Our unrivalled experience, expert knowledge and honest approach to legal recruitment helps provide clients and candidates with a specialised, professional service that can’t be found elsewhere.
Founded in 2002 as a dedicated agency focusing on legal recruitment for law firms across London and the regions, the agency continues to provide unsurpassed legal recruitment solutions to Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and London.
Residential Property Legal Secretary - London Bridge
Southwark, United Kingdom
Residential Property Legal Secretary, £23,000 - £25,000, London Bridge Are you a Legal Secretary with experience in Residential Property? Would you like to work for a firm who have offices in London, Essex, Surrey, Kent, Sussex, West Sussex and Somerset? Their mission is to make quality legal services accessible to everyone. They aspire to have more specialist solicitors, in more areas of law, in more offices, on more high streets, speaking more languages and accessible in more ways than any other firm in the country. The firm are now looking to boost its Residential Property department in London Bridge with a Legal Secretary. What is the role Your role will be working in the New Build department, providing direct support to the Partner and Head of New Build. The property team currently consists of the 2 Partners (one of whom is the Head of Department) and 4 Solicitors, as well as additional support staff (Paralegals and Legal Secretaries). Main responsibilities for this role are: Digital dictation and copy typing Liaising with clients over the phone Opening and closing files Making appointments for clients, when required E-mail management Undertake photocopying as and when needed What you will need? Minimum requirements Legal Secretary with experience in Residential Property matters (6 months +) Fast and accurate typing speed Copes effectively in demanding circumstances Operates effectively as part of a team Good time management What they offer? 20 days holiday per annum (plus 5 discretionary days to be taken between Xmas and New Year) Workplace Pension Childcare vouchers Dental Plan Gym membership Healthcare cash plan Season ticket loan Travel Insurance Retail vouchers If you would like to learn more about this opportunity or other legal secretary jobs in the market then contact Matthew Heard at email@example.com or call for a confidential discussion on 02084642565 or 07887523228.
Property Legal Assistant
Ascot, United Kingdom
Residential Conveyancing Legal Assistant, Ascot, Berkshire, £18k – £22k plus benefits* Niche Property firm based in Ascot, Berkshire are now in the market for a dynamic Property Legal Assistant to assist the partner with her caseload of Property transactions. Friendly working environment with the added opportunity to progress your career with the financial support of the firm. The Role This is a “right hand” for the high-flying partner who need to have a competent assistant to be her back up. You will be dealing with clients from taking instructions to post completion and being involved in all aspect of the case. You will have first-hand knowledge of all matters to be able to update and clarify issues for clients with ability to think independently. You will be given the opportunity to study for your professional qualifications paid for by the firm as an incentive to progress to a qualified fee earner. What they are looking for? Paralegal or Legal Secretary who has a minimum of 1 year’s experience in Residential Conveyancing Providing quotes to clients, opening new files and sending out Terms of Business. Sending initial draft contract papers and relevant documents. Obtaining Office Copy Entries and knowledge of Land Registry. Instructing searches. Carrying out AML searches and Bankruptcy searches and Client due diligence under supervision Replies to enquiries raised, from both the client and through investigation. Preparing the Mortgage Report for clients and to the lender, if needed. Report on all Searches, including the Local Authority. Obtaining redemption statements, for information purposes and final. Pre exchange preparation – ensuring all appropriate documents have been received and signed. Post exchange preparation – sending appropriate letters and documents. Creating Invoices for legal work carried out and creating Completion Statements. Setting cases up for completion – completion letters, receiving and sending appropriate documents. Post completion work, such as Notices of Charge, submitting SDLT’s, sending Transfers/ Leases, paying Estate Agents Fees etc. Drafting and submitting AP1’s and dealing with any post completion queries. File closure process. Communicate and liaise effectively and efficiently with all colleagues, departments, external parties and clients both by telephone, face to face and email. Administration • Requesting CHAPS and BACS payments. • General administration duties including, photocopying, scanning, faxing and filing. • Assistance provided on projects where required. • Setting up paper files and file labels. • Retrieve faxes, match to files and pass to the relevant departmental area. IT Literacy • Proficient user of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, LEAP and Outlook. What they can offer? Great working environment with a niche office environment Ability to gain experience from senior lawyer Ability to progress your career if you would like to. Salary and benefits Being part of a team If you would like to learn more about this opportunity contact Leilani Reader at firstname.lastname@example.org or call for a confidential discussion on 02084642511 (office hours) or 07974429861 (out of office hours). LR Legal is a specialist legal recruitment agency with a reputation based on trust and integrity. We will always ask your permission before sending your CV to any of our Clients. The PQE identified on this advertisement is a guide only and does not preclude applications from those with more or less PQE. LR Legal Recruitment is operating as an Employment Agency in respect of this vacancy. *We require a lawyer who has gained the necessary experience for the position advertised. The PQE identified on this advertisement is a guide only and does not preclude applications from those with more or less PQE
Court of Protection Solicitor
London, United Kingdom
Court of Protection (Health and Welfare) Solicitor 4 years PQE+ Up to £60k plus bonus and benefits - DOE London Bridge Our client has a strong offering in Public Law based in the heart of London Bridge. Recommended for their work in the Court of Protection in Chambers and Partners and in The Legal 500 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights). They continue to work closely with the Official Solicitor, building on longstanding mental health expertise. The firm is now looking to add to its team of 4 lawyers with a new ambitious solicitor. What is the Role? Instructed by both professional litigation friends such as the Official Solicitor and advocacy groups and family members, who are appointed to act as litigation friends. Advising and representing family members in Court of Protection proceedings. Initiating proceedings in the Court of Protection on behalf of an incapacitated adult where instructions are received from a relevant person’s representative and on behalf of family members. Instructed to prepare and advise on lasting powers of attorney, including both health and welfare and property and financial affairs, and deputyship applications for property and financial affairs. Instructed in cases where there is an interplay between care proceedings and Court of Protection proceedings given my expertise in both areas. Experience in matters where there is a crossover between mental health issues or those under a disability and family matters, particularly with regard to forced marriage proceedings and contact issues. Assisting with s.21A deprivation of liberty Mental Capacity Act 2005 proceedings, instructed by the Official Solicitor, as well as complex cases to determine the client’s capacity to make decisions regarding matters such as consent to sexual relations, marriage and contact with particular individuals. Who are you? 4 year PQE Court of Protection/Mental Health Solicitor Ability to represent clients at court hearings with good advocacy skills Looking to make a mark in this area of law Experience in Court of Protection matters as well as Mental Health and Childcare The firm is offering an above market rate salary plus a targeted bonus based in twice your salary. If you would like to learn more about this opportunity contact Leilani Reader at email@example.com or call for a confidential discussion on 02084642511 (office hours) or 07974429861 (out of office hours). LR Legal is a specialist legal recruitment agency with a reputation based on trust and integrity. We will always ask your permission before sending your CV to any of our Clients. The PQE identified on this advertisement is a guide only and does not preclude applications from those with more or less PQE. LR Legal Recruitment is operating as an Employment Agency in respect of this vacancy. *We require a lawyer who has gained the necessary experience for the position advertised. The PQE identified on this advertisement is a guide only and does not preclude applications from those with more or less PQE
