Current Legal Recruitment Climate in England – July 2008

We are currently in the throws of the Credit Crunch and Solicitors practices are having to adapt their business plans in the light of the current economic climate.

The area that has been hit hardest has been Property, and there have been extensive redundancies made, especially in the Residential property sector. In Commercial Property the market is flat especially in Sales and Acquisitions, Property Finance and Property Development. Landlord and Tenant work is holding out and there are still some legal vacancies in this sector.

Areas of growth judging by legal recruitment demand are for Solicitors with Insolvency and Contentious Property/Construction litigation experience. This is a natural result of the economic client and legal practices are being proactive in respond to demand for services in these area. legal recruitment agencies have seen the number of legal jobs in these areas rise dramatically in recent months. The demand has generally been for those Solicitors who have specialized in these areas in previous legal jobs, and would be able to hit the ground running on a general Insolvency caseload. However, there is a higher demand for those Solicitors with Commercial Insolvency/Corporate Recovery experience rather than Personal Insolvency.

Legal recruitment agencies are also reporting that they have a number of legal jobs available for contentious Construction Solicitors. Those candidates with arbitration experience are especially sought after at present. The positions tend to be in the London practices and the larger regional firms.

In recent years practices have tended to be short of candidates around the 2-5years PQE point, this has changed slightly and there is a good number of legal vacancies for Newly Qualified Solicitors in addition to experienced candidates with followings.

Employment law is another area in which the number of legal jobs available seems to be outstripping supply of experienced candidates. As commercial firms are making redundancies, and new employment legislation is making its way to the statute books almost daily, demand for Employment legal services is growing.

The Banking and Corporate market has slowed but not to the extent that property has. Firms are not making larger scale redundancies as yet but there is no particular demand for extra legal staff in these departments.

Personal Injury has remained steady and this sector has in particular taken advantage of the number of law and LPC graduates who cannot find training contracts, and taken them on as case handlers for the small and fast track work. Indeed, the growth of the career paralegal that is so prevalent in US legal firms will continue to develop within the United Kingdom. Areas such as Wills and Probate, Family and Crime are also utilizing Paralegals more.

Overall, legal practices have shown themselves quick to adapt to new circumstances and as certain avenues of work close, new opportunities present themselves. While new legal jobs and the need for legal recruitment as a whole has dropped, there is still good demand in certain areas and quality candidates will always find themselves a legal job.

Some Information Adaptation Tips For Info Marketers

Borrow, rework. Borrow, rework. Borrow, rework.

This methodology of a creative-based work life is familiar to so many people that it’s astonishing. Rock and roll guitar players adapting old blues songs for their repertoire; writers examining the paragraphs of everything from pulp fiction to Greek tragedy; the painter who stays in the gallery ’til close with a magnifying glass…

The list goes on and on.

As an info marketer, you are part of this. You are taking information from other sources, absorbing it like a sponge, and putting it back into the public forum with your own personal brand.

A lot of people have asked about this particular step — where you take a source and adapt it as your own. They have the content creation and writing skills down pat, but they are unsure about how to get over that hump of adapting other sources as your own.

I had the benefit — or misfortune, depending on who you ask — of being a university student. You had to hand in a well- researched essay about every two weeks, and adapting other reference sources became almost second nature. Now this might not be the case for you, but don’t worry. The tricks to adapting outside sources for your information marketing business are easy. You just have to do some work and be wary of certain laws in the process.

Whether you’re adapting digital files, books, or any outside source for your information marketing business, be sure to do the following:

— Just use what you need: Remember that you are providing information. “Just the facts and only the facts…” or whatever expression the police use. When you are doing your research, omit the sections that are irrelevant to the content you are creating. That’s it. Don’t include extra information that isn’t relevant to the information itself. This will save time and effort.

— Never Plagiarize: I once did an article on plagiarism — stealing content that isn’t yours and claiming it as your own. Not only is this not well regarded by any of your info peers, but you can also get sued. Even in university, we risked complete expulsion if we got caught plagiarizing and one of my fellow students actually had to defend a thesis once over some content that was alleged not to be his own. In the end, it’s always the same: you cannot claim an idea to be yours even if you paraphrase. Never fall off this path no matter what temptations exist. Believe me, if you don’t, the problems that arise will not have been worth it.

— Citations and References: You might be taking info from a close colleague or business associate. Or you are an info marketer who exchanges content with another marketer; e.g. you use his stuff on your web site and he does the same with you, and both of you have links to one another’s site. Or you are adapting content from another foreign source. Either way, don’t forget to include citations. In high school essays, we used endnotes or footnotes listing the reference source. Remember, you are taking someone else’s work and using it as your own. For legal reasons, you need to show the source. As a bit of advice, I would suggest contacting the source. You might work out a content-exchange deal or partnership with little to no cost involved.

— Be mindful of trademarks: Think you can just copy and paste stuff off a blog onto your own web site? Well, probably not. That stuff has probably been trademarked by its creator. If it has their name on it or a reference to their info marketing business or even if it hasn’t, it’s best to back off. That said, once you are done all of your content create, trademark your stuff as well. You’ve been good enough not to steal others’ work, so don’t let someone else do the same to you.

