in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report dated 10th September 2017

Key points from 13th July to 6th September 2017 are as follows:

▪ Permanent recruitment has decreased.
▪ Locum recruitment has increased. Hourly rates have increased over the summer but will now decline.
▪ Commercial and In House roles have picked up.
▪ Wills and Probate is quieter but locum and permanent candidates remain very much in demand.
▪ Conveyancing is getting quieter on the locum side. High seasonal demand is now ending. Permanent vacancies remain unfilled for long periods of time due to severe shortage of  candidates.


August has been the usual mix of frenetic advertising for candidates, but then vacancies disappearing when partners go on holiday and forget about them! Very usual for us to go through the process of recruitment only for everything to stall when a partner or manager goes away on holiday and nothing happens thereafter. Locum work has been busy, although the short term assignments have been quieter this year than in previous times. The market remains free from worldwide event pressure, which has surprised us. We were expecting a large dip in ongoing work after Brexit last year – that hasn’t happened (yet). After Trump we anticipated a market collapse – that didn’t happen, although we did notice a drop off in work for a few days whilst everyone digested the seismic event! The election slowed everything down slightly, but the job markets have just continued plodding along and this is apparently the case across the recruitment world. There is a general shortage of good, qualified staff for permanent roles across a number of sectors including legal.


Out of the 77 new vacancies posted in August, 9 of them were in London and 23 were in Greater London and the South East. 14 were in conveyancing, 4 were legal cashier roles and 8 were company commercial, commercial litigation, in house and commercial property roles.

A summary of work we did in August is below (July figures in brackets).
August 2017 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments up
* London vacancies: 161 (148)
* South East: 379 (354)
* South West: 97 (90)
* Midlands: 51 (49)
* North West: 92 (85)
* North East: 51 (45)
* Wales: 20 (19)

Market outlook – locum demand will fall as we approach Christmas, permanent recruitment is set to increase after dropping in August.

Statistics for August (July in brackets)
Current live vacancies: 853 (792)
New permanent vacancies added in August: 34 (43)
New locum vacancies added in August: 43 (42)
New candidates registering: 93 (60)
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies: 4 (Very Good)

TP 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.

Report on Jobs for September 2017 from the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation)

Key points from the survey:
* Permanent placements growth reaches 27-month record
* Temp billings increase at the fastest rate for nearly two-and-a-half years
* Marked decline in staff availability contributes to further increases in pay
Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the REC added:
“The jobs market continues to confound expectations with both permanent and temporary placements growing at the fastest rate for over two years. Starting salaries are also still rising, so for workers who want to boost their earnings now is a good time to consider moving job. It’s clear that employers are having to work even harder to fill jobs as vacancies rise and candidate availability shrinks. UK employment remains at an all-time high and looks set to keep improving. The parts of the economy most reliant on European workers are under even more pressure as many EU workers return home.”

Law Firms Wanted and For Sale
Ref 05090736 Buyer sought for North Midlands practice. Litigation firm. Partner happy to stay on as consultant.
Ref 08061231 Buyer looking to purchase will banks in London and Home Counties.
Ref 04071347 Buyer looking to purchase a solicitors firm with a crime or family legal aid contract in Beds, Bucks, Northants or Herts.


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