Residential Conveyancing Paralegal
Sidcup, United Kingdom
Conveyancing Paralegal/Assistant, £18,000 - £22,000, Sidcup This is an exciting opportunity for a Paralegal/Legal Assistant to join a driven team of residential property specialists at a modern law firm. They are a people focused business looking for those who want to develop individually whilst taking part in helping the company to develop and evolve, somebody who wants to make a difference. Their ethos is to create an interesting, vibrant and engaging place for people to work, along with a friendly, fun social aspect as well. The firm believe in giving people the opportunity to progress and would love to help your career grow.The firm are mow looking for a Paralegal/Legal Assistant to join the team. What is the role Your role is to cover a broad range of residential property matters, from start to finish. The team currently consists of 9 conveyancers, but you will either be working in a team of 3 or 5 conveyancers. Main responsibilities for this role are: Preparing contract packs; providing regular updates to clients and introducers Helping to progress matters from instruction to completion Responding to clients, introducers and others contacting the company Dealing with Clients on Reception (on occasion) Such other tasks as requested from time to time to help the general work of the company Opening, logging and distribution of DX and Royal Mail post Obtaining copy title documents Dealing with searches Sending out Draft Contracts, requesting redemption statements, Management Packs and checking documents completed by our clients are correct on a sale. Liaising with various conveyancing team members General admin duties What you will need Minimum requirements: Previous Paralegal/Legal Assistant experience in residential conveyancing is essential Excellent written and verbal communication skills High level of accuracy Conscientious approach to work Be prepared to be challenged with a target for undertaking tasks Understand the importance of tasks to be able to prioritise them What do they offer? Season ticket loan Cycle to work scheme Eye check-ups Child care vouchers Additional holidays for long service Dress down Fridays Free company events and social Seasonal activities If you would like to learn more about this opportunity or other paralegal jobs in the market then contact Matthew Heard at firstname.lastname@example.org or call for a confidential discussion on 02084642565 or 07887523228.
Commercial Property Legal Secretary
Hove, United Kingdom £23,000-£26,000
Commercial Property Legal Secretary, £23,000 - £26,000, Hove Are you a Legal Secretary with experience in Commercial Property? Would you like to work for a firm who have offices in London, Essex, Surrey, Kent, Sussex, West Sussex and Somerset? Their mission is to make quality legal services accessible to everyone. They aspire to have more specialist solicitors, in more areas of law, in more offices, on more high streets, speaking more languages and accessible in more ways than any other firm in the country. The firm are now looking to boost its Commercial Property department in Hove with a Legal Secretary. What is the role Your role is to cover a broad range of commercial property matters. The team currently consists of 2 Partners and 2 Trainee Solicitors, as well as additional support staff (Paralegals and Legal Secretaries). You will be providing direct secretarial support to one of the Commercial Property Partners. Main responsibilities for this role are: Digital dictation and copy typing Liaising with clients over the phone Closing files Making appointments for clients, when required E-mail management Undertake photocopying as and when needed What you will need? Minimum requirements Legal Secretary with experience in Commercial Property matters is essential Fast and accurate typing speed Copes effectively in demanding circumstances Ability to work to deadlines Highly numerate Operates effectively as part of a team Good time management What they offer? 20 days holiday per annum (plus 5 discretionary days to be taken between Xmas and New Year) Workplace Pension Childcare vouchers Dental Plan Gym membership Healthcare cash plan Season ticket loan Travel Insurance Retail vouchers If you would like to learn more about this opportunity or other legal secretary jobs in the market then contact Matthew Heard at email@example.com or call for a confidential discussion on 02084642565 or 07887523228.
Financial & Cashiering Manager
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Finance Manager £40-45K, Maidstone, Kent A long standing, award winning, leading law firm based in Kent, with a London office are currently looking for an experienced Finance Manager to join their busy finance team of 6. A Legal 500 and Chambers ranked Law firm which has accrued numerous awards for the expert legal advice and support they provide for their clients. The role Reporting to the Head of Finance, this role will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Cashiering and Accounts payable aspects of the Finance Team ensuring compliance with Solicitors Accounts Rules as well as Firm procedures, and the preparation of monthly and all ad-hoc management accounting and performance reporting requirements. Duties: The production of monthly management accounts including P&L reports, all accounting work re accruals, prepayments, capital expenditure and fee earner performance reports To assist team leaders, partners, fee earners and secretaries with day to day queries and information requests regarding financial aspects of their practice areas and client work To support the Head of Finance with the preparation for annual financial and SRA Accounts compliance audits Manage the cashier’s section to ensure SAR compliance and to assist with the management of client monies and day to day transactions What they are looking for Experience of working at a similar level in a finance team within a Legal Practice Prove experience of producing management accounts and working towards or having already obtained an accountancy qualification such as ACCA, CIMA or equivalent Previous supervisory experience Excellent communicator Accurate with excellent attention to detail Team player who is prepared to manage others, but also be hands on when necessary What they can offer A friendly and welcoming environment Fully inclusive company benefits Wellbeing benefits Competitive rewards package If you would like to learn more about this opportunity or other opportunities in the market, then contact Alison Banks at firstname.lastname@example.org or call for a confidential discussion on 0208 464 2505(office hours) or 07979952201(out of office hours). LR Legal is a specialist legal recruitment agency with a reputation based on trust and integrity. We will always ask your permission before sending your CV to any of our Clients. The PQE identified on this advertisement is a guide only and does not preclude applications from those with more or less PQE. LR Legal Recruitment is operating as an Employment Agency in respect of this vacancy.
We believe that market expertise, knowledge, trust and clear and continuous communication are the vital ingredients for a successful relationship between a candidate and consultant.
Our candidates tell us we offer great advice, support and encouragement throughout the whole process.
We will help you fully prepare for your new role at each step, from CV writing through to the interview stage, guiding you with considered career advice tailored to you.
As a legal-specific recruitment agency, we offer a bespoke recruitment service for law firms and businesses who work across a host of sectors.
Unlike other recruitment agencies, we position ourselves as an extension to your HR team, committed to understanding your firm's needs and providing you with only the best and most appropriate candidates.
We work hard to ensure the recruitment process is as effective and efficient as possible.
LGBT+ and the legal sector.
