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Thornton Legal news, opinion and insights on legal and recruitment matters.

Whether it’s a one-off event or an ongoing relationship, if you are paying for sponsorship make sure that you are getting the most from it.

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of repeating the same old sponsorships year in year out, which effectively become donation requests. What are you really getting in exchange for your hard-earned fees? For me the promise of a logo on a programme or brochure doesn’t really cut it.

A simple way to maximise your return if you are sponsoring an event, is to think about how you are benefitting pre-event, at the event and post-event. This should cover the full range of marketing channels that the company/team/group have access to.

For example, can you include?

  • Press release before and after the event (with photos)
  • Social media mentions for a given period that extend beyond the event
  • Access to the database of people/businesses that attend – whether postal or email, this could provide the best immediate return
  • Exclusive tickets to meet the cast/team/manager/sportsperson that can be used for corporate entertainment
  • Speaking opportunities at the event or at least mentions on the day
  • Banners and branding – think creatively about how and where your name appears
  • Mentions in the post event write up

Make sure you are thinking both online and offline when it comes to sponsorship. If the organiser has a significant social media following, then focus on this and agree a schedule of messages. If they employ or use a large number of people (in a theatre or sports team for example) can you offer an immediate incentive for them to use your services?

Some organisations will present you with a very formal list of benefits, yet many come simply asking if you will sponsor them. This is your chance to shape the list of benefits. Ask them about the above options and you might be surprised how much more you can get from the relationship. Not only that, but you will help them improve their packages for the future.

When it comes to deciding what to sponsor there’s plenty to consider, but number one is your target market. If you’re looking to raise your profile with potential clients, then you should be sponsoring something that they will see…. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s often the case that Partners choose to sponsor the things they like. I’m not going to run the risk of gross generalisations here but think about the demographics of your clients. If they are more likely to enjoy football, darts and boxing then why would you sponsor rugby and cricket and vice versa!

Ready to review your marketing plans? Contact Legal Marketing Works on 01253 969166 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

 

Do you set goals but don’t allocate the time to achieve them?

Well, you need to look no further – here are the five steps I use with all my clients for achieving goals.

  1. MAKE THE GOAL – SMT NOT SMART

Something I notice when goals are set is that they are not SMART. Well here is something controversial, they don’t need to be SMART but simply SMT.

SMT means:

SPECIFIC (S) – The goal is clearly defined and connected to the achievement of a bigger goal or vision, whether that be business or personal.

MEASURABLE (M) – the goal can be quantified, understanding where you are starting from and what the end point looks like – usually associated with a unit of measurement (months, years, currency).

TIME BOUND (T) – The goal has a time frame or limit for when the goal needs to be achieved- this must be part of this process. Otherwise, the goal is merely a thought, rather than clearly defined.

In summary – understand the goal that needs to be achieved (S), what unit of measurement is associated to the goal to measure success (M) and the date that the goal must be completed by (T).

  1. PUT EMOTION INTO THE GOAL ITSELF

In my experience putting emotion into understanding why you want to achieve the goal makes it far more important to you. It will encourage a greater desire to TAKE ACTION! Dig deep to understand how you will feel when you achieve it.

  1. BREAK THE GOAL DOWN

Goals are great, but I regularly see them set with no understanding of how they will be achieved through activity. An example being – I need ten new clients this month but don’t know how to accomplish this, sometimes this can be down to a lack of knowledge. Look at what excuses you might be making!

Ok, so go ahead and develop your SMT goals and consider what the activity looks like to achieve the goal. Break the goal down into parts – I must do x, y, z or hire this person, delegate that task to achieve the goal. 

  1. NOW GET THE GOAL IN TO YOUR F**KING DIARY

Now it is clear what needs to be done to achieve the goal, we MUST diarise that s**t!

There is absolutely no point creating the goal and working out what needs to be done to achieve it, if we don’t put the tasks or the milestones to achieve the goals, into our diary. Whether it be a google calendar, diary spreadsheet or paper diary, there is no excuse, just get it in your diary.

Some of my clients do a one-page plan for the quarter, which allows them to visually see the goal broken down into its constituent parts. But they still must add the tasks in to their diaries as well, so they allocate the time to focus on them.

  1. GET TO WORK

What are you still reading this for? Go get to work and start doing steps 1-4. Oh, and don’t forget to regularly review your progress towards them too.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-kay-business-growth/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lukekaybb

Website: https://actioncoach.co.uk/coaches/luke-kay/ 


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

 

Nick and I have done a few events with the Merseyside Junior Lawyers over the years and we really enjoy seeing old and new faces. We were pleased to be asked to put on an NQ talk in April, in advance of us headline sponsoring the MJLD ball this month.

Thornton Legal is a young and growing business and we’re keen to support lawyers through their careers, from trainee through to Partnership. Using our legal recruitment experience to give advice to paralegals, legal assistants and trainees is something we are more than happy to do. To stick or twist can be confusing to many trainees and is often fraught with an element of anxiety, particularly given that information isn’t easily accessible outside of the firm they trained with.

Our view is that the outlook is looking bright for September NQs with firms completing their internal processes as quickly as possible to secure who they want, and demand for good quality NQs is greater than ever, particularly in commercial practice areas, with real estate and corporate standing out. NQ salaries in the North West range from £42,000 at national firms down to £23,000 to those on the high street.

We covered the benefits of using a recruiter as an NQ and there a few, from insider knowledge of where the external opportunities are likely to be through to assistance with CV preparation, interview advice and general moral support through what can be a challenging time.

Alongside the talk, we gave out some take away bits and pieces including a few snippets of advice from solicitors who were asked:

“With the benefit of hindsight, what piece of advice would you give a trainee solicitor in April seeking an NQ position on qualification in September?”

The response was excellent, and we are thankful to the 30 or so solicitors who took the time to respond.

Next up….the MJLD ball!

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

April was a busy month for Thornton Legal!

Joe and I feel as though we have spent as much time out of the office as in it.

Developing new business is as important as anything else in recruitment and a significant chunk of the last month was spent meeting new clients and forging relationships which we hope will propel the company forward over the rest of 2018 and beyond.

We were also delighted to be asked by the Merseyside Junior Lawyers Division to give a talk to trainee solicitors on the Newly Qualified Jobs Market at Hus in Liverpool.

The event itself was well attended and hopefully well received. We are genuinely optimistic about the NQ market for September 2018 with multiple opportunities available in a number of different sectors from Real Estate to Employment to Family. It’s a good time to be a newly qualified solicitor.

If you would like us to email the take away PDF to you that accompanied the talk then please just ask.

Our trainee recruitment consultant, Alex, who started with us 6 weeks ago made his first placement. He didn’t stop there and has now made 4! Alex covers the non-qualified, paralegal market across the North West. He has even made a placement with a firm who Joe and I had never managed to do any work with before. Its been a stellar start and he is making great strides!

In terms of other notable placements, Joe managed to recruit a senior associate level corporate solicitor for a top tier Manchester firm. Another bit of business with a firm with whom we had no relationship previously.         

It’s also been a month where we have seen a spate of new instructions from some of our existing client firms. We have seen an increased number of family law and commercial litigation vacancies and a steady stream of NQ vacancies which has tied in nicely with our NQ talk.

On a personal note I am trying to get as much done as I possibly can ahead of my wife giving birth over the next couple of weeks. I suspect I may have my hands full in next to no time and will hand over the May review to Joe.

Just the small matter of GDPR Compliance and the Merseyside Junior Lawyer Division Annual Ball to contend with first!

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

It is understood that a competitive benefits package is crucial for attracting and retaining talented employees. Research by Investors in People found that 44% of respondents cited a good benefits package as an important factor when searching for a new job. Along with research by Glassdoor finding that around 79% of respondents would prefer new or additional benefits instead of a pay rise. Employees certainly value a good benefits package alongside salary in their job role.

Recently we conducted a survey about ‘’law firm employee benefits’’ where we wanted to see how employees feel about their current benefits. We explored what they most value, what extra benefits they want and if they are satisfied.

What benefits do employees value?

Our research found that 33% of respondents believe annual leave is the most important benefit, followed by 24% valuing a bonus structure as employee recognition.

What extra benefits do employees want?

Following on from ‘what benefits do employees value’ the above question found that 24% of respondents wanted extra annual leave and 19% wanted better bonus schemes. Closely followed by respondents wanting ‘Health Insurance’ as an extra benefit.

One question in the survey asked about employee’s current benefits package. One answer being their holiday allowance:

  • 50% of respondents already had 23-25 days annual leave (excluding bank holidays)
  • 33% had 20-22 days annual leave (excluding bank holidays)
  • 14% had 26-30 days annual leave (excluding bank holidays)
  • And only 1 respondent had 30+ days annual leave (excluding bank holidays)

Based on the response to most important/extra benefits wanted, maybe it is time to up the annual leave allowance?

The responses came as a surprise because, when creating the survey, I assumed flexible working would come out on top because of the media profile of flexible working in the work place.

(Just 15% valued flexible working as their most important benefit).

How satisfied are you with your current benefits package?

The survey also explored employee satisfaction where we found only 15% were ‘very satisfied’ with their current benefits package and 51% stating that their package ‘could be better’.

Company benefits

Positively, 69% fully utilise their company benefits and 43% of respondents stated that their companies benefit package was clearly explained to them when they started.

 

 We hope you found the information useful and thank you to those who took their time to participant in the survey.


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career. 

This week Thornton Legal team up with Luke from ActionCOACH again. Luke provides his 5 top tips to keep on track and to avoid making excuses in business.

