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Time to move on? Top 10 Tips to resign gracefully

  • July 13, 2022

With the prospect of a new role on the horizon, arguably the hard bit is done. You have aced your interviews, impressed your new Firm, and are no doubt looking to the future and the next steps in your career.

But even with the excitement of a new legal position looming, there is still an incredibly important step to take in making that move – handing in your resignation to your current Firm.

Here we offer our top tips on how to address this often-uncomfortable conversation – and ultimately remain professional, and on good terms as you exit the business.

1. Communicate to your Manager first

With an exciting new role to look forward to, it can be tempting to tell close associates and friends, however the first person who should hear about it is your reporting manager. If a senior partner, or even your Manager themselves hears about your intention to leave from another colleague, it goes without saying that it won’t leave a favourable impression which is ultimately what a well-thought our resignation is trying to achieve.

Arrange a time to speak to your Manager and let them know the situation first. Face to face is ideal as it minimises any misunderstandings or miscommunication, although video call would also work well for those who work remotely or in order to expediate the process.  It is best practice to verbally tell your Manager of your intention to leave along with the reasons that have led to that decision as it is highly likely that you will be asked both why you are leaving and where you are going to – so it’s wise to have a response planned.


2. Be prepared for conversations around negotiation

Whatever the reason or reasons for leaving your current firm, it is always worth having a preliminary conversation before you start looking for new opportunities, to see if those initial reasons may be overcome. If, however that conversation didn’t take place, you should nevertheless consider what you would do should a counter-offer be on the table once your make your intention to resign clear.

In the current market, where demand for legal professionals is outstripping supply, this is exceptionally common, so you need to at least be prepared for such a scenario and ask yourself, would you actually accept a counter-offer?. The answer to that lies in ultimately revisiting the reasons you wish to leave in the first place.

Counter-offers take many forms including increased pay, a promotion, enhanced benefits, or a combination of all of those, and there is no doubt that it can feel flattering to be in that position. However, research suggests that 80% of people who accept a counter-offer tend to leave within 6-12 months of accepting. Is it likely you’ll also be part of that statistic?


3. Prepare your resignation letter

Once the decision to leave is final, you must put this in writing. When it comes to your resignation letter, it should be short and polite. Within the letter itself, it is not necessary to justify your reasons for leaving your current law firm or go into lengthy explanations as you can are likely to have (or have had) a more informal chat about this with your reporting Manager. The document is simply to cover the legalities of ending your contractual agreement with your employer and will be kept on record, so details like the date of the notice, confirmation of notice period, and last working day should be accurate.

You may wish to use the formal communication as an opportunity to highlight things you are grateful for – skills you have learnt, help and advice you have received, and opportunities to boost your legal career that have been offered, but that is not mandatory. Do, however avoid the temptation to criticise your colleagues, boss, partners or clients.


4. Discuss Those Finer Details

Your Manager will mostly likely want to discuss with you the finer details around how and when you will let colleagues know you are leaving. You may wish to inform them individually, or as a group, or have your Manager tell them for you.

You also need to confirm your notice period and how this effects your new role start date. This should be communicated clearly in your contract of employment, but it is always worth a conversation on whether it is realistic to shorten this (if desired by any party) or even extended on request.

Whether your notice period is 2 weeks, 2 months or anything in between, its important you are aware of this before giving your new employer a start date that you may not be able to commit to. Be prepared that in some cases, you may be placed on gardening leave rather than working your notice period.

Garden leave (or gardening leave) is when an employer tells an employee not to work either part or all of their notice period. This could be because the employer does not want the employee to have access to sensitive or confidential information they could use in a new job (Source: ACAS) In this case, you are still employed by your employer, just not working for them and therefore you are still entitled to your salary and contractual agreements in this period of time.


5. Plan A Robust Handover

Scheduling time to plan for a smooth transition shows you to be a true legal professional and not someone who leaves a law firm or an employer in the lurch, or projects unfinished. Think about your specific areas of responsibility – current caseloads, unfinished assigments, urgent jobs and upcoming commitments, as well as information on your clients that your successor or wider team will need.

If possible, invest some time in training up your successor, or at least making formal handover notes, to ensure you minimise the impact on the firm when you leave and once again, keep the working relationship positive.


6. Start Clearing Your Desk

Once colleagues are aware that you are leaving, you can start to clear your desk so that it’s ready for the next occupant. Removing paperwork, filing and archiving, binning wastepaper and taking personal items such as photographs home will ensure your workplace is ready, clean and welcoming for the next person.


7. Stay Committed

It may be tempting to spend time planning what you will do in your upcoming new legal role (and if time permits, there is definitely merit in keeping in touch with your new employer during your notice period – following their social media accounts to keep track of the latest news, be aware of any networking events etc) but nevertheless, you are still being paid to do your current job – so it’s important to remain committed to that role until the very end.

Remaining an active team player, working hard up to the last minute and completing casework where possible will be noted by colleagues and your employer and will ensure you leave on a positive note – and your professional reputation within the legal community follows you as you move on.


8. Embrace The Exit Interview

If you are offered an exit interview by your law firm, it’s always a good idea to take that opportunity while you can. These usually take place between yourself and a HR manager and are aimed at establishing any way in which they can improve the firm or addressing issues of which they may be unaware of.

While you can, at this point, bring to light any concerns you might have, keep your observations professional and your criticism constructive, always keeping in mind not to burn any bridges.

Taking these steps will not only provide closure on your previous role but will ensure you leave your law firm a well-respected and professional ex-colleague, with whom your former team and senior partners will be happy to network with and recommend in the future.


Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help and market insight, your transition can be smoother and quicker – and get you the outcome you’re looking for.


About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal IT personnel to Practice Managers.

