Public sector legal recruitment has changed considerably in the last few years, as evolving market conditions and professional norms have led to a major shift in what candidates are looking for in a role. As such, employers in the public sector are keen to gain insights into what is most important to candidates, in order to better tailor their employment offering. To explore these trends, Sellick Partnership has carried out a survey of 172 solicitors, lawyers and legal executives working in the public sector, in order to find out exactly what today’s legal professionals are looking for when weighing up their career options. Take a look at the analysis and download the results here. Here are some of our key findings: Nearly half of those polled - 45% - feel unable to progress their career in their current position. 47% said they would be unlikely or very unlikely to move jobs for a role at the same level. Only 5% would want to look for a role that involves working in the office five days a week, with 20% seeking to work remotely full time. When asked about perks and benefits that would appeal when looking for a new role, 76% chose enhanced flexi-time that would allow them to control their own working hours, making this the single most popular option. When asked about factors that put them off applying for a role, 76% cited salary banding not being included in the job ad. What motivates public sector legal candidates? The findings from our survey demonstrate a number of key insights, highlighting the factors that are motivating today’s public sector legal professionals to change careers. It also serves as an indicator of what employers need to focus on when creating a compelling offer for top talent. Here are some of the results: Flexible and remote working are top priorities for candidates Better career progression options can persuade staff to change roles Employers need to offer more perks and benefits beyond salary… …but candidates still want clarity and transparency on what they will be paid Effective targeting of job adverts is essential A good working environment can make the difference A salary guide has been provided in this report A salary banding table has been provided to accompany this report which is intended only as a representation of the market, according to the research and data acquired from our network. Any information presented in this document is made in the opinion of Sellick Partnership. The full report is available to download here. Contact and further information If you wish to utilise any part of this data for editorial purposes, please credit Sellick Partnership at www.sellickpartnership.co.uk. To find out more about our insights into how public sector legal employers can improve their offering for candidates, please visit our legal recruitment hub, or contact us by calling 0161 834 1642.
Accepting a job offer should be the easiest and most satisfying thing in the world, particularly if you have been looking for alternative employment for a while, or the role fits in perfectly with your ambitions and dreams. However, even when you want to accept a job offer, there are some things to consider to ensure the process continues smoothly and you are fully protected from any unexpected shocks or surprises further down the line. In this article, we will talk you through how to accept a job offer, including the do’s and don’ts and general etiquette surrounding this crucial part of the recruitment process. Be appreciative Most job offers will initially be presented over the phone or in person by the hiring manager, before sending a written offer. The first thing you should do, regardless of your intentions, is thank the person calling for the offer and make it clear how grateful you are to be given the opportunity. You should then make clear your intentions — if you would like some time to think about the offer, make that clear. You can then find out about what will happen next and the steps that follow you accepting the offer, so everybody is on the same page. Try to avoid accepting on the spot We know the temptation, when you are presented with a job offer you want to accept, is to jump in and say ‘yes’ on the spot. However, it is always best to take a little bit of time to make 100% sure that it is the role that you want before officially accepting. Now that the prospect of joining the organisation is very real, is it definitely the right position for you? Even if the answer is still yes, which hopefully it is, you should try to avoid confirming there and then. You are entitled to ask for a little bit of time and the hiring manager should understand if that is what you want. If you are concerned about sounding less enthusiastic than you actually are about the position, you can reassure the hiring manager that you are delighted with the offer and excited by the opportunity, but would just like to make sure everything you need is in place before moving ahead. Equally, if you have so far only received a verbal offer and not a written offer, then you should ask for the written offer — which will contain details of salary, annual leave and additional benefits — before accepting. If you are happy with the written offer and you are sure you want to progress, then you can go ahead and accept. Clear up any queries However, there may be situations where you are happy with a written offer and are keen to accept, but have other queries about the specifics of the role that you would like to