Adapting, researching, and utilizing pre-existing knowledge is a tough job. But, in info marketing, it’s almost a necessity. As long as you play things straight and professionally, you can use content and knowledge that is already out there as the templates to help you see your info marketing business take off!

The Legal Environments

Firms, as societal entities, operate in particular economic, political, and legal environments. The legal environment is a result of legislative intervention by the government (state) and the positive practices that are recognized and sanctioned by the positive law. Historically, the legal environment has usually been nationally defined, although scholars have tried to group legal systems into various groups, based on their similarities and dissimilarities.

A student of this topic would usually argue that there are two basic groups of legal systems, which traditionally have been opposed: the Anglo-Saxon (Anglo-American) model and the continental European law. However, although both main systems of law may have their distinctive features listed, in fact there are far too many convergences in recent times. In the past the common law (Anglo-Saxon) model would be predominantly based on the precedents, and the continental European law would be primarily based on the codifications.

But, there is ever-increasing legislative activity in the Anglo-Saxon countries, with a number of codifications taking place as judiciary may uphold the consistency of court practice. In either system, a judge may take a stance to create a precedent, but the sources of precedent would differ significantly. Growing empirical literature has attempted to prove the overall superiority of the Anglo-Saxon model. Although it is evident that economies of Anglo-Saxon countries may be doing comparatively better than the others in the long run, it is not empirically corroborated that the growth sustained over a period of time may be directly attributed to the features of the legal system (legal environment).

Legal systems, although they may be classified into larger groups, are basically heavily influenced by national colors and experiences of legal development, especially in revolutionary environments (when there is abrupt change in the development). Scholars studying legal environments would focus more, nowadays, on judiciary independence from the state and the politicians. It is believed that if the judiciary protects consistently property rights, even from the state, the results of development will be better, and in the case-law system, judges historically have been more prone to uphold the sanctity of private property rights.

Ex post judging is far better in responding to local information, rather than the application of abstract law, regulating the principles. However, increasingly the common law countries are resorting to promulgating laws and codices, in order to better capture different areas of law. In the United States, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is probably the best example. The growth in legislative activity may also be seen as a sign of upcoming struggle between judiciary and legislative power for predominant societal influence. Most recently the discussion on “political delegation” would suggest that it is necessary to subsume, at least formally, all institutions of the state to the highest democratically elected body in the country (assembly, parliament, etc.), although that body is controlled exclusively by the politicians.

The literature has also defined a common law system as one in which judges exercise discretion to decide cases in independent and/or adaptive lawmaking ways, while in continental European countries the state would control judicial outcomes and the content of law as well. The basic premise of change between the two wider legal groups has been the perception as to what extent the judicial practice may influence the future legal decision taken by the court. It is a fact that in Anglo-Saxon countries precedents are a source of law and they have to be regarded in the future when the act is required in a similar situation. However, although in the continental European legal system judiciary practice is not a formal source of law, judges take into consideration the prior practice in order to ensure consistency in acting in the court and the country.

In comparative law, the literature is quite often focused on a set of five parameters, like (1) judicial incentives; (2) exogenous legal human capital; (3) the processing of litigant information into judicial error-reducing legal human capital; (4) the cost of producing evidence and legal arguments; and (5) the penalties (damages) levied in adjudication. Judicial incentives may be influenced by the way their independence is defined. Often in the analysis judicial independence features highly, especially as it is believed to be an important feature of the Anglo-Saxon model, which contributed to its better results. In the U.S. model, over 80 percent of serving judges are subject to some kind of election, reelection, or recall voting.

But even in the United States the upper echelons of judiciary are dependent on politicians who decide on their promotion to the highest offices. Similarly, in the continental European countries, the government may have a strong say in appointment of judges, especially in the case of higher courts. However, the very path of professional progression differs between European (especially French) and U.S. judges. In Europe, judges are often career civil servants, who have opted for the judiciary profession almost immediately upon graduation from the university; in the United States, judges are appointed from among practicing lawyers who have had more than 10 years of professional experience.

Comparative analysis of independence has shown more than a puzzle-judges should be independent, but the question is from whom? And, if one is independent, does it mean that he or she is also unbiased (objective)? Often it is assumed that judges, if not appointed by the government directly, will be critical of the government and look at the breaking of law made by the government in an unbiased manner. However, empirical research does not corroborate this claim. Some judges are more independent and unbiased in the way they operate than others, but it cannot be generalized as to what contributes to that. Another important feature is the relationship between precedents and statutes.

Anglo-Saxon law is believed to be based on a set of more or less harmonious precedents (stare decisis), while the continental European legal practices are based on the interpretation of law and the application of the abstract legal (statutory) rule to a concrete situation. However, even in the latter case there is a high level of consistency in judiciary practices, as the higher courts have the right of cassation and therefore for the performance of judges it is important that their decisions not be annulled and/or modified by the higher court. Therefore, even in the continental European legal systems, court practices are consistent, that is, jurisprudence constante.

At the far end, the issue is primarily behavioral-whether the judges will be expansive or rather conservative (narrow) in their apprehension of laws. Some recent empirical research has clearly shown consistency of judicial behavior across various systems. However, de jure legal practice is not a formal source of law in continental European legal systems, but, as already pointed out, will be seriously considered in the process of application of law. In both systems the vast majority of judges will opt not to rock the boat.