in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Update April 2016

Legal Job Market Update – April 2016

March has been a busy month in part, but the Easter break has had an effect as ever on recruitment. It is always interesting how every Easter firms leave locum recruitment until the last minute and then start hunting for cover on Maundy Thursday! Most locums have the Easter week off and we got very little response from any of ours to assignments coming in for the 4 day week.

Permanent vacancies have been coming in and placements have been occurring, but not in the numbers we would expect to see for March after such a busy 12 months on the recruitment front.

Conveyancing has gone a bit quieter but there remains a clear lack of good available candidates. We were expecting a mad rush for locum and contract lawyers to assist with the large increase in buy to let purchases before the rules changed. However this has not really taken place although I have heard from a number of firms to say that they were completely manic in the last week of March before the deadline.

Wills & probate is busy and there remains a discrepancy between salary expectations and salaries being offered. Candidates are not widely available and there is still a major demand for private client locums as a result (and an ensuing shortage of good locums!).

Litigation – both civil and commercial – is still very quiet. Not a lot going on at all. Corporate commercial work is always sporadic for us as we are not on larger firm Preferred Supplier Lists – although we do try to change this from time to time!

April is always going to be a quiet month – usually the quietest month of the year for us as the tax year finishes and firms start afresh. Plenty of new vacancies often come in as partners find themselves quieter due to the school holidays but remembering the recent busy period and therefore attempting to recruit new staff. Unfortunately candidates are often far too busy in April thinking about other things like a burst of nice weather, enjoying the sun and booking holidays!

A summary of work we did in March is below.

March 2016 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments up
* Conveyancing vacancies – busy
* Commercial Property vacancies – some
* Wills & Probate vacancies – some
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – few
* Market outlook – work will now increase as we enter the busiest recruitment cycle of the financial year (April – June).

Current live vacancies: 632
New permanent vacancies added in March: 27
New locum vacancies added in March: 52
New candidates registering: 70
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies March: 3.6 (OK)

Ten-Percent 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.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes for the Ten-Percent website and the Legal Recruitment blog, 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