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5 Things you didn't know about legal recruitment.


Not all roles have jobs specs - I wish they did. I am often asked for job specs by prospective candidates and sadly many of my clients don’t provide them. HR or the recruiting partner may give agents a one line brief only e.g. ‘find me someone at x level’. Agents use our deep understanding of a client and their likes and dislikes to fill in the blanks. When considering a role, I always recommend a prospective candidate reviews a partner’s online profile as they can give a good insight into the work that is currently being undertaken by a practice.

  1. Job specs are only a guide - On the occasions when I have been provided a job spec, they should be used only as a guide as opposed to a concrete wish list. When produced, job specs are typically written by HR with little contribution from the recruiting partner. A spec may also be generic or simply a re-posting of an old one and so whilst they are nice to have they may not be strictly adhered to.

  2. Rarely (if ever) am I given a set salary for the role - Instead salary is determined by a candidate’s level of experience in line with existing salary bands within an organisation. When it comes to level, nearly all roles that an agent recruits can fit into one of the following categories: 2-4 PQE, 4-6 PQE (at or approaching SA level) or SA 2+ (someone who can operate as a 2IC, with (or without) short term partnership ambitions). Strict enforcement of PQE is rarely set in stone provided a candidate’s level of experience is aligned with the appropriate category that the role is pitched at.

  3. Clients may not always advertise a role internally or on their website - Often it is only an agent that may know about a position. Agents regularly communicate with firms to determine ‘active’ needs as well as areas of anticipated growth. Agents are also given ‘watching briefs’ (i.e. areas where there is a constant desire to be kept up-to-date with candidates for a particular practice area or niche). It is an agent’s relationship with a firm that gives them an inside track. Agents can often help you secure a role before it has hit the open market, reducing any competition from other jobseekers.

  4. Agents know how to get your CV seen by the right person- Whilst it may be tempting to apply for a role directly or through a friend who may work at the firm, an agent’s sole job is to get you a job, your friends job is to be a lawyer. An agent will be tenacious, motivated, and work around the clock to make sure your CV is seen by the right person. Acting independently, an agent will follow up repeatedly, they will advocate for you more than you ever would yourself and more than any friend could.

If you have any other questions about legal recruitment, an interest in active vacancies or a desire to hear more about the market- feel free to connect with me anytime, I would love to chat.

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