Whether you are building your legal team or are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Why Soft Skill Development Will Be A Success Factor In Your Growth This Year

  • March 8, 2022

Last week, I watched an old comedy re-run and interview featuring Joan Rivers, an iconic U.S. comedian.

During the interview, she shared a quote; “life doesn’t get better; you get better”.

Something to consider for lawyers but in a different context; let me explain.

Studying the law and gaining experience to then practice takes years. The shortest possible time is around seven. Unfortunately, it does not stop there to be truly successful in your legal role.

Enter the ability to develop your soft skills.

Soft Skills For Growth

Functional or hard skills are one skill area to develop. Yet, the skills that make the most difference to accelerating your legal career or growing your law firm are the ‘soft skills’ that will help you manage your mind, communicate well consistently, and influence your team to improve their performance.

Here at Clayton Legal, we help our clients craft role descriptions for candidates who are critical for their firm’s growth.

Alongside this, we assist legal candidates in developing their legal careers where we consistently share the softer skills that need to be developed.


One of the key challenges when managing and developing a team is a lack of self-awareness from the employee.

You will hear the term emotional intelligence shared in many circles. The term was defined as a person’s ability to manage their feelings and to express those feelings appropriately and effectively.

The original book on this topic is worth getting from Amazon by Daniel Goleman.

Who has not come across a colleague in the practice who has zero idea about their impact on others? Only last week, a paralegal candidate approached us looking for a new role because of the behaviour of a new partner in the firm; yes, managers can lack self-awareness too.

It appears that every morning the manager in question would appear with a sore head, grumbling and snapping at people. The individual had no idea how his behaviour affected the team.

Self-awareness also covers motivation, empathy, self-regulation, and appropriate social skills.

Communication Skills

The legal profession includes people with effective communication skills. Summing up a case or communicating options to a client jargon-free are all expected skills. However, talking over team members in a practice meeting does not demonstrate communication excellence.

A large part of being a great communicator is the ability to listen. We can all tell the difference when someone hears the words you are saying or when they are actively listening.

As an experiment, notice how often people have their phones open during conversations or look over your shoulder at other people and what’s going on when speaking with you; worse, they sit on the edge of their seat waiting to interrupt.

I hope I have not just described you.

Active listeners, meanwhile, pay close attention to meeting presenters, offer up clarifying questions or responses, and refer back to notes in future discussions. They do not need things repeated to them because they heard them the first time, making active listeners respectful legal colleagues.

Openness to Feedback

This might sound like a different soft skill, yet a lack of openness to feedback often indicates an individual stuck in a pattern and unwilling to learn.

The ability to accept developmental feedback is critical for all of us; otherwise, how will we improve? Think about it; constructive feedback will help you do the best job possible when it comes to your legal role, and yet often, people take it personally and react defensively; when this happens, feedback is not heard.

No one is ever perfect, no matter how long they have been in a role. Reflecting on this, when did you last ‘overreact’ to feedback?

Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset leads on from the ability to accept feedback. Individuals with a growth mindset see feedback as the gift that it is.

Their mind is focused on what is possible rather than what is not. No matter what role, you will encounter roadblocks, disappointments, and other situations that might frustrate you. A soft skill critical to your ability to persevere is having a growth mindset.

Dr Carol Dweck conducted the original work on this several years ago. Her book is well worth reading to identify if you have a growth or fixed mindset.

For instance, someone with a growth mindset who did not achieve their billable target would look at this as an opportunity to double down and focus on what they could do differently in the next quarter.

Whereas someone with a fixed mindset would see this differently, complaining that the target was too high, the clients they were working with were demanding, and the list of complaints goes on.

Adaptability and Flexibility

The last few years have been a challenge for many, yet certain employees have stood out above others; Two words describe them.

Adaptable and Flexible.

No matter your role in your law firm, the ability to adapt to change and a positive, flexible attitude about what is happening never go unnoticed.

Many people have no idea how negative they can be when something does not go their way. Worse still, they become a classic mood hoover.

Fact: Our business landscape is changing, and no matter what role you hold in an organisation, you have to be willing to adapt and change.

In summary, soft skills focus on developing a positive can-do attitude. A well-worn statement, I know, and yet developing abilities like this will help you navigate most things that are thrown your way while making you stand out as a potential new hire for a firm (as well as being areas to focus on if you are indeed in the hiring seat, and looking for a standout candidate to bring on board).

How Can We Help?

Here at Clayton Legal, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates to join their teams. For a confidential conversation about your legal career goals and your next move, please contact one of our team here.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers.

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Planning Your Legal Career in Our New Normal Workplace

  • January 18, 2022

At the start of a new year, many of us review where we are in both our personal and professional lives. For those of us working in the legal sector, it’s no different.

The specific details of the legal path you want to take might differ slightly. However, the five fundamentals we are sharing today form part of any successful career planning process, as we have observed placing more than 5000 legal professions over the last twenty-two years.

First, let’s put some context around the impact of the new ‘norm’ when it comes to creating your plan.

The New Norm

As we navigate our way out of the pandemic and multiple new variants, it is fair to say that the new normal hasn’t impacted the legal sector as much as others, except for improved technology, communication channels and virtual recruitment.

We noticed here at Clayton Legal that the phone continued to ring after the initial few weeks of the first lockdown as clients asked us to help fill their roles. This continued throughout 2021, accelerating at pace as the year went on. 2022, so far, shows so sign of this appetite to hire slowing down.

Hybrid, home, and remote working are still major debates across firms as they consider the permanency of such working arrangements.

As predicted by the Microsoft Workplace Trends report, many candidates we speak to are keen to have some flexibility around working in the office or at home. Consequently, we are seeing more firms willing to consider hybrid working moving forward.

The critical piece of the conversation is that skilled legal candidates are in short supply. This results in employers counter offering employees to stay with them rather than moving to a new law firm. Some legal candidates continue to have multiple offers on the table.

