Your Round Up Of News, Views and Events


Much is written on the subject of networking. Hardly surprising, as it’s fundamental to any business. It’s an investment which can return massive dividends. On the other hand, get it wrong and it becomes a fantastic way of wasting valuable time. So, how do you ensure you get the most out of networking? There are numerous methods to building a good network of worthwhile, genuine contacts and all effective networkers will go about things in various ways. For what it’s worth, here are a few pointers which I have picked up.

Piecemeal or panacea – the new Solicitors ‘Super Exam’

The proposed Solicitors Qualifying Exam (“SQE”) is intended to be introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) in 2020. Its supporters say it will standardise the route through to qualification as a solicitor, notably eradicating the variances between LPC and GDL courses and their providers. It has been suggested that it will also reduce the cost of entry into the profession thus increasing accessibility and social mobility. Laudable though these claims are, the SQE has already faced much criticism from leading members of the profession. Will the solicitors super exam really deliver on its promises or does it simply represent pointless meddling by the SRA and what impact will it have on legal recruitment in Manchester and beyond?

Winds of change? Increase in business start-ups – a barometer for growing confidence in the UK economy

A recent article in the Manchester Evening News reported that the North West saw a 10% increase in the number of businesses due to a substantial increase in the number of new start-ups. This is certainly encouraging news. Furthermore, given the current political backdrop it seems all-the-more surprising. After months of anxious uncertainty, could it be that this increase in business initiative reflects a stabilising of the business community and a feeling that things are, very slowly, getting back on track?

Talking turkey! Broaching the subject of salary at interview

Recently, I found myself at a meeting with the Head of Recruitment of one of our major national clients. The conversation turned to the subject of salaries and how the question is broached at interview. It still surprises me how often this aspect of the recruitment process is ignored, (or perhaps actively avoided) by interviewer and candidate alike. Some candidates ask me how go about negotiating salary at interview so I thought it might be helpful to set out a couple of points.


Much has been made by the legal press about the recent arrival of a number of international heavyweights into the city’s legal services market. Law firms far and wide seem to be eying the prospect of establishing a presence in the North West and it is Manchester that appears seems to have the greatest attraction. But why is this? And what are the wider ramifications for the North as a whole?


CSR is an acronym that has entrenched itself into modern business lexicon. Many large corporations now have impressive, well-structured CSR policies from planting trees in endangered woodlands or building schools in underdeveloped nations. But how should smaller businesses contribute? Is effective CSR merely the preserve of large, multi-national corporations or can SME make a real difference in this sphere too?

The Leeds and Manchester Legal markets – A tale of two cities!

The rivalry between the red and the white rose is well documented, but the two northern economic heavyweights have also always enjoyed a healthy degree of competition as far as their respective legal markets are concerned. Traditionally, Leeds was seen as possessing the second largest, most dynamic legal sector outside London. But as we continue to enter more prosperous time, is this still the case? Or has Manchester managed to overturn its old adversary?

Law – it’s a numbers game: The arrival of the ‘Big Four’ in the legal services market

In December 2014, EY became the latest Big Four accountancy firm to gain Alternative Business Structure (ABS) status from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. KPMG had already been awarded an ABS licence in October 2014, whilst PwC were the first of the Big Four past the post in January of last year. But what does this actually mean for the legal profession? Will accountants now compete directly for work which was historically the preserve of traditional law firms? Will the other large accountancy practices – Grant Thornton, Baker Tilly and BDO for example – follow suit? And what are the implications for young lawyers looking to build a legal career in this brave new world?

Times are a changing: Will the candidate be king in 2015?

The past few years been an emotional time for lawyers operating in the UK legal services market. At a national and regional level, candidates had to cope with not only the massive economic fall out of the global economic crisis and increasing uncertainty over job security, but a overwhelming sense that the old order was beginning to change. Salaries stalled and the threat of redundancy loomed. Furthermore the passing of the Legal Services Act in 2011 added an extra degree of uncertainty. However in 2013, it seemed that the storm was beginning to break and by 2015 it could be that candidates may once again have the upper hand in a market crying out for their skills.