What Can You Expect to Pay When Recruiting a Lawyer? Legal Recruitment Agency Fees Explained
Hiring within the legal industry can be a costly business. Top-quality, experienced lawyers don’t come cheap, but salary, bonuses and other perks aren’t the only outlays you need to consider. If you’re looking to recruit via an agency, then you’ll also have their fees on top of any remuneration package. But how much do agencies charge? Here we take a look at ten recruitment agencies hiring for the legal sector to find out what you can expect to pay. These rates were accurate as of June 2020 and are subject to change of course. Other agencies – if you want to add your fees to the article please contact us.
1. JMC Legal Recruitment
JMC Legal Recruitment is a dedicated legal recruitment agency with offices in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and New York.
As with many agencies across various sectors, fees are a percentage of the first year’s salary of your new hire:
- £0-£15,000 17%
- £15,001-£49,999 20%
- £50,000-£99,999 25%
- £100,000+ 30%
JMC issues its invoice on the date the employment begins and payment is due within 7 days.
Rebates – how much of JMC’s fee you’ll get back if a candidate doesn’t work out depends on when the role was terminated:
- Week 0-2 100%
- Week 2-3 62.5%
- Week 3-4 50%
- Week 4-5 37.5%
- Week 5-6 25%
- Week 6-7 12.5%
There’s no refund after 7 weeks of employment have been completed.
2. g2 Legal
g2 Legal are specialist legal recruitment consultants with offices in London, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, and an international office in Sydney, Australia. So how did they compare on costs?
g2 Legal operate a sliding scale of fees based on the annual salary of the candidate during the first year of engagement:
- £0-£49,999 20%
- £50,000+ 25%
g2 Legal’s fees only become due upon the candidate starting their role with the firm and payment by instalments may also be an option.
Rebates are given on an 8-week sliding scale if the employment is terminated during the first two months.
3. Bygott Biggs
Bygott Biggs have a presence in Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester and specialise in legal recruitment for both law firms and in-house departments.
Unlike many agencies we’ve come across, Bygott Biggs don’t up their fees along with the starting salary of the candidate. They charge a flat 20% regardless of the level of the candidate.
Payment is generally due within 14 days of commencement of employment. However instalment plans would be considered if agreed in advance of the assignment.
Rebates are offered for the first 3 months of employment and the amount depends on when the engagement terminates:
- Week 1-4 75%
- Week 4-8 50%
- Week 8-13 25%
4. TSR Legal
TSR Legal’s head office is based in Cardiff but they have regional consultants recruiting throughout England and Wales.
TSR Legal’s fees are a percentage of the first year’s salary:
- £0-£18,999 18%
- £19,000-£24,999 20%
- £25,000-£34,999 24%
- £35,000+ 26%
Payment of their fees is within 14 days of receipt of the invoice.
Rebates are on a sliding scale according to when termination of employment occurred:
- Up to the 2nd week 100%
- Up to the 4th week 50%
- Up to the 6th week 25%
- Up to 8 weeks 10%
5. Michael Page
Michael Page is a nationwide recruitment agency with offices across England as well as Scotland and Wales. While not exclusively a legal recruitment agency, they do have dedicated legal consultants.
Fees at Michael Page are based on the first-year salary and are broken down into a retainer fee, a shortlist fee, and a completion fee. Total fees for the various salary ranges are:
- £0-£39,999 25%
- £40,000-£79,999 30%
- £80,000+ 33%
Michael Page insist on a minimum fee of £3,000.
Payment should be made within 14 days of the date on the invoice.
If the candidate does not work out, Michael Page firstly reserve the right to provide a replacement hire. If this is not possible, they will issue a refund “in the same proportions as the period not worked bears to 8 weeks.” This is calculated to the nearest week and there’s no refund or replacement in respect of replacement candidates.
6. eNL Legal
eNL Legal provide specialist legal recruitment across both England and Wales and have offices in London, Manchester and Leeds. But how do their fees stack up?