In summary, if you are a skilled candidate looking to move, this is your time.

What an opportunity, though let’s have a sense check here. Jumping into a new role with an improved package and a hybrid working opportunity is OK, provided it is part of your long-term plan.
Therefore, consider this as you plan your career. Moving and building your career takes time, depending on the level you want to achieve.

So, what should you be considering in your overall plan?

Decide What You Want

Goal setting and tweaking can happen at any time of the year. As Professor Maxwell Maltz shared in his New York Times bestseller, human beings are success-seeking creatures, and therefore we want to achieve success.

Without goals to inspire and drive you, it’s impossible to know if you’re moving in the right direction. In simple terms, if you don’t know the destination, then you can’t plan the journey.

Deciding what you want allows you to take control of your professional life.

Simply saying that you want something isn’t enough. Goal setting is a strategic process that considers what you want to achieve through a series of milestones and action steps and ends with hard work and dedication.

Therefore, setting a goal and then moving towards it is a logical process we would all be advised to tap into.

Most legal professionals want:

    • To work in an area of law that they enjoy and find interesting

To receive sufficient income for their work to enable them to live comfortably

  • To be considered as being professional and knowledgeable
  • To achieve a work/life balance that allows them to enjoy a life away from their work

No matter your opinion about setting goals, you will find yourself meandering around with no real sense of purpose unless you are clear on what you want.

Choosing stretch goals means finding the right balance between targets you can realistically achieve and aims that challenge you.

However, don’t set goals that are too easy, either. It’s essential to challenge yourself, as that way, you can reap the rewards of feeling accomplished and driven. Find goals that help you raise the bar on your work and performance.

Always have both short- and long-term goals in mind.

Let’s take an extreme example. If you are a trainee solicitor who wants to become a barrister, you will have to move, study, and gain experience over several years to achieve what you want. This will therefore inform the steps you need to cover in your plan.

Remember, the legal field has many options for you to consider. The more you learn about the legal space, the more you’ll discover new career opportunities and paths you can take.

A Goal Setting Framework

One of the most popular goal-setting strategies involves creating “SMART” goals. There are variations on what the “SMART” acronym stands for, but most experts agree that it requires your goals to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Your legal career goals must be clear and defined. A vague goal like “I want to get a promotion” doesn’t provide sufficient direction. Determine what kind of promotion you want that will fit your plan and when you want to accomplish that target.

Conduct a Skills Audit and Contact A Legal Recruiter

To accomplish what you want in your legal career, you will have to up-level your skills relevant to your desired roles. Knowledge is power, and this is where talking to someone who has the ultimate position you want can be useful.

Although, remember that a lot has changed during the last few years and what was once required for a role, either skills or experience, might have changed.

This is where talking to a specialist legal recruiter will help. Here at Clayton, we have over twenty years’ experience recruiting legal professionals and can guide you on the best next steps according to the specific legal career path you want to take.

With the specs for your ideal job to guide you and your CV in hand, write a list of the skills you need to work on and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 4. A rating of 4 indicates that you’re an expert in the area, while a rating of 1 means that you have very little knowledge or skill in that area.

Once you know which elements need the most work, you can develop a list of activities that will help you close the gap.

Managing Your Mind

The first step in developing your legal career is to embrace the right mindset by managing your mind. More than ever, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of working with our mentality to handle whatever is happening globally.

It’s easy to assume that creativity, intelligence, or talent are the things that set successful people apart from the rest of the world. However, the truth is that all the most powerful people in business today reached their goals through perseverance, grit, dedication, and the right mindset.

Your ultimate goal may take a few years, and the more you can manage your mind through the process, the better.
Good Luck!

What Next?

Though many workplace sectors experienced poor growth in 2020 and into last year, the legal sector wasn’t one of them. Here at Clayton Legal, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates like you. For a confidential conversation about your legal career goals and your next move, please get in contact with one of our team here.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country
since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and
reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from
Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T.
personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Get noticed, get standout, get hired: Top 10 Tips to supercharge your legal job application

  • October 5, 2021

For legal professionals considering a career move, navigating the job market, now more than ever, can be daunting, especially in practice areas where creating stand out is key. Making sure your application is the one that gets noticed, makes that vital positive first impression and works hard to get you that interview, and into that dream role is key. Read our top 10 tips:

1. Do the groundwork thoroughly

You’ve scoured the market, you’ve seen a new opportunity that has piqued your interest, and you know you’re a great fit – but taking a step back and researching that new opportunity beyond the advert is important. Research the firm thoroughly, even if you’re already aware of their brand and reputation in the market. Look at their digital footprint, their social media channels, their brand, and voice across the sector. What are their values, their mission and vision? What are their growth plans and future aspirations? If, at the end of the process you’re sure you’re on the right path, this undertaking will pay dividends at interview stage in demonstrating your knowledge about them as a potential employer.

2. Give your CV some TLC

Neglect your CV at your peril. This humble document is still a pivotal tool to sell your skills, competences and experience and is often the first opportunity you have to impress. Pay close attention to spelling and grammar and don’t forget the basics – clear formatting, chronological work history, personal contact details – but above all make the time to make it relevant to the role you’re applying for. For those who have previous experience outside of legal, perhaps just include the basics here – Company, job title and employment dates. You can then use the remaining space you have to focus on the experience and skills from your most recent roles – applicable, of course, to the role you’re applying for. The same applies if you have many years of experience – you won’t have the space to describe in detail each role and your responsibilities and achievements; particularly as we’d recommended a CV should be on average 2/3 pages long – and at most, 4 depending on your level of experience. Leveraging those skills and experience to make it clear you’re a match is vital – make it compelling, engaging but above all, specific.

