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.
Commercial Property Solicitor
Reigate, United Kingdom
Commercial Property Solicitor, £40k-£55k, Reigate, Surrey A leading law firm in the South East, Surrey and London with over 200 employees and an outstanding reputation for decades serving a full spectrum of legal work are now looking to add to their commercial property department based in Reigate. The office is located 10 minutes from Gatwick Station and 5 minutes from Junction 8 of the M25. The firm promotes regular events and supports local charities. There is very much an open-door policy to Partners and Senior staff, thus making the environment friendly and balanced. The role You will be assisting the commercial property department in meeting its fee earning targets by giving accurate legal advice and supporting clients of the department as well as other departments in the firm. You will be conducting matters on behalf of clients, supervising trainees and managing your support staff. There will be the opportunity to participate in marketing and networking activities. You will be responsible for financial control, through account and billing procedures. Along with good file management and keeping up to date with procedures. What they are looking for A UK Qualified Solicitor or Legal Executive with 2-5 years PQE A good honours degree Technically competence in commercial property law Motivated to achieve targets An individual who is willing to be involved in the firm’s activities outside of work A well-developed individual who works effectively as a team What they can offer 25 days holiday Healthcare cover Contributory pension scheme (5% from employer/ 3% from employee) Life assurance 4 x annual salary Other company benefits Support with ongoing progression and training Interesting and ongoing work If you would like to learn more about this opportunity or other opportunities in the market, then contact Alice Neal at email@example.com or call for a confidential discussion on 0208 464 2524 (office hours) or 07904922615 (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.
Commercial Property Solicitor 2-6 PQE
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Commercial Property Solicitor/Legal Executive, 2-6 years PQE, £45k-£65k, Maidstone, Kent A long standing, award wining law firm based in Kent, with a London office are currently looking for an experienced Commercial Property Solicitor or Legal executive to join a busy, eight strong commercial property department. 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 Will involve a focus on property investment and asset management, secured lending, property development, including management, acquisitions and disposals and corporate support work. You may not have experience in all these areas, and it is not expected, however an interest will be required. There will be the opportunity to learn the other areas of commercial property that you have not covered previously. What they are looking for UK qualified Solicitor or Legal Executive up to 6 years PQE Be able to demonstrate you are a team player who is willing to be adaptable and contribute to the success of the team Excellent communication skills and the ability to build and maintain relationships with clients, with colleagues and with other teams within the firm Be able to promote the Firm internally and externally in order to assist the introduction of new business What they can offer A friendly and welcoming environment Opportunity to train, develop and grow 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 Alice Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org or call for a confidential discussion on 0208 464 2524(office hours) or 07904922615(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.
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Employment Solicitor, £40k - £50k dependent on experience, Maidstone An established and successful Employment firm, focused on delivering first class representation and advice to their clients, is looking for a full time Employment Solicitor to join their busy and dedicated team in Maidstone. The role Working on a mix of contentious and non-contentious matters, you will represent both employers and employees across a varied caseload. You will be passionate about your work, dedicated and enthusiastic as well as being an excellent communicator with first rate client care skills. The firm has a high number of referrals, so you won’t be expected to focus on Business Development but maintaining quality client relationships is a must. What they are looking for 1 – 4 years PQE Exceptional client care skills Strong communication skills Hardworking and determined personality with a team focus What they can offer A generous salary Excellent office location, onsite parking and modern working spaces Continuing professional development and support High calibre work with an interesting and varied work load If you would like to learn more about this opportunity or other opportunities in the market then contact Alison Banks at email@example.com or call for a confidential discussion on 0208 464 2506 or 07979 952 201.