Are you making excuses in business? At the beginning of each year you probably felt enthusiastic for the year ahead. You [hopefully] set some goals for your business, communicated these with your team, and got ready to start actioning those tasks to reach your goals.

However, the momentum can begin to dwindle and before you know it you’re back to making the same excuses of “I haven’t got time” and “I haven’t looked at my plan in weeks”.

Here are 5 ways to keep on track and to avoid making excuses in business:

1. Manage and allocate your time

You haven’t gained or lost any time since the year began. You have the same hours in a day now that you had when you were full of enthusiasm for the year ahead, but something has changed. It’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day of running the business, and those tasks to achieve your business goals take a back seat and you begin to feel there’s just not enough hours in the day.

The solution? Manage and allocate your time! It sounds simple yet few of us do this well. Block out 2 hours a week in your calendar every week. Allocate one of those hours to reviewing your goals; where are you with your action points? what needs to be prioritised to achieve those goals? Now, the second hour is your team meeting, communicate with them and make sure you are delegating and managing efficiently.

2. Communicate with your team

There are many benefits to communicating with your team. A team that feel valued and involved in the company will perform better. They have targets and goals to meet, which you set them, and if your lack of communication is the reason they haven’t completed their task, you may find your staff frustrated and feeling undervalued.

As suggested in point 1, allocate an hour a week to a team meeting. This will have two main benefits:

  1. They will feel involved and valued, which gives them motivation and drive.
  2. It keeps you all on track and working towards the same target. Sharing all the information in your head is a step towards success.

3. Set achievable tasks and milestones

We would all love to see a 50% increase in sales and double the profit at the end of 2018, and this isn’t to say that is impossible, but you need to be realistic when setting your goals and planning your tasks. In point 1 we touched on time not being an excuse, but it is a factor and if you set task deadlines unrealistically then you could be setting yourself up to fail or be adding unnecessary stress. It’s good to encourage and push, but don’t break!

Work out you and your team’s time, current workload and strengths. Then set tasks and milestones that are realistic and achievable within those factors. Each completed task is a win and another step closer to achieving your business goals.

4. Celebrate small milestones along the way

Our business goals can require a fair amount of work before we achieve them. Not being able to see the end in sight can cause our energy for a project to subside. By setting milestones along the way we create mini targets that we can celebrate once we’ve achieved them, a celebration as simple as buying your team a round of pizzas for lunch in the office. This little boost will set you up to work towards the next mini target, and that step closer to your final business goal.

Be careful not to make the rewards turn into self-sabotage though, don’t spend the monthly budget on celebrations when there’s still a way to go, for example, if you successfully lose the weight you’ve been trying to shed you don’t eat a whole bag of donuts to reward yourself!

5. Ask for help when needed

Progress isn’t always straight forward, and you are bound to face hurdles along the way. These hurdles can come in many forms; time, money, customers, staffing, you! There’s nothing wrong in asking for help, whether it be to talk ideas over with a team member, delegate some of the workload, get external unbiased help from a business coach, and outsource work where needed.

You may also have to deal with the harsh reality that the hurdle is you! Many business owners can cause a bottleneck within a business as they feel everything must pass by them. It’s great to keep track of things but don’t be afraid to share the load, communicate and keep your business running as a well-oiled machine.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-kay-business-growth/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lukekaybb

Website: https://actioncoach.co.uk/coaches/luke-kay/ 


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

 

This week our blog content is provided by Kirsty Craig, Managing Director of Kirsty Craig Associates. Kirsty is all about working with clients to help them become employers of choice. She is passionate about creating an environment that encourages and empowers excellence at all levels by providing businesses with the ‘best practice’ HR systems and processes in place to recruit, manage and develop employees.


You’ve got a great product.  Your customers love what you do.  Your business is doing really well, and growth and expansion are on the cards.

Awesome.  Well done!

What’s the main thing that makes your product great?  The people who make it. 

What’s the thing that delights and exceeds your (happy) customers’ expectations?  The people that deliver the service.

So, having a great product and great service isn’t all that’s required to strengthen business growth and success.  Nope, it’s about your people.  The power is in, and with, the people.

We are passionate about people - and that includes you - so indulge us a little and think about this:

What would happen if Dave in Development heard on the grapevine that one of your competitors was hiring people at his level, were offering a bit more money and were also offering a great training and employee development scheme.  Dave’s probably thinking of doing the offski is what’s happening.

And what impact would it have if Caroline in Customer Service, who heads up a team who all think she’s the bee's knees, heard through the grapevine…  you get the message.

“We’re not saying that you need to be held to ransom by your staff; no-one is irreplaceable,” says Kirsty.  “But some are invaluable.”

In Kirsty’s opinion, employers – particularly SMEs that have become a bit stuck in their ways – need to do far more when it comes to their employees.  “Especially in terms of upskilling, training and ensuring that the company salary scales and benefits packages are realistic, robust and relevant.”

Focus on retention with the things you can control – like training, wages, benefits package – rather than having to deal with things you can’t control – like Dave doing the offski.  Recruiting people costs money obviously, but the impact of losing a key member of staff on your remaining workforce can cost even more.  “When good people leave, other good people follow,” says Kirsty.

Data, recently released from the Office of National Statistics, shows that wage growth in the UK job market in 2017 was a measly 2.5% over that of the previous year. 

“Our candidates regularly tell us that the thing that puts their backs up the most is when they hand their notice in, are called in for ‘the chat’, and their boss offers them a matching pay rise. And better benefits. And agree – finally – to them working from home a couple of days a month.” It’s too little, too late.

Retention isn’t rocket science, but it is all too easy to get it wrong.  It will also take time, and if you’re time poor, that’s where we can help.  As well as an up-to-date and well-stocked toolkit of HR, recruitment and training solutions, we’ve had over 30 years of experience running our own SME, so our business acumen is pretty stellar, too.

We’d be happy to come and see you and help you make some changes before Dave does the offski and Caroline’s hot on his heels…

Twitter: @KirstyCraigUK

Linkedin: Kirsty Craig

Website: https://www.kirstycraigassociates.co.uk/


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

I write further to the deadline for Gender Pay Gap Reporting expiring last week.  Much has been made in the media of that deadline being the day by which qualifying employers (i.e. those with 250 or more employees) have to submit the percentage difference in pay between their male and female staff.

The initial results?  Nearly 80% of those employers who have responded (some haven’t) have reported higher pay levels to men than women.

So, that means that those employers are discriminating against women, right?  Well, not necessarily.  But the figures are there in black and white – surely, every employer with a higher pay towards males is inherently sexist?  Not really. 

The reality is that the figures are suggestive only and there are many legitimate reasons why pay may be skewed either way, whether towards males or females.  Let’s take a look and bust some myths about the Gender Pay Gap Reporting.

The first rule of Gender Pay Gap Reporting is to automatically distrust any company that claims to have a 50% - 50% split of male and female pay.  Frankly, the odds of that being the case are extremely slim.  Why?  Because men and women alike negotiate their pay and it would be extremely unorthodox for every person at every different job level to work exactly the same hours and receive exactly the same level of pay.

In reality, the Gender Pay Gap Reporting rules aren’t here to usher in every employer reaching 50% - 50%.  It is here to get employers to close the gap as far as they are able to do.  So, for example, let’s say Scooby Snacks Limited employs 300 staff of which 150 are men and 150 are women.  Let’s also say that this year there has been an influx of births amongst the male workforce and that 25 male employees have had successful Flexible Working Requests to halve their working hours to spend time with their newborn children.  Well, that would potentially skew the figures towards having ‘higher pay’ to women because, on average, they would work longer hours than men.

Now, obviously, that is a rather daft example as it only shows one variable – reducing hours due to childcare.  In reality, employers face many other variables, such as promotions, increasing wages to keep key employees, certain positions being made redundant, roles needing increased hours and/or overtime due to increased demand, shared parental leave levels, positions being vacant due to dismissal, resignation or recruitment, the list could go on.  But every one of these different factors will impact on the Gender Pay Reporting figure.

So, by now, you’re probably thinking ‘well, what’s the point of Gender Pay Gap Reporting?  Surely, the figures will never be ‘correct’?’  Well, the figures are useful in pushing employers to “close the gap”.  So, as above, the reporting procedure aims to get employers to do everything within their power to equalise pay across genders.  Whilst an employer can’t predict the factors listed above, it can try to equalise the effects of those factors and ensure it isn’t directly or indirectly adding to the gender pay gap (whether skewed towards male or female).

And yes, that’s right.  The Gender Pay Gap Reporting process aims to equalise pay between genders, not just ensure that women are paid the same.  An employer with a genuine 70% - 30% pay gap skewed towards women is potentially equally as culpable to Equal Pay claims as an employer with the same pay gap skewed towards men!

So, let’s attack the third myth.  Whilst most people acknowledge that employers won’t display 50% - 50% figures, it isn’t true that employers are powerless to prevent a large gender pay gap.  There is no one answer to this, but some methods have been put forward for employers to consider.  These include not asking job candidates for their current wage but rather than having a set ‘standard’ level for each job role or specifically mentioning that job roles will consider flexible working arrangements in job adverts.

Ironically, I’ve seen a few suggestions to ‘close the gap’ which I feel are, in themselves, potentially discriminatory.  The first is to aim to pay women more than men which, obviously, is discrimination against men on grounds of gender and contrary to Equal Pay Regulations (just the other way round gender-wise).  The second is to set firm targets for gender for certain job roles (i.e. 50% - 50%): however, for certain positions (i.e. airline pilots), there simply isn’t the recruitment pool available to do this and, in addition, any recruitment decision mainly based on a candidate’s gender gives the other candidate (of different gender) a decent discrimination claim against that employer.