3. Learn to love a cover letter

Whilst some believe the ‘cover letter’ as a tool in your application armory has had its day, many in the legal sector concede that they do still have a part to play in allowing lawyers to further demonstrate suitability for roles and illustrate relevant skills and experience. Again – making it specific to the role and that Firm is key. Demonstrate you’ve done your research about that Firm and highlight why you’re the person they need to hire. Be clear, concise and don’t ramble. We’d recommend keeping it to the one page if you can.

4. Hone that elevator pitch

Refining and perfecting your elevator pitch is time well spent as a jobseeker – and will add value when you’re in an interview scenario further down the line. Being able to articulate your intent, unique attributes, experience, and skill set in 30-60 seconds is an art, but once you have this crafted, it can be used to help define your personal statement and across online application forms.

5. Set aside time

Taking time to search the market for new opportunities takes time, and with those prospective roles in sight, formal job applications often take much longer than you might think – especially if you take on board the advice to personalise your application and supporting documents. Setting time aside in your schedule to dedicate to your job application activity is crucial; factoring in time to proofread, spell check and customise.

6. Embrace the tech

The pandemic has certainly brought about a lot of change when it comes to hiring legal professionals – virtual interviews and onboarding made possible through the rapid acceleration and adoption of tech solutions. As a job seeker, look to standout with alternative ways to raise your personal profile. Video platforms for example are a great way to add personality and weight to your application far beyond the traditional CV and cover letter duo. Requests for video supported applications are increasing, and often facilitated by recruitment agencies. Embrace these tools if they’re offered as another vehicle to demonstrate your suitability.

7. Time to get personal

Without a doubt, your (relevant) experience, skills, qualifications, and education are the hero elements of your legal job application– be that in your CV or a Firm’s own application form. But highlighting your interests out of work is still a great technique to demonstrate your personal qualities, and how you might fit with company culture.  Often an optional section of your application forms or CV, that doesn’t mean they’re a waste of time. Rather, used smartly, hobbies and interests can really strengthen your application and make you more ‘human’.  Try to stay away from stipulating interests that don’t really demonstrate a skill or quality that you’re hoping the hiring manager is looking for. ‘Going out with friends’ for example may be something you do outside of work, but it does little to further exhibit your strengths, skill set, personality, or transferrable qualities relating to the job at hand.

8. Audit your own digital footprint

Like it or not, hirers may conduct their own research into you as a potential employee far beyond the documentation that you have sent to champion that application. Therefore, it’s always wise to sense-check your social media channels to either set to private, or ensure your profile is one you wouldn’t mind your new employer seeing.

9. Boost your network

Connecting with the Hiring Manager at the Firm you’re applying to on LinkedIn may seem bullish, but it can be a savvy move and increase your chances of getting an interview. The connection request should be seen as another opportunity to introduce yourself and interest in the role and wider Firm. Being proactive means you could also open up conversations around the role in more detail that the job spec advertised, and a reciprocal ‘follow’ or connection will offer that individual another window into your experience and voice in the market. It is also worth saying that at this juncture, keep it professional. You don’t want to pile any pressure on regarding your application at this stage.

10. Enlist the help of an expert

Formally registering with a specialist recruitment agency will undoubtedly give you a head start with your job search – furnishing you with market insight as well as the inside track on the Law Firms that are hiring. And, when that dream role is in sight, you’ll be offered practical advice on the basics, refined by experts who live the hiring process and all of its anomalies day in, day out.

Next Steps

If you would like to speak to us confidentially about market conditions, opportunities in your practice area or geographical region, or if you are actively looking for a role and would like us to help give you that competitive edge, we would love to speak to you.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Job Fatigue? Is now the time to start planning your 2022 move?

  • September 30, 2021

With the clocks now set back and the darker nights creeping in over the winter period, the final quarter of the year is here, where many businesses and individuals will be making firm plans for the following calendar year, setting budgets and agreeing business objectives. And for many, with an average three months’ notice period across the industry – consideration of the ‘c-word’ is also likely. Not ‘christmas’ per se…but career – what it looks like and where it is heading in the new year.

The so-called mid-career career blues happen to everyone at some point or another  – and it can often be for a number of reasons…

You have outgrown the position

One of the most common reasons legal professionals cite as a reason to leave their current position is around progression – or more specifically, lack of opportunities at their current Firm. Often, a lateral move within the firm is one viable route that, whilst perhaps offering a similar overall remuneration package, does provide the individual with the chance to expand their skills and professional network. Quite often a lateral move can provide a revised career path that still gives that individual chance to develop and learn about other areas of that business, and in turn raises the status of that employee and their broader influence internally.

However, this is not always possible either due to the size or structure of the Firm in question, or because of the current practice area that individual operates in. If the role no longer provides opportunities for the growth you seek in your career and there isn’t an obvious path to promotion, chances are finding a new opportunity elsewhere may be the only option to further advance your career. Before making that leap, it is always time well spent to review the market for opportunities, particularly if this is the first time in a few years you find yourself looking for those greener pastures. Ensuring that the firms and roles you look at do offer clear paths for progression and advancement is key for ambitious individuals.

Recruitment agencies have a vested interest in understanding the sector in which you (and by extension, they) operate, and because of the trusted position that they have with Clients, they will undoubtedly be able to offer you market insight, practice-specific guidance as well as trends and activity they are experiencing in the recruitment cycle. It is always worth enlisting their help at an early stage to get that birds-eye view of market trends and movement, as well as the inside-track of Firms in your area.

You are looking for an increase in remuneration

If the driver for moving is monetary, then it goes without saying that the first step should be to explore the option of a pay review at your current firm first. Whilst few individuals relish the thought of having those perhaps awkward conversations around money, it is important to see where the land lies first, even if that is to sense check the Firm’s position ahead of a diarised salary review later in the year/early next year. It is important to head into such conversations realistically and professionally – can the Firm afford the figure you have in mind for example? Have you got clear reasons why the review is justified, based on performance perhaps or the value you have brought to the business? Building a strong business case here is important – as is knowing your value and worth in the wider market.

