in Employers, Legal Profession

Role of Recruitment Agencies in the post-recession world

What Role do Recruitment Agencies have in a post-recession world?

Recruitment has always been at the more risky end of the service sector in relation to effects of recession. I can remember starting my consultancy Ten Percent Legal Recruitment back in April 2000 and speaking to an elderly lady who was working as a police station visitor at the time. When I mentioned that I had set up a recruitment agency she replied “you had better hope there is not a recession if you are doing permanent recruitment”.

At the time I did not think much of this as we had just about finished the dotcom bubble burst and things were on the up, but I have always remembered her words and wondered if they would ever come to fruition. Of course in the recent recession they clearly have.

Permanent recruitment dropped off dramatically as soon as the recession hit and redundancies started to get announced in the legal profession. I can remember going to a recruitment agency training course back in April 2008 and the course leader asking everybody in the room who had suffered any effects of the recession. I was the only one to say that my business had been badly hit and we were really struggling to cope with the effects, but as soon as I said it I could see everybody in the room immediately start to nod.

In the post-recession world pretty much everything is going back to normal.

Law firms are again looking for certain types of lawyer – conveyancing is again booming and the major request from most firms is for fixed contract lawyers in case the market again drops off. In my experience the recruitment agency fee is not usually a sticking point – it is more the quality and fit of the candidate. If the candidate fits the spec, the employer is happy to pay.

A good number of law firms are using online sources to try recruiting themselves before going to agencies. LinkedIn has taken on a whole new approach and this is a good source of candidates.

Our recession-proof recruitment technique of offering £60 per month unlimited recruitment is still in existence, but we do more one-off business these days and our locum service is booming. Our rates are the same as they were in 2007 and price is not usually a factor for most deals we arrange.

Jonathan Fagan LLM Solicitor (non-practising) is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes the Legal Recruitment blog, an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession. You can contact Jonathan at or visit one of our websites.

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