Diversity in the working world focuses on fighting discrimination to allow everyone to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace. The legal sector, despite leading legal change for equality, is often viewed as old-fashioned and restrictive, meaning LGBT+ employees can feel unseen or unacknowledged. As the Pride celebrations continue to spread colour across our capital this weekend, promoting diversity and inclusion across all walks of life, we thought it would be a good time to champion the law firms and organisations who are working towards true equality in the sector. Stonewall’s 2019 list of Top 100 Employers In Stonewall’s 2019 list of Top 100 Employers, it was a law firm that was named most inclusive employer in the UK. The list, built from the Workplace Equality Index, evidence-based submissions and employee feedback, named Pinsent Masons as their number 1 employer, and a further sixteen City law firms secured places in this year’s list, including Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (2), Baker McKenzie (10), Dentons (15) and Travers Smith (25).This is a monumental shift and promotes the legal sector as a considerable profession to a wider audience whilst showcasing a movement towards real inclusion across many firms. #Legal Pride As part of this year’s pride parades, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Bar Council, and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) will be marching as #LegalPride. Under the banner 'All are equal under the law', they will march in London, Manchester and Leeds to highlight the work of lawyers to defend LGBT+ rights and to recognise the LGBT+ community’s contribution to the legal sector. #LegalPride is in association with the Chancery Bar, BLAGG, the Law Society Junior Lawyers Division, FreeBar, the Interlaw Diversity Forum, and the CILEx LGBT Specialist Reference Group. A very public show of support for the legal sector’s LGBT+ community, 2018’s #LegalPride involvement was a huge success and leaders are hopeful this year’s involvement will be equally as positive. The InterLaw Diversity Forum The InterLaw Diversity Forum is a volunteer-run organisation, and was established in 2008 “in response to a need for an organisation to address LGBT in the London legal sector”. Since its inception, it has expanded beyond LGBT+ to encompass all strands of diversity and inclusion, including Race & Ethnicity (BAME), Disability, Gender, and social mobility, with a particular focus on cultural change in the workplace and 'multiple identities'/intersectionality. A big player in changing traditional views of the legal profession as being predominantly, male, middle-class and white, the InterLaw Diversity Forum currently has more than 5,500 members and supporters from 215 law firms and chambers, and from 280 corporates and financial institutions. The Law Society LGBT+ Lawyers Division The Law Society LGBT+ Lawyers Division is a community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) lawyers and allies. They provide an opportunity for LGBT+ solicitors to have their voice heard and their members work across private practice and in-house within corporate, public sector and not-for-profit organisations. They focus on bringing people together to share best practice and providing ad-hoc peer support and help LGBT+ solicitors to overcome isolation, address current issues and challenges in a supportive environment, delivering key news, regulatory and management information and bring together services that are relevant to their audience. They also champion successes of the community, holding events and celebrations to make the LGBT+ community recognised and visible in the wider legal profession. Compared to statistics presented in 2009, the legal sector has a much more positive sentiment in its promotion and inclusion of the LGBT+ community in 2019, but there is still a way to go. As bigger firms invest in the time and effort to ensure they have the relevant policies, awareness and indeed culture to be truly inclusive, smaller firms may be falling behind. Often heralded as an “additional tick box”, harbouring an inclusive and diverse environment is not at the top of every Partner’s priority list, but indeed it should be. Any firm failing to take action and introduce, and actively promote, an inclusive and diverse culture will find itself having to recruit from a reduced talent pool, risk a drop-in productivity and profit, and will reduce its appeal to new clients.
How open plan offices can benefit the legal sector
The 2018 CBRE Law in London report stated; ‘Of the firms surveyed, 67% remain in primarily or entirely cellular configured offices. The remainder have an open plan configuration with 7% adopting activity-based working to respond to the differing work environments required by lawyers.’ As we embark on an office move at the end of the month and as more companies, including law firms, are moving towards a more agile working space, we thought we’d share the top reasons why an open plan office space could work for your firm. A physical manifestation of a modern approach Here at LR legal we pride ourselves on being forward-thinking, embracing new processes and technologies to improve the way we work and working collaboratively as a team, so it would make no sense if our office space was dated, boxed off and dark. Our new office space, whilst it has quieter areas to take phone calls, have confidential talks and hold meetings, it is well lit, airy, people can easily work together and it embodies our modern style of working. A team atmosphere and a collaborative approach Sharing knowledge, discussing ideas and offering support is all much easier when you can physically see and engage with other team members. Having everyone in the same space encourages a sense of camaraderie and from a manager’s perspective, it allows an insight into how the team work best, and to be able to acknowledge any struggles or problems the team may have. Attracting and retaining talent The presentation of your office speaks volumes about how you treat your staff, and an applicant will be looking for clues of how they may be treated as an employee when they come to interview with you as a candidate. A clean, open environment of teams working together can be much more appealing than people squirrelled away in small walled offices, working alone and in silence. A modern approach to office set-up also indicates a firm that is flexible, current and developing – all positive signs to the millennial generation your firm wants to attract. Better budget spend A particularly obvious point but an important one to make, ultimately an open plan office set up saves you space, which reduces your rent costs and saves the firm money, funds which can be better used for business development or on client care and retention. Of course, these are all on the caveat that your company culture allows for an open plan environment. Some firms will have solicitors who enjoy working in relative silence and would resent having that taken away from them. Perhaps your firm deals with highly sensitive matters which require a secluded space for advice to be given, either in person or on the phone. You should also be conscious that some employees are actively working towards their own office and wouldn’t like to be kept in the main office space once they’ve reached Partner level. These are important and valid points which are just the start of long journey to move towards a more accessible, open working space, but as firms develop and grow, a journey worth starting sooner rather than later.
Why locum work could be for you
It may come under many guises – locum, contract, temporary, fixed-term, interim – but temporary work has always been and continues to be, a prevalent part of the legal recruitment world. Perhaps an ever-increasing number of fixed-term roles, with appealing hourly rates and the promise of interesting and varied daily work, has you questioning whether a move from permanent to temporary employment could be for you. We’ve pulled together a list of things to consider ahead of making your decision. Are you the right fit? To be able to hit the ground running in a new environment, whilst ensuring you bond with an existing team, establish yourself as a trusted and responsible advisor and understand a company’s dynamic and processes quickly and efficiently, takes a particular type of person. To be a successful locum, you should be confident, a people’s person, know how to read a room and situations and be able to handle a delicate balance between existing processes and advice and introducing new or improved ideas. Are you experienced enough? Many of the locum roles we handle for our clients require candidates to have considerable PQE and have notable expertise to be able to support the void they are being drafted in to fill. Locum roles often tend to be solutions to staffing issues, to help fight newly discovered fires or to deal with complex issues not currently being handled correctly in the firm or business. To hiring managers, PQE equals quality (although that may not always be the case!) and people are more willing to trust those who have 5+ years of experience. Are you willing to travel? It is optimistic to think contracts will always be within a comfortable distance of your home. Realistically, roles will be varied in both type and location, and so it is important that you have a clear understanding of what your ideal position is and how far you are willing to go for it. Perhaps you have family or friends you could stay with for further afield work, or you have the capacity to work at home, after spending a few days in the office. Whatever the solution, be aware that there may be travel commitments if you want to regularly take on new work. Are you willing to lose your stability? Financially and emotionally, working contracts can be a struggle. There is never a guarantee of an extension or a new role, and so there is a possibility you may have periods where you are out of work whilst waiting on a new role, or indeed you may not know about an extension of a contract until the very last minute. If you are someone who craves the steadiness of a regular income and being able to plan in advance, then perhaps you are better suited to a permanent role. Needless to say, there are many benefits to moving to locum roles. The flexibility is unparalleled as you effectively become your own boss deciding on location, times and roles, an increase in pay is obviously appealing, and the exposure to different areas of law and experience gained is unmatched by permanent positions. If you are interested in working interim jobs in either the private or public sector, get in touch to register with the agency and we can discuss our current roles with you.