have answered first. This could be anything from practical working arrangements, probation periods and equipment that you will be using, through to details of your pension. It is always best to make sure you have all the information you feel is important about your day-to-day work and role before accepting an offer, to avoid any misunderstandings once you begin your employment. Write an acceptance letter If everything is as it should be and you want to accept the offer, it is always best to do this in writing, even if you have already verbally agreed. Your letter only needs to be short and to the point. You should: Thank the hiring manager for their offer and state that you accept immediately Re-state and confirm the key terms of employment that you have agreed, such as: - Start date - Salary - Benefits Send a final note of gratitude and eagerness to begin the role, as well as any personal contact information they might need that they do not already have on file Once you have accepted the offer, all that remains is to prepare yourself for your new career, and get excited about what the future has in store for you.
The term ‘notice period’ will be familiar to anyone who has had to leave a job or look for a new role while already employed. However, no matter how often individuals have been through the resignation process, there are still some aspects of giving notice that can be confusing for employees. In this article, we will answer the most common questions that our Consultants receive from the candidates with whom we work, to ensure you know everything you need to know about notice periods. What is a ‘notice period’? A notice period is the amount of warning you are required to give your employer before leaving your employment, and, equally, the amount of warning the employer must give you before terminating your contract. Notice periods are designed to minimise disruption for both the company and the individual — by giving each party sufficient time to either find a replacement, if necessary, or find a new role. How much notice do I need to give? There are two kinds of notice period: statutory and contractual. The term ‘statutory’ refers to the minimum notice period required by law before a contract of employment can be terminated. According to the Employment Rights Act 1996, employees must give at least the following notice: One week if you have been employed by the firm continuously for one month or more but less than two years. One week for every year worked if you have been employed for between two and 12 years. 12 weeks if you have been employed continuously for 12 years or more. The notice periods listed above are the legal minimum that must be given by an employee. However, while employers cannot demand employees give less than the statutory notice, they can expect them to give more. This is what is known as contractual notice. Companies often state in their own terms of employment — written into their contracts — that employees must give more than the minimum amount of notice. One month is popular among many employers, with the period often rising the more senior you are in the business. Check your contract to make sure you understand your own terms of employment and notice periods. How to hand in your notice You should submit your resignation in writing by preparing and submitting a dated letter or email to your employer informing them of your decision to leave, and the date on which you will terminate your employment. You do not have to submit your resignation in writing, but it is best practice to do so, as it avoids any confusion or misunderstanding later down the line. Some employees have a meeting with their managers before formally submitting their notice, while others do it the other way around. However, in the vast majority of cases, there will be a face-to-face meeting with a senior member of staff at some point to discuss your reasons for leaving and put a plan in place to organise your work during your notice period. Do you have to work your notice period? Unless your employer states otherwise when you resign, you should work as normal until the end of your employment to avoid breaching your employment contract. If you decide not to work your notice period as stated in your contract, the employer could feasibly sue you for damages that the business would suffer as a result of you not working your full notice. However, that is normally a very last resort — employers might instead agree to let you leave early and terminate the contract with immediate effect, or reduce the notice period, but this would mean not getting paid once you have left. Equally, some employees may have a ‘pay in lieu of notice’ clause, which means their employment will end immediately but they will be paid by the employer for the period set out in their notice. In addition, some employees may be put on garden leave, which means you are paid until the end of your notice period but do not have to come to work for that time. Do I get paid during my notice period? Yes, your employer has an obligation to pay you your normal full pay during your notice period. Can I take holiday during my notice period? Yes, your employment terms will remain the same during your notice period and you will receive your normal full pay for annual leave taken. Can I change my mind? If you have resigned but have changed your mind, you should speak to your employer immediately to see if they are open to keeping you employed and retracting your resignation. It is also recommended that you write a retraction letter once your employment terms have been discussed and — if possible, agreed, so that your intentions and agreement are recorded in writing. Your employer may not agree to your retraction, however, which will mean you having to work your notice and end your employment.
