Categories:Europe,London

UK firms remain wary despite elevated recruitment figures

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  • Seriously, the top 25 firms hired hundreds of lawyers in the last twelve months? What's the ratio of fee earners to support staff for this chart?

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  • Also the numbers given for 'job loses' must be taken with a pitch of salt - these are presumably announced job loses. Alot of the top 25 firms made massive unannounced job loses via managing people out.

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  • Only 19 job losses at Pinsents?! That makes me chuckle.

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  • seriously? you expect ppl to believe that A&O laid off more associates than CC and Links??!

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  • actually A&O did make that many lay-offs - at least in London anyway

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  • This table seems to show that the data for 8 out the top 12 firms in the table is based on 'estimated figures'. If thats right, are these the law firm's estimates or The Lawyers'?

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  • ...and still, not a word of help or support to the army of NQ lawyers not kept on. We are having to face turning from the law after huge investment of time and money: and once a turn away has been made, we will struggle to return. Go and do pro bono they say - and pay the rent with what? The SRA, The Lawyer, law firms, and Patners at large should feel ashamed by the lack of support being offered to this easily forgotten, inexperienceed group. It is shameful.

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  • Will be interesting to compare the figures employed before the crunch and in the latest LLP accounts of each of the above firms, I have my doubts the announced 'job loss' figures will tally with the people who were actually cut by 'announced' and unannounced 'managing out'. If the lawyer is to make a statistical comparison, then it shouldn't rely on the figures of cut backs actually announced by the firms - they have to dig deeper.

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  • Only 4 job losses at Freshfields. Not sure who is doing the maths.

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  • There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the likes of Freshfields and Slaughters were sacking in droves: the figures of 4 and 0 (official redundancies) are therefore very misleading and it is very disingeneous and insulting for the above-named partners at those firms to suggest otherwise.

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  • I agree 19 at Pinsents is laughable. I suspect if you added a zero to this figure it would be nearer the mark.

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  • Re NQs and Junior Lawyers - the support from the SRA and Law Society has been non-existent. A couple of months ago there was a "webinar" (CPD available - whoooopee!) and we were told we could join the "junior lawyers division" - so you can attend the junior lawyers ball and share dole queue experiences I suppose - like either is really going to help!

    Re Getting "Volunteer" experience... (a) it does not pay the bills, (b) we do not live on thin air, (c) the experience is most likely not relevant if you are trying to get back into a City firm and (d) this is just "cheap" talk to make the giver of the advice (often with no experience of being unemployed EVER) feel like they are saying something "constructive" and "positive".

    Re Numbers Sacked - Reminds me of the government massaging unemployment figures - it's disgusting. It's even more disgusting that this is simply published with none of the figures being seriously challenged. What people really want to know is how many were sacked/"managed out" etc. The figures seem to bear little reality to what I heard was happening at many firms across the City. Agree - dig deeper, a LOT deeper!

    Comment on Freshfields "tapping" their alumni - why are these schemes always hailed as "innovative" and "creative". Clearly it's just a way of getting previous people in without having to pay recruitment agency fees, the partners know that these people have no intention of coming back full time so they dont have to manage their careers, the hours are so flexible etc. It's all about being in the firm's favour. The article could do with a lot more investigative grit. This is similar to the Skadden sidebar programme - hailed as innovative - how many took the sidebar and crucially how many are being taken back.......

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  • I have been trying to find a job for ages. Despite an excellent 'pedigree' training from a MC firm, first class from oxbridge etc etc, I have been unsuccessful. I see no evidence of law firms hiring at the rate suggested.
    Are these figures all lateral hires? Do they represent the trainees being kept on? Are these actually fee earning hires?
    I have noticed that many firms understandably do not want to use recruitment agents but on contacting them via introductions or people I know within those firms, was told that they are barely recruiting.
    The Lawyer needs to do some more digging and provide a breakdown of no of fee earner hires v support staff, junior v mid v senior lev hires, which departments are hiring the most. otherwise these figures are just not credible and this article will sadly be a waste of space and time.