Fees are generally a percentage of the first year’s salary:
- £0-£20,000 £4,000 flat fee
- £20,001-£24,999 20%
- £25,000-£49,999 25%
- £50,000-£99,999 30%
- £100,000+ 35%
eNL Legal’s payment terms are a fairly standard 14 days from the date of their invoice.
The rebate period is 12 weeks and the rate depends on when the employment was terminated:
- Non-commencement 100%
- Week 1-2 75%
- Week 3-7 50%
- Week 8-12 15%
7. Chadwick Nott
Chadwick Nott recruit exclusively for the legal sector and are located in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Reading, Bristol, Liverpool and Leeds.
Chadwick Nott classify their fees as either Database Searches, Independent Searches, or Executive Selections. However, the percentage of the annual remuneration is the same:
- £0-£49,999 22%
- £50,000-£74,999 25%
- £75,000+ 30%
The agency also stipulate a minimum fee of £1,000.
Payment of Chadwick Nott’s fees is due within 14 days of the date of the invoice although they may accept instalments.
The sliding scale is dependent on when employment ends:
- Up to 4 weeks 50%
- Weeks 4-10 25%
There is no rebate available after week 10.
8. Bell Cornwall
While Bell Cornwall do not solely recruit law professionals, legal recruitment is one of their main specialisms. The agency is based in Birmingham and services the West Midlands.
Bell Cornwall charge a flat 20% of the first year’s salary for any new hire recruited through the agency.
The invoice is issued on commencement of employment and payment is generally due within 30 days. However, Bell Cornwall may consider accepting 50% upon the candidate starting and the remaining 50% after 3 months.
Bell Cornwall apply a sliding scale of refunds across a 6-month period depending on when the employment is terminated. This is a significantly longer rebate period than most of the other agencies we’ve looked at.
9. Law Staff Legal Recruitment
From a one-desk operation back in 2002, Law Staff now describe themselves as one of the UK’s leading legal recruitment agencies. Their offices are based in Cambridge and here’s how they compare when it comes to fees.
Law Staff break their fees down into two rates depending on salary level:
- £0-£30,000 18%
- £30,000+ 25%
Ordinarily, there is a £3,500 minimum fee.
Payment is usually 14 days from the date of the invoice.
Rebate rates depend on how long the candidate remains in the position:
- Less than 14 days 75%
- 15-49 days 50%
- 50-74 days 25%
- 75-99 days 10%
There is no rebate after 100 days and the agency have 13 weeks after being informed of the termination to find a replacement candidate before resorting to a refund.
10. Ten Percent Legal Recruitment
Ten Percent Legal Recruitment have bases in London and Mold and their consultants work remotely. Established in 2000 they are locum and permanent legal recruitment specialists hiring for both in-house teams and law firms, donating 10% of annual profits to charity hence the name. But how do they measure up fee-wise?
The agency’s fees are 18% of the first year’s remuneration for your new hire and are not based on salary scale.
Fees are payable over 12 months from the start of employment at no extra cost. This arrangement appears unique in the recruitment market.
Ten Percent Legal Recruitment offers a rebate period of 12 months. As payment of their fees is also spread over 12 months, if the employment is terminated at any point during the year, your obligation to make instalments simply ends.
Things to Note
There are a couple of things to bear in mind when hiring through a recruitment agency.
Part-Time Candidate Fees
When it comes to hiring part-time candidates, the recruitment agency’s fee may be based on the full-time equivalent salary or might be based on the pro-rata amount. Double-check in advance so that you don’t end up with a much higher invoice than anticipated.
Many agencies attach conditions to their rebate policies. They might insist on attempting to provide a replacement candidate before considering a rebate. Or late payment of their fee might void your right to a rebate completely (there is case legislation to back this up), so make sure to read the small print when signing up.
You can always haggle on recruitment agency fees – don’t forget – if you don’t ask, you don’t get..
Don’t forget to ring round when looking for a legal recruitment consultant, or a recruitment consultant generally. There appears to be quite a wide range of fees charged in the UK by agents.