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15 minutes with Manager Mark Bailey

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05 Jul 2017
To celebrate our 15th year in business we sat down with Manager Mark Bailey to discuss his career to date and his advice to anyone looking to secure a role in the legal sector.

What is your current role at Sellick Partnership?
I currently work as a Manager at Sellick Partnership working within the permanent legal team, recruiting for fee earning legal professionals across London and Surrey.

Why did you decide to join Sellick Partnership?
I believe it is incredibly important to have senior role models you can work with and learn from, especially in recruitment and Sellick Partnership offers this. I was particularly impressed with Sellick Partnership’s reputation in the market, and attracted by the opportunity of working for a multi-office firm with UK wide coverage. When making the decision to move spent a lot of time researching the tone of the company I wanted to work for and was struck by the training and development and career opportunities on offer at Sellick Partnership to all employees, old and new. I already had some experience with the business having known Austin Brislen in the Liverpool office fairly well, so it was an agency I had an interest in. It was after speaking with Group Director Hannah Cottam I felt that I would be able to come into the business and further develop my current skillsets, whilst helping the business to grow. 

How has your market developed since you joined Sellick Partnership?
The legal recruitment market continues to be buoyant, with the rise of permanent and interim recruitment still evident across the UK in both private practice and industry. In practice, the recruitment surge is not only being seen in national firms, but also smaller law firms looking to increase their workforce. As a result, the legal market is incredibly candidate-led with a shortage of skilled candidates across the UK to fill the required positions. To address this recruiters need to think more laterally about how they are going to find candidates to suit their clients’ needs. Personally, I find that traditional recruitment methods are often not enough to ensure you are able to attract the perfect candidates for your clients, and would argue that a mix of traditional methods such as posting job adverts, and executive search must be used.  
One trend that has been interesting over the past few years is the increase in the number of senior legal professionals taking on contract or fixed-term placements. The feedback from our candidates is that the attraction comes from them looking for shorter spells of work on a project/consultancy basis which fits with their lifestyle. Law firms are recognising this more creative way of working and many larger international practices are developing specialist divisions and roles to cater for senior professionals looking to work on an interim basis. As a result, firms looking for permanent candidates are competing in a much smaller talent pool.

What advice would you give to legal candidates?
Legal firms are now looking for ways of ensuring they remain commercially competitive in the legal market. What was once considered to be a traditional sector is now becoming more commercially focused – and lawyers are continuously adapting their skillsets to keep up with this growing trend. Employers in the legal profession are therefore no longer just looking for the brightest candidates with the most impressive academic credentials to their name. Of equal importance are the personal qualities and commercial skills that an individual must be able to demonstrate to make them an attractive candidates to legal firms. I would advise legal candidates to develop interpersonal skills such as; organisational skills, communication skills, business development experience and have a genuine interest and broad knowledge of the law. 

I would also advise senior legal professionals to keep their ear to the ground. Legal recruiters will often use headhunting techniques in order to find the perfect candidates, and making sure you are seen as a high-calibre candidate is key to ensuring you do not miss out on the best opportunities. One of the most effective ways of being identified as a talented legal professional, is to participate actively in dialogue and networking within your field. Speaking at industry events or conferences, having articles published or being quoted in relevant articles will all increase your visibility. In addition I would advise all legal professionals to be present on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Recruiters will use a number of online tools as part of their selection process so it is advisable to build yourself a strong personal brand both online and offline. 

How can firms attract and retain top legal candidates in this market?

As a result of the candidate-led market, legal firms are having to adapt their recruitment strategy in order to attract and retain high-calibre legal candidates, and I do not think this trend will slow down. High-calibre candidates have a much greater amount of choice and a timely, flexible and sensible recruitment process will help firms stand out early on in the recruitment process. As a result, legal firms are having to adapt their recruitment strategies to suit, shortening the process and making it as simple and effective as possible. Clients looking to grow their teams in 2017 need to move quickly and confidently throughout the recruitment process, otherwise they may lose out on candidates already in talks with rival firms. 

What have been your proudest professional moment at Sellick Partnership?

I would have to say it is the development of my team. Watching them grow and develop their own skillsets and then succeed as a result of training I have been a part of is a truly amazing experience. I am honoured that Sellick Partnership has given me the opportunity to work with so many talented individuals.
To find out more about Mark Bailey and the roles he currently has available please visit his profile on the Sellick Partnership website, or alternative you can contact him directly on or by calling 0113 243 9775.
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