Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson

Articles From the Team

The growth in legal temps, legal resourcing and legal recruitment

Temporary agency hires are at an all-time high for the eighth consecutive month.

According to Mark Marcon, senior research analyst with U.S wealth management firm Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc, temporary hires in service employment had doubled since 1995.

“Companies prefer hiring through temporary agencies because it gives them more flexibility, and helps them deal with uncertain times and uncertain regulations,” Marcon said.

“Having a job through a temporary agency was viewed as a sub-optimal type of work, but broadly speaking, it’s increasing in recognition as a social good rather than social negative –and it’s a good way to get people from a state of unemployment to employment,” he added.

Speaking exclusively to Recruitment Grapevine, Joe Tully, Managing Director of De Poel – which places 40,000 people in temporary jobs every week – said: “We are seeing a rise in the number of people that don’t want a traditional employment contract.

“People are opting for temporary work as a lifestyle choice. In a permanent position it isn’t just the employer that is locked down, the employee is, too.”

“It makes more sense to ‘rent’ a large portion of talent as flexible staff that can help with the project,” Marcon said.

Where IT staffing had made up just five percent of the placements in 1995, today it accounts for 19% as the tech industry has grown.

“Part of the drive behind this increased usage is that companies are facing more regulatory burdens,” Marcon said. “By hiring through temporary agencies, they are offloading that responsibility and putting it onto the temp agency.”

The analyst’s report also showed a large variance in the length of time temporary staff are employed and the amount of money they earn from each placement.

BCL Legal – opinion by Craig Wilson

The article by Recruitment Grapevine above highlights an interesting shift in the job market and the employer/employee relationship. It is a shift we have witnessed developing in the in-house legal sector for some time and we expect it to continue as the sector develops, as in-house teams take on more work, as companies seek to control staffing costs, and as lawyers seek a better work/life balance.

An interesting development specific to the legal sector, which reflects the growing trend for temporary hires, has been the increase and development of legal resourcing businesses, the growth of law firm secondees, the increase in experienced Lawyers setting up their own consultancies, and the general shift towards a more nimble and flexible work force.

The growth of legal resourcing businesses is of particularly interest. Organisations such as Lawyers on Demand, Axiom Law and Eversheds Agile have increased client awareness and the availability of short-term legal support for specific projects, busy periods or maternity/illness cover. These organisations typically focus on the insourcing of secondees, the outsourcing of managed services, and the handling of large Projects which can be handled using technology. They aim to offer a more cost effective service than a normal law firm and use this as one of their main selling points. Interestingly however, many are run by law firms and offer the support of their main law firm as a key benefit.

These businesses have proved popular with some in-house departments and it has allowed the law firms to provide a new service to their existing clients. Interestingly however, the seconded service provided by these resourcing businesses is more akin to the role provided by a legal recruitment agency. The businesses recruit (employ on a contract) experienced lawyers with large law firm or in-house experience and then contract them out to their legal clients for a fee. This differs from a law firm secondee as the lawyer is not a permanent employee of the law firm.

Typically, BCL Legal’s clients have found that the cost of recruiting via a legal resourcing business can be considerably higher than recruiting directly or via a dedicated recruitment consultancy. Whilst this is not an issue for clients where money is no object - where the backing of an international law firm makes the legal resourcing proposition very appealing - for many legal departments the additional cost can be prohibitive and unnecessary. This is particularly important when you consider that most of the contract lawyers on the books of the resourcing businesses are also on the books of recruitment consultancies like BCL Legal. They are therefore available for less – the recruitment consultancies normally charge a much smaller fee than the legal resourcers.

BCL Legal offers a full recruitment offering and we are capable of providing high calibre legal resource to cover all your permanent and short term requirements. If you are considering using a legal resourcing business for a secondment to cover an interim assignment please do give us a call. You might be surprised how much you can save.

For more information please contact Craig Wilson or visit our website BCL Legal.

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