing with actual work rather than necessarily thinking about new job opportunities. We will see a slight increase in requests for maternity leave cover on the locum side, but for permanent recruitment November and December is definitely the “graveyard shift” – if you are planning to look for staff now is probably not the time. Interviews tend to be difficult to fit in amongst Christmas shopping and nights out plus the usual traffic problems and seasonal illnesses – January tends to be much more productive!

Key Points from the REC Report on Jobs (released 9th November 2016) is as follows:
* Permanent placements growth reaches eight-month high as temp billings also rise at faster pace
* Demand for both permanent and temporary candidates at its highest since May
* Agencies report steeper decline in staff availability

Key points for October from Ten Percent Legal Recruitment as follows:

The demand for Residential Conveyancing locum and permanent staff has increased again.
Permanent recruitment has increased.
Locum recruitment remains at a lower level.
Family Solicitors, particularly any with LAA experience, are few and far between.
Wills and Probate locum and permanent roles have increased and private client solicitors remain in demand.
Commercial Property roles remain elusive.
Litigation still fairly busy. We have seen a number of Education Law vacancies come in over the last week – is this a new boom area?
We are still seeing and hearing of redundancies in larger commercial practices.
London remains quiet.

We continue to see an increase in enquiries about our fixed fee recruitment – unlimited locum and permanent recruitment for a monthly fee – as firms look to save money and restrict future costs. In the time we have been operating the scheme we have found that membership increases when uncertainty in the market goes up.

A summary of work we did in October is below.

October 2016 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments down
* Conveyancing vacancies – up
* Commercial Property vacancies – few
* Wills & Probate vacancies – lots
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – some
* Corporate Commercial and In House vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – some
* Market outlook – vacancies are declining together with general recruitment activitiy. This is the standard annual recruitment cycle.

Current live vacancies: 691
New permanent vacancies added in October: 41
New locum vacancies added in October: 30
New candidates registering: 50
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies October: 3.1 (Average)

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment publishes the number of new vacancies, new candidates and indicate the increase or decrease from the previous month. We aim to assist the legal profession by showing the market from our perspective. Our clients tend to be high street law firms and smaller sized commercial practices.
The average job strength gives a good indication of the market because:
1. A poor Job Strength on vacancies indicates a struggling market. When trade is bad, employers seek options for increasing turnover which involve sourcing candidates with their own following and no salary.
2. A strong Job Strength on vacancies indicates a buoyant market, particularly if it is in connection with an increase in numbers of new vacancies.
Vacancies are each graded 1-5, with 5 being a very strong vacancy and 1 being a very weak vacancy.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes for the Ten-Percent website and the Legal Recruitment blog, both containing an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession. You can contact Jonathan 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