Legal Job Market Report May 2024
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report May 2024

Here is our summary of the current state of the UK legal job market for May 2024 from Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, Interim Lawyers Locum Legal Recruitment and Jonathan Fagan Business Brokers, specialists for law firm sales.

Locum Recruitment – Steady

Locum work is still showing small increases after quite a dramatic decline over the last 12 months. Most of the decline is still due to the reduced demand for conveyancing cover. A quick look at the most recently posted roles shows fields of law include family, litigation, immigration, wills & probate, corporate commercial, in-house & commercial contract roles, but still very little property work in the last month. Number one difficulty for recruiting locums remains locum expectations on hourly rates(eg a significant proportion of conveyancing locums still not reducing rates for office-based roles despite the increased competition) and the preference of most locums for remote working rather than office-based work. This is yet to be resolved, although increasing numbers of locums are now available for office work in some areas as market conditions get tougher.

Locum assignment updates here:

Permanent Recruitment – Steady

Permanent jobs posted in April up on the previous year. We still have a wide range of vacancies coming in for fields of law – corporate commercial, in house, private client, commercial property, conveyancing and family plus others. Our permanent recruiter team remain busy.

Permanent vacancies can be viewed here:

New Candidate Registrations – 75% increase

Candidate registrations are a very good indicator for market conditions. Increasing numbers of candidates register with us when the market is going down, and drop when the market is on the up. Numbers remain up by 75% compared with the previous year. New locums have remained extremely high in number.

Law Firms for Sale – Busy

Busy as ever – its the time of year when new firms are coming to market, owners are considering retirement plans and buyers are particularly active before the summar holidays. Extremely good time to be listing for sale as the market usually stays busy up until August. ABS firms in particular demand – there seem to be a number of investors with new pipelines of work to put through.

Full details of firms currently for sale on our website – list updated daily. For valuations, exit planning or a confidential discussion about a potential sale or acquisition generally please ring 01824 780937 and speak to Jonathan Fagan or Taillte Mallon, or email

Ten Percent Group statistics for April 2024 (2023 figures in brackets)

New locum roles added – 19 (21)
New permanent roles added – 30 (25)
New candidates added – 104 (59)

KPMG & REC Report on Jobs UK – 9th May 2024

Placements fall at weaker pace
Pay rates increased to attract candidates
Candidate availability growth hits five-month high

Commentary from Jon Holt, CEO of KPMG UK
““UK CEOs continue to grapple with the Bank’s hawkish stance on interest rates, and will no doubt hope April’s survey data is another marker in the sand on the journey towards a summer cut. “While there are still complexities, like pay rates improving due in part to last month’s 9.8% rise in the National Living Wage, overall pressure is easing on the labour market. Ongoing weak demand is driving the steady decline in permanent staff appointments month on month, and we’ve seen a sharp uptick in candidate availability. Business leaders see this cooling, combined with weakening inflationary pressure, as indicators for the Bank to hopefully shift to a more dovish position. Companies would then have the confidence and certainty to press go on their investment strategies.”

Commentary from Neil Carberry REC CEO
““The critical moment in any labour market slowdown is the point at which demand starts to turn around. Today’s hiring data suggests that point is close, with fewer recruitment firms reporting a drop in demand. While the trend is still gently down, the pace of decline in permanent hiring is the slowest in ten months. Temporary hiring, which has had much less of a decline overall, also scored better than last month. Firms have told us all year that they will be willing to hire and invest in their business when confidence returns to the wider economy – and there is a glimmer of lower inflation and the prospect of lower interest rates starting to drive that now. Pay continues to rise, with a slight bump up this month likely to have been driven by the April peak in employer pay rises and the recent Minimum Wage rise. With substantial wage rises attracting people to work, and low unemployment, businesses and government alike will need new approaches to developing and engaging our labour force – alongside new technology – if the UK is going to grow in the way it needs to.”

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