in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report October 2017

Legal Job Market Report

Key points from 2nd September to 4th October 2017 are as follows:

Permanent recruitment has increased.
Locum recruitment has decreased. Hourly rates have decreased in line with the seasonal norm.
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 quieter on the locum side than 4 weeks ago. High seasonal demand has now ended. Permanent vacancies remain unfilled for long periods of time due to severe shortage of candidates although more are coming on stream.


September has been a fairly quiet month by usual standards. Locum assignments have dropped (as is usual for this time of year) and permanent roles have increased. Conveyancing remains very busy and we have continued to see an increase in commercial property and litigation. Geographically London still feels quiet but still seems to be plenty of work in the rest of the country. We have had a number of enquiries from high quality candidates looking to make a move as the time is right in their careers – this is normal for the time of year. A number of firms have asked about duty solicitors – a deadline is approaching for the next rota deadline and we know of vacancies in firms across the UK as firms seek to consolidate their numbers.


Out of the 84 new vacancies posted in August, 12 of them were in London and 26 were in Greater London and the South East. 14 were in conveyancing, 7 were wills & probate posts and 8 were company commercial, commercial litigation, in house and commercial property roles.

A summary of work we did in September is below (August figures in brackets).
September 2017 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies up
* Locum assignments up
* London vacancies: 160 (161)
* South East: 384 (379)
* South West: 99 (97)
* Midlands: 57 (51)
* North West: 94 (92)
* North East: 50 (51)
* Wales: 20 (20)

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

Statistics for September (August in brackets)
Current live vacancies: 866 (853)
New permanent vacancies added in September: 51 (34)
New locum vacancies added in September: 33 (43)
New candidates registering: 98 (93)
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.

Conveyancing Solicitor looking for a role commutable from East London Senior solicitor – has instructed us to act on an exclusive basis to find a new home. We have approached a number of firms this week at the candidate’s request but they are also interested in looking at other firms in the area. Residential and Commercial Conveyancing, 10+ years PQE with a following of clients. Salaried roles only and very keen to get a good bonus structure in place. Full Time Permanent. Contact us to express an interest – Candidate will only look at well established practices on all the lenders panels. Lexcel accredited firms preferred.

Law Firms Wanted and For Sale
Ref 21090941 Leicester law firm looking for a sale. 5 staff, £150k turnover. Litigation firm, well established.
Ref 20092238 West Midlands law firm looking to buy up small practices and sole practitioners in the area. Funds in place to expand.
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