This brings us to the second point – researching your market value. Understanding the current average or better still, range of salaries for similar roles in the market is crucial, especially if conversations around a pay rise end without the desired resolution and your hand is forced to look elsewhere. Recruitment agencies undoubtedly add value here with live salary data and wider benefits packages on offer for active jobseekers.

However sometimes the only way to achieve your salary expectations is to talk with your feet and look at other opportunities in the market where they can be realised. It is a perhaps unfortunate reality that pay increases tend to be more significant upon a move (as opposed to an internal promotion) so doing your due diligence early on will pay dividends so you have a realistic view of what those next steps look like.

You are looking for more work/life balance

Long hours and demanding workloads within the legal profession are much documented and prevalent still it seems according to a recent survey by legal charity LawCare whose research concludes that the profession as a whole is “stressed, anxious, tired’ and ‘at risk of burnout’.

Whilst changing job roles may not necessarily negate all of these, the landscape of work has altered significantly due to the pandemic meaning that the likes of hybrid and home working models increased exponentially which for many has helped to strike a balance between work and home life.  Whilst this won’t be the case for everyone (and ongoing research into the challenges these working models bring is still prevalent in the media) conversations around flexi-, agile-, home- and hybrid- are much more commonplace, as are legal job roles offering such work arrangements. In fact, a poll we ran a few weeks ago, indicated that only 26% of legal professionals currently work exclusively from their Firm’s office, and whilst it is perhaps too early to say whether this will increase as we move through further stages of the pandemic, for job seekers who are looking for those opportunities, there has never been a better time to engage with Firms who have adopted such arrangements on a more permanent basis.

There are many other reasons of course that trigger that early decision to start looking for new opportunities. The reasons may be complex, and numerous, yet it is often not a decision that is taken lightly. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, and the anticipated ‘Great Disruption’,  46% of the global workforce are predicted to leave their current employer this year – with many starting that planning now to factor in longer notice periods. Employee expectations around how, when, and where they work are changing and as clients continue to compete for the best talent, arguably it has never been a better time to make the leap.

Next Steps

If you would like to speak to us confidentially about market conditions, opportunities in your practice area or geographical region, or if you are actively looking for a role and would like us to help give you that competitive edge, we would love to speak to you.

Click here to speak to one of our experienced Legal specialists or call 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can help your career aspirations.

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How to Make a Compelling Legal Job Application

  • May 25, 2021

We were delighted to take part in a Live Q&A event in association with The Law Society earlier this month where we offered our advice and expertise to legal professionals on how to make a compelling legal job application.

In the session we covered a wide range of subjects – from how to master CV basics, to revealing some recent market research where we spoke to Partners and Hiring Managers about what they’re looking for when reviewing applications.

If you weren’t able to join us, you’ll be pleased to know that the session was recorded – click below to view.

We also spoke in detail about current market conditions, and the so-called ‘war for talent’; much documented in recent weeks across many professional sectors. According to statistics from Broadbean, despite a 20 per cent rise in vacancies advertised in Q1 2021 compared to the last three months of 2020, applications to those roles rose by only 4% in the same period.

Law Firms are once again competing for the same, sometimes scarce, pool of legal professionals; some of whom are reluctant to move roles against the backdrop of a pandemic and perceived market uncertainty, and others who do have that confidence and find they have a number of options available to them.

Despite the backdrop of the pandemic, the market is awash with opportunities for those considering a move. If you are indeed in the market as a jobseeker, making your application compelling, engaging, and one that works hard to give you standout is still as important as ever – whether you choose to go direct to the Firm, via a job board, or utilising the services of an experienced legal recruiter.

Top 10 Tips for Supercharging Your Legal Job Application

For legal professionals considering a career move, navigating the job market can be daunting. We were recently asked to share our top 10 tips for creating a standout legal job application with The Law Society which we also wanted to share here:

Click here to have a read

If you would like any further guidance on current market conditions or would like to speak to us in more detail about the opportunities within your region or practice area, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

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Why using a Legal Recruitment Consultancy pays dividends in the current market

  • February 5, 2021

With the backdrop of a global pandemic, high levels of unemployment and a seismic shift to homeworking and digital solutions, looking for the next step in your legal career is certainly filled with challenges – whatever the drivers for doing so. And, whilst the word has been undoubtedly overused in many facets and channels in the last 12 months, navigating your way through the job market at present is certainly unprecedented for many legal professionals who, still mindful of career progression, can’t cut through the noise and clutter of many saturated verticals, talent shortages or opportunities that have presented themselves within the sector.

Last year we published a report looking at the general impact of COVID-19 on the UK economy and labour market, with specific analysis on regional variances and focused practice areas within Legal Private Practice. Stats and trends, particularly in Q1-Q2 2020, made for some unquestionably sober reading as some firms pulled up the shutters, paused hiring plans and minimised spend whilst they navigated a new world of virtual offices and the acceleration of digital solutions to support caseloads, collaboration and client management. Looking at the ONS Labour Market Statistics published only this week, there is little doubt that the labour market in general terms will take some time to recover, especially with the unknown impact of the end of the employee retention (furlough) scheme and other government initiatives on the legal sector. However, there are some encouraging statistics presented focused on the back end of 2020 – growth in average total pay (including bonuses), number of hours worked, as well as an uptick in the number of vacancies in the market. The REC measured 1.77 million job ads in December – a record for the year, which is encouraging indeed. At Clayton Legal we have certainly witnessed a shift in the second half of 2020 and more so this year to date in Law Firms that are tackling the business impact of COVID head on; finding (and embracing) solutions that mean they are once again pushing ahead (some areas at great speed) with growth, and in turn, hiring plans.

