Wednesday, January 25, 2017

25% of Students get a 1st class degree - surely some mistake?

 25% of Students now graduate with a 1st class degree


The Times newspaper reported this week that 25% of all undergraduates finish up with a 1st class degree at the end of their time at University. This is compared with 17% in 2012 and (probably) considerably less than this as you go back over time.

Does this mean that
  1. Lower numbers of students go out on the lash midweek and get completely wasted?
  2. More students have increased their intelligence levels and therefore able to achieve higher grades?
  3. The drugs have got better at most UK universities?
Or does it mean that Universities have worked out a way to increase their funding and/or market their courses and demonstrate success to prospective students? Hmm.

I suspect the latter, although anecdotal evidence does suggest that considerably less students now spend their 3 years in the student union bar.

Anecdotal Evidence


We see increasing numbers of 1st class degree students getting nowhere with their careers whereas if you go back 15 years you would be very unlikely to see a 1st class graduate out of work unless that was their own wish.


It also begs the question whether there is a problem now getting a 2.1 degree, as over 2/3 of students end up with a 2.1 or a 1st class degree (again the Times have reported this). 

Dumming Down?


This surely has to be the dumming down of education – someone somewhere has worked out that someone somewhere is going to financially benefit from allowing more students to graduate with a 1st class degree. There can be no other logic to this – why would you allow more students to gain a 1st class degree if there is no benefit from doing so?

Granting more 1st class degrees may make good statistics, but it makes it increasingly difficult for students from certain universities to get a job when they graduate off the back of their degree result.

Employers start to get used to seeing 1st class degrees on CVs and the universities risk losing their credibility with companies if every CV seen during a recruitment drive is from a graduate with a 1st class degree.

1st class degrees used to be a virtual shoe in for some companies – in the legal sector you could virtually guarantee job interviews left right and centre. You name a city law firm – they would probably interview you. 

Lack of Guaranteed Success for 1st Class Graduates


I am not so sure this generalisation is applicable anymore. Now I suspect the employers look at the university who have awarded the degree and make a decision on more than just the academic results.


This is a real shame, as any student will agree, it is very hard indeed (or at least it was) to get a 1st class or very high 2.1 degree. It takes months of hard graft and consistent academic excellence, both of which employers have traditionally appreciated.

If the 1st class no longer has the same meaning it does make you wonder whether all the effort was really worth it. 

Request for Statistical Evidence


If any University has statistics demonstrating that 1st class degree awards have not unilaterally increased without any clear evidence of a similar increase in educational attainment I would be gratefully to receive them and publish along with this article…

Jonathan Fagan is a bitter and twisted law graduate with a very high 2.1 degree (I missed a 1st by a couple of percentage points – honest!). He is also Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising solicitor. You can contact him via cv@ten-percent.co.uk for comment.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Charity Nominations for 2017

Charities Nominated for Donations 2017
So far this year we have had the following charities nominated for donations by candidates and clients. To see our policy on donations please visit: https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/charitable-trust/

Bloodwise
Greenwich Housing Rights
Howard League
The Parent House
Daisey Garland Charity
PVNH Support
Helping Older People (New Forest)
We expect to continue our support of LawCare, Ace of Clubs, Reprieve and Unlock.
If anyone else wants to nominate a charity for a donation, please let me know. Our main policy is that we will not donate to charities who pay any staff more than £75k per annum.
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

A Psychic's 2016 New Year Predictions Revisited

A Psychic's 2016 New Year Predictions Revisited

Every year we carry an article in our January Newsletter about predictions for the previous year by an "expert" online psychic, Craig Hamilton-Parker (from www.psychics.co.uk). Mr Hamilton-Parker charges £1.50 per minute for his services via telephone consultations. We have also included Mr Hamilton-Parker's 2017 predictions below to see how he does when we revisit in 2018. In 2014 Mr Hamilton-Parker scored 1 out of 16 but managed to get 5 out of 16 in 2015.

