in Legal Profession

Why there is a shortfall of 3-10 year PQE solicitors

One of the reasons that law firms struggle to recruit when they are looking for solicitors of between 3 and 10 years PQE is because when solicitors spend 3 years or more in private practice, they have either:

a) got set on a career path to partnership with their current firm.

b) seen the light & realised that the law is not for them, departing for pastures new outside the profession, or

c) become (or always have been) unemployable.

If you fall outside of these three areas, ie you don’t like your firm or employer, or want to make a move yourself to pastures new within the profession, you are probably in the minority. It would be very interesting to do a research study to see how many solicitors drop out of the profession in these 7 years and how many stay on.

If our anecdotal evidence is anything to go by, we think that the percentage will be something around 50/50. Families, relocation, levels of salary & prospects would be the top three reasons for leaving.

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