So, what’s the answer?  Well, if we knew that, there would be no need for the Gender Pay Gap Reporting process!  Alongside most Employment Lawyers, I feel that the Gender Pay Gap Reporting process is inherently flawed and fails to adequately differentiate ‘innocent’ employers from those employers who actually are knowingly discriminating against female progression in the workplace.  However, the media attention around the Reporting procedure is likely to push some employers into closing the ‘pay gap’ for PR purposes and that, at the very least, is a good starting point.


Thank you to Tom Sutherland of Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors, Liverpool for providing this weeks blog. Tom is well known for his unique, quirky Employment Law-focused blogs and articles and, in his role as Employment Law Solicitor, provides day-to-day legal advice (which includes fixed-fee work) to employees and employers alongside acting for employees and employers in Employment Tribunal actions.  Tom is part of an experienced, approachable Employment and Commercial Law team at Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors in Dale Street, Liverpool.

Twitter: @TomJSutherland

Company Twitter: @clbemployment

Linkedin: Tom Sutherland

Company Linkedin: Canter Levin and Berg Solicitors’

Website: http://clbemployment.com/


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

The Equalities & Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) is a fantastic organisation that seeks to protect employees and workers from discrimination at work.  I regularly read their published Reports and publications because they interest me and keep me informed of potential future developments, which is handy given my sizable discrimination-related workload for employees and employers alike.

The EHRC have recently published their most recent Report: “Turning the tables: Ending sexual harassment at work”.  The Report raises well-known concerns about the lack of support provided to, and the pressure and detriment placed upon, individuals who identify sexual harassment issues in the workplace. 

As usual, the Report ends with some law reform-based recommendations for the Government to consider to improve matters.  And, rather unusually with an EHRC Report, whilst I completely agree with the motive behind the recommendations, I can’t much see how the majority of the recommendations themselves will make much positive difference.  For me, it appears to be a case of ‘good intent, bad execution’.

But, rather than simply take my word for it, let’s explore some of the recommendations and have a proper look.

(1) ‘Safeguards to restrict confidentiality clause usage which seeks to prevent disclosure of past acts of harassment’

The majority of discrimination claims I’ve brought on behalf of employees have ended in settlement before final Tribunal hearing.  But, contrary to popular belief, in the vast majority of occasions, the employee concerned looks at that as a moral victory in terms of the employer effectively (albeit not legally) admitting that they allowed harassment and/or sexual discrimination to take place.

I say ‘contrary to popular belief’ because there seems to be a misconception that employers ‘get away with it’ (i.e. will continue to commit acts of sexual harassment and/or sexual discrimination) because they can ‘sweep it under the rug’ and avoid it becoming public in an Employment Tribunal.  However, in practice, the employer usually has to pay a sizable chunk from their own pocket (and, in reality, there is no better way of punishing an employer than by reducing their bank balance) and the accused, going forward, is forced to weigh up the potential future cost of committing similar acts once again.

So, what is the issue here?  Well, preventing enforceability of confidentiality clauses in respect of harassment allegations and/or Tribunal claims effectively removes one of the largest bargaining chips between employee and employer.  So, if this change came into effect, far more claims would end up at Tribunal because there would be no guaranteed way in which to offer a settlement amount in a way that avoids the matter being published online and/or in the media afterwards.  Ironically enough, this change would effectively deny likely compensation to many victims of sexual discrimination and/or harassment.

(2) ‘extending the limitation period within which to bring a claim to six months from the final act, not the current 3 months’

This is likely to lead to confusion amongst employees as to which potential claims they have to bring within 3 months and which they have to bring within 6 months.  On top of this, most employees (or former employees) who bring a sexual harassment and/or sexual discrimination claim also bring additional claims (which would still have a 3 month limitation period).  Therefore, most employees, if they wish to bring all of their claims in one (which, let’s be honest, will keep things nice and simple), will still have to bring them within 3 months.  Otherwise, the alternative is bringing some claims within 3 months and then, within a further 3 months, bringing an additional Tribunal claim with a different Case Number (leading to additional legal costs or, at very least, additional time and effort).

Put simply, different limitation periods for different claims simply increases the likelihood of claims being brought out of time due to lack of clarity.

(3) ‘a shift of burden to the employer to show why time should not be extended for any out of time claim where the claimant establishes the reason for delay’

There is a fairly simple premise to the current rules.  That premise is that, if the claim is brought out-of-time, the ‘fault’ is solely down to the Claimant (i.e. employee).  Due to this, it is seen as fair that it is the Claimant who should argue as to why the time limit should be extended.  After all, no employer can defend a claim before it is brought and it is very rare that an employer can act in a way to prevent an employee from bringing a claim. 

To change this would be to effectively place the implied blame for the late claim on the one party out of the two who was not responsible for bringing that claim.  To use a daft metaphor, that would be akin to placing a sole Easter egg between two children and then shifting the presumption of guilt onto the child who didn’t have the chance to eat the egg simply because the other child gave a ‘reason’ for having eaten the egg.

(4) ‘Reintroduction of the statutory questionnaire’

Where to start with this one…  Employment Law used to embrace statutory questionnaires.  Then everyone realised that employer didn’t fill out statutory questionnaires; the employer’s Solicitor did.  The inevitable outcome?  The questionnaires contained vague, defensive comments which, in the end, didn’t actually add anything to the process.

What happened next?  In England and Wales, they were scrapped.  Have they been missed in the cases where I have represented employees?  Not even slightly…

So there we go. As above, I have great admiration for EHRC and, as usual, they are doing great work in recognising an ongoing, important issue and stating that reform is needed.  And, as usual, I couldn’t agree more, that more needs to be done to combat sexual harassment and/or sexual discrimination in the workplace.  However, I don’t think the majority of recommendations are fit for purpose and that alternative recommendations, such as making an online ‘black list’ on the gov.uk website of employers and/or individuals who have an Employment Tribunal judgement of sexual harassment against them, would have much greater effect. 

Regardless, I can’t see the Government acting upon any of the EHRC recommendations and, if anything, the current feeling is that a Conservative Government is more likely to strip away employee rights rather than add to them.


The above blog is provided by Tom Sutherland of Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors, Liverpool. Tom is well known for his unique, quirky Employment Law-focused blogs and articles and, in his role as Employment Law Solicitor, provides day-to-day legal advice (which includes fixed-fee work) to employees and employers alongside acting for employees and employers in Employment Tribunal actions.  Tom is part of an experienced, approachable Employment and Commercial Law team at Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors in Dale Street, Liverpool.

Twitter: @TomJSutherland

Company Twitter: @clbemployment

Linkedin: Tom Sutherland

Company Linkedin: Canter Levin and Berg Solicitors’

Website: http://clbemployment.com/


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Spring has sprung, well sort of. March was a dreary month full of sleet, snow and sludge and it’s been good to see the back of it.

On the recruitment front, the good ship Thornton Legal soldiers on. Its been a really good first quarter in terms of placements. Recent highlights include a Corporate Partner placement at a boutique commercial firm in Chester and securing a new role for a top-quality Planning Associate in one of Manchester’s largest firms.

Placements aside, Alex Daniel, a trainee recruitment consultant has joined us in what we expect to be the first of several internal appointments over the coming months.

Alex is going to be the guinea pig for our newly created training programme for consultants. He is 2 weeks into the 8-week programme and is already coming on leaps and bounds.

With GDPR coming into effect in May this year, Joe and I have been spending some of our time reviewing and tinkering with our Data Protection policies. Assistance has been provided in the form of the knowledgeable and friendly Graham Hansen at HRC Law http://www.hrclaw.co.uk/about-us/the-team/graham-hansen/

Its been a time consuming and labour-intensive process, especially for a small business like ours. Let’s hope it’s all worthwhile and we get the sign off from Graham to go live with our proposed changes.

On a separate note, we have been getting an increasing number of enquiries from trainee solicitors who are looking to qualify in September this year. Interest from would be NQ’s seem to start earlier an earlier each year as the route to qualification can often appear opaque and confusing.

As a result, we have decided to hold an NQ talk in conjunction with the Merseyside Junior Lawyers Division on 18th April. Details of the event can be found here.

If you are a trainee looking for some sensible advice on the NQ market and the likely timescales for applications, get in touch. Joe and I would be happy to talk to you as we know from experience that this can be a stressful time.

Finally, my good friend and business colleague, Joe Rees, is running the London Marathon on 27th April for Ovarian Cancer Action. Shameless plug I know but if anybody wants to sponsor him for a worthwhile course, here is the link. Good luck, Joe!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joerees1950?

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

This month I have been on the Agent Accelerator social media masterclass with Laura Rietdyk-Johnson. The course has been insightful because instead of giving an overview of typical ‘social media tips’ Laura spent her time researching Thornton Legal and our competitors’ online presence and provided me with a foundation of content ideas to help improve our social media platforms.

Laura also helped remind me that by having a consistent social media presence it will ultimately help build the Thornton Legal brand identity. This got me thinking about the importance of social media and reinforced what I already believe in, that social media has changed the dynamics of many businesses meaning you cannot afford to exclude social media strategies from your marketing activity anymore.

We are all spending more and more time on social media platforms, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of this and get our brand recognised by our target market online? Ultimately, social media is giving us all the platform to directly connect and interact with past, current and future customers. The more consistent and innovative we are, the more benefits we will gain from this.

However, there are so many different social platforms we could be using but we don’t want to be on every single one. Mainly because, what’s the point? We are best focusing our time and energy on the platforms that are most relevant to our businesses.

