Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

How to Review your own CV


How to review your own CV

We recently received a CV from a candidate with the following advice placed at the bottom (would this fit into our CV Blooper series? Quite possibly..). I have edited it for a bit of content - eg the writer recommended 2 pages max but we think a CV can be as long as it needs to be for someone with experience. The remainder is a very effective and useful guide to reviewing your own CV.
CV Guide
1. Check and recheck for spelling and grammar. Attention to detail is absolutely key so ensure dates, names of companies etc are all correct and never use abbreviations or colloquialisms. Ask someone you trust to proof read your CV as a new pair of eyes can often be useful in identifying mistakes.
2. In order to demonstrate a professional image it is best not to use fancy fonts or include graphics, photos or colour of any kind. Ensure spacing, alignment and font style is consistent throughout the document.
3. Do not include personal details such as date of birth, nationality, religion, gender, marital status etc.
4. Write your CV in the first person but remove the ‘I’ e.g. ‘Responsible for…’ as opposed to, ‘I was responsible for’.
5. Employers want to see what practical skills you have to offer and what you can actually do. Therefore keep all information factual and use professional, concise and clear language.
6. All strengths must be evidenced.
7. Avoid gaps in the chronological order of your CV. Employers/recruiters will always ask if there appears to be a gap in your employment or education.
8. Once you have established a standard CV with all relevant details included, you can tailor it to suit whatever opportunity you are applying for.
What employers are looking for…
Academic Ability
A lot of employers, especially large organisations, will be expecting at least a 2.1. Many will also expect good A-level grades. You can be successful with a 2.2 but you’ll have to be able to offer additional skills and experience.
Commercial Awareness
Any form of work experience shows that you have commercial awareness i.e. you understand the world of business, company structure and politics. You can develop that awareness by reading good quality newspapers; especially the financial pages.
Communication Skills - Written and Oral
Ability to understand complex language and information, with the ability to present such information in clear, concise English. Presentation skills demonstrates eloquence, confidence and an ability to adapt your style
to different audiences.
Interpersonal Skills
A team player. A good listener who gets on well with people from different backgrounds and can win respect and confidence from others. This may also be evidenced by good negotiating or persuasion skills.
Personal Effectiveness
Time management, organising skills, people management, able to get things done on time and to a high standard. Able to prioritise. Able to see the wider picture. Flexible and able to take on new ideas.
IT Skills
Use of word processing packages, spreadsheets, financial accounting packages, e-mail, internet.
Numeracy Skills
Able to understand financial statements and interpret financial information. Familiar with business and accounts terminology.
Professional responsibility and integrity
Ethical approach.


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.

CV Blooper of the Month - June 2017

CV Blooper(s) of the Month

This is taken from a law student's CV:

"I went to watch a court case in the old bailey where a young man was being cross examined (a term I learned there ) for a drug charge. He represented himself without a lawyer and I was surprised by the strength of his rebuttals (another term I learned there) and also by how eloquently and respectfully everybody talked in the court. When leaving I decided that I was a bit more sure that I wanted to ingeniously use a thorough knowledge of the law as a career. I decided to enter a Cambridge Law essay competition where the question was “Should we repeal the human rights act 1998 “. The effort and private study I put into this essay was proof enough for me that I was compatible with a law career. I naturally feel I gravitate towards law, I love writing, studying and thinking about it. I haven’t been able to get an opportunity to explore any fields of law which I hope to do in summer."

You couldn't make it up.. 

