in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Update 8th December 2016

Legal Job Market Update

Key points for November as follows:
* The demand for staff generally has fallen in line with the seasonal norm.
* Permanent recruitment has fallen slightly but remains high.
* Locum recruitment has fallen and remains at a lower level.
* Family Solicitors, particularly any with LAA experience, remain few and far between.
* Wills and Probate locum and permanent roles have increased and private client solicitors remain in demand.
* Commercial Property roles remain elusive.
* Litigation quiet.
* We are still hearing of redundancies in larger commercial practices.
* London market is quiet.

November has been a quiet month generally as law firms and staff start to plan for Christmas and clients stop thinking about getting divorced, buying houses or suing anyone for a while! We have always found that work drops off before starting again in January. Conveyancing has stayed quiet, as you would expect, although there are signs of busy departments across the UK. Not sure where the fuel for this increase in property sales and purchases is coming from though. Litigation has been quiet again and very little for family. In the commercial sector we haven’t seen very much for in house departments in recent times, although we did get requests for locum CVs from a company our managing director had been reading about in the back of Private Eye in recent weeks! Needless to say we declined to act..

We continue to see an increase in enquiries about our fixed fee recruitment – unlimited locum and permanent recruitment for a monthly fee – as firms look to save money and restrict future costs. 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 November is below.
November 2016 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments down
* Conveyancing vacancies – down
* Commercial Property vacancies – few
* Wills & Probate vacancies – lots
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – some
* Corporate Commercial and In House vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – few
* Market outlook – vacancies continue to decline – this is the standard annual recruitment cycle.

Current live vacancies: 705
New permanent vacancies added in November: 40
New locum vacancies added in October: 25
New candidates registering: 59 (up)
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies November: 3.1 (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.

Key Points from the CIPS UK Services Purchasing Managers Index (released 5th December 2016) as follows:
* UK service sector remained on a firm growth path towards the end of 2016.
* The rate of expansion of total activity accelerated further to the fastest since January.
* Employment growth picked up to the fastest since April, partly fuelled by the sharpest build-up of outstanding work since July 2015.
* The strength of long-term business sentiment weakened for the first time since July, however, attributed to ongoing political uncertainty and inflationary pressures.
* The volume of outstanding business in the service sector increased for the third time in four months in November.
* Growth of both new business and outstanding contracts encouraged service providers to take on more staff in November. The rate of job creation hit the highest since April, but remained weaker than the marked pace shown during 2014 and 2015.
* Business expectations for activity levels over the next 12 months remained positive overall – linked to resilient domestic demand, new contracts, export opportunities and new markets – but weakened to the lowest since July.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of TP Legal Recruitment and regularly writes for the Ten-Percent website and the Legal Recruitment blog, both containing an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession. You can contact Jonathan at

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