in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report February 2017

Legal Job Market Update February 2017
Key points from January 2017 as follows:
* The demand for staff generally has increased in line with the seasonal norm.
* Permanent recruitment has increased.
* Locum recruitment has increased.
* Wills and Probate locum and permanent roles have stayed relatively busy and private client solicitors remain in demand.
* Commercial Property roles remain elusive.
* Litigation picking up.
* London market is picking up.

January 2017 has been unusual. Unusually busy with quite a few locum roles coming in, but also an increasing number of solicitors firms looking to expand by recruiting consultants with a following of clients (we do not include these roles in our vacancy statistics). This has resulted in the average Job Strength being slightly lower than usual. Some solicitors in the London suburbs have expressed surprise when we have asked about proposed salary levels during the vacancy registration process. “Do people still get these?” asked one partner. New Years Resolutions saw a flurry of new candidates registering with us in the first week of January.

Out of the 69 new vacancies posted in January, 24 of them were London based, 23 South East and 5 South West. The remainder were in the Midlands, North West and North East. 17 were conveyancing vacancies and 8 were wills & probate posts.

The recent report on jobs from the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) indicates:
* Slower increases in both permanent placements and temp billings
* Demand for staff reaches 17-month high
* Availability of permanent candidates drops at faster pace
This means that generally the economy is running short of suitably qualified candidates. We haven’t particularly noticed any effects of this in law.

Fixed fee recruitment enquiries remain high (we offer a unique scheme for unlimited recruitment at a low monthly fee). In the time we have been operating the scheme we have found that membership increases when uncertainty in the market goes up – click here for further info – Ten Percent Unlimited.

A summary of work we did in January is below.
January 2017 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies up
* Locum assignments up
* London vacancies: 145
* South East: 215
* South West: 80
* Midlands: 51
* North West: 75
* North East: 32
* Wales: 19
* Market outlook – vacancies continue to increase – this is the standard annual recruitment cycle.

Current live vacancies: 729
New permanent vacancies added in January: 39
New locum vacancies added in January: 30
New candidates registering: 81 (up – 18 in December)
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies: 3 (Average)

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.

Hourly Rates of Pay for Locum Solicitors and Legal Executives
Locum hourly rate payment varies widely according to the demand, length of assignment, level of experience and advance notice available. NB: These rates are intended as a guide only. Hourly rates can vary according to the location, duration and level of expertise.

January 2017 Private Practice Law Firm Locum Rates:
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 1-3 years PQE, handling residential standard sale price only – £25-27 per hour (variation for central London – £26-30 per hour).
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors & ILEX – 5-35 years PQE, handling all levels of conveyancing including managing a department – £28-£35 per hour, including central London.
* Commercial Property Solicitors – 1-40 years PQE – £32-45 per hour.
* Wills & Probate Solicitors and Executives – 3-35 years PQE – £35-50 per hour.
* Family Solicitors – 4-40 years PQE – £27-30 per hour. Occasionally this goes up to £35 per hour for short notice or a few days cover.
* Civil Litigation – 1-35 years PQE. £27-35 per hour. These rates cover mainstream litigation – eg county court and small claims matters.
* Corporate Commercial Locum Solicitors – 5-45 years PQE. £35-75 per hour. Usual rate in small-medium law firms is around £40-50 per hour.
* In House Locum Solicitors – 3-35 years PQE. £35-60 per hour. Usual rate in a larger sized blue chip company legal department is c.£50 per hour going up to c£100-£120.

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