Last night, I presented to the Society of Asian Lawyers Law students from City, University of London on legal career options beyond university. We covered areas such as alternative legal sectors to the traditional Law firm, or Barrister chambers, as well as discussing other routes to take using a legal degree, out of the legal sector altogether. Areas such as the civil service, retail graduate schemes, banking and accounting graduate schemes, and the Police all welcome law graduates looking for an alternative career. The session ended with a Q&A and here are the questions and answers that came up. Q: What if I don’t have experience when I am applying for roles? A: You can and need to get some. Call your local authority or local high street solicitors practice and ask for a week of work experience in the legal team as you are a law student who would benefit. Send a letter in if needed. Eventually someone will always reply and that experience will be invaluable on your CV. Q: Apart from work experience how else can you stand out? A: Great question! Voluntary experience and charity work will always go down well. It will show you are a diverse and hardworking individual as you have given up your own time for the benefit of others. It highlights an ability to converse at different levels and with different audiences. These skills along with a 2:1 could be more valuable than a stand-alone first class honours degree, when it comes to employability. Q: Do you think the lawyers working in legal government roles enjoy a better work life balance than those in magic circle firm? A: Yes! Magic circle and top tier firms are very high-pressured roles which is why you are remunerated extremely well. It can be unsustainable for some and lawyers can suffer from burn out. In other legal sectors, particularly public sector legal teams, lawyers are often given time back for overtime worked and not called in their personal time. Q: Do agencies recruit paralegals? A: Yes. To be considered paralegal applicants usually need to demonstrate that along with a legal degree, and/or an LPC, they have work experience in an office environment. Even if that experience has been on a voluntary basis they will be considered. Q: What is your opinion on the role of a Chartered Legal Executive? A: Many clients are keen to get a Legal Executive on their team. Often when candidates have taken the CILEX route they have spent 6 years working in a legal setting alongside evening studies whilst qualifying and which is more favourable to some clients than a NQ Solicitor, with often only 2 years of ‘hands on’ legal experience. Q: Where do you hear about in-house legal roles? A: Often clients use agencies for harder to fill or more senior roles but for entry level they often post job information on LinkedIn. Create a profile on the site and subscribe to the job alerts on there and other job boards such as Law Gazette jobs, Totally Legal and Indeed. Once you are setup the profile of jobs you have requested will be emailed to you. Another tip would be to use the Law Society company search function and look at solicitors in the companies you would be keen to work in. You can then search and link in directly with those contacts. Q: What are good ways to network? A: LinkedIn is excellent! I recommend you create a strong profile and join some relevant groups so you can see and hear updates. Connect with relevant individuals and before you know it you are networking! Q: What would you discuss when networking? A: In my experience one topic people enjoy talking about it is themselves. Ask them some questions asking for their experience or opinion. Why did you choose the law? What would you change if you could? What would you ask if you were me? You will open up individuals and learn a lot from the answers. Q: How much do lawyers earn? A: I think there is a real lack of information out there and although magic circle and top tier firms can offer outstanding remuneration I would say the average ranges are: Trainee Solicitor - £24k - £27k NQ Solicitor - £30k - £40k 2 – 10 years PQE - £40k - £70k 10 years+ - £70k+ My thanks go to Sam Harris-Jones, Antonia Clark, of City, University of London, and also thanks to Ranjit Sond, President of Society of Asian Lawyers, for introducing me to this motivated, and ambitious group of Law students. Please feel free to email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those seeking employment in the legal sector, there are few destinations more prestigious than the ‘Magic Circle’ and ‘Silver Circle’ law firms. These organisations are famous around the world, with hard-earned reputations for excellence.This select group of legal firms have become widely known for their commitment to the very highest standards of performance and success. As such, obtaining a role with these companies can be seen as a real marker of accomplishment for the UK’s most skilled legal professionals.Here, we explore the law firms that comprise the Magic Circle and Silver Circle, looking at what differentiates these organisations and what is expected of those chosen to represent these top law