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  • Since the crash/market correction/recession whatever you want to call it law firms have found that they can get experienced lawyers at a great discount to what they previously had to pay, there is therefore little incentive for them to take NQ's.

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  • With regards John's comment which is perfectly valid, I think the interestingly thing to watch is whether when the true upturn comes, and firms are no longer so powerful in the recruitment market, whether the firms which shall we say have been less candid about how many people they let go in a vain attempt to suggest they were less hit by the recession than other more candid firms will get some pay back in the recruitment market. Will a lawyer looking at competing firms look back and assess how that firm acted during the downturn - personally I think people and lawyers in particular looking for positions have short memories.

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  • Yes law firms have found that they can get experienced lawyers at reduced prices, eager interns for nothing, alumni glad to get back into work etc, ... oh and let's not forget that in order to save on recruitment firms are "re-skilling" juniors so as to avoid having to recruit... who are the loosers? - yes Junior Lawyers and NQ's.

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  • To MC trained with Oxbridge 1st
    I feel for you. The problem is, the market has changed: being MC trained with Oxbridge 1st is no longer enough to walk into a job or at least virtually guarantee an interview.
    The scene has changed and now given firm's strategies to hire more experienced lawyers (as they can get them for cheaper), re-skilling exsiting juniors into more active areas, tapping alumni, firms commitments to recruit associates on sidebar programmes etc. there is unfortunately nothing that you can do about this as people like you (NQs and Juniors) are the innocent victims in this bloodbath.
    People are quick to say you should change career.. but why on earth should you?
    The worry is that the longer you are out of practising as a solicitor the more difficult it may be to get back in and I have had some agents tell me that firms may look to candidates who have remained in employment during this bleak time rather than take a "chance" on someone who has been sacked/laid off/ made redundant etc.
    The situaiton is truly awful catch 22.
    And as an earlier message said.. where are the Law Society adn SRA in all of this.... seemingly busy dreaming up a new code of conduct for solicitors... lets hope it includes ethical behaviour in times of fianancial stability... but that's problably asking too much!

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  • Will Lawyers being recruited remember that a particular firm treated its associates badly in the downturn.? ........

    Probably not - if you have not been treated badly by the firm hiring you, you tend not to really believe (or want to believe) that the same firm is capable of being decidedly nasty/ruthless in a downturn and when you have an offer in your hand with great money (comapred to having no job) you probably are prepared to think that the partner you will be working for seems really nice, that you will be different etc
    I think it's a game of psychology and the lawyers will want to forget the horrific treatment they have suffered.
    I wonder how it bodes for future working environment in the City? ... the key points to take home seem to be that:
    - no job is safe,
    - you can be got rid of easily... either any time up to one year or simply managed out
    - law firms only worry about their clients and profits and not you, and
    - a firms mantra cannot be believed
    - preserving partner drawings seems to be the name of the game and woe betide anyone who interferes with that!

    In time when there has been a sustained recovery I have no doubt that firms will begin to splash cash at trainees and associates and that will make the unpleasantness easier to forget ... at least for some

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  • This is just further proof that this magazine does not carry out research and is just a mouthpiece for marketing departments. virtually all firms have a headcount freeze. These numbers are meaningless and misleading. There should be some form of auditing requirements as there is clearly a financial benefit to the law firms in the advantageous perception by prospective employees during a competitive market. Prospective employees should be treated as any other stakeholder and protected as such.

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  • I have to say that it's rather depressing to read an anecdote from a MC trained 1st class Oxbridge alumnus struggling to secure a NQ role. After going through all the hassle of securing a TC I had hoped that the worst part of the legal career was behind me. Clearly not. I kid myself that by the time I qualify the economy will be some way to regaining full health but the snail's pace recovery is putting paid to that notion.

    I have been acutely aware for some time that the legal industry's power base is vested in the hands of too few ingrates with their heads in the sand but their backsides well covered. I pray that I can accrue enough experience to eventually set-up my own firm so that I can one day reap the fruits of my own labour instead of prostituting myself for others.

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