AJ Chambers is an award-winning consultancy. We find and recruit the very best in the Legal profession. Our team has an incredibly in-depth knowledge of the marketplace. With over 14 years of experience in shaping legal professional’s futures.
Our specialist private practice consultants have a deep understanding of the industry. And will be there every step of the way with expert insights and advice. We provide the very best in legal practice recruitment.
Andrew Fragnito Day, Principal Consultant, and Stuart Whiter, Senior Consultant have answered some of the most frequently asked questions.
Andrew and Stuart have both been with the business for over 4 years. During this time, they’ve been a key force in the drive to improve our customer-centric approach. Improving the overall quality of our operations and how we deliver recruitment solutions to the UK legal market.
Tell us about AJ Chambers and your service offering?
Stuart: AJ Chambers has been focused on shaping the futures of Legal professionals for over 10 years. Because of this, we have become the trusted recruitment consultancy for hundreds of Law firms throughout the UK. We partner with our clients to find and recruit the best and the brightest. From the smartest graduates and trainees right the way up to the most distinguished, Leaders and Partners.
Please tell us what practice area you specialise in recruiting for?
Andrew: Here at Nelson Chambers we specialise in recruitment of qualified legal professionals. To law firms in Central London and the East England. We work across a broad range of practice areas. Such as Real Estate, Family, Corporate, Private Client, Dispute Resolution, Employment Law, Corporate and Commercial, Litigation and Family Law.
What sort of law firms do you work with?
Stuart: Our clients vary from small boutique firms right the way through to the biggest law firms in the world. They can range from regional top 200 Law firms all across Essex through to legal 500 accredited firms. We have built up some fantastic relationships over the years with various stakeholders and we are passionate about making positive and real impacts on law firms through recruitment.
What makes your service offering different to other legal recruitment consultancies?
Andrew: Our market knowledge makes us different from other consultancies. Having been to offices and met with all of our clients in the past, we are able to deliver a bespoke service to both clients and candidates, with knowledge and understanding of what it is actually like to work at each firm which I think is invaluable, particularly when thinking about personality fit. Working and living in London and Essex also gives us a great understanding about commutable distances. It’s great to be able to demonstrate this to various candidates.
What are the benefits to using a specialist practice consultancy, rather than going direct to a firm?
Stuart: It’s not lost on us that it takes a lot for a candidate to respond to a message, email or call to a recruiter. When looking for a career change its one of the most frantic and nervous times for any individual. Working with a market specialist has such huge advantages during this time. As a specialist advisor, we begin by having a meeting to understand everything about each candidate. Their skills, personality, career history, what they want next and so on. For some people it’s looking for a high salary, for some it is work life balance and for others it can be working closer to home.
We then suggest alternative firms that match as close to a perfect fit as possible with market knowledge and intelligence developed over a number of years. Once interviews are secured, we have a further meeting on interview preparation. This is an invaluable part of the recruitment process for a number of reasons as interviewing at any level is an un-natural and nervous time, so having a specialist recruiter who understands this process really helps. It takes away all of the fear of the unknown and allows the candidate to deliver the best version of themselves during the interview.
Andrew: Of course, the most obvious reason to use a specialist recruiter is financial negotiation. Which is always a tough conversation to have directly with your potential new employer. Indirectly, this conversation has negative connotations. As the candidate is taking something away from the firm, whereas the interview process should be consistent discussions. Having a specialist by your side allows the interviewing process to remain positive throughout. Once offered and accepted, that’s not the end of our journey. We also have an aftercare service to make sure all candidates are happy where they have been placed. And to make sure it’s exactly what they have been looking for.
How has Covid-19 affected Legal Private Practice recruitment and the activity in the legal industry?
Andrew: I’m sure like every sector, both the legal industry and recruiting within it has been a rollercoaster ride in the last year or so, which has been at times incredibly challenging and at other times incredibly rewarding.
Typically, trends in the market tend to impact our recruitment trends. For example, when the SDLT holiday was announced, residential property solicitors became gold dust overnight, with every firm wanting to bolster their offering. Now, with the eviction ban being lifted, solicitors who focus on property disputes are in incredibly high demand- with the enormous backlog it seems like they will be busy for some time to come.
Stuart: We are also seeing lots of forward planning in other practice areas. There is a lot of M&A activity out there in the market, which is creating a lot of new work for corporate solicitors along with working from home discussions, which I’m sure will mean plenty of work in the commercial property market over the next few years. Naturally, this level of work will create the need for more recruitment.
There is an ongoing conversation in professional services around work life balance. Are you seeing an adoption of new work practices in the legal sector?
Stuart: This conversation remains incredibly topical in the legal industry. Prior to the pandemic, if we were working on a role that offered even one day a week from home, it was seen as a huge selling point, whereas now, just over a year or so on, its simply normal practice.
Fast forward and each law firm seems to be contemplating their flexible working culture for the future. Some of the larger practices have already released their plans of complete autonomy for each person to work where they wish, which is a huge change. I’ve even heard news recently of some firms completely closing all of their offices and being working entirely from home.
Andrew: Ultimately, the needs of each firm will be slightly different, as will the needs of each employee. A one size fits all approach will not be the right way to go so individual consultation will be required. One thing is for sure, the pandemic has had an incredibly positive impact on the work from home culture in the legal industry, which is the result of the attitude and commitment to every challenge that each individual has had to face.