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Making Low Job Offers

Some firms seem very pleased at times when a candidate accepts an offer that is considerably below the market rate but we think this is a false economy.

I can think of two firms in recent times who have been aware of a candidate’s limited geographical search area, or perhaps their requirement for supervision for various reasons and have seized upon the option of offering a significantly lower salary than they ought reasonably to have done.

Salaries have been offered and accepted that would possibly enable the person to afford Housing Association rent, and then perhaps to live a little bit if they took a second job in a fast food joint!

When speaking to the partners, they have been really pleased with this, and we have actually been thanked for finding such a good candidate! This is a very short sighted policy, and we usually let the firm know this.

Firstly, the candidate is going to start looking almost immediately for an alternative post, secondly they are not exactly going to be very motivated to do a lot of work, and finally they may start to develop an interest in using up as much sick leave and annual leave as they can in a short period of time. They may also start to show signs of stress etc.. as they worry about their finances. There can be a whole host of reasons for accepting a low salary, and this can include the need to be near a spouse or child, or if there are difficulties with the SRA imposing supervisory conditions etc..

If you are thinking of offering a low salary, we usually recommend thinking about incentives to go with it – eg; giving the lawyer the chance to receive bonus payments based on performance, or offering perks to go with the base salary.

If you think you have a bargain, think again! It probably wont be long before you are back on the legal job market…

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!  Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us 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