Admittedly, whilst it is our job to shout from the rooftops why Legal Professionals should use the services of a Recruitment Consultant to give them tangible competitive advantage, now more than ever, those who are tapping into sector expertise of agencies are reaping the benefits and continuing their own journeys of career progression.

Market Overview

Recruitment Consultants have a vested interest in understanding the sector in which you (and by extension, they) operate, and because of the trusted position that they have with Clients, they will undoubtedly be able to offer you market insight, practice-specific guidance as well as trends and activity they are experiencing in the recruitment cycle. Good agencies will have an in-depth knowledge of firms within your sector too – from Magic- and Silver-Circle Firms in the City to Boutique and High Street practices in more rural areas, a Consultant will be able to offer you impartial and professional guidance on the market as part of a truly consultative relationship that ensure you are fully armed and aware of your options.

Time better invested

We know from talking to our legal candidates that the Legal Sector is still somewhat notorious for long hours and overtime, and from research we are conducting currently, homeworking models have further compounded this issue as the office-commute is also diluted and the lines between family and work life are increasingly blurred.

Therefore, finding time to invest in job hunting is a big ask, even with the world of technology, multiple job boards and social media channels at your fingertips. There is no doubt that a good Recruitment Consultant will want to take time to understand your CV and experience inside out; your skills, your drivers for wanting to leave your current role, and ultimately your aspirations and goals – but this should be an investment that will pay dividends in better representing you in the market. Agencies that keep you updated on progress, whatever the outcome, are worth their weight in gold and should allow you to have confidence that they will search the market for roles that are a best fit on all fronts- freeing up time for you to focus on preparing for interviews and the sharper end of the process that will hopefully lead to an offer.

Access to the inside track

As the job market picks up, the volume in the digital world of job ads is cranked up – and can often be overwhelming, repetitive and vague. You may find as a candidate that you see the same role advertised in numerous places, or that the job description is so ambiguous you are left unsure if it’s a good fit. A Recruitment Consultant will not only help to cut through the noise but will also be able to furnish you with the finer detail of roles advertised far beyond a job spec. Culture, values, and ‘fit’ are hard to articulate in written ads, but Recruitment Consultants have often long-established relationships with Clients and can offer you the inside track on them as a potential employer.

In addition, many Recruitment Agencies will often have roles on exclusively – they have been entrusted to fill those positions by Clients who recognise their expertise in the market – and in turn, as a job seeker utilising the services of the Agency, you will have access to roles often before they hit joe public; giving you a head start on your own competition in the candidate pool.

Practical support with the basics – refined by experts.

Consultants know a good CV when they see one – and they see a lot. Even those working in professional services often benefit from practical tips on CV improvements and enhancements, particularly when making them bespoke to the role you are applying for. Take on board any guidance around interview preparation for particular clients to give you a fighting chance, as well as practical advice around the much-accelerated virtual hiring experiences being adopted by Recruitment Agencies and Law Firms alike in recent months.

The human touch

A professional Recruitment Agency should, in this day in age, have a world-class ‘tech stack’ that tangibly benefits their Clients and Candidates. Whether that is through systems that produces better matches between roles and candidate profiles or allows candidates to bring their professional profile to life – technology undoubtedly can aid the recruitment cycle and chance of success.

That being said, overwhelmingly where Recruitment Consultants excel is the personal touch that you get from speaking candidly, confidentially and openly with another person. Moving jobs can be draining, and whilst they may have their part to play, automatic job alerts and the like, pinging into your inbox just won’t offer the emotional support and empathy that you get from Consultants who are fully emersed and experienced in the recruitment cycle and all its nuances.

Salesperson, Negotiator, Arbitrator.

Recruitment Consultants are unashamedly sales-trained and commercially minded, and when you take those skills and couple them with a deep-rooted understanding of their clients, the result is professional representation from someone who knows how to sell ‘you’ – your experience, skill set, competencies and values – and leverage those elements with the non-negotiables of the client.

Moreover, once an offer is on the table, your Consultant will act as negotiator (sometimes arbitrator) with the Client in order to not only cover off some of the basics like remuneration and package, but set expectations around notice periods, start dates and the finer details of your contract. All without you having to have any forced or awkward conversations at the early stage in your relationship.

Service-led support throughout relationship

Support for legal professionals does not end once an offer has been accepted either. Many agencies will proactively offer guidance if required around resignation, how to combat counteroffers, and keep lines of communication open between all parties as you work your notice or are put on garden leave.

Agencies that offer real added-value to both Clients and Candidates will also build on the relationship you have built as you start your new role, and beyond – again, offering impartial guidance on passing probation, wider networking and professional development opportunities.

Whilst the world is still arguably in a state of flux in many ways across the economical spectrum, we are seeing real confidence once again in the UK Legal Sector with firms that are committed to their growth strategies and bringing in talent that supports their vision. As demand outstrips supply in several practice areas including Conveyancing, Family and Private Client, legal professionals who are now thinking beyond notice periods will find that now is a good time to strike and take action.

If you would like to speak to us confidentially about market conditions, opportunities in your practice area or geographical region, or if you are actively looking for a role and would like us to help give you that competitive edge, we would love to speak to you. Contact us or call the office on 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can help your career aspirations.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121.

If you would like to access our free guides, view them all here.

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6 Reasons Why Working with a Dedicated Legal Recruiter Will Help You Achieve Your Career Goals

  • December 22, 2020

The new year is a time to think about your career goals; where you are versus where you want to be.

For the most part, 2020 was a year where many things were put ‘on hold’. As the world battled the pandemic, thousands of legal professionals shelved their plans for a career move.

What is different about 2021?

For a start, the pandemic has changed significant parts of the recruitment market, and this shift means that now is the ideal time to consider your career move.

