Mary Nowell
Mary Nowell
Managing Director: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Beating the competition

Wow the legal market is booming in the North West. Having reached the end of yet another month it’s sometimes nice to reflect (very briefly!) on the month just gone; one word sums up mine – busy! The North West legal market is currently a busy, evolving, competitive market place full of opportunities for the aspiring lawyer. All of this activity which includes new entrants into the legal scene, new client wins for our existing talent and a city being more often headlined as the ‘second city’ makes competition for the cities top legal talent fierce. As a legal recruiter much of my focus is what I and BCL Legal can be doing to engage more and more with the legal community. Here’s my top tips to ensure you’re in poll position;

The recruitment process – Make sure that you run a well thought out, engaging and efficient recruitment process. Think carefully about the tools that you employ and remember that this can change and vary depending on the level of the role being recruited. Ensure that if you do decide to utilise a psychometric or technical test (or both) that these are necessary, justified and relevant to the position being recruited. Never forget that an interview is a two way process and should be seen as an opportunity to sell your firm, culture as much as testing the candidates suitability, skills and experience. Don’t underestimate the importance of incorporating a social element; as a general rule an opportunity for a potential new employee to meets their peers is vital and can make all the difference if you are against others.

Know what you’re selling! – This might sound vague and certainly ties in with the above but ensure you know your firm! That runs right through from understanding the culture you promote to the key client wins that have happened within your various departments. Ensure that you are familiar with the progression opportunities internally and have some examples of promotions from within. Having a true and thorough understanding of your firm and how you wish to promote yourselves will improve the quality of your adverts and make interviews more consistent, informative and accurate. Firms with a strong corporate identity will undoubtedly attract great people and most importantly, the right people for them.

Engage with your audience - You need to engage both with potential candidates on the ground and hiring partners. At BCL Legal we work hard to form relationships with Law Colleges, Universities, trainee solicitor groups and professional networking groups – all of these activities allow us to develop our network but law firms still need to get involved. You should think about what you can be doing to reach your target audience earlier than your competition. You should also strive to work closely with your chosen recruitment partners. We are often your voice on the ground, we need your time and input to be able to sell your brand and opportunity to the market. Many law firms (large and small) often take the time to forge strong relationships with a small number of agencies inviting them to recruitment briefings and opens days – all to ensure we know you and are incentivised to work hard on your behalf.

Be competitive – the market is moving with frightening speed. The skills gap at 2-4 years’ PQE is real and means that strong candidates falling within this bracket are in fierce demand. Teams are busy, keen to secure their stars for the future and will pay a premium to attract the right people. Salaries right now are consistently high but consistently inconsistent! London re-locators are smashing regional pay scales and that is in turn pushing salaries across most PQE levels. We still haven’t had the confirmation of the regional NQ salaries but we are hearing that the £40k ceiling will be broken. Keep in touch with us and know what your competitors are paying – in the war for talent salaries aren’t the only factor but they are one!

BCL Legal is a niche regional recruiter leading the private practice market in Manchester. I have been recruiting into the Manchester legal market for nearly ten years’ – we are here to help and would happily meet you to discuss the market and what you can be doing to ensure that your process is strong.

For more information please contact Mary Nowell or visit our website BCL Legal.


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