Why your culture is the most important perk to offer
Currently, there are almost 4,000 registered firms in the UK. These range from sole practitioners on high streets to massive firms with thousands of employees in the heart of the city. Needless to say, there is endless competition for clients but perhaps more importantly, also for staff. Your solicitors are your biggest advocates. They showcase the firm’s knowledge, capabilities, success and client care. Decent teams make for returning clients. So how do you attract the best legal professionals to your firm? By offering them what no one else can. Most job offers include similar incentives these days - a competitive salary, a decent bonus contribution, standard holidays. And whilst these are critical to enticing decent staff (you won’t get gold on a bronze offering), but if you’re not offering incredible work opportunities to your newest recruit, it’s important you are showcasing your firm’s culture and values to attract top talent. Let’s start with millennial expectation. As jargon fuelled as it sounds, the next generation of workers are expecting so much more than a salary from their workplace. If you’re not offering a dynamic, innovative workplace that treats workers as adults and respects their qualified opinions, you will be losing out on a whole host of brilliant employees to competitors who are willing to give them that creative workspace and professional freedom. It sets you apart from the crowd. Legal firms are seen as a very traditional sector, so if you’re leading the way with remote and flexible working to allow for work/life balance, cutting edge technology to ease stress and complication, a dog-friendly office to make for a happier environment, a strong social scene to support team building or onsite gym, cafeteria and a modern open working space to make healthy living accessible, these are the things you should be showcasing to candidates. A good working culture reduces staff turnover. Staff who feel valued, challenged and respected are much more likely to stay with their firms for longer, passionate employees are much more productive and a happy workforce become good firm advocates and are more likely to refer both future employees and potential clients to your firm, even if they have left. It sets the tone for those coming into the firm and working with it. A culture dictates actions, values, approach and policies. It should shape every action, from Partners down to support staff. If you create a positive, compassionate and encouraging culture, it is felt and adhered to by new members of the team and is reflected in the work delivered to clients. By building an authentic, content culture where employees thrive, where employee’s welfare, happiness and development are openly encouraged and celebrated, you show you are a firm worth joining and the money you invest in building a company culture, whether that be through training, hires, perks and developments, you’ll see a return on through staff attraction, engagement, retention, productivity and deliverables.
What value can a temp add to your team?
Temporary workers can often be seen as an unnecessary expense, both financially in terms of time. Why take on someone, to teach them how to do the role and successfully integrate them into the team with minimal disruption, for them to leave when the project is completed or the workload has lessened? In reality, a temp could be an excellent short-term addition to your team with high worth. Here are a few reasons why. A happier workforce Often when there is a gap to fill in workloads, there are two options: get someone in or use current staff and stretch their time, skills and patience to fill the void. Needless to say, employing a temporary team member will keep stress levels to a minimum and ensure work is done properly and well. Those short on time and loyalty are more likely to produce work of the minimum quality, by employing a temp to help carry the weight of busy periods you show your staff you care about their contribution and wellbeing. A fresh look Temporary workers have worked across a variety of business setups and sectors. They have a rare knowledge on a variety of processes and operations and as such can offer real insight and value to your departments, helping to improve ways of working, for both the firm and the staff. They can help implement new processes, improving work output and staff morale. A potential full-time hire Temporary workers can often lead to valuable, permanent members of the team if the fit is right. Bringing a temp in on a “working interview” is an ideal way to see work quality, team fit and firm suitability before offering a contract. A paralegal on a temp contract could be the perfect applicant for your training contract. It’s an effective way to get to know a potential team member. A cost-effective way of working It is understandable that you may scoff at the idea of a temp actually saving you costs, but they do. The ability to have extra hands on deck when needed, without increasing your firm’s overheads in the long run and the flexibility to bring on already-trained, knowledgeable professionals means you will save on training, HR and long-term payroll expenses. If you’re struggling to find a permanent member of staff for a particular team, or your team is struggling with a seasonal increase in cases, then temporary support could be a solution worth exploring. Speak to our team today to find out how locum and temporary staff can help your firm.
Case Study – How we supported an experienced legal secretary to find her dream role
Valerie, an experienced Private Client legal secretary, first started talking with our legal support consultant Matthew in the Spring of 2017. She had taken the difficult decision to leave her previous position due to increasing frustrations and was taking her time to find a role she could commit to. Matt discovered her CV on a popular job board and got in touch for a chat to find out exactly what she was looking for, and ultimately, if he could help. “Valerie was such an interesting candidate to work with. She was brilliant – qualified, experienced and with a high technical capability, and she knew exactly what she wanted from her next firm.” Matt explains, “It meant I had a clear direction about what sort of placement she was looking for.” Matt summarised Valerie using our bespoke profiling criteria, listing her strengths, her career aspirations and began to match her with potential clients. When we have a candidate, we will always let our clients know about a good match, even if there isn’t a live vacancy, because we want them to know we’re always on the lookout for them. “Pretty shortly after starting to work together, I realised that Valerie was an excellent fit for one of our clients, so I reached out to our partner at this particular firm, and lo and behold, his secretary was retiring and so the recruitment process was due to start soon.” Matt set up an interview, and after a short and speedy process, Valerie was offered the role to start ASAP and was even able to complete a thorough handover with the person retiring to ensure a smooth transition. When we caught up with Valerie to see how she was getting on, she could not have been happier with her new job. “From the beginning, I felt like I belonged, and everyone made me very welcome. I can honestly say that despite having a staff of only 17, everyone gets on so well and we all have a laugh. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the partners from the secretaries/admin staff as we all muck in and laugh together. I work hard but I get rewarded. If I start early, they are happy for me to leave early. My mother has been into the office. Staff take children into the office if childcare is a problem. Customers bring their dogs in - which is always a treat! I frequently hear the words "We appreciate what you do", "We like your work" "Thank you" and "Please". The Partner I work for is a delight and, for the first time in a very long time, I enjoy going into work.“ If you’re looking for a new role, whatever that role may be, get in touch to see how we can help.
When is the right time to move on?