Yes, you could go it alone though working with an experienced legal recruitment company is a better choice; let me explain why.

1. We Understand the 2021 Legal Jobs Market

If finding a new legal role has been on your radar, but you have been putting it off – the jobs market will be completely different from the last time you looked, due to the pandemic.

We have been recruiting throughout the Covid crisis, and we have expert knowledge as to what has already happened, and what this means for future opportunities. We can advise you on legal career options that you may have otherwise been unaware of if you were job searching on your own.

2. Helping You Discover What You Want from Your Career

The role of a recruiter is often misrepresented as someone who finds positions that the candidate is interested in; in reality, we do so much more.

Clayton Legal are legal career experts, and we can help you find what it is you are looking for from the next stage of your career, even if you aren’t sure what that is yourself. Our goal is to help you find a role that fulfils you and helps you get closer to your ultimate career goal – and this is something we offer with our free careers advice service. Get in touch with us here to find out more.

3. Updating Your CV for a Post-Covid World

Updating your CV is the next step to finding a new legal role in our post-Covid world, and where a dedicated recruiter is invaluable right now.

We have worked with legal employers throughout the pandemic, so we know the specific skills and attributes they are looking for NOW in their new hires.

We can support you to tailor your CV to highlight the skills employers are looking for now, such as:

  • Legal technology skills,
  • demonstrating your emotional intelligence to be able to work effectively as part of a team from home,
  • having foresight about specific legal challenges in your specialism.

These are all skills which are on the top of employers’ ‘must-have’ list for candidates right now.

4. Reducing Stress

Changing jobs can be one of the most stressful life events you will go through.

The stress of searching for a new role can often lead candidates to give up on their search and stay put in a position where they aren’t being fulfilled. And with the added pressure that 2020 brought, we are finding that many candidates are choosing to stay put rather than attempt to find a new role.

We understand that things have been tough recently – this is even more of a reason to work with a dedicated legal recruiter; we will enhance your career prospects in a stress-free way.

5. A Passive Search for the Future

Even if you aren’t looking for a new role to start immediately, it is best to get in contact with a legal recruiter for your future plans.

The legal sector has changed so much in the past year, with specific areas such as family law, property and litigation needing more talent than ever to keep up with demand.

When you reach out to a legal recruiter, they can start searching right away, or you can ask them to keep you in mind for any upcoming vacancies a little further down the line – it’s entirely up to you.

5. Moral Support Throughout Your Job Search

Finally, it is worth noting that if you are looking for a job right now and are finding it particularly tough, a recruiter can be a great source of moral support for you.

As I mentioned earlier, a recruiter is more than just someone who searches for job opportunities for you – we can offer real support for when you need it most.

If your legal job search isn’t returning the results you hoped for; if you would like access to more opportunities, interview guidance and legal careers advice and support – we can help.

Next Steps?

Is it time you put into action your plan to find a new role that was shelved due to Covid?

Get in touch with our team of career experts on 01772 259 121 to find out how we can help you in your legal job search today.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our guide here.

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Your Legal Career in 2021 – How to Start Planning for Success Now

  • December 11, 2020

The end of one year and the start of another is typically when our thoughts start to turn reflective about our work and home life.

Questions to ask yourself to further in your legal career:

  • Are you where you want to be?
  • Did the challenges of this year highlight that you’re not entirely happy in your current role?
  • Are you where you want to be in your legal career?
  • Did you level-up this year and want to flex your new skills in a role with more responsibilities and a higher salary?
  • Have you been toying with the idea of a change but have been dissuaded thinking that now isn’t the ‘right time’?

All of these thoughts will be going around in the minds of many legal employees. Even more so this year, after such significant shifts have happened in both our work and personal lives.

Today we look at how legal candidates can start planning now to take advantage of legal career opportunities in 2021.

What Do You Want from Your Legal Career?

This year has provided many of us with additional time to reflect that we didn’t know we needed.

The extreme circumstances of lockdown have been the catalyst for some significant mindset shifts.

Some legal employees found that during their firm’s time of crisis that they were truly working within a team and for an organisation that they were happy with – for others, it provided the clarity to realise that they were not.

In some cases, there might have been certain career opportunities that you were promised which have not come to fruition, and this year might have shone a light on your employer’s dedication to your training development.

The rise of remote work this year has highlighted the importance of flexibility for both legal employers and their employees.

Even next year, when the vaccine means that people can safely return to offices, how many will want to on a full-time basis?

Many legal employees have seen the value of not just remote work, but a flexible approach to working, and will be looking for this from their employer.

I spoke to a candidate recently who was looking for a new role due to their employer’s inability to be flexible with remote work even though it was a success during the lockdown, and I’m sure there are many other candidates in a similar position.

Another area where candidates are placing their focus on is their training and development in a post-pandemic world.

Training and Development

Of course, this year has not been easy for many firms, but employees must feel assured that their employer is invested in their development.

Some law firms were quick to adapt digitally and offer staff all of the help and support they needed to work from home successfully. But other legal professionals have found that they were not supported in a way that is conducive with career progression.

Even despite the pandemic, there are legal firms who have continued to train and develop their teams this year.

Are you regularly being supported and offered training and development in your current legal role, or has it been put on hold because of the pandemic?

If you feel that your employer is not providing you with substantial development opportunities, this is a sign to look for a role with a company that will.

So, where are the challenges and the opportunities within the legal sector for 2021?

Redundancies and Skills Shortages

Like all industries, the legal sector has had areas which have suffered due to the pandemic and others which have thrived.

Personal Injury law is one area where we have seen redundancies, whereas property law, Conveyancing and Family Law has been in high demand.

There are currently skills shortages across Conveyancing and Property Law, so consider this if you are considering a 2021 career move, but talk to your legal recruiter about where the opportunities are in your area.