firms.What is the Magic Circle?The term 'Magic Circle' was first coined by the legal media in the 1990s to describe the most prestigious, high-performing law firms in London. All of the members of the Magic Circle firms are known for their high-profile corporate and finance work, overseeing multi-billion-pound transactions and delivering the highest earnings per lawyer of any law firm headquartered in the UK.This group used to be known informally as the Club of Nine, but this term fell out of use as its perceived membership became more exclusive. Today, the Magic Circle consists of five law firms: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Slaughter and May.Each of the law firms in the Magic Circle shares the following characteristics:Based in London, with substantial international operations.Industry-leading offerings in banking, finance and corporate law.Working with the world’s biggest and best-known corporations on major transactions with significant economic implications.Revenues and salary levels far above the UK industry average.There is no doubt that these leading Magic Circle law firms are still among the most respected names in law, retaining a powerful attraction for candidates who seek to make an impact at the very top of their profession, working on cases with global impact.Entry into these Magic Circle law firms is notoriously competitive, with short-term promotion prospects fairly low. These law firms have a trainee intake of around 100 a year and, as they expect the best, they have a reputation for working graduates hard, with long working hours. However, if a placement is secured, a graduate can expect great resources, fantastic facilities, international secondments and a lot of responsibility. Trainees are often offered a job at their firm post-qualification which makes choosing the right one even more important. There are no other Magic Circle firms, however there are other big London law firms that work on corporate cases across the globe. When it comes to salaries at these law firms, first year trainees can expect to earn between £42,000 and £44,000, while second year trainees will be taking home closer to £50,000. Newly qualified lawyers will be paid around £100,000 – including or excluding bonuses and equity partners can earn between £1.6 million and £1.8m.What is the Silver Circle?Although the Magic Circle law firms are seen as the top tier for UK law, this is not to say that other firms are not also capable of commanding huge respect and strong reputations. Indeed, the more recent creation of the so-called ‘Silver Circle’ reflects this reality.This term was conceived by the industry publication The Lawyer to describe the law firms that fall just outside the Magic Circle, but which nevertheless deliver far higher revenues per lawyer than the average UK firm.When the concept was created in 2005, the Silver Circle law firms were said to consist of Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills, Macfarlanes and Travers Smith, as well as the now-defunct SJ Berwin. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is also widely considered to be in the conversation for membership of this elite group, who share many of the same traits:A focus on serving a premium London-centred client base in the UK.Significantly higher profits per equity partner and revenue per lawyer than the UK average.A generally broader range of specialisms than the Magic Circle.A flexible approach to management, with an avoidance of top-down leadership and excessive bureaucracy.There is more debate about the exact membership of the Silver Circle than the Magic Circle law firms, with The Lawyer arguing that the increasingly international focus of firms like Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills means they no longer belong in this category as well as debating that Mischon de Reya should now be granted membership.Training contracts are sought after and incredibly competitive, just like Magic Circle firms. Trainees working at a Silver Circle law firm can expect a stimulating atmosphere as well as a very high-quality workload. While there would be some long days, the shifts are often thought to be more reasonable than what could be expected at a Magic Circle firm. Silver Circle law firms are not that much different to the Magic Circle firms when it comes to salaries. First year trainees can expect a salary of around £40,000 while newly qualified lawyers may be paid around £68,000 to £70,000. What is it like to work for Magic and Silver Circle law firms?Working for a Magic Circle law firm is a dream come true for many in the sector, but those seeking roles with one of these organisations must be prepared to put a lot in if they wish to earn the associated rewards.Magic Circle firms are known for their lengthy working hours, clear sense of hierarchy and demanding professional requirements. For those able to keep pace with these requirements, the payoff comes in the form of generous salaries, cutting-edge working environments and an opportunity to work on some of the industry’s biggest and most important cases.Those working at Magic Circle firms will be offered what is considered to be the best training with excellent work and a reputation to match. By comparison, working experiences in the Silver Circle tend to be more varied. Each company has its own distinctive culture, and are generally known for being less rigidly formal and more flexible than their Magic Circle counterparts; as