Daily I speak to candidates who have decided the time has come to move on. It is never an easy choice and takes determination and courage to take that step. There are so many reasons why people decide to move on to a new role, which cannot be condensed into one blog, but a predominant influencing factor that we see time and time again is taking a needed career step. A newly qualified solicitor or legal executive could conclude their training at a firm that is unable to offer them a new position and therefore are forced to seek a new role. Normally, trainee contracts are highly sought after and perhaps you have taken a role with a firm that isn’t quite the right fit? If you are about to qualify, now is the time to think about what your 5-year career plan is, and considering the type of firms and departments you want to work in. If you’re in a firm that doesn’t match your needs or expectations, then the end of a training contract is a great time to start looking at the market. Of course, progression isn’t just for the newly qualified solicitors. A mid-level lawyer could feel undervalued and underpaid for work they are producing, particularly so if they have been in the same role for a while, with a lack of progression or promotion. At mid-level, it’s important that you are carving out the career path you need to be able to achieve your professional goals. Are you aiming to be made Partner by 40? It’s important that the firm is offering you a clear route, with signposted steps. Are you in a role that specialises in your chosen field? If not, maybe now is the time to move towards a more niche firm. Movement amongst senior lawyers isn’t unheard of but is much rarer because of the moves made in earlier careers. However, if you have not been offered the opportunity for Partnership or to become a Director, or perhaps you don’t agree with the way the firm is operating or the direction the firm is moving in then that is going to cause friction. Not being able to join the conversation or influence change can be a major factor in considering moving on. And of course, there is a multitude of external factors that may be swaying you to look for a new role: The location of the office may be unmanageable for you any longer. Perhaps your train timetable is making the commute too long, or your recent house move has made the distance too difficult. This is a reasonable justification for wanting to look for a new role. You may have realised that your salary is low compared to similar size firms, or your peers who are doing a similar role. It is rational to be expected to be paid fairly for the work you do, and not feeling valued can quickly lead to feeling resentful and unhappy in your role. If this is the only reason you are looking to move on, is it worth having the conversation with your superiors? If you are finding the work restrictive or unchallenging and are unable to take anything more complex or stimulating, this could be a clear indication that you have reached your maximum potential in a role. This is probably the strongest single reason I would encourage a candidate to begin their search for a new role. Being stimulated and interested in your work is so important to your mental health and career progression. To be able to successfully and authentically promote your firm, you must have belief in your Senior Management Team. If there are conflicts in approaches and different views on priorities, then not being able to stay with the firm is a fair decision to reach. There is nothing more infuriating that losing billing time to the failings of an IT system. It is entirely reasonable for you to expect decent and modern technology to be able to do the job to the best of your ability. It is a common talking point with clients Lack of flexibility is a common and re-occurring reason my candidates move. The ability to work from home, to condense or reduce hours and to be able to work to core hours is so important when you have other priorities outside of the workplace. This could be a passion or hobby, family commitments or a commitment to yourself and having your own time. Whatever reason you want flexibility, it is reasonable to request and look for a role that matches your needs. If you’re currently unsure about your next career step, or want to discuss the current market and live opportunities in further detail, do get in touch and I’ll be happy to have a confidential chat.
What does flexible working mean to you?
Last month, we put together a blog post, focussing on the implementation of a flexi-working policy, however, following on from conversations with our clients, it has become evident that flexible working means different things to different people. A small insight into our agency – our flexible working policy allows staff to take half an hour in the morning to attend a school meeting and work it back when they can. It means a change in hours to accommodate for a difficult commute. It is the ability to work from home when having a bad mental health day. Our policy is inclusive, open and agile. It is there for everybody and anybody. As we discussed in our last flexi-working blog post, it is important to define what you mean when you advertise a role as flexible, and be able to answer questions truthfully and in-depth should the candidate query it at interview stage. It’s important for both you and the candidate to have a clear understanding about what your flexible working policy is from the start. It helps you both decide if they are a right fit for your firm culturally and in the long term. We have summarised a few key terms covered by the umbrella of flexible working to give you food for thought when outlining your policy. Remote working – Commonly referred to as working from home, remote working means an employee can work away from the office for an agreed time, perhaps one day a week or adhoc depending on childcare. There are implications involved in working away from the office, which will involve the support of your IT and Data Protection teams, so ensure the systems are in place and stable before you agree to remote working. Part time working – Most commonly overlooked, part time working is still considered a flexi-working request. It allows staff to accommodate their responsibilities and hobbies outside of the work place by working less hours over the week. Part time working is considered anything less than 32 hours a week. Condensed hours – Also referred to as compressed hours, this is often requested to enable the employee to have more free time but with no detriment to their work load or salary. Condensed hours are an employee’s ability to work full time hours into longer days, so for example, 70 hours worked in 9 days, allowing the employee to take 10th working day off. Core hours – The base of most company-wide flexible working policies, core hours are determined by the employer, and employees are expected to adhere to them and choose to make up the rest of their hours how they like. Many modern companies employ this tactic, allowing staff to work when they are at their most productive. Job-sharing – A fairly new introduction to the flexi-working family, job sharing allows two people to split a full-time role, agreeing hours and responsibilities between themselves. This is a slightly trickier request, and communication between job-sharers really is key, to ensure the role runs smoothly and nothing gets lost in translation. With over 77% of British workers now saying that the opportunity to work flexibly will determine their next job move, now really is the time to consider, determine and promote your flexible working policy. LR Legal is a bespoke recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.
The benefits of benefits
Recent research estimates that by 2025 75% of the UK workforce will be millennials, and with that, comes a change in what employees want from their workplace. We often find that our clients focus on the more standard benefits – a competitive salary, a pension contribution and a yearly bonus, but with the changing face of the workforce, and the unsteady economic environment, what can you add to your offer if you can’t budge on the basics? What is considered a benefit can be individual to the employee, however we’ve broken them down into broader categories and highlighted the benefits of introducing them into your workplace. Balance Your employees are people with commitments, hobbies, friends and loved ones away from the office. Supporting them to find a healthy balance between work and home is a clear route to high staff morale, retention and attraction. Supporting a work/life balance can come in a myriad of ways – do you offer free gym classes or subsidised gym membership for training purposes? What about flexi-working to allow staff to leave early to get to book clubs or language classes? Affording your staff the ability to be themselves will make them feel much more accepted in your firm, more loyal to you and ultimately offers them something they may not find elsewhere. Social The importance of good working relationships cannot be understated when it comes to staff employment and engagement. A supportive network in the work place is a regularly cited reason as to why an individual would stay in their job, so be sure to consider what social benefits you’re offering. Are you encouraging coffee breaks amongst colleagues? Is there Friday night drinks or monthly social events that the firm put on? What about team building activities and CSR initiatives? All of these things lend themselves to an excellent benefits list and would be attractive to someone looking for a more socially inclusive environment. Family The majority of employees have someone who is dependent on them, whether that is financial support for elderly parents, having younger children, supporting vulnerable siblings, spending time with loved ones – the list can be endless. Family is often an important part of a person’s life, so are you offering benefits that accommodate this? Again, this could be reflected in your flexi-working policy, but you can also offer a free counselling service, or childcare vouchers. Even being flexible in your approach to holiday requests could make the difference for a parent with a sick child. Be conscious that all of these could be considered a benefit, and a powerful one at that. Financial Financial may seem to be an odd category to include because surely salary, pension and bonus are part of the financial benefits package? They are, but there’s also so much more to include. Anything your firm offers that reduces the financial burden on an employee should absolutely be shouted from the rooftops. Private medical care? Great. Interest-free season ticket loan? Wonderful. Employee Referral Scheme? Let your employees know! Identifying these additional financial aids can be used to brilliantly highlight the actual remuneration package on offer, and sway a candidate to your firm. Ultimately, everyone offers a salary and often the market rate is similar across the board, so the additional benefits you can offer a candidate is likely to attract, and retain, the best talent. If you’re struggling to recognise and promote your benefits list, speak to one of our team who will be able to help you identify, correlate and present your benefits in the right way. LR Legal is a bespoke recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help your firm.