At Thornton Legal, our main platforms are Linkedin and Twitter, we are also visible on Instagram. Alongside our website and job boards, we put our energy into Linkedin and Twitter because this is where much of our target market is. Although the two platforms are used differently, it gives you the opportunity to connect with talented candidates that may not be on job sites.

We use Instagram because it allows us to mainly focus on Thornton Legal life giving us the platform to showcase our personality. After Laura’s masterclass on Instagram I will be utilising the benefits of this platform a lot more!

But to successfully put Laura’s tips into action, I need to go back and revisit our social media strategy and start to treat each platform individually because they each reap different benefits. For me to do this, I need to remember what’s the purpose, why am I posting this content?

At Thornton Legal we want to:

  • Increase brand awareness

By us being consistent on social media it will help build our identity and give Thornton Legal a voice.

  • Connect with our target audience

We have the opportunity to engage in conversations, post relative, memorable and consistent content helping to keep our business in the mind of clients and candidates. In return they remember Thornton Legal when they need our help.  

  • Boost our websites SEO

Having your website featured on the first page of google is what every business wants, so by us driving traffic to our optimized pages it will help us climb much faster in the search engine rankings. By us being consistently active, it will help increase the amount of website traffic received and, if our content is being shared, Google will then see us being more authoritative and in return help boost our website.

  • Improve client retention

Same as connecting with our target audience, we can expand our communication out to potential clients and build positive relationships.

  • Help increase trust in our business

One way I choose what service or product to go with, is by looking on a company’s social media accounts if I see they are active with good content it helps reinforce trust.

Many thanks to Laura for helping broaden my knowledge on social media and giving me advice on how best to manage Thornton Legal’s online presence. I believe the most important thing I have learnt is to constantly innovate. Every competitor and law firm I have looked at are all doing the same thing, posting the same content, same wording, same images. There is a gap in the market to switch things up and stand out from the crowd.

I would happily recommend the Agent Accelerator social media masterclass to anyone looking to improve their social media skills 😊.

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

This week, our blog content is provided by Tom Sutherland of Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors, Liverpool.  Tom is well known for his unique, quirky Employment Law-focused blogs and articles and, in his role as Employment Law Solicitor, provides day-to-day legal advice (which includes fixed-fee work) to employees and employers alongside acting for employees and employers in Employment Tribunal actions.  Tom is part of an experienced, approachable Employment and Commercial Law team at Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors in Dale Street, Liverpool.

Coming back for seconds: Waiter appeals dismissal for ‘rude, aggressive’ behaviour due to ‘being French’

As an Employment Solicitor, I deal with multiple discrimination claims.  Personally, I find the majority of discrimination claims fascinating.  Why?  Because they are so varied and can be brought due to behaviour linked (in almost any way) to an individual’s gender, age, belief or religion, race, sexual orientation, disability, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or nationality.

As you’ll have no doubt spotted from the unusual title, it’s that last one, nationality, which I want to explore today.

Before we get into the legal angle, let’s quickly look at the facts.  A waiter is reported to have taken action against a restaurant in Vancouver for his dismissal last year. His former employer stated that his dismissal was due to his “aggressive tone and nature” with colleagues further to previous verbal warnings as to his “combative and aggressive” behaviour towards fellow staff.

The waiter, Mr Guillaume Rey, has argued that his dismissal (and the reasoning behind it) is discriminatory because French culture “tends to be more direct and expressive”. Yes, that’s right, his core argument is that his confrontational behaviour should have been overlooked and/or condoned simply because he was French.

Now, in the Canadian courts, Mr Rey is bringing this in conjunction with human rights arguments.  However, for the purposes of this blog, let’s explore whether Mr Rey would have an argument in an Employment Tribunal.

As above, you can bring a discrimination claim against an employer for discrimination linked to your nationality and this includes discrimination inherent within a dismissal. However, our discrimination laws mainly look to ensure equal treatment of all nationalities.

This is an issue with Mr Rey because he is effectively arguing that French waiters should be able to act in a more confrontational manner than other nationalities. This is contrary to the purpose of our discrimination laws which, in effect, state that all individuals should be treated equally in relation to alleged poor behaviour or misconduct regardless of nationality. Mr Rey, therefore, is unlikely to have much of a case. 

Obviously, this is a brief, simple analysis but let’s look at the alternative. Let’s say that Mr Rey was dismissed by a restaurant in Liverpool (rather than Vancouver) and brought his claim to an Employment Tribunal and was successful in proving discrimination. The outcome would be that employers would have to directly consider the effects and culture inherent within that person’s nationality on the alleged poor performance or misconduct before taking action. In doing so, the employer is likely to have to resort to stereotyping as to which countries are more likely to produce individuals who are “more direct and expressive” in nature and, by acting in this way, they would effectively breach the main purpose of our discrimination laws which is to treat a person equally by taking nationality (and other protected characteristics) out of the equation when making decisions!

So, regardless of what happens in the Canadian courts, I wouldn’t expect to see any successful claims over here by waiters who claim that their nationality excludes them from rude or aggressive behaviour.  Pas terrible!

 

Twitter: @TomJSutherland

Company Twitter: @clbemployment

Linkedin: Tom Sutherland

Company Linkedin: Canter Levin and Berg Solicitors’

Website: http://clbemployment.com/


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Thornton legal is teaming up with businesses to provide you with recruitment, legal, business and marketing advice/news.

This week it’s the turn of Legal Marketing Works and their insight on ‘why law firms should be cross selling’.

Legal Marketing Works is a company owned  by Paul Coombes, providing  outsourced marketing services to solicitors to help them win more direct work through effective marketing activity.


Think about the last time you sat in front of a client. Did you make the most of that opportunity to promote at least one related service to them? If the answer is no you’re not alone.

In 14 years of legal marketing I have only met one Partner who did not want his firm to be better at cross selling. Most firms recognise that this is a key channel to growing a practice and increasing client ‘stickiness’.

I call this the loyalty ladder.

If a client has used you once they are on the bottom rung and may or may not return to you based on a wide range of factors. If a client has instructed your practice numerous times, dealing with multiple people and departments the chances are you are their firm and it will take a great deal of effort or a significant client service issue for them to look elsewhere.

It’s estimated that it costs 5-15 times more to attract a new client than it does to retain one. Cross selling is a low cost, highly effectively form of marketing. If it’s so valuable why do most Partners tell me their firms aren’t great at it?

The sales stigma

The reason that one Partner didn’t want his firm to be better at cross selling was that he simply didn’t like the idea of selling to clients. “I’m a Solicitor, not a salesman Paul.”

Lack of Measurement

The effectiveness of cross selling (or lack of) is more difficult to measure than winning new clients. If it doesn’t get measured it doesn’t get done. Simple.

Lack of Incentives

What’s in it for me? We can tell staff they should be cross selling but if we’re not measuring it and not providing an incentive, financial or otherwise, do we really think that will be top of their agenda?

Confidence

Your staff and Partners will have been through hundreds of hours of training on their specialist areas of law, but have you ever given them the tools to effectively cross sell your services? Confidence can work both ways, are your staff confident in their colleagues to deliver the service or will cross selling risk them losing their client?

Knowledge

Quite simply, does everyone know enough about the areas of law you offer? They don’t need to be experts, but a commercial property solicitor telling his client about a recent change in employment law before making a referral will be far stronger than simply saying you ‘do employment’. A conveyancer telling a client about the new residential nil rate band (RNRB) before referring them to the private client department will have a far better success rate.

It’s not all bad news though as some simple steps can make a big difference.

The starting point is to ensure that cross selling is a strategic part of your plans and an agenda item at each Partners' meeting. You must create a system to measure the activity and incentivise staff, but before you tell everyone what to do make sure you invest in training, so they know how to do it. It won’t be a one off either, you’ll need to regularly review the process and ensure that recognition is given to those who are performing whilst taking appropriate action where people are struggling.

Finally, coming back to the sales stigma, I still believe this to be the greatest barrier and when training firms I suggest that we stop calling it cross selling altogether.

Cross selling should be considered a form of proactive client care and part of your professional duty. It’s unlikely to go as far as a claim but if you’re buying a property for a wealthy client shouldn’t you be telling them about the RNRB? Or if you are dealing with an injury claim for someone on benefits surely you should be advising them to set up a PI trust?

When we start thinking about cross selling as a benefit to all parties, the barriers come down and the instructions go up.

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-coombes/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/legalmarkworks

Website: https://www.legalmarketingworks.co.uk/


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Thornton legal are teaming up with businesses to provide you with recruitment, legal, business and marketing advice/news.

This week we team up with Luke, Managing Director at ActionCOACH. Luke is a business coach scaling businesses in Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire. His blog this week, provides business advice on the importance of setting goals, instead of focusing on what you don’t want to have.


I saw something on LinkedIn the other day that was talking about business owners who are ‘Playing Not to Lose’ rather than ‘Playing to Win’? Let’s just look at that again… they are playing ‘Not’ to lose rather than ‘to’ win. This mindset reminded me off the dreaded ‘Wooden Spoon’.

Little Mick

There is a ‘Kay’ family tradition which takes place at Christmas time involving family and friends and we compete in a golf tournament. It began as a ‘little’ competition many years ago, but now involves around fifty golfers from across the local area competing to be the winner of the ‘Little Mick’ trophy. However, whoever comes last in the competition takes home the ‘Wooden Spoon’.

Fear of the Spoon

Over the years it has become apparent that the men and women competing in the competition are more concerned and worried of being awarded the wooden spoon. They are not playing to win the Little Mick trophy, but they are playing not to lose because they don’t want the wooden spoon. So, what happens….? They focus on not wanting to lose which impacts their game and the worse they play; before long, the players’ rounds begin to crumble due to the fear of getting the spoon.

