Conns tries its hand at legal recruitment

Manchester commercial practice Philip Conn & Co has become the first practice to take the unusual step of setting itself up as a legal recruitment consultant.

The four-partner firm is advertising itself as a “new organisation, comprising only practising solicitors” and offering to charge only 10 per cent of starting salary for placing someone – half the usual rate.

Employment partner Andrew Gibson, who is co-ordinating the venture, said: “We thought we would try and see whether there might be interest in a firm of solicitors doing this and we have already had a good response.”

The four partners have set up a limited company, Direct Selection, with themselves as the four directors, operating from their Manchester office.

Their first advert in last month's issue of Legal Life shows six vacancies for lawyers in the Manchester area in conveyancing, personal injury, uninsured loss and company/commercial.

Asked if firms might object to using a rival practice to find staff, Gibson conceded: “There might be some firms who prefer not to have practising solicitors dealing with their recruitment – those people would not use us.”

Gibson stressed that the firm had no intention of ceasing its legal practice to move fully into recruitment. He said that if the venture went well and started eating into too much of the partners' time, they would employ extra staff.

Conns has had a traumatic past two years. Its merger with Manchester personal injury firm Donn & Co in the spring of last year came apart after only 29 days.

Conns shrunk from six to four partners the following September when two intellectual property partners left to join Alsop Wilkinson.