Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

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.