The Wooden Spoon in Business

So, what has this got to do with business and why is it relevant?  If you think for a moment that you are ‘playing’ the game of business and that if your business fails, then you lose the game and you are awarded the wooden spoon.

Are you going to be more focused on trying not to ‘lose’ the game and the effect it may have e.g going bust / losing clients?

Are you going to panic at the thought of the ‘wooden spoon’ and spend most your energy and focus on what may not happen? Because we all know what will happen don’t we?  Where you focus your energy is generally what will come to light.

So, what do we need to change? What can we do to make winning the game of business more exciting?

Setting Towards Goals in Business

One of the key aspects when goal setting is, setting towards goals and not away from goals.

Instead of using negative words such as: don’t, can’t, won’t, less - we need to use the positive and assertive words. For example:

If we are in panic mode about getting the wooden spoon in the golf tournament we may be telling ourselves “Don’t go in the bunker, don’t go in the bunker… “And what is then likely to happen? The ball ends in the bunker and we go over the par for the hole. This is because our brain does not hear ‘don’t’.

We must begin to programme ourselves with the intention of what exactly we want to do.

Make our Goals Emotional

Put a ‘have’ around the goals from a personal perspective and make it something we really want… or better still what our family want because it is much easier to let ourselves down than our family.

So, the moral of the story of Little Mick?

Focus on what you want to have in life and in business and not what you don’t want to have.’’

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-kay-business-growth/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lukekaybb

Website: https://actioncoach.co.uk/coaches/luke-kay/ 


Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

I’m writing this blog from the Viking, a pub close to my house as I’m not in the office today. To be honest, I just fancied a change of scenery.

In the early days of Thornton Legal, before we had a permanent office, staff etc, a good amount of my time was spent here, and it’s got me reminiscing about the old days! Well, not quite the old days, but how far we have come in a relatively short amount of time and how things have changed. The more successful Thornton Legal, the more responsibility we have then the more we have on our plates – this is one of the biggest challenges for us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m sure most SME business owners would say something similar.  

Nick and I started trading in January 2016 using our own savings hoping that we could make a success of things, and so far, so good. In fact, it’s fair to say that neither of us are very good at acknowledging or celebrating our success – we definitely don’t blow our own trumpets enough. We joke to each other that we have been lucky, and we sometimes don’t know what we are doing (more so from a business owner perspective than recruitment) but, in actual fact, we have done really well with effort, determination and application. There is no doubt that recruitment is a tough job. But we have a great little business with loads of potential! Here are a few positive things that have popped into my head:

Nick and I make a very good team, we think differently but we know where we, were we want to be and how we are going to get there. Being joint owners and spending 99% of working days together has added another dimension to our friendship of over 30 years!

Our office space is getting bigger and better each year, an obvious sign of progression. In March 2016 we were in my house (Nick had the most ridiculous small desk - ha) and in March 2018 we will be moving to a really lovely room with space for 12. Our IT infrastructure is spot on too.

From a recruitment perspective Jade came on board in January as our marketing assistant and this month Alex will be joining us as our first trainee recruitment consultant. We have plans for further additions over the coming months and into 2019. They are both excellent hires for the business, let’s hope the next ones match up!

Nick and I have invested money where we have needed it. We spent a good few months with a business coach called Alison Humphries who helped us with a 3-year business plan and our 12 week trainee recruitment plan. We believe the training we offer is better than other recruiters, but the proof will be how good our staff retention rate I suppose.

Have you had a look at our website, it’s really good. I know I would say that, but it is! It’s brilliant that we have so many client and candidate testimonials and that we have law firms happy to give us their logos and associate with Thornton Legal. We are working hard to improve it all the time, and we have plans to link up with other related businesses (coaching, training, legal marketing etc), giving us a more rounded offering to our clients and candidates.

We won’t always get it right but, as Coach Luke said to me recently, if you’re not failings then you’re not growing…deep stuff!

P.S. I forgot to add that we won an award last year, Best Start Up in Merseyside – how cool is that!

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

The success of Thornton Legal is built on the number of placements we make, the more the merrier!

Having said that, our aim is to give good advice rather than chase quick fees, so we always ask candidates if they have let their current firm know their concerns. Before such a big decision as moving jobs is made, it’s important to have those internal conversations first and only then can a fully informed decision be made.

So why do law firms lose good staff, often to a direct competitor? These are some of the common complaints that we hear:

Onboarding

New recruits should be set up for success from day one. This is a non-negotiable. A blog on the onboarding process coming soon.

Training

Lack of training is one of the most commonly heard reasons for someone wanting to move firms. Often promises are made but not delivered on. It’s no surprise that employees get fed up and contact recruiters.

Culture

Creating a positive culture is a must, our thoughts are that the right culture comes above salary in most cases. Who wants to come to work everyday into negative working environment? The culture of a firm comes from the top and it need to be worked at. Partners and Directors take note.

Work life balance

Law firms not offering some degree of flexible working will loose out in the war for legal talent. Click here for a previous blog on this topic.

Progression/growth opportunities

Every firm should give employees the opportunity for advancement, whether that’s up the career ladder or additional training so their day to day job becomes more varied and interesting. No-one wants to do they same job day in day out for years on end!

Managing Change

The legal sector is going through a turbulent time, with mergers and acquisition happening on a regular basis. The recent transfer of Hill Dickinson’s insurance business to Keoghs bring a very recent example. How these events are communicated internally go a long way to ensuring that employees don’t decide to more on to a more ‘stable’ environment.

Retaining employees is particularly important given the skills gap in the legal sector. It has been reported recently that the cost of recruitment is an eye watering £30,000 on average! (a blog on this subject coming soon) so please do your best to keep your employees happy, at least the ones you don’t want to lose.

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

The shortest month of the year has come and gone. Pity we can’t say the same about this abominable weather!

I am writing this blog from the comfort of my office at home. The snow having put paid to any chance of getting out of my driveway!

In contrast to the challenges posed by snow and ice, February has been a hot month for the team at Thornton Legal.

Joe and I were delighted to be invited to meet a couple of firms with whom we haven’t previously done any work with.

New clients are as important as anything else when you are growing your business, so we were only too happy to meet up with Gunnercooke in Manchester to see what this exciting and untraditional law firm had to say for themselves.

We had heard some good reports about the names they were hiring and the reputation they were developing as an alternative to some of the larger, regional and national commercial firms in the market. The meeting itself was really useful and we went away from it with an enhanced understanding of the hiring strategy, culture and the areas of the firm that they were looking to grow. We really got why lawyers with good clients would want to work within the Gunnercooke business model and take advantage of the flat structure and commercially agile environment.

The other meeting was a recruitment event at the Manchester office of national heavyweight, Gateley.  Thornton Legal were asked to attend together with a small handful of other recruiters to hear some short presentations from Partners in Corporate, Real Estate and Employment. Gateley by their own admission have in the past been reluctant to sing about their successes and wanted the likes of ourselves to hear first hand from people who worked there as to what the firm was like, the types of clients they dealt with and the kind of opportunities within the firm.

We were really impressed by the likeability of the Partners that we met. They were great ambassadors for what Gateley stood for and it was interesting hear what working for the first listed law firm in the UK was like in practice.

In terms of recruitment activity, we have seen a marked increase in the number of retained assignments agreed with law firms. The firms in question were existing clients who asked us to deal exclusively with particular vacancies, one being a hard to find Corporate Partner role. Good progress is being made and we hope to successfully conclude this and another Senior Private Client assignment over the coming weeks.

The move towards retained assignments can probably be construed as a both a sign of Thornton Legal’s progress in becoming the go to recruiter for a number of our existing clients and also the reality of a tough market for candidates especially in areas such as Real Estate, Corporate and increasingly Private Client.

In other news, we have just recruited a Trainee Recruitment Consultant to help us with the demand for Paralegals. They join us next month and will coincide with our move to larger business premises! Watch this space….

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career. 

Have you recently started a new job?

The first 100 days can be vital to your success in the company. It is an opportunity to position yourself, offer a fresh perspective, make a positive impact to your employees and boss and build a platform for continuing success. To do this, it pays to have a clear strategy in mind.

We have put together a ‘First 100 Days Plan’ to help get you off to a flying start!

The first month

Learn about the company: You probably conducted some research about the company before your interview. However, now you need to take this opportunity to learn as much as possible about the company, understanding what their aims and objectives are and how your role fits into this. This way you will get a better understand of the culture and brand, to successfully do your work.

Read the website, staff bio’s, blogs, social media, reports, anything you can find.

Ask questions: Sometimes asking questions is the best way to learn and it is always good to portray that you are curious and interested in understanding your new role and responsibilities. But try not to ask the same question more than twice!

Take notes, a lot of notes: You will be bombarded with a load of new information making it almost impossible to remember everything! Colleagues names, job roles, important company information etc. The best way to remember, is to write it down.

Sit with your boss and learn what is expected: Set clear expectations so you know what your boss expects from you and what they want you to accomplish in a specific time scale. 

Get to know your colleagues: Building strong relationships with your colleagues is a good way to feel comfortable in your new role and feel part of the team. Especially gaining valuable insight into the company culture. Maybe set up getting-to-know meetings, especially with those who know your work area well and can offer support and knowledge.  

Second month

Now that you have learnt, asked questions, listened and written notes, you should understand the company and your role itself and be ready to show what you can do.

Professional development: It is important to know what value you can add to the company, so it is time to take responsibility for your own development and seek out new learning opportunities. Small steps you can take is by attending meetings, training courses, read industry news or familiarise yourself with their content management systems.