The importance of a recruitment budget
As the new financial year approaches, many heads of departments are finalising their budget spend for 2019 – 2020. Our Director Leilani Reader looks at the necessity of including recruitment agency costs in budget forecasting. Cost Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to say spending money will save you money, this is true when it comes to recruitment. The expertise of an agency means they are efficient and well-versed at identifying well-matched candidates. They perhaps even have the right candidate waiting in the wings. By engaging an agency as soon as your hiring needs become evident, you will also be saving any HR function time, resource and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. Time-to-hire Inexperienced and poorly managed handling of recruitment can cause an inevitable delay in getting the right person for the job. By electing to use a recruitment agency, especially an agency that is concentrated on your sector, you’ll be cutting your recruitment time down and you’ll be much more likely to fill the role with the right candidate quickly. Accountability Any agency worthy of your money will have a myriad of ways in which they can show ROI on your agency spend. Agreed SLAs, a key account manager for your roles, bi-weekly updates and valid and valuable metrics that can be measured are all ways in which your recruitment agency can show that they are looking for, and eventually producing, your new hire. Having such focused accountability in a generalist HR team is much more difficult. Quality candidates Of course you can try to reduce costs by asking an in-house team to lead a recruitment drive, however, the likelihood is your shortlist of potential employees will be much vaguer, less targeted and ultimately, it could end up wasting your time interviewing people who aren’t a right fit. An agency will be able to dig beneath the surface to really understand what you want from your next recruit – a good culture fit, technical experience, management capabilities – and then speak to candidates who fit the bill. Agencies have also spent time building good relationships with passive candidates, so they are in a position to approach people who may not be actively looking for a new job. When looking to budget for recruitment, be sure to do adequate research on agencies. Our agency, for example, specialises in supporting the legal sector across London and the South East and therefore we would not be a good fit for a media company recruiting in a northern city. Be sure the agency you work with has the knowledge, skill and capabilities to help deliver the right candidate for you. LR Legal is a bespoke recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help your firm.
Agency news - A catch up with Alice
Last week we celebrated a well-deserved promotion within our team. Alice Neal, who has been with the agency for over 5 years, has been promoted to a Senior Legal Recruiter, helping our clients find the right legal professionals for their property teams. We caught up with Alice to discuss her new role, how recruitment has changed since she started and where she sees the agency in the future... How does it feel being promoted? Feels good! I’m really pleased. How long have you been with LR legal? Over 5 years now, probably closer to 5 and a half … time flies. What were you doing before? Before moving into legal, I worked in Travel Recruitment which was certainly different, and before that, I was self-employed for a couple of years. I’ve definitely found my niche here though. I find the property sector so interesting. How has recruitment changed? There are so many more agencies now than when I first started, so there’s much more competition when attracting candidates and clients. I also find that because of technology, a personal relationship with a candidate is much more important. It’s so easy to see candidates as a number in a database, but I like to get to know candidates as a person. It also makes finding them the ideal role that much easier. What do you like most about your role? As cliché as it sounds, I love it when I am able to find a perfect match between a candidate and client. What is your biggest challenge? I often find that time is my biggest issue. Because we only put forward candidates that are a good match for the role, often their enthusiasm can be dampened if it takes a while for firms to get back to me – from interview through to offer – and because these candidates have other opportunities, they need to be snapped up quickly. So pushing firms for a quick turnaround can be a challenge! What advice would you give to candidates looking for a new role? Sit down and think about what you want from your next role, have a clear idea about the type of firm you want to work in, be patient (your perfect role is worth waiting for) and stay in touch. What’s the best advice you can give to a client to attract top talent? Have a clear idea about the type of candidate you want to work with you and tailor the recruitment process to them – avoid generic job descriptions and interview questions. Almost equally importantly, if you feel they are right, be quick to offer. High-quality candidates do not stay on the market for long, and there’s nothing more frustrating than to make an offer and find they’ve accepted something else. Where do you see the agency in the next 5 years? It’s a really exciting time for the agency as we’re continuing to expand, so I see us being bigger and better than ever! We now have a real focus on delivering a high level of client and candidate care, so I think in 5 years we’ll be leading the market in that area. And as always, using our expertise and experience to guide and help our clients and candidates.
"They said she couldn’t, so she did" - a morning with WLAM
Last week, we were lucky enough to sponsor Women Lawyers and Mother’s London breakfast seminar, “they said she couldn’t, so she did” event, at the Slater and Gordon’s Chancery Lane office. Attended by a cross-section of over 30 female solicitors, the panel was home to some incredible speakers, including Hannah Beko, a former residential property lawyer, and now a life coach/strategist and founder of Authentically Speaking; Caroline Flanagan, an inspirational speaker, powerful coach, author and business owner and Yasmin Sheikh, a former lawyer and founder of Diverse Matters, a consultancy in diversity issues that specialises in disability/health conditions (both visible and non-visible) in the workplace. The morning was jam-packed with valuable insight and advice from career-driven women who have experienced their own challenges and conflicts in their various roles. Below, we have summarised some of the key takeaways to share with you. “Be more of a meerkat and less of an ostrich.” A summary of how to handle the unknown from Caroline Flanagan. Author of How to Babyproof Your Career, she explained that often as women, we know challenges are on the horizon, and we can plan for the known unknown. “We know what those changes look like, we are just unsure of how they’re going to play out. So, like a meerkat, keep your head above the parapet, plan ahead and be on the lookout for changes”. “Short term discomfort over long term resentment.” Yasmin Sheikh, Founder of Diverse Matters, a coach, trainer and inspirational TEDx speaker, spoke of the importance of being authentic to yourself when overcoming challenges and increasing resilience. Yasmin spoke with passion about the importance of being true to yourself because being genuine allows you to believe in yourself, which translates as confidence to others. Having a difficult conversation is not pleasant for anyone but dealing with conflict quickly to stop it developing from uncomfortable to resentful is key for a happy and unified working environment. “Define what success and balance means to YOU.” Everyone has a different benchmark for success. For one, it may be a promotion to partner before their 40th birthday, for another it could be being trusted to handle a complex and detailed case. Hannah Beko clarified that defining your own standards is key for your own happiness because only you know what it means. And if you know what you’re aiming for, it is much easier to establish your route to get there. The event was kindly hosted by Slater & Gordon, and we heard from two incredible female solicitors in their employment team, who had some great tips on finding a balance between personal and professional commitments and how to handle a busy career with a busy life. Women Lawyers and Mothers was founded by Cynthia Jakes as a non-profit network that supports, inspires and empowers mothers in the legal industry, and to create a community for women lawyers and mothers that supports them in both their career progression and handling the everyday experiences of life as a working mother in law. You can find out more about the organisation here. And if you’re struggling to find a balance – LR Legal are trusted recruiters, working across London and the South East to place legal professionals in their ideal roles. Get in touch with the team for a confidential chat about your next career move.
