Junior lawyers most difficult to recruit, says London Councils survey

A new recruitment and retention survey of London Boroughs by London Councils has found that the capital's legal departments are finding it significantly more difficult to recruit and retain junior and mid-level lawyers than senior legal advisers and managers.

Seventy-six per cent of councils in London said that they had experienced difficulty in recruiting Level I (basic professionals) lawyers and 78% said that the same of those classified as Level II (experienced professionals). By contrast, only 67% reported difficulties in hiring Level III (principal professionals) lawyers and 64% said the same of lawyers at Level IV (divisional head/head of service).

When it comes to retaining staff, the difference between senior and junior lawyers is wider still. Seventy-two percent and 76% respectively said that they they had trouble keeping lawyers at Levels I and II, but only 56% and 57% said the same of Level III and Level IV legal professionals.

Lawyers remain amongst the most difficult of the 47 employee groups on the survey to recruit, despite being amongst the best-paid local authority employees, the survey found, with only social workers, engineers, planners and occupational therapists harder to recruit and retain.

With average packages (excluding PRP) of £38,203 and £89,035 respectively, Level I and Level IV lawyers were better paid than any other employee group at London local authorities. Level II and III lawyers, who averaged £45,545 and £56,482 respectively, were bettered only by educational psychologists and education inspectors of equivalent seniority.

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