Your ideas: Try to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes but now is a good time to reveal your ideas in line with the company’s objectives. Portray those key skills you used in your interview to sell yourself, whether that was a problem solver, strategic thinker or creative mind.  Take the opportunity to show what can you do, even if you think it’s only minor, as it still might make a positive difference.

Volunteer: Take this opportunity to volunteer for any extra work, for example charity work the company are involved in. It will show your eagerness to take on more responsibilities, along with giving you the chance to build on your network. However, don’t take on more responsibilities if you are unable to focus fully on the role you were originally employed to do.   

Third month

Mentor: Seek out a mentor within the company that you respect professionally. Having a mentor can help grow your network, improve performance and help you up the career ladder more quickly.

Three-month review: Request a three-month review with your manager. This is your chance to gain feedback about how you are doing in your role, what you are doing right and what you could do differently. It gives you the opportunity to present your accomplishes to date and any new challenges you would like to implement. The three-month review is an ideal time to review objectives and development goals and put new ones in place.

At the end of your 100 days you should be confident in your role and be ready to start making decisions and taking action. Good luck!

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

It has been a busy start to 2018 for Thornton Legal. The team has grown with the recruitment of Jade our marketing administrator, but the other big news is the launch of our brand-new website!

We are delighted with it and we hope you like it too, it’s certainty a big improvement on the previous incarnation which did a good job for us as a start-up recruitment business, but it was lacking in some areas. The new website reflects Thornton Legal in 2018, an award-winning business that is now firmly established a leading legal recruiter in the region.

The website has been a few months in the making and I know we have been a nightmare client for our developers Farm Factory! Thanks to them for sticking with us, we had some very set ideas on what we wanted (and what we didn’t!) and we feel we have achieved our aims from a visual and functionality perspective.

We are really pleased with all aspects of the website, but it’s worth highlighting some pages.

Firstly, the client and candidate testimonial pages. We have over 40 now and this number is growing all the time. It’s all well and good us saying how great we are, but when it comes from others it means so much more. In addition, the ‘firms we work with’ page looks great too which we will also be adding to over the course of 2018.

We also put a lot of time into the ‘candidate tips’ which we hope will be useful to job seekers as they go through the interview process. Lastly, a mention to the ‘Take-Home Calculator’. Why not put in your current earnings? If you feel you are unpaid then you know who to call!

The one page which is still in development is the vacancies page which will be in situ over the next few weeks.

We really hope that the website is well received and visible to candidates looking to enlist the help of experienced legal recruiters and clients looking for assistance with recruitment.

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Now that our clients are fully back in to the swing of things after the Christmas/New Year lull, Thornton Legal are pleased to see that normal recruitment activity is beginning to pick up with an increased number of new instructions in January.

Real Estate related roles are once again the focus of attention for many of the larger firms which will come as no great shock to those that keep on eye on the market. We have seen a recent influx of Corporate/Commercial roles of varying degrees of seniority. The junior roles often a result of increased volumes of work and the more senior a due to departing partners looking to be replaced, especially in the smaller commercial outfits.

Residential Property remains flat and in line with what we were seeing towards the latter half of 2017. This probably reflects the general slowdown in the property market over the past 12 months and high street firms competing with others for new instructions. Firms only really appear to be recruiting to replace leavers and not as a result of growth or expansion.

Family and private client instructions were steady in 2017 and nothing we have seen so far has given us any reason to think that 2018 will not prove similar.

From a placement point of view lot of the hard work we saw put into recruitment in the final quarter of last year has borne fruit in early January. Of particular satisfaction was the placement of 2 high quality commercial litigators into large national firms and 1 into a boutique regional commercial practice. We were proud of these placements as they were hard to fill roles in what continues to be a tight market for both roles and candidates.

What is clear is that the fight for talent for both firms and recruiters alike continues unabated in 2018. Fears over economic certainty mid Brexit have not stopped commercial firms hiring and the recent optimistic growth forecasts for this year will come as a welcome relief to many in the industry.

One a more sobering note, the PI market which has been comprehensively strangled of late shows little sign of recovery, especially with planned changes to the small claims limit still on the government agenda. Firms whose business models in recent years has been built on high quality paralegal recruitment are finding it more difficult to find the same calibre of candidate with many fee earners and paralegals looking to retrain or exit the profession completely.

We do wonder whether we shall see an increase this year in the number of Employment Law roles available as a natural consequence of employment tribunal fees being comprehensively slashed 6 months ago.

Whatever the challenges faced in legal recruitment in 2018, we at Thornton Legal feel as though we are well equipped to tackle them head on.

We believe that 2018 will be a fantastic year for a whole host of reasons. In addition to the launch of our bright, shiny new website and a new recruit into our marketing team, we are looking to add at least two consultants to help us recruit back office support and paralegal roles as well as increasing our footprint in Yorkshire and the Midlands. Exciting times lie ahead!

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

As Thornton Legal’s profile grows, it’s great to get more involved in the business community and building our networks outside of recruitment. It’s brilliant to find out what others have been doing in 2017 and what their plans are for the future.

Earlier this month we received an email from Bruntwood inviting us to join them at their table at the Professional Liverpool lunch to be held in the magnificent Liverpool town Hall which was very kind of them. The event took place on Thursday 23rd November, and we had a brilliant time.

Professional Liverpool represents the local business community with the with the objective of promoting talents and enhancing the regions reputation as a professional centre of excellence.

www.professionaliverpool.com

In attendance was a real mix of professional people from accountants and solicitors through to those in the media and digital arenas representing the best of what Liverpool offers.

Nick and I had a great time and met professionals who we will keep in touch with through 2018 and beyond. In recruitment it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the day today activity, but every time we get out of our bubble and get involved in networking and lunching it’s very positive and worthwhile experience.

We didn’t ask the reason why we were invited, but perhaps it was because Bruntwood sponsored the “Best Start Up” award we received at the Merseyside Independent Business Awards.

www.mibawards.co.uk/winners-crowned-grand-ceremony/

Whatever the reason was we’d like to thank Bruntwood, particularly Laura Bunting and Tony Reed, and we look forward to catching up with you again soon.

www.bruntwood.co.uk/

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Joe and I put our DJ’s on and attended the 2017 Merseyside Independent Business Awards ceremony on Thursday night. It was black tie event held in the very snazzy Rum Warehouse of the Titanic Hotel.

Thornton Legal had been nominated for the “Best Start Up” award and we saw the event as an ideal opportunity to celebrate the first 2 years of our recruitment business with wives, friends and colleagues.

We were happy to have even been shortlisted in what was a very competitive category and were therefore somewhat taken back to win on the night, much to the delight of our table!

Thornton Legal are thrilled to have won such a prestigious award. The awards themselves were designed to platform and celebrate independent businesses on Merseyside, their owners and those who support them. They were founded in 2013 by Morecrofts Solicitors, a prominent local firm, to celebrate being 200 years old and remaining independent.

A lot of hard work went into the application process itself and the shortlist and eventual winners of all categories were decided by two different judging panels made up of eight respected and very experienced professionals from different parts of the Liverpool City Region.

The night itself was a bit of a blur, as was the next day at work. Suffice to say we had a great time toasting the success or not only ourselves but also the other fantastic businesses nominated for awards.

We would like to thank all of the loyalty and support shown to us by clients and candidates alike since we first started trading in January 2016. It’s been a whirlwind start!

Winning an award for “best start up” in a city brimming with talented start-up businesses is a real honour. Joe and I firmly believe that Liverpool and the wider North West is a fantastic location to continue to grow and that exciting times lie ahead.

We are hoping to go live with our brand-new website in the next couple of months and are already looking to add several legal recruiters and a marketing assistant to the Thornton Legal Team! We will be advertising he roles on our website soon so please do get in touch if you are interested in hearing more.

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Since the recession, the legal industry has seen the creation of a skills gap which has resulted in, as the market picked up, a shortage of suitably experienced candidates for an increasing number of roles in areas such as residential property, real estate and corporate/commercial.

Firms have not been able to grow their own lawyers at a sufficiently quick rate to satisfy demand and the knock on effect has been a job market where good quality lawyers often find themselves with multiple opportunities with firms fighting for their talent and experience.

In circumstances like this a “counter offer” from their current firm is something that every candidate should be prepared for from the very beginning of their job search.

Thornton Legal find that on just about every occasion where a candidate hands their notice in, the disgruntled firm tries, sometimes successfully, to counter offer their employee and prevent them leaving.

Firms are aware that the cost of hiring a replacement person can be high, not to mention the costs associated with having a position empty for any period, resulting in a fall in revenue or an added burden on the remaining members of the team who are often reallocated work.

Some candidates enter the recruitment process hoping that their current employer makes such a counter offer, for others it can be the last thing they were expecting.

Either way, the decision whether to stay or go can be a daunting one but our experience at Thornton Legal is that the vast majority of accepted counter offers ultimately fail to satisfy the candidate and they find themselves re-entering the job market a little further down the line.

Why is this and why are counter offers a tricky thing to navigate?

There are a number of factors but the common themes are:

If you’re worth it now, why did it take you to hand your notice in to force their hand?

If a person is worth the increased salary or promotion that comes with the counter offer, the firm in question really should have rewarded their employee earlier. Candidates are often flattered to receive a counter offer, but they should really be asking the question why they were undervalued for such a long time in the first place and whether their current firm is the right place for them to satisfy their ambitions in the long run.

It’s often not just about the money

Other motivating factors often play a significant factor in why candidates look elsewhere in the first place: work life balance, commute, promotion prospects, firm culture and quality of work can be lacking. Accepting a counter offer just for the money can be a temporary sticking plaster that doesn’t solve any of the other underlying issues.