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, May 10, 2017

Minimum Wage and the Legal Profession


Minimum Wage and the Legal Profession

Over the last few months we have posted fairly junior job vacancies for a couple of our member law firms (ie firms who have signed up to TenPercentUnlimited - google for further info). One was for a receptionist at a salary of £13,000 and the other a paralegal for £14,000. We received a couple of responses, one of which is below (and quite fair I thought!):
"I [have] reported you for offering a low salary of £13000 which is under [the] minimum wage. A person who needs to pay rent, transport, food and try to save, will never be able to live a decent human life with that salary. Shame on you for offering slavery! You are disgusting."
I sympathise entirely with this thinking (who on earth can live on £13,000 in London?) and had a look into the regulations in a bit more detail. We often get confused by the hourly rate translating into annual salary levels and as a result thought it might assist to publish our understanding of the figures. Please let us know if we are wrong.
As we understand it the hourly rates are as follows (as at 9th May 2017):
25 years+ = £7.50 per hour
21-24 years = £7.05 per hour
18-20 years = £5.60 per hour
This means that in terms of salary (assuming a 8 hours x 5 day x 52 week year) the minimum wage levels are:
25 years+ = £15,600
21-24 years = £14,664
18-20 years = £11,648
As such the advert for a receptionist at £13,000 was clearly below the level for anyone over the age of 20 years, and in fact by advertising at that level I presume the vacancy demonstrated discrimination on the grounds of age (as the firm would only be able to employ and pay staff under 20 years old at a rate of £13,000 per annum).
From this point onwards we, as a recruitment agency, will be more vigilant for vacancies like this one, but it is quite clear that the thinking amongst some law firms needs to change. £13,000 for a full time receptionist in London (or indeed anywhere else) is way too low for anyone to survive unless they are getting considerable support from state benefits on top.
I had noticed some time ago that there was a charity called The Living Wage Foundation encouraging companies to pay a Living Wage and that this level was higher then the government's definition. For example the charity considers the rate should be £8.45 outside of London. Being that we have a campaign to look at excessive charity pay (see our website and click the charity links) I thought I would have a look at the structure of the Living Wage Foundation. As a charity that campaigns for fair pay for all I would have imagined that the level of remuneration across the charity would be similarly fair and reasonable. Other charities, including Medicins San Frontieres, have policies such as not paying any member of staff more than 3 x the lowest person paid.
Other charities don't pay any staff over £60k even when they have considerable budgets and staffing levels to manage.
However according to the Charity Commission website, the charity running the The Living Wage Foundation, Citizens UK, paid their chief executive between £70 and 80k in 2016 with pension contributions to add to this of £7,473. Assuming a £70k salary, 52 week year and a 40 hour week, this equates to £37.24 per hour including the pension contributions. Is this fair pay, particularly from a charity promoting fair pay?

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.

CV Blooper of the Month

CV Blooper of the Month - May 2017



CV Blooper of the Month: References section from a CV of a Paralegal applying for a job:


CV Blooper May 2017

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Cure Parkinson's Trust - charity supported by the Ten Percent Foundation in 2016-2017


The Cure Parkinsons Trust - charity supported by the Ten Percent Foundation 2016-2017

Our criteria and policies for donating to charities can be found here – https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/charitable-trust/
This year we have written a piece about each charity we have considered and explained why and what we are funding. We have also included any information the charity have sent us including updates from last year on our ongoing donations.
Cure Parkinsons Trust logo
We discovered the existence of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust whilst researching alternatives to Parkinsons UK. The cure or treatment of Parkinson's is of particular interest to us as we have lost a family member (and former trustee) to the disease.
In 2016 we wrote an article about high salary paying charities and were surprised to discover that Parkinsons UK were on the list (we have donated to them in the past). 10 staff at the charity were earning between £60,000 and £130,000 in 2015. Total amount paid to the senior staff team was £744,550, which means that from the £20’ish million the charity received in donations & legacies, about 3.6% was paid out to 10 members of staff. The Head of Philanthropy at Parkinson’s UK responded to our request for a statement regarding the pay of the senior team, and her response can be found here – https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=36839305&postID=3207980881259529512
The Cure Parkinson’s Trust aims to find ways to cure Parkinson’s. They had the following accounts for 2015:
They received £2.02 million in donations and legacies.
The charity spent £1.16 million on research funding and education.
Grants to research institutes were £672k.
Salaries at the charity were £425k.
No members of staff earned more than £60k.

The charity sent us a proposal for funding with the following information: “One of our upcoming trials which we urgently need to secure funding for is a trial using a diabetes drug called Lixisenatide. This is part of our Linked Clinical Trials programme, which takes drugs used in other diseases and tests them as treatments for Parkinson’s – because they show strong biochemical potential to slow, stop or reverse the disease. This is ground-breaking work and we believe it will have an impact in the clinic within five years. The Lixisenatide trial follows on from previous research we have supported testing diabetes drugs in Parkinson’s with encouraging results, and will help us to understand how diabetes drugs can slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s. I have attached a brief proposal with further details about the trial and our work and we would be delighted if your Foundation were able to consider supporting the project.”
We made the decision to donate £1,000, with a view to donating again in future years. We have also highlighted The Cure Parkinson’s Trust on our website and mentioned them to other donors. The charity’s website is https://www.cureparkinsons.org.uk/
For further details about the Ten Percent Foundation please visit https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/charitable-trust/

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.

CV Blooper of the Month

CV Blooper of the Month- spotted on a legal CV sent to Ten Percent Legal Recruitment in March 2017.


