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Should you be working with a legal recruitment specialist?

You will see from my LinkedIn profile that I have been working in recruitment for a few (14!) years. My experience has predominantly been specialising in recruiting for office support staff with some of my earlier specialisms being in the sales and property recruitment markets. (And I like to think I’m quite good at it!) When I was offered the opportunity to work at Gibson Hollyhomes supporting their already well established legal desk if I’m honest, I was under the impression that anyone with any form of legal secretarial experience could work for any firm, within any area of law. I didn’t know the difference between claimant and defendant. LPC vs LLM. What an SDLT was. What contentious and non-contentious law meant. And so on….

Over a year later, and I’m still learning (I’ve just had to google what CPSEs stands for – Commercial Property Standard Enquiries in case you’re interested!) BUT the knowledge I’ve gained has truly opened my eyes to the complexities of the legal sector. I’ve learnt terminology, market trends, what areas of law transfer well into others and I sound much more credible when talking to both candidates and clients about what they’re looking for as I hold a genuine understanding of the wider market. Who knew there was so much to learn? When recruiting for a Legal Secretary vacancy in one of my previous roles it was probably more to do with luck and the candidate interviewing brilliantly than my actual expertise in helping them get the job. Did they realise how inept I was about what they do for a living?

Law, very much like recruitment, is an ever changing industry. Things change constantly, new reforms come in to place and specific areas become more sought after than others such as Corporate and Real Estate which tend to drive salary bandings up. I am now able to confidently provide consultative advice to my clients and candidates to inform them how market trends may impact upon their employees, recruitment process or job search.

As my knowledge has increased, my passion for law has been sparked– why did I not do this at school?! Because I didn’t have any exposure to it so I didn’t understand it.

Now, I attend meetings with Partners and Heads of Departments to discuss their requirements and educate them on the current nature of the legal recruitment market – are they paying the right salary? What experience could they consider in a candidate led market? Are they moving quickly enough or are they losing the people they want to their competitors?

I’m constantly meeting with a diverse range of legal candidates from Administrators up to Legal Executives and I take the time to understand their experience, skills, personalities and drive which allows me to match them effectively to clients. I especially enjoy helping the Law graduates I meet with as, depending on the company they join, I can support them to find an opportunity which could kick start or break their career. If I didn’t have the legal knowledge, which I continue to gain, why should they trust me to find them a suitable role?

SO should you be working with a legal recruitment specialist? In the opinion of someone who has previously recruited every now and then for a legal role (with a fingers crossed mentality when a CV gets submitted) to now being a legal specialist and able to pick up the phone and have a clear understanding of what the legal client and legal candidate do – YES!

I’m interested to hear people’s thoughts. Do you think it is important that a recruiter understands the market they are recruiting for?