Staying can cause resentment/trust/loyalty issues

It’s an understated problem that once a lawyer looks elsewhere, in the minds of their firm, even if they stay, the bonds of trust and loyalty can be broken and never fully heal. This problem is circumstance specific and doesn’t occur every time but can be an issue that rears its head and is often difficult to resolve.

Does the salary increase price you out of a future move?

Staying at a firm for a big pay rise whilst useful in the short term can affect a lawyer’s position in the job market further down the line. Hefty hikes in salary can put candidates in an artificially high position that they find difficult to justify when they eventually look to move and can put some potential employers off.

Thornton Legal are at hand at every stage of the process when it comes to providing clear, pragmatic and focused advice to lawyers entering the job market. We are only too happy to speak out of hours to candidates on a confidential basis and give them sensible advice, tailored to their individual circumstances.

If you are a lawyer that would like to explore the job market in the North West, Yorkshire or Midlands, we would be only too happy to help.

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Since coming up with the concept for Thornton Legal, Joe and I have been thinking long and hard about how and where to spend our advertising budget. Do we do what so many recruiters have done and go big on the website? Are we happy to splash the cash on taking a big allocation of job ads on sites such as the Law Gazette or Simply Law? Is it sensible to market ourselves with a strategic but ultimately expensive online presence?

We tried to bear in mind that job boards work sometimes, that job ads work sometimes, that Linkedin works sometimes. These standard recruitment tools for finding new candidates are great if used in moderation but the fear was that we falling into the trap of many other recruiters in being overly reliant on them and that they could be perceived as an old fashioned, slightly impersonal, arm’s length ways of candidate generation.

After much deliberation, we came to the conclusion that by far the best way to get to speak with new and interesting candidates was by speaking more to existing candidates! They were the people with the wealth of information, the lawyer friends, the work colleagues; many of whom wanted a bit of career advice, market knowledge or insight into jobs or salaries.

We like talking to people, not by email but over the telephone or in person. It’s the best way of building trust and developing relationships. By and large the people we speak to on a daily basis like what we have to say. We give them open and honest advice. If we can’t help them, we can sometime steer them in the right direction. We think we are pretty good at what we do.

The fact that a significant proportion of our business comes about as a direct result of recommendations and referrals not only from candidates makes us happy. We got to thinking that some of the money we could spend on advertising could be better spent incentivising and rewarding existing candidates who recommend us to other people!

That’s why we have put in place what we consider to be one of the best referral schemes in the business! If you recommend us to a candidate or pass to us a candidate’s details and we end up placing that person into a law firm, we will honour stand by what the website says. We would rather people we already have a relationship with were rewarded for their efforts than spending our marketing budget on yet another pay per click or advertising campaign. Click on our “refer a friend link” for more details. In fact, give us a call for a chat! We’d prefer it!

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Nick and I generally feel that we prepare our candidates well for interviews but feedback from a client of ours last week made us realise there are certainly aspects that we, and the interviewees, can definitely improve on.

The client in question is one I know well and, consequently, we have pretty honest conversations about recruitment matters. The one last week went something like this:

Client – “We really like both candidates and we would like to bring then in for a second interview”

Joe – “That’s great news! When are you thinking?”

Client – “Before we get to that, there’s something I’d like to get off my chest”

Joe – “Yes of course”

Client – “Why is it that candidates generally know very little about us and our firm, or have any good quality questions to ask? We believe this is the opportunity for them to impress with their research and for them to gather information that will help them decide if we are the right choice. This lack of interest ends interviews on a flat note when it could be chance to really stand out from the crowd. Otherwise the interviews went well but this was disappointing”.

Joe – “Oh dear, not great. We do go through the importance of interview preparation, pass on what we know about who they are meeting and give them ideas about questions to ask but this is something we must do better at. Having said that, it’s also down to the interviewee to take ownership and decide what interview preparation is required”.

What this conversation brought home is that it’s small margins which make the difference between success and failure at interview. Researching the firm and the interviewers couldn’t be easier in today’s digital world and if you are working with a half decent recruiter they should have additional information for you from client meetings that could swing the balance in your favour.

My candidates were asked “what do you think of our website?” – an easy one to answer…. if you have bothered to look!

The importance of asking good quality questions towards the end of the interview can’t be over stated. Nothing says “your just another law firm” like asking the interviewer about parking arrangements then having nothing else to say.

Rather, ask the interviewers about themselves – when did they join the firm? How have they progressed? What has kept them so long? Other questions could be - how is the team trained and developed? What career progression can be expected? Do I have the skills and experience that you are looking for? How do you feel I performed at interview?

As I said earlier, I feel we are better than most when it comes to helping with interview preparation but we have resolved to do even more to ensure that we do all we can to help you get the job of your dreams. But interviewees also need to take on the responsibility themselves - ultimately they will be sitting in from of a Partner, not us.

Proper research and well thought out questions are simple to do, but are too often missed and can be the difference between success and failure.

(If you would like to see a full copy of our interview guide then please let us know).

PS. We try and meet candidates for preparation as much as possible as these solicitors testify:

“Nick was a real help throughout. He was well connected and knew the family law market well. His relationships with firms put him in an advantageous position when it came to advising me of my options. I would not hesitate in recommending his services to anybody looking to gain a real insight into what jobs are out there. He took the time to come and meet me and this itself was very useful”.

“Joe's mantra of quality over quantity really proved true for me. He took the time to get to know me and focused on finding the right fit for my skill set and personality. He took time to speak to me outside of office hours and even drove across Cheshire to meet me. I thoroughly recommend Joe's services to anyone looking to move jobs. To top it off, he's a great bloke too”.

I found our pre-interview meeting especially useful. My Interview techniques were a tad rusty and being able to meet face to face and practice interview questions made me feel much more confident. Joe's communication was excellent from beginning to end whether that be by email, phone or text message. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a new challenge!"

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career. 

The below is taken from Launch 22, our home from early 2016 to Spring 2017.

Joe Rees and Nick Tappin founded their recruitment company in 2016 and have now been with us at Launch22 for just over a year. Their business has been successfully accelerated towards the next level and as a result of this, they are now moving onwards and upwards to fulfil the next step of their business venture.

We had a chat with Nick, the co-founder of Thornton Legal, and asked him about their experience at Launch22 and how we helped them and their business grow.

What do you guys do here at Launch22?

We own a boutique recruitment business focusing on the legal market in the North West. We recruit for law firms and recruit & bring paralegals and solicitors primarily out of Liverpool, Chester, Manchester and everywhere else in between.

How has your experience been?

Really positive! We’ve been here for 12 months, started the business in 2016 working out of Joe’s front room for the first couple of months.

Like any other successful rock band then!

Absouletly! We started off very small. We did reasonably well and we made a couple of decent placements which allowed us to move to Launch22.

Joe and I love the work space — we find that it’s a really creative and positive environment. It’s full of nice people who are always happy to help with any queries regarding the practicalities of running a business.

How did you find the facilities at Launch22?

We started working on the hot-desks which are fantastic, really good. My only problem was that my bottom got really numb after sitting on them for a while! Definitely need some cushions — it suits some people/doesn’t suit some people ha-ha.

More cushions… Noted!

But we wanted something a little bit more permanent hence why we opted for the personal desks in the corner of the room. We made that space our own, we didn’t get bothered by anybody, it’s reasonably quiet but if it does get a bit buzzy in the office you have that option to tap in to that vibe too. The people are friendly so we can’t fault it as a place to be for a period of time.

So, would you say we have matched your needs for your start-up company?

Completely. It is relatively inexpensive compared to other options in the market. Hypothetically, if you’re a start-up with two people in a closed office environment, growing your business can get quite isolating. So, to be in a fun working environment like this makes it conducive.

Matt was great, Nat was great and all the new people have been really great too. Location-wise is absolutely ideal — all or most of our clients are based within the city. We also get parking out back and took advantage of the rooftop terrace last year doing yoga and pilates in the sun with YinYan which was fantastic. So, we relished the opportunity to take advantage of all the perks that you offer!

What’s in store for the future?

We are moving to a self-contained office in Cotton Exchange with scope to bring two or three people over the next six to twelve months to grow further. There was three of us in January but we parted ways with that individual in beginning of March, but the plan is very much to push on and bring in junior recruits. It’s just a case of finding the right individuals and people we can buy into in terms of personality. It’s been a fantastic a year being here but as we grow experience is telling us that we need a self-contained office space as we reach the next level of our business so we can deal with confidential meetings, HR and so on.

Would you class Launch22 as the perfect stepping stone?

Yeah definitely. Anybody we speak to who was in the same boat as us from 12 months ago, we are happy to recommend Launch22 as a platform for them to grow their business because it’s been a positive, engaging environment for us to find ourselves in. We have grown the business as a direct result of that and so, we have Launch22 to thank. Not to mention the value for money — you’re not going to find anything else better in Liverpool.

Is there anything that you are going to miss?

Yes! The people, the environment and the ping pong table, for sure. We’ll be sad to leave that behind. Joe and I have probably spent too long on the table the past 12 months. Not that that is the reason we are leaving! It’s a welcoming distraction.

We couldn’t agree more! We recently did a blog on the benefits of having a ping pong table in the office.

Yeah it’s great. It refreshes the mind and wakes you up after a long session at the desk, so we’re going to miss that while we’re gone and may have to invest in one when we move into our new space ourselves.

Thank you for choosing Launch22 as your start up incubator and we wish you all the success with the future of your business!

It’s been a pleasure!