Court of Protection Fee Earner
Court of Protection Solicitor/Fee Earner/Paralegal Romford, Essex 1-3 years experience Up to £38k plus benefits and bonus Our client is a leading local Essex based law firm with a formidable reputation. With 3 of their departments mentioned within Legal 500, the firm is well regarded within the community. They are now looking to add to the team with a strong new Court of Protection team member. The Role Focusing on Court of Protection matters, the role will encompass: Taking initial instructions and providing advise and assistance on all COP matters. Assisting the Partner who is a designated Court of Protection Panel Deputy Ability to run your own caseload and the opportunity to be involved in more complex matters with supervision. Attorney Applications to the Court Deputyship Orders What you need to succeed? 1-3 years+ of Court of Protection work Looking to join a family friendly and flexible local law firm Clear career progression within the department If you would like to learn more about this opportunity or other opportunities in the market then 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
Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Part-time Marketing Manager, £40-42K Pro rata, Tunbridge Wells, Kent A small, provincial law firm based across 5 offices in Kent have an opportunity for an experienced Marketing Manager to join their Tunbridge Wells office on a part-time (3 days per week) basis. The firm has a rich business history dating back over 260 years providing friendly, professional legal services across a range of legal practice areas including: Private Client, Property, Dispute Resolution, Criminal Litigation and Family Law. The role You will help to create, develop, plan and deliver an integrated marketing strategy (both on and offline) that enhances their business profile and assists in lead generation and acquisition of repeat and new business. Also ensuring marketing activity is updated in CRM to assist with ROI of campaigns, whilst assisting in the production, management and editing of marketing materials including brochures, website content, social media posts, press releases, case studies, internal and external events and sponsorships. You will have the support of a part-time Marketing Assistant. What they are looking for Passionate and experienced Marketing Manager, ideally within the legal industry or professional services Knowledge and experience of CRM and data analysis Experience using various web analytics tools and a good understanding of SEO and WordPress Email marketing/campaign experience Highly organized with excellent written and verbal communication skills High level of copywriting and editing skills Well-rounded professional individual with strong interpersonal and teamworking skills What they can offer A competitive salary A supportive and encouraging working environment Eye checkups, pension nd local discounts Flexible working If you feel you would be a good fit and would like to learn more about this opportunity, then contact Alison Banks at email@example.com or call for a confidential discussion on 0208 464 2506 or 07979 952 201.
Float Legal Secretary
Guildford, United Kingdom
Float Legal Secretary, up to £24,000, Surrey (including Wimbledon and Fulham) One of the largest law firms in Surrey, a friendly, professional firm that people enjoy working for and working with, is looking to recruit a Float Legal Secretary to join their team. What is the role The Float Legal Secretary will need to have had previous experience working in Property, Private Client and Family law and be willing to travel to Guildford, Epsom, Cranleigh, Reigate, Leatherhead, Wimbledon and Fulham. Although this is a float role, it is not essential that you can drive and have access to you own car, as all but one, which is a short bus ride, of the offices are located within walking distance of a train station. Main responsibilities for this role are: Preparing correspondence and documents through audio typing and word processing Administering filing Preparing mail and enclosures for dispatch Making appointments Provide guidance to junior and temporary secretaries when required to do so Undertake on-line form filling requirements Operating the case management system Attending clients both in person and on the telephone What you will need Minimum requirements: Legal Secretary experience in Property, Private Client and Family law Advanced IT skills Excellent typing skills High accuracy levels An excellent level of attention to client service, being able to interact well with both internal and external clients Prior knowledge of Evolution, or another case management system is preferable What they offer 25 days holiday, plus Bank Holidays Private health care cover Contributory pension Life assurance (4 x annual salary) Annual bonus scheme (potentially to earn up to 7% of salary) If you are interested in this role, or are looking for your next Legal Secretary job, please get in touch with Matt to discuss our current opportunities we have available in London and the South East. You can reach Matt via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call him on 0208 464 2565 or 07887 523 228
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.
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.
Remote Working - Viable?