such, staff can still expect to work long hours as a rule, but may experience a better work-life balance on the whole.While Silver Circle firms will give you your weekends free, you will also have access to fantastic training as well as excellent professional development opportunities. It is worth noting there will be many well-respected, top-performing organisations who are not included in the rankings. These firms will still offer well-paid placements, however, for ambitious professionals, the pull of these recognised names will always be considerable provided that they are able to do what it takes to succeed in these demanding, highly competitive roles.Boutique law firmsIt is worth mentioning boutique law firms as an alternative to Magic and Silver Circle firms. These are largely centred in and around London and are mainly founded by former partners of City firms who left their roles to start niche practices with their own vision. Boutique firms tend to be smaller, occupying single offices and, instead of maximising their caseloads with strict billable targets, they offer more tailored and fluid services, focused on client care and case completions.Additionally, boutique firms usually allow fee earners to manage their own time more flexibly and deliver more personalised services, rather than keeping a strict schedule. Many clients prefer to work like this, and it lets solicitors enjoy a more relaxed pace of work.The best boutique firms combine this client-focused approach with a high-value client base. With many of the founders being former City partners, they are able to bring existing clients and contacts with them, ensuring they are still able to work with high-profile accounts and cases.Many professionals may not realise these boutique roles are available, even though they would be well-suited to the advantages they can provide. This is why it’s important to review all of the opportunities out there before deciding your future career path.Working for a City law firm provides access to high-value career progression opportunities, but they are also very challenging to obtain. Due to their rigid progression structures, staff will need to work patiently through each level for years to earn a chance at a senior role, and it could take up to a decade to become a partner.When it comes to boutique firms, routes of progression are much less rigid, and with fewer candidates competing for the top roles, it’s possible to achieve a senior position much faster.Applicants with relevant experience from a Legal 500 background can get a role with a boutique firm and earn the chance to work on high net worth accounts without a City level CV. In these roles, they will work alongside people with City backgrounds and deal with cases contested by City firms.Additionally, the hiring process for boutique firms is also much more accessible. Rather than needing a months-long process of multiple interviews and vetting stages, boutique firms will often offer a much quicker interview process, overseen personally by the senior partner, allowing much quicker hiring decisions to be made. The following groups could particularly benefit from considering boutique law firms as an option:City lawyers who are looking for greater autonomy at work, or a better work-life balance.Professionals who want greater flexibility in their working hours, such as mothers returning from maternity leave.Young professionals who are two to five years PQE (post-qualified experience) and don’t currently have a CV that is suitable for a City firm, but want an alternative pathway to high-value client work.How we can help Since 2004, our Legal Private Practice Recruitment Consultants have been sourcing and placing legal professionals in law firms across the UK.This experience makes us ideally placed to assist the private practice legal jobs market with its recruitment needs. We understand the recruitment needs of private practice law firms, which means we can offer expert career advice and exceptional service to both candidatesand clients.From the Magic Circle law firms, to high street and regional practices across the country, we enjoy working with an extensive network of clients and high-calibre legal professionals. We assist in the recruitment for legal jobs across a range of disciplines and roles, from partnersand solicitorsto NQ solicitors, in all specialisms, which include: Corporate/commercialCommercial propertyPrivate clientEmploymentFamily lawPersonal injuryClinical negligenceLitigationResidential conveyancing Our Legal Private Practice Recruitment Consultants have extensive experience placing professionals into jobs that suit their skills, qualifications and values, providing an honest and professional service to everyone we work with. Our expertise means we match the right candidate to the right role, offering advice throughout the interview process and assisting practice firms of all sizes in making the right choices.Whether you are a legal practice firm with vacancies to fill, or a legal candidate looking for a new role in this sector, our impressive client and candidate networks and in-depth market knowledge means Sellick Partnership is the best solution for your legal recruitment needs. Recruitment Consultants are always happy to help – from offering CV adviceand interview techniques to having a general conversation about what is happening in the legal jobs market currently. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.