2019 - Year of the flexi-working policy?
Flexi-working, working from home, condensed hours – whatever you want to call it, the discussion of shifting away from typical office working hours, and indeed office-bound working, is quite the prevalent discussion for HR professionals coming into 2019. Traditionally, the concept of moving away from the 9-to-5 might not have worked in the legal industry, but with the rise of technology, the possibility of job-sharing, and part-time hours becoming much more normalised, why can’t flexi-working work for your firm? The most important thing to ensure is that the firm continues to run as normal, and so, to keep disruption to a minimum, deliver clear communications to staff, and keep set boundaries; your first step is to put a flexi-working strategy, policy and usage guidelines in place. Keep it free from jargon, make it clear and accessible and ensure your staff knows of its existence. When getting the documentation together, it is the firm’s opportunity to set clear limitations and opportunities. For example, one of our clients have a “Monday Meetings” rule, meaning those working remotely must try to be available for meetings on this day. It allows for expectations to be managed and kept. It is also important that your firm understands flexi-working doesn’t just encompass where staff work, from but also includes when and how. Creative types might be better in a busy creative environment of like-minded individuals, so will opt to use co-working spaces in the late afternoon, whereas more analytical team members appreciate the tranquillity of their own home at 6 AM before the day begins. Make sure your policy covers this. There is, of course, a myriad of ways flexi-working requests might present themselves. Be sure to save yourself a lot of admin and hassle, by being clear in your policy about how staff request alternative shift patterns, change of working place or condensed hours. You may come up against Partners who say flexi-working gives all the benefits to staff and none to the firm, and it’s important to point out the flaws in this argument earlier on. If you can implement a decent flexi-working policy well, the benefits are never-ending. Internally, you can expect better performance from staff members, higher morale and a strong sense of loyalty to the firm who sees them as a person. Externally, a flexi-working policy works as a great USP when attracting top talent and opens your market share of candidates. If you allow for job-sharing or remote working, older candidates with a wealth of experience may be interested, or you may appeal to a working parent that needs to do the school run but is happy to log on after the bedtime ritual for a couple of hours. If you need support and advice with your flexi-working policy, get in touch with the team who will be happy to talk you through any ideas you have, and be able to guide you on policy implementation. LR Legal is a bespoke recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.
The changing face of mental health in law firms
Conversations around mental health are growing in momentum. Organisations working to increase awareness of mental health issues across the workforce is up from 31 per cent in 2016 to 51 per cent in 2018, and set to grow further in 2019. Whilst steps have been taken by the legal sector to improve their reputation for mental health support, law firms are often seen as traditional in their principles, and a seemingly unsupportive culture can often discourage people from joining the industry. We’ve put together a short blog highlighting the promising steps being taken by firms all over the South East, and why the conversation around mental health in the legal profession is changing. Mental Health First Aid training Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a recently recognised training course that teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. MHFA will teach the nominated person to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and even potentially stop a crisis from happening. Slaughter and May were one of the first firms to introduce the scheme in 2017, but others have now followed suit, with many firms introducing a variety of mental health initiatives, encouraging the destigmatising of it. An incredibly positive step allowing for conversations to be started amongst colleagues. LawCare LawCare is a charity, set up to promote and support good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community. It offers a staffed helpline, a range of useful resources and teaching materials and in-house training if needed. The charity encourages firms to work alongside them to improve understanding and empathy to those with mental health issues and work with HR and L&D departments to reduce the stigma. Their plethora of materials offers a great starting place for anyone who wants to learn more about dealing with or supporting mental health problems in the workplace. Virtual GPs It is not unknown that the NHS struggle to fulfil mental health appointments quickly, with some patients waiting up to 6 months in some parts of the country for their referrals for talking therapies. A big benefit being rolled out across law firms is free or subsidised access to “virtual” GPs, through an app on a mobile or a website on a desktop. It allows a staff member to have an initial appointment, get the necessary referrals and the doctor may even be able to make a diagnosis and give prescriptions. Needless to say, a sooner appointment eases a lot of worries, and investment from the firm in this sort of benefit shows staff members that the firm cares for their wellbeing. The Legal Professions Wellbeing Taskforce Founded in 2016 and initiated by the Law Society in partnership with other legal organisations to promote mental health best practice and support in the legal sector; Its aim is to create a culture of good mental health for City workers, and to share best practices and increase mental health understanding. As the taskforce involves many senior workers across a selection of professions, it promotes a positive culture, cultivating change from the top. It is heartening to see such positive steps being taken across the industry since 2016. However, with LawCare still receiving their highest volumes of calls from concerned legal professionals and ongoing issues around changing an established culture that doesn’t look as favourably on illnesses you cannot see, there is still work to be done. We look forward to further improvement and inclusion across the industry in time for 2020's #TimeToTalk day. LR Legal is a bespoke recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.
The four Cs of building a positive company culture
Culture feels like somewhat of a buzzword right now, being bandied around a lot but not much understanding behind its purpose. Our Managing Director Leilani Reader thinks about how to build a positive corporate culture in four achievable steps. Community The very definition of culture is ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society’, so you can’t build a culture without thinking about who your community is. You want to promote teamwork, collaboration and support, so focus on the people first, would be my advice. Ensure your staff feel valued, supported and at home in your firm. The community will build itself. Continuity Whether you’re an established firm or a fairly new addition to the high street, your firm cannot successfully implement a great culture based on ad hoc activity and one-off drink receptions. Build it into your people strategy, if you don’t have one, expand on your HR Strategy. Be sure to continuously review your culture, be continuous in your approach to your culture and continuously promote it. Conviction Own your culture, live it and make it clear to both those joining the firm and those outside of your firm what your values are. Insincerity shows and if you are trying to present a culture that isn’t a true reflection of your firm, it won’t reflect well on you in the marketplace. Candidates talk, and competitors watch, so be sure that you are authentic. Creativity How do you make your culture stand out? Now you’ve built it, defined it and owned it, how do you make it different to everyone else’s? At this stage, I’d draw inspiration from the other 3 c’s. What would your community feel comfortable with and loyalty for? What can you do continuously? And what can you throw yourself behind with conviction? For example, we had a client that had concerns over the lack of time away from the screen for their department. After some consideration of their community and what could be done continually, we suggested implementing internal walking meetings, allowing colleagues to get away from their desk, outside for a change of scenery and some fresh air and fresh ideas. It has been highly successful so far because it addressed the 4 Cs. We have noticed considerable growth in candidates focusing on the culture of a firm as much as the benefits offered, so your culture is becoming an increasingly important asset when attracting top talent. Make sure you’re getting it right. LR Legal is a bespoke legal recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive legal recruitment service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.