Remote working is unshackling workers from office desks and helping businesses to attract talent – but is it always conducive to productivity? In 2018, the phrase “working nine-to-five” is largely limited to Dolly Parton fans visiting karaoke bars. Modern employees, powered by connected technology, sing a different tune. They are encouraged to eschew traditional ways of working, and are both happier and more productive. “Gone are the days of rigid schedules where workers are fixed to computer terminals between the hours of 9am and 5pm,” says Ryan Asdourian, senior director at Microsoft. Numerous surveys have found that workers would choose flexible working over a pay rise “With technology on our side, the opportunities are endless as the reimagined modern workplace is here. More than ever, the best talent is seeking organisations that encourage creativity, shun silos and support flexible working.” Indeed, we are waltzing into a new era of hypermobility: the anywhere office. This exponential trend is fuelled by a plethora of smartphones, laptops, tablets, the rapid increase in capacity of mobile technology and a growing prevalence of Wi-Fi hotspots in public places. Furthermore, better enabling services are on the horizon, as is 5G connectivity. Out-of-office communication Flexible working is made more practical with unified communications (UC): a catch-all term for the integration of features including instant messaging, voice, audio and video services – the point where strategy, operations and production converge. The benefit of UC is the opportunity for flexible instant connectivity regardless of whether colleagues are “in the office”. A single team member can speak for the group, or members can join and contribute to discussions as they occur, regardless of location, time zone or any other factor. Numerous surveys have found that workers would choose flexible working over a pay rise. A study involving 8,000 global employees and employers conducted by Vodafone in 2016 found that three-quarters of companies worldwide have already adopted flexible working policies and 61pc of them believe that it had increased their company’s profits. Even more convincingly, 83pc reported that productivity was boosted by flexible hours rather than reduced by them. More meaningful working lives Mark Greenaway, director of emerging business, EMEA, at Adobe, says: “Remote working is one of the most revolutionary business trends of recent years, and has given rise to a host of technologies that provide a more intuitive working experience, improve employee productivity and unshackle people from the office. “Notably, thanks to the cloud, the number of collaboration tools available has skyrocketed, and it’s easier than ever to experience the same unified interface at work as remotely. When staff work via the cloud, they commonly access ‘living documents’ – shared files which can be updated by anyone in real time.” Mr Greenaway says: “In the future, artificial intelligence [AI] will turn these living documents into content which is truly alive. With these AI-enabled documents, employees will be able to manage formatting, make corrections to copy and help keep team members informed of continuing changes. While small, these innovative improvements will change the way teams work together remotely on any device.” Philip Lacor, vice-principal of global sales at Dropbox, warns that just because an employee can log in from anywhere, at any time, does not mean they should. “Imagine if Albert Einstein got up and cleared his email inbox every morning, with his smartphone next to him buzzing every time he got a notification. Would we have the theory of relativity?” He adds: “The answer to how we can be more productive in an era of hypermobility does not lie in simply being more connected and stuffing more into the hours available. We have to look very closely at the way we are working and collaborating to fuel the spark in all of us, and to unleash the creative energy that helps us stay in the zone and deliver our best work. “We must be both aware of the perils of distraction and optimistic about technology’s capacity to do the heavy lifting, and therefore move us closer to a more meaningful and fulfilling working life.”
Is retention of staff becoming an issue?
Retention is becoming a pressing issue for HR professionals. According to a recent cross-industry survey, 93% of businesses agreed that the retention of new hires in their organisation is an issue. And over one-quarter (26%) jobseekers aren’t ready to stick it out at a job they thought wasn’t a good fit, even when they haven’t got another offer. But why are people leaving? The Korn Ferry Futurestep research found the top reasons new hires are exiting is their specific role isn’t what they expected and working for the company was different than they thought it would be. Surprisingly, the issue transcended pay, with respondents saying that money was not a primary reason a new hire would leave. More than half surveyed (55%) said that offering more money to a new hire who wanted to leave would not make them stay. A staggering eight in 10 (82%) said that if they accepted a job that they ended up not liking, even if it paid well, they would leave as soon as they found something else. “It is important that organisations have a clear employer brand to share with candidates that is true to the company and reflects the day-to-day culture,” comments Neil Griffiths, Korn Ferry Futurestep Vice President, Global Brand, Marketing and Communications. “Competitive benefits and salaries are table stakes to attract top talent, but creating an environment where employees are given interesting work and recognised for their efforts will give them a reason to stay.” “Unhappy employees will not go above and beyond the basic requirements of their job, even if they are well paid,” he says. “Our study found that the majority of respondents (70%) said challenging and rewarding work is what keeps them on the job. Clear advancement opportunities also create a positive environment that benefits both employees and employers.” The study also found that Millennials were the most likely generation to leave a new job if they were not satisfied. Griffiths adds that this shows employers need to go the extra mile to create a professional environment where all employees feel valued. “Unhappy employees will not go above and beyond the basic requirements of their job, even if they are well paid,” he says. “Our study found that the majority of respondents (70%) said challenging and rewarding work is what keeps them on the job. Clear advancement opportunities also create a positive environment that benefits both employees and employers.” The study also found that Millennials were the most likely generation to leave a new job if they were not satisfied. Griffiths adds that this shows employers need to go the extra mile to create a professional environment where all employees feel valued.