Legal Job Market Update June 3rd 2020
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Update June 3rd 2020

Good morning. Here is our summary of the current state of the legal job market:

Permanent Recruitment – Quiet
Remaining pretty much non-existent, although I imagine a lot of firms are in the same position we are re furloughed staff. We have work coming in from a wide variety of sources, but is there enough to justify cancelling furlough arrangements and getting staff in? As the housing market starts to creak into action again I think we will start to see larger numbers of staff returning to work. Candidates still not yet willing to apply for roles (especially if furloughed) as too much uncertainty and firms therefore not getting many applications for any vacancies cropping up.

Locum Recruitment – Quiet
Not busy but a steady trickle – this week we have seen employment, corporate, and a few queries around litigation come in. Nothing exceptional really, but market still ticking over. Conveyancing locum work remains non-existent. We are getting enquiries from firms looking at flexible staff options for using ad hoc support as and when needed when lockdown has ended and work starts to pick up.

Law Firms for Sale – Booming!
Law firm sales is quite literally a boom area! This has surprised us – we were not expecting it to be, but there is a high level of interest in firms for sale at the moment. I received an email from a buyer today looking to take advantage of the Covid-19 situation to pick up a bargain, but I can say that we haven’t seen any distressed sales occur recently and no desperate sellers have contacted us since March 2020. As far as I can see it is a seller’s market, not a buyers. Sellers do not appear in any particular hurry to sell and most buyers coming through seem appreciative of this. For details of current law firms for sale please click here to view our list.

Permanent Jobs – Candidate Advice
Our advice to candidates looking for new permanent roles is to register and apply for jobs wherever you see them as you would normally, but don’t expect a response from law firms or agencies for some time to come. However you never know who may be in need of staff and when the market reactivates itself so it is still worth going through the motions.

Locum Jobs – Candidate Advice
Be prepared to compete for work. Instead of getting 1-2 locums expressing an interest in covering each assignment we are getting 5-15 each time.


General Statistics for May 2020 (comparison is with May 2019)
New permanent vacancies added: 5 (29)
New locum vacancies added: 11 (15)
New candidates registering: 49 (82)

IHS Markit/CIPS UK Services Report

We contribute to this report – a survey of businesses large and small in the service sector – every month. May findings below:

“UK service providers signalled a steep reduction in business activity during May, which was again almost exclusively linked to a slump in business and consumer spending amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The rate of decline in service sector output moderated from April’s survey record, but was still faster than at any other time since
the survey began in July 1996.

Main findings:
New work slumps amid cutbacks to business and consumer spending
Employment remains on sharp downward trajectory
Business expectations rise again from March’s record low

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