The changing face of the legal secretary role
There is no denying that a legal secretary plays a vital role to a law firm and, in particular, the fee-earners they support, but with technology, automation and artificial intelligence making more administrative tasks much easier, where can the legal secretary role develop? Our Legal Support Consultant Matthew Heard discusses the possibilities. A more personal focus Whilst some may question the future of such a role, the worth a secretary offers to their fee earners is invaluable. They are often responsible for a multitude of tasks that creates for a seamless client experience. They are personable, responsive, organised and are focussed on using their initiative and problem-solving. All qualities that are needed to successfully support solicitors and their clients. So could it be that in the future, as the legal secretary role becomes more redundant, in its place is a personal assistant role that encompasses the legal secretary duties? A more technical focus It is often found, across a multitude of different types of firms, legal secretaries are often trusted to carry out work that wouldn’t be out of place on a paralegal’s desk. If a legal secretary is working in a boutique firm or supports a fee-earner that works in a niche market, their knowledge and capabilities can be extensive. Many secretaries are already client facing due to their involvement in following up calls, liaising with them over paperwork and greeting them when they arrive at the office, so it would not be out of place for them to take an active part in meetings or be a go-to contact point for clients. Is that a possible route for legal secretary roles in the future? A more marketing/BD focus As the marketplace becomes more saturated, client focus needs to be more prevalent than ever before for legal firms, and many are starting to implement client care strategies. Legal secretaries currently support most marketing and BD efforts, from pulling together pitch information to supporting the running of events. In smaller firms mostly, legal secretaries can be an incredible asset to marketing efforts, and so in the face of automation for administrative purposes, surely the manpower would be better spent focusing on client acquisition and retention? If you’re not sure how to develop the secretarial roles in your firm, we are happy to provide market insight and support, or if you are looking for a very specific type of candidate for your department, we have a great candidate pool of legal secretaries looking for their next role. LR Legal is a bespoke legal recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive legal recruitment service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.
UK Recruiters Strategy Report – what are candidates looking for?
Glassdoor have recently released their new UK Recruiters Strategy Report, which reviews top UK recruiting statistics and includes survey data from both employers and job seekers in the UK. Whilst not exclusive to the legal sector, and indeed the stats would probably be higher if it were, the findings make for interesting reading to anyone responsible for their firm’s employment activities. Reviews matter When looking to accept a role, 4 in 5 job seekers will diligently research the company making the offer. This includes both internal and external reviews, so it’s unlikely a good placement in the Legal 500 will secure you your candidate of choice. Potential employees are likely to check Roll on Friday, Glassdoor and even mainstream press such as The Guardian. 84% of people believe a company’s reputation is an important factor when deciding on a job offer, so be sure that you have a strategy to tackle your employer brand, and it’s reflected across all of these outlets. Progression and development are key Career opportunities were listed in the top 5 things that attract UK-based candidates, and not only that, if employees don’t feel challenged in their role in the first year, there is a 1% higher chance that these employees will leave the company looking for their next role. Having development frameworks in place for staff, clear and transparent responsibility and salary bandings and regular reviews are all the more likely to incentivise your staff and encourage them to develop and, ultimately, stay. With the average replacement cost for a team-leaver being 33% of their salary, that is money that could be much better spent on the professional development of your team. Make sure you’re asking the right questions 76% of hiring decision-makers believe that finding the right quality of candidate is their biggest challenge, so with that being said, make sure you’re asking the right questions at every stage. Even gateway questions at CV application level can ensure the candidates being sent to you are the right ones. Be clear with what you want from a potential employee, divert from generic competency questions that can easily be rehearsed, and be sure to focus on questions specific to the role and candidate. We recently posted about the importance of relevant interview questions, which you can read more about here. LR Legal is a bespoke legal recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive legal recruitment service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.
Asking the right questions to find the right candidate
With Google providing a never-ending supply of resource to interviewees, for managers and HR professionals it is becoming increasingly difficult to get to know the candidate and not a pre-rehearsed, LinkedIn-approved version, particularly so if the standard competency-based questions are asked. To get an insight into the candidate, it’s important to ask the right questions. Below we’ve outlined several key questions that will cut through the jargon and let you learn about the person you’re talking to. “Talk me through your processes for…” Asking for a detailed approach to a specific process allows you to learn about your candidate’s thought process and how they approach tasks and consider their impact. It will also give you a good indication of how they will work in your current team set up. “It’s really important to understand how someone operates, especially if they’re in a support role, such as a legal secretary,” Matthew Heard, our Legal Support Consultant, advises. “If they have three partners all needing support, it’s good to know about they would tackle difficult tasks or prioritise workloads.” “What’s the most niche or complicated thing you know about? Can you summarise it into an elevator pitch?” Most candidates’ minds will go to a work-related topic, and that’s great if you’re a specialist firm looking to recruit a solicitor for a dedicated sector, but you may also learn a lot about a potential employee’s communication skills and style, their passion for their subject topic and their character. Alison Banks, our Senior Legal Consultant, says, “I specialise in family law and this question really helps me understand a candidate’s knowledge and if they have the experience and technical expertise needed for the role I’m recruiting for.” “What have you learned about yourself from your previous roles?” This question gives some of the power back to the interviewee, and in a way will make them feel more comfortable, but it will give you a great insight into how the candidate operates, and their style of working; whether that be that they enjoy autonomy or working as part of a wider team, whether they prefer rigid schedules or if they excel when given less than clear instructions. It is also a good time to take stock of their body language and facial expressions when asked this question, it’s unlikely to be one they were expecting. “Can you see how you would develop this role?” More often than not, candidates will arrive at the interview with pre-prepared questions to ask you relating to the firm or the job they’ve applied for, so with this question, you put the emphasis back on them – what do they want from their role with you, where they see themselves developing in your firm and how they will evolve the role. It shows you what sort of career path the interviewee is looking to take, whether they have considered how long they plan to stay with the firm and where they see themselves. From this information, you can start to forecast where this person will fit in the long term for your business. “This question really can be the deciding factor between candidates,” Francesca Butcher, Legal Consultant, muses. “Ideally, depending on your job specification, you want someone who will grow with the role. This is the candidate’s opportunity to show their suitability to the role and your firm.” There are many questions to ask a candidate that may not be in the standard set of interview rules, but by using this line of questioning you are more likely to get an authentic, truthful and insightful response from the person you’re interviewing, and with that understanding, you will be able to find the right fit for your role. LR Legal is a bespoke legal recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive legal recruitment service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.