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Speaking to candidates this year has been an interesting and informative task. Some of their tales of previous experiences with recruiters have demonstrated to Joe and I why we set up our own recruitment business in the first place. It has also served as a great reminder of the standards we aspire towards for our own business.

We wanted to see how we could keep on improving the services we offer at Thornton legal and recently decided to survey some of our existing candidates to try to identify what they liked and what they disliked about recruiters and the recruitment experience generally. The results were very interesting.

A great many candidates found their previous interaction with recruiters to be a positive experience but struggled to name them, even the ones who had placed them in their current jobs. This worried us.

Others had a less favourable perception that involved one or more of the following:

“Being kept in the dark as to applications”

“Not being contacted when they were told they would be provided with an update”

“Recruiters sending cv’s to firms without the candidate’s permission”

“Their consultant not knowing enough about the role or firm”

“The application for a particular job falling down over salary at the 11th hour”

“Recruiters not taking the time to find out what the candidate actually wants”

“The role being very different to the one painted by the recruiter”

“Was a hindrance rather than a help”

A fair number, thankfully, gave glowing appraisals of the recruiters that had helped them find their perfect role. Some of the more positive comments included:

“Going above and beyond what I had come to expect of a recruitment consultant”

“Was knowledgeable and well informed and knew a lot about the culture of the firm, the team and the role itself”

“Took the time to understand what the candidate actually wanted from a job”

“Managed expectations and kept the candidate in the loop throughout the process”

“Helped out with interview preparation”

“Was trustworthy and efficient”

“Was easily contactable and seemed genuinely interested in helping”

It struck us that in a candidate driven market awash with legal recruiters that we needed to take on board what our most valuable commodities were telling us. Without them we simply wouldn’t have a successful business.

Since the very outset, Thornton Legal has been keen to emphasise what it stands for. We want to be the best we can at what we do and this is only possible by offering a first rate service to all of our candidates.

It simply isn’t good enough not to respond to enquiries, not to get back in touch when we say we will get back in touch, not to prepare candidates properly for interview. I remember only too well from my own time a solicitor in private practice, the frustrations I had with some recruiters who suggested roles to me that didn’t fit with my experience or ambitions, who didn’t call me back, who didn’t offer constructive feedback or advice.

Thornton Legal is keen to buck the current trend of impersonal legal recruitment. We want to meet candidates, to get to know them, to offer a consultative approach to recruitment that ensures that each and every candidate we deal with feels as though we have listened to their needs.

We have received some fantastic testimonials from candidates placed through us recently. We think we are doing the right things. The recurring themes we came across were; acting with integrity, a knowledge of the market, offering a personal service and believing that we care.

We are happy that our candidates value the service that we offer but we don’t want to rest on our laurels. The recent survey has highlighted just how competitive the legal recruitment industry is and that candidates have a lot of choice as to who represents them.

The best kind of marketing a recruiter can get is our recommendation from a happy candidate to one of their colleagues. The number of referrals we have had this year is testimony to this.

There are a lot of legal recruiters in the North West. Some are great. The majority are pretty average. We want to be able to stand out from the crowd and ensure that we are memorable. We can only do this if we do what we say we are going to do and apply the Thornton Legal ethos consistently to each and every candidate we represent.

If you are a lawyer working in the North West who wants to have an open and honest chat about the job market, your career or an opportunity advertised on our website, we would be happy to take the time to listen. We appreciate that it can sometimes be difficult to speak during the day and are only too happy to put time aside in the evenings or at weekends if this suits you better.

We are fairly certain that we can help. We are absolutely certain that if we can’t help, you will still come away from the conversation having thought it was a positive and constructive experience.

Joe and I have over 20 years combined experience in what we do. The contacts that we have made during this time and the knowledge that we have gained has seen us successful place all types of lawyer from partner to paralegal, at international firms to busy high street practices.

We are often viewed as the best alternative to some of the larger, national recruiters. We want to succeed because this is our own business. We have a lot riding on it. We can’t afford to fail!

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

As a legal recruiter, I meet my fair share of clients and candidates and company benefits are often discussed with flexible working policies a hot topic.

For example, last week I went for lunch with the HR Director of a large commercial law firm who was at the latter stages of rolling out theirs and the following day I met a solicitor employed by a firm with 100% flexible working, if transparent targets are achieved.

Regardless of the individual policy on offer it’s essential that it’s bought into and encouraged by management. The major obstacle to a flexible working going to the distance is employers trusting their staff not to take advantage of the policy. If it’s not ingrained the culture (which take time and effort) then there is a strong possibility it will be mothballed.

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School says “managers want people in the office because they want to see their little empires in front of them. It's totally about trust, and the incompetence of managers who don't know how to manage people remotely."

There needs to be a shift in focus to the end result, rather than the process of getting there, which can change from employee to employee. After all, delivery is what it’s all about and what does it matter if the work to get there is done from the office or at home?

To back this up Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK states "the fear factor for many managers is 'if I can't see you how do I know you are working?' Managers need training on how to assess a home-worker on their output, not their input."

From a practical perspective, businesses need to have the technology in place that allows employees to work to their full potential at home. There are numerous cloud based working and video conferencing options available, so there really is no excuse for home working not to 100% reflect what is possible from the office.

At Thornton Legal, flexible working is a fundamental part of the business (I write this from home while holding a 6 week old baby!) .

We hope to have a policy that will allow employees to work from home occasionally, safe in the knowledge that they have the full trust of the Directors. Everything that can be accessed in the office can be access from home and it’s a brilliant system (we would say that of course!). Full flexible working won’t be on the table from day one as, in the early days, we will need to spend time together as a team but we hope it will come into play sooner rather than later.

Recruitment is a results based business and, as long as fees are coming in, we don’t give two hoots where the work is being done. If the fees aren’t coming in then, well….that’s a story for another day….

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

Putting together your CV can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve been at the same firm for a long time or are simply unsure how to set your experience out in a way that is going to be attractive to potential employers.

Thornton Legal are always happy to take the sting out of the process and offer a comprehensive cv advice service to candidates who want their cv’s to stand out from the crowd.

We are often asked what the best advice would be for applicants unsure of the basics or in need of a CV MOT. Our golden rules on CV writing remain the same:

Get the basics right

Ensure that the document covers your education, qualification and experience, interests and includes relevant referees. A short candidate profile summarising your current role and suitability for the job should be inserted towards the top of the document to catch the eye of the person reading it.

Presentation is key

Other vitally important things to consider are a clean and well-structured lay out that ensures the CV can be scanned quickly by the reader. It should be clear and concise and ideally no more than 3 pages in length. Insert paragraphs into the body of the text at appropriate points. Ensure that you get somebody to proof read the CV to ensure that it is grammatically correct and devoid of embarrassing spelling mistakes.

Your job history should be set out in reverse chronological order with your current/most recent role at the top. The dates that you were employed at each firm should be included together with full job titles.

Showcase your achievements/skills

If you are particularly good at something job related or have achieved something significant in a particular role, be sure to mention it. By way of example, law firms are always keen to see:

A consistent billing history

Examples of winning new business or business development

Leadership or management skills

Examples of the type of client you have worked for, the value or complexity of work done or any interesting or niche skills that you may have, which could set you apart from other candidates in the process.

Understand the job description and tailor your cv accordingly

A general CV, setting out your experience is useful but in the event that you have a job description or job specification for a particular role, consideration should be given to tailoring the contents of the document with reference to the specific skills and experience sought by the firm.

If you don’t have an up to date CV or even want some help in putting a fresh one together, Thornton Legal are happy to help.


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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.

With the New Year now underway, it’s time to start your perfect job. Here are some tips to create the best first impression in your new role.

  • Arrive on time, even better, early – it’s a good habit to get into from the outset and will ensure you’re ready and fully prepared for the day ahead.
  • Positive mental attitude – always be positive, even if you’re not always feeling it. It will rub off on colleagues and ensure you’re seen as an optimistic, upbeat problem solver.
  • Dress appropriately – it’s important to dress like you mean business. Observe the dress styles of your new colleagues to get an idea of what is appropriate in your new work environment.
  • Get to know your colleagues, remember names! Taking time to get to know your new colleagues will help you to feel comfortable in your new role and settle in quickly. Introduce yourself and ask them about themselves and, importantly, remember their names! – even if it means jotting them down initially.
  • Be friendly and professional – this will take you a long way and will make your colleagues more willing to help you out when you need it.
  • Be organised and proactive – During your first days in your new role listen carefully to everything you’re told and take notes. If you’re unsure, ask and be organised from the word go to ensure you stay on top of your workload.
  • Avoid office politics and gossip – While it is important to be friendly and engage with your new colleagues, avoid gossip and office politics, no matter how tempting it can be to join in. You start a new role with a clean slate and you want to keep it that way rather than clouding your initial impressions of the firm and the people you’re working with.
  • Ask questions and ask for help – If you’re unsure of something ask for help as people will expect this from a new colleague. As processes and procedures are being explained, ask questions to deepen your understanding and knowledge.
  • Show appreciation – When colleagues do take time out of their busy schedule to show you the ropes and help you out, show your appreciation.
  • Show commitment – Don’t be a clock watcher and do volunteer for tasks over and above your role to show your enthusiasm and commitment to your employer.
  • Be quick to observe and slow to judge – Spend your first weeks observing how your colleagues approach their work. You will learn a lot and showing humility rather than judging people will stand you in good stead. Making mistakes is inevitable but turn them into positives by learning from them.
  • Participate in social events – this shows willing and that you’re keen to get to know your colleagues. You can learn a lot about the culture of the company in a more informal setting and it also helps to boost team building.

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.