Online Psychic Craig Hamilton-Parker's Predictions and Results for 2016
1. Massive earthquake in Himalayas causes dam to burst (wrong).
2. Japanese island sinks beneath the sea (wrong).
3. Unprecedented rainfall disrupts some of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (wrong, although there was a bright green swimming pool).
4. A comet/asteroid is missed by most astronomical observatories and comes close to Earth (wrong).
5. EU referendum brought forward and leaves EU (presumably this relates to the UK) - wrong and right!
6. Large fire in historic Dutch building sees many masterpieces destroyed (wrong).
7. Extensive flooding in UK during winter with tidal surge causing extensive damage in Southern England. Dates to watch 11th and 29th November and February 23rd. (Wrong - no major floods in 2016).
8. New refugee wave from Ukraine and Georgia as Russia tightens its grip on dissidents (wrong refugees).
9. Rise of right-wing politics in Spain, France and Italy sees rioting on streets and mosques burnt (wrong).
10. Turkey will invade Kurdish areas of Syria (partly correct).
11. Massive increase in use of drones in Syria quell ISIS. Britain puts some troops on the ground (wrong).
12. New form of nanotechnology used to track terrorists (wrong).
13. Commonly used food additive is conclusively proven as a cause of cancer (wrong).
14. Prince Phillip is taken seriously ill and has major life and death operation (wrong).
15. There is an attempted behind-the-scenes coup in China as Chinese currency collapses (wrong).
16. An alleged naked picture of Kim Jong-un causes a political row (wrong).
17. Donald Trump’s bid for the White House is thwarted by illness. The last battle is neck and neck between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. The republicans win after a sudden last minute change of republican candidate (wrong).
18. British Labour Party splits in two with one section joining the Liberals. British Labour Party make big gains in Scotland (wrong).
19. India’s economy surges forward. New deals made between UK and India (sort of right)
Total score for 2016 predictions - 2 out of 19.
Mr Hamilton-Parker's predictions for 2017:
1. Hillary Clinton will resign from politics because of the release of documents that reveal financial corruption and falsification of government documents.
2. Denmark and Italy pull out of EU as Euro crashes. 2017 sees Italy in serious economic problems.
3. Economic chaos in Europe (and America) with riots in many European capital and big cities (Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Paris and Prague) In these places many people are suffering serious poverty and food shortages due to the failure of the EU.
4. Famous building in flames as right-wing riots in Germany spark memories of the burning of the Reichstag.
5. Britain escapes the worst of the international economic troubles and is seen as a safe economic haven. Britain, India and Australia form an economic alliance.
6. America becomes politically divided between East and West. Riots and gun fights in America over election results and turmoil throughout 2017. Friendly, neutral troops from Canada are called in to quell unrest.
7. USA experiences a serious drought during the summer of 2017 while Europe has floods.
8. Large fire at the UK Houses of Parliament
9. New War spills into Afghanistan as revolution erupts in Uzbekistan
10. Ancient Giant Squid makes the news – found frozen in ice.
11. Volcanic eruption in Iceland causes toxic gas cloud over Norway
12. Conflicts between China and USA as satellite computers are hacked.
13. Japan initiates an arms race in the Far East after provocation from China and North Korea.
14. Kim Jong-un will be fall from power later in the year – maybe December 2017 or January 2018
15. Serious threat of escalating conflict between China and India over northern border of Kashmir.
16. Sample of Shakespeare’s bones exhumed and show that he was poisoned. Clues to a new play found in his grave.
17. August 21, 2017 eclipse over America coincides with huge stock market fall and long-term inflation.
18. Assassination and kidnap attempt on the pope at the Vatican. Swiss guards killed.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Duty Solicitors - an update December 8th 2016

Duty Solicitors - an update We have had a few enquiries over the last week or so from new firms who have been awarded contracts for crime and on the lookout for duty solicitors and crime supervisors. There is a guide to the regulations regarding the employment of crime supervisors and duty solicitors included on our website at http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/crime-solicitor-contract-2017-extracts-relevant-to-duty-solicitors-and-supervisors/ and the points below relate to our intel so far on the situation:

1. There are reports of a large London firm requiring all their duty solicitors to become limited companies in order to work. Not sure whether the LAA have agreed this structure but it appears to us to be an effort to shift liability for tax and NI onto the duty solicitors. Not entirely sure what HMRC will make of it either!

2. No indication from any firm as to salary levels for duty solicitors or supervisors. Some have agreed that the range should be £30-40k with supervisors being at the £35-40k level.

3. If these contracts go in the same direction as family contracts did in 2011 it is likely the smaller firms will work out a way to take supervisors on zero hours contracts to do the bare minimum required. The LAA have actually managed to define how many hours and firms a supervisor can work for this time round..

4. No indication either on monthly retainer arrangements - these presumably are still valid because the LAA cannot regulate the relationship between the duty solicitor and the firm but have specified the minimum hours required. Neither has there been any indication on hourly rates etc..

5. The last round of rota slots saw rates of about £800-1200 per month for most retainer arrangements.

We believe that when the family contracts came out in 2011 quite a few law firms simply walked away from LAA funded work and the smaller practices picked up the work. We are not sure most continued with it after realising it was going to be extremely difficult to generate an income.. Crime is of course slightly different as still LAA funded unlike most areas of family law..

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Looking for work in December - a good idea?

Looking for work in December - a good idea?

No! 

This could have been one of the shortest articles I have ever written, but we'll pad it out a bit! These are our five reasons why:

1. Work levels in law firms tend to drop off as we approach Christmas. As a result, although you may send in a great CV full of promise and opportunity, the partners will be looking at their staff disappearing off shopping when they can and not showing high productivity levels and wondering whether they can afford you.

