in Legal Job Market Reports

March 2016 Legal Job Market Report

Legal Job Market Update March 2016
February has been a month of two halves again (I say this every year). We spend the first week watching the post-Christmas recruitment spike recede and then skiing holidays together with half term breaks kicking in. Locum work has picked up towards the end of the month.

Permanent vacancies are slightly down and salary levels are a bit mixed as well. Some firms are expecting candidates to take similar salary ranges to existing staff and are not budging at all on these, but other firms are taking a more pragmatic approach.

Conveyancing has gone a bit quieter but there is a clear lack of good candidates. By good candidates I mean those that are based locally to the firm, have a steady employment history and reasonable salary expectations.

Wills & probate is busy but there is a discrepancy between salary expectations and salaries being offered. This hasn’t yet resolved and there is a still a major demand for private client locums as a result.

Litigation – both civil and commercial – is 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.

Work will get very busy in the next two weeks, with the lead up to Easter, but then as we go into Easter we enter the zombie phase of recruitment – this tends to be the quietest time for recruiters apart from Christmas. Firms are too busy dealing with the year end, clients are too busy dealing with the Easter break, and candidates are busy eating Easter Eggs and visiting National Trust properties (our family did 4 Easter Egg hunts at NT houses last year!)..

A summary of work we did in February is below.

February 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 be increasing into February and March 2016.

Current live vacancies: 622
New permanent vacancies added in February: 41
New locum vacancies added in February: 30
New candidates registering: 109
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies February: 3.4 (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