CV blooper - competeance skills


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, March 21, 2017

Legal Recruitment Blog in the Top HR and Recruitment Blog List for 2017


We have received notification that Jonathan Fagan's "Legal Recruitment" Blog is in the top HR and Recruitment Bloggers 2017 List. Always nice to find out someone has read some of our ramblings (they have been likened to those of a madman in the past!). You can view our blog on the site, together with lots of other interesting blogger websites at:

http://www.agencycentral.co.uk/articles/2017-03/recruitment-hr-bloggers-2017.htm 



Agency Central have very kindly reviewed the site as well with the following entry: 

Jonathan Fagan  - Legal Recruitment
http://legalrecruitment.blogspot.co.uk/

Who is the author?
Jonathan is the MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - a UK-based consultancy serving solicitors and recruiting for permanent and temporary roles within the legal sector. The company famously donates 10% of its profits to charity. Jonathan has also taught legal CV writing and interview practices to postgraduate law students at Huddersfield University.

His blog in a nutshell: 
The award-winning Legal Recruitment blog is the only one on our list to focus almost exclusively on the legal industry. Jonathan is passionate about both the legal and charitable sectors and has invested a lot of time and effort into his blog, which has been regularly updated over the last 10 years. You'll find a wealth of resources here, with posts on everything from legal CV writing to reference checks and how to avoid recruiting bad candidates!

Why follow him?
Jonathan is honest to a fault and brings his readers a rare glimpse into the many challenges faced by legal recruiters. He also offers free careers advice for new and aspiring legal professionals, with wisdom attained from outside of the confines of the lecture hall!

Recommended Reading: Brexit and the effect on legal recruitment in the UK

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jonathanfagan
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jbfagan/
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.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Ten Percent Foundation Donation 2017 - Focus on the Kilimatinde Trust, Tanzania


The Kilimatinde Trust - charity supported by the Ten Percent Foundation 2016-2020

We thought it might be of interest to outline where the Ten Percent Foundation spends some of its money. The first charity is the Kilimatinde Trust. This is a UK charity linked to a specific area of Tanzania. One of our trustees knows one of the teachers at the school we support; St John’s Seminary in Tanzania.
St Johns primary school 2017
The new primary school at St Johns Seminary, Tanzania
The school is based in the Singida region of Tanzania, which is located in a semi-arid zone in central Tanzania with an altitude ranging from 900m-1,500m above sea level. The whole region has 346 villages, an area of 49,341 square km and a population of around 955,000. The majority of people in the area work in agriculture and livestock rearing as their main economic activity and means of livelihood. Bullrush Millet and sorghum are the main staple crops, though maize is grown in many areas despite low yields, due to taste preference. There is very low agricultural production in the region, mainly due to low and erratic rainfall, which ranges between 500 and 800mm per annum (Snowdonia in North Wales gets 3000mm annually by way of comparison!). There are two seasons – the dry season from April to November and the rainy season from December to April. The region experiences recurrent famine due to low yields when there is a severe lack of rainfall and drought conditions. Some cash crops are grown in the region; mainly sunflower and sesame for oil. Some tobacco and cotton is also grown.
football after school
The football pitch at St John's Seminary
St John’s Seminary is a school linked to the church in the area and is within the top 300 schools in Tanzania for results (by 2013 levels). The the school has 250 students, 30 teachers and other members of staff. The education offering includes the full spectrum of academic subjects. The school also teaches additional courses in Tailoring and Mechanics. The students also get training in Leadership, husbandry, management, store keeping and book keeping.
The school has a range of issues which include too few dormitories and many in need of repair, too few classrooms, no library and paying for the cost of electricity and water. They are looking to be self sufficient, including rearing pigs, cows and goats and a school garden.
We donate money to sponsor 4 children at the school each year. This is a very small charity and this means that our donations seem to go quite a long way. We have a commitment for 5 years to donate £2,200 to the school to pay for the education for 4 children each year.
In 2016 we sponsored 4 children, Yunice Charles, Jonas Yasisni, Elizabeth Earnest and Elizabeth Keneth. They have written to us as follows:
“Thank you for helping us in paying our school fees..you are helping us get an education.” Yunice Charles, Form 4.
“I want to give thanks for those who have given their money to pay our school fees. I wish to give them good health because they have good hearts, others don’t give like this”. Elizabeth Keneth, Form 2.
“Thank you to those who are helping us with our school fees, may they continue with their good hearts”. Elizabeth Earnest, Form 2.
“Thank you for your help. Without your help I wouldn’t have this chance to go to school.” Jonas Yasisni, Form 2.
The charity information can be found here – http://www.kilimatindetrust.org.uk/st-johns/
Festa and Grace, who run the school, keep a blog here – https://festoandgrace.wordpress.com/. There are quite a few references to religion on the site and the blog because the school is part of the Diocese of the Rift Valley, but we are keen to focus our donation on the educational aspect of the work of the school rather than the religious element.
For further details about the Ten Percent Foundation please visit https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/charitable-trust/
St Johns Seminary 2016 students
The 4 students sponsored in 2016 by the Ten Percent Foundation
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.

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.