2. Interview arranging tends to be a total nightmare. One partner will be away (shopping), another will be off to their daughter's nativity play and getting them together to interview you at a time convenient will be virtually impossible.

3. Candidates start to think that their current firm are really nice and question their sanity for thinking about leaving. This happens fairly often just before Christmas, especially around the time when the senior partner starts to look human again when she announces the Christmas party!

4. CVs get overlooked as HR and partners are off Christmas shopping (or at least surfing Amazon).

5. Responses from firms and candidates can be sporadic to say the least. Communication can be difficult.

Applications in January are usually better received by employers - businesses are usually a bit quiet as work levels stay low and people have time on their hands. Similarly it is the time when candidates make New Years Resolutions to change jobs and start to look. If you think about it - if candidates make such decisions, it is very likely partners of law firms make similar decisions on recruitment as well and start looking around. The busy season each year is April to September, although 2016 has been a bit more random than usual. For most of the year there is never a particularly good or bad time to apply for jobs per se, but December is fraught with difficulties...


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Overpaid Charity CEOs - Campaign to Address Excessive Charity Pay - sign our Houses of Parliament petition



Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and Trustee of the Ten-Percent Foundation, has launched a petition on the Houses of Parliament website.

"If we get 10,000 signatures the government will respond and if we get 100,000 signatures then Parliament will debate the issue."

Click this link to sign the petition:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/173515/sponsors/79d4m6YKcpXSEsXLyGh


The petition is as follows:

Remove status from charities paying staff more than 3 times the average wage.

Charities in the UK should have their charitable status removed if they pay any of their staff more than three times the average wage. Why should a pensioner on less than £150 a week give £5 to a charity that pays a CEO £200k? In 2016-2017 three times the average wage is £82,500. Many [charity staff] get more.

By way of examples - Parkinson's UK has 10 staff earning between £60,000 and £130,000, The Royal British Legion has 26 staff earning between £60,000 and £160,000, Help for Heroes has 17 staff earning between £60,000 and £110,000 and Cancer Research UK has 219 staff earning between £60,000 and £250,000.

Houses of Parliament
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Legal Recruitment News November 2016 - Video Version


Legal Recruitment News November 10th 2016 - Video Version. Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment goes through the news with additional comment and analysis.

You can read the printed version at www.legal-recruitment.co.uk

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Education Law - a new growth area in the UK?


Education Law - a new growth area? 
 
A quick note simply to say that if you specialise in education law and would like details of new locum and permanent roles coming our way please let us know by emailing us - cv@ten-percent.co.uk. In the last 2 weeks we have seen a number of firms register education law vacancies with us. There seems to be a growth spurt particularly around Special Educational Needs matters. Vacancies have included requirements for advocates in particular - the firms seem to be looking for solicitors to represent clients at LA & school meetings and tribunal hearings and also providing advice on statutory assessments & reviews. Similarly we have had reports of a requirement for judicial review experience. Not sure why these vacancies are suddenly coming through. In fact I would say we have had more requests in the last 2-3 weeks than in the previous 10 years! Does anyone know something we don't?

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Brexit and the effect on Legal Recruitment in the UK



The effect of Brexit on legal recruitment - have there been any changes in 2016? Listen and watch Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment as he wanders around a field in North Wales discussing the effects.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Google, Pandas and Penguins - Updates in September 2016

Google, Pandas and Penguins - recent updates in Google listings

On September 23rd 2016 Google announced a major update to the way they list their natural rankings. Some years ago Google basically upended the entire Search Engine Marketing industry by bringing in new elements to their algorithm which were called Panda and Penguin (the names sound quite cuddly but the results were positively terrifying for some businesses!). The new update is called Penguin 4.0. This part of the algorithm has now gone real time, which means that it is continually refreshed. Penguin now devalues anything that looks to be "the thing that rhymes with ham" and adjusts the page ranking rather than affecting the ranking of the whole site.” This means that if a solicitors firm 'stuffs' a page on their website with loads of keywords to try and encourage Google to rank them higher in the organic listings then Google will not necessarily devalue the rest of the site. So anyone planning on filling a page with the words "conveyancing", "solicitors" and "Brighton" in the hope of increasing their business, may not be risking the status of their website overall.

SEO or SEM (search engine marketing) has again become important since Google changed the way adverts were shown. Not a lot of people know this, but Google now only show 2-3 adverts at the top of the search results, and none are now visible down the sides. This has reduced the opportunities for smaller companies to compete with big business when paying for advertising on Google. As a quick example, if I now want to advertise for "Conveyancing Locum" across the UK I am looking at paying over £4 a click. Something I would rather not do!

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.