If you are going to be applying for new legal jobs in 2021, now is the time to revisit your CV.

Getting Your Legal CV Ready

January is historically a buoyant time for the jobs market, and 2021 is set to be no different.

When looking for a new role, you will want to appear to prospective employers as the legal candidate to invite to an interview – and you can do this with some tweaks to your CV.

Think about what you can offer potential employers based on the challenges you have faced and the growth you have achieved this year.

Employers are looking for emotionally intelligent employees with a growth mindset who can flex. Demonstrate how you have overcome challenges this year in regards to remote working, helping your employer as well as your colleagues through the challenges of Covid.

Digital skills and the willingness to learn are going to be essential in 2021 too.

For example, “In my role this year, I used my previous cloud computing knowledge to help our firm make the switch from office-based to home working. I stepped up and offered to be the facilitator and help my colleagues remotely with WFH challenges such as digital file-sharing and taking digital payments”.

If you need assistance tailoring your legal CV, we can help. Contact us here or call our team of legal career experts on 01772 259 121 to find out more.

Next Steps?

Where do you want to be at the end of 2021 in your legal career?

Some great and underutilised and underdeveloped legal candidates are staying put because of perceived risk, but now is the time to think about what you want.

We can help you with career planning, CV writing, your legal job search and setting up interviews.

Get in touch with us by calling 01772 259 121 or contact us here to discuss your legal career options for the new year.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Your Legal Career in a Post-Pandemic World – Where Opportunities Are Out There

  • July 30, 2020

There’s no escaping the fact that we are living in a post-pandemic world, and the impact this could have on your legal career aspirations.

While some parts of life are slowly returning to normal, other areas have changed forever.

The government have borrowed an unprecedented £400bn to tackle the predicted recession, as some sectors struggle to retain jobs.

But in the legal sector, the picture is different.

With the industry faring well, many legal jobs are secure, as many roles in this sector exist to offset the challenges brought about by periods of economic downturn. After the fallout of a recession, businesses need lawyers with the right skills to help them pick up the pieces.

As more and more data is coming out of our sector on where the opportunities are arising, I thought I would update the blog with the latest information on where the jobs will be as we move forward.

First, let’s take a look at where we were in terms of jobs in the legal sector pre-Covid.

The UK’s Legal Skills Shortage

I have written about the skills shortage on this blog before, but it is still a pertinent problem in the UK legal sector. The skills gap has increased since I last wrote about this topic a couple of years ago.

There will be a predicted four per cent decline in lawyers in the UK by 2027 as AI threatens roles. The number of entrants into the profession is failing to keep up with demand, according to a report published last year.

So, considering this, what does the skills shortage mean for you as a legal candidate? It means that now is the time to take advantage of the many career prospects in the sector. Let’s take a closer look at where these prospects lie.

How Has the Pandemic Affected Jobs and the Economy?

Of course, the financial implications of Covid-19 are yet unknown, being unlike anything we have seen before, but economists have not been able to ignore echoes of the 2008 recession.

The fact remains that this recession is different.

Legislation brought in by the government to stop the spread of coronavirus forced the fiscal cogs to stop turning; they didn’t grind to halt of their own accord due to a weak economic environment.

Jobs in the legal sector have not been as severely affected as in other industries; there has been displacement rather than blanket reduction. Firms with a range of different specialisms are looking to refocus and reorder their teams, with some specialisms shrinking, and others increasing to meet market demand.

So where are we seeing the opportunities arising?

Post-Pandemic Litigation

The biggest risk factor for businesses now in the aftermath of Covid-19 is the increased numbers of companies unable or unwilling to fulfil contracts. This has created an increased need for lawyers with the right skills and experience in dispute and litigation; we already see increased opportunities in the rise in these types of vacancies.

Pre-Covid, legal contracts were protected by force majeure clauses, which protected either parties’ obligations and liability in the event of unusual interruptions. If these clauses are not in place, it can be the case that legal contracts are not fulfilled – increasing the demand for both litigation and dispute lawyers.

Supply chain is one area that has been particularly affected by the exceptional circumstances brought about by Covid-19. In March, a study by the Institute For Supply Chain Management found that nearly 75 per cent of all companies surveyed reported supply chain disruptions in one form or another. It will perhaps be many months before the full extent of the failure of contracts is unearthed, and therefore plenty of opportunities for dispute and litigation lawyers to be employed in resolving these issues.

In April, there was a 40% drop in legal vacancies on the yearly average. However, the drop in litigation and dispute resolution was only 32%, showing that demand for these skills remains higher than in other areas of law.

Looking Forward: Post-Pandemic and Brexit Implications

As the UK legal sector is proving to be in a strong position for growth and job opportunities as we move forwards, not even Brexit uncertainty which was affecting plenty of other industries seems to be able to halt the growth.

Brexit fell off the radar in recent months as the pandemic dominated the headlines. Still, as the December deadline approaches, businesses are now focusing on how the UK’s departure from the EU will impact them.

But confidence in the UK legal sector has remained high throughout, with many firms pre-Covid looking to replace overseas leavers and strengthen their teams with the best talent that will take them past the Brexit deadline.

Job Opportunities for Legal Employees

Just because 2020 was put on hold by the pandemic, this does not mean that legal career opportunities have been similarly affected.

Commercial and civil litigation have been almost unaffected by the pandemic, as well as dispute resolution, all of which have experienced virtually no change in opportunities. The main area which we have seen a negative impact is of course, in property law, but a mini-boom in house prices could be the first indication that vacancies in these areas will shortly be back to the yearly average.

At Clayton Legal, we have a wide range of opportunities for legal employees; we can start working with you on your next career move today.

Click here to view our current vacancies or get in touch with us here to have a discussion about the next steps in your legal career with one of our career experts.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help.  Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

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