The good news for job hunters is that it’s very much a candidate-driven recruitment market at the moment, which means there are plenty of opportunities out there for savvy candidates. But how can you make the most of these opportunities to find the best role for you?

If you’re ready to take the next step in your legal career, our number one tip is to use a legal recruitment specialist in your area.

We would say that, wouldn’t we?!

But there are several good reasons to enlist a specialist like Legal Southwest to help you with your job hunt. A good recruitment agency will:

Provide insight into the local legal sector

At Legal Southwest, we’ve been in the business for fifteen years and have built up good working relationships with law firms across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. We provide our candidates with detailed information about those firms and are well-placed to match you with one that ticks all the right boxes.

Proactively find positions on your behalf

Many recruiters know about positions before they are made public, so you won’t see the full picture if you’re only looking at advertised vacancies.

At Legal Southwest, we go one step further and make speculative approaches to suitable law firms, passing on details of talented candidates who we think will be of interest. Around 75-80% of our placements are made in this way, so we have a high success rate!

This is because we have specialist knowledge of the various law firms in the Southwest and a clear understanding of what they are looking for in new recruits. We’ve built up trust with those firms, who know they can rely on us to choose candidates carefully.

As a recent example, we had a candidate come to us looking for a partnership role. Within 24hrs of contacting a few targeted firms, we had three come back to us to say they wanted to see the CV.

Give you the best possible chance to impress

Your legal recruitment agency should help you present yourself properly to give you the best possible chance with prospective employers.

At Legal Southwest, we start by getting to know you to understand what you’re looking for and what you can offer. We then edit your CV to highlight the key information a firm wants to know about you and make it easy for them to see where you could fit in. Once you are at interview stage, we provide advice on preparing for interview as well as links to help research the firm and the people who will be interviewing you.

Our goal is to make sure that there are no question marks about a candidate in the recruiter’s mind.


Three more tips for finding a legal role…

We obviously advocate working with a specialist legal recruitment agency like us, but what else can you do to boost your chances of finding your perfect role?

  1. Go all in with your chosen legal recruiter

When you start job hunting, it’s tempting to contact as many recruitment agencies as possible to see what’s available and get yourself on their books – but this can backfire.

It’s better to select one agency that is going to get to know you, understand what you’re looking for in your next role and work hard on your behalf to secure this. This keeps your job search confidential, without the risk that your CV will be sent to the same firm multiple times. Most law firms will avoid candidates if it’s not clear where they came from first, as they don’t want to end up with a potential agency dispute!

  1. Think about what you want from your next role

Why are you looking to move on from your current position? What salary and career progression do you want? What else is important to you in a firm?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself before you begin your job hunt so that you can be clear about your next steps. Think about what aspects you would be prepared to compromise on vs the deal breakers.

When a new candidate comes to us, we always start with a chat to understand the reasons for moving on and what you want from your next role. This covers obvious considerations such as salary and location, as well as things like prospects within the firm, mentorship, culture, the ability to change practice areas if you’re feeling pigeon-holed… The more we know, the better placed we are to find a good match for you.

Having said that, it’s also important to be realistic about your expectations. While we encourage candidates to think about their wish list, we’re always honest about the types of roles and firms that may be available for them. For example, location is often a major factor in any job hunt so you need to look at what firms within your area can offer unless you are prepared for a much longer commute or to relocate.

That leads us onto our next tip…

  1. Be open-minded

Don’t close doors unnecessarily!

We often find that candidates have a preconceived idea about a firm for one reason or another. It’s important to bear in mind that every firm is structured differently and the teams within this will all have their own way of doing things. This may not relate to what you have previously understood about the firm.

Candidates can also sometimes come to us with the belief that they can only get what they want from a bigger firm. This is definitely not always the case in the Southwest, as there are smaller firms where the partners have created a strong client base, handling larger or more high profile clients.

This is where we come in! With our experience of the legal sector in the Southwest, we’re can chat through any preconceptions and hesitations to make sure that you’re not missing out on a great opportunity.

Having said that, we’ve also had candidates who are very sure about where they want to make their next move to and we have been able to help them to target a specific firm, which may mean playing a longer game if you’re happy to be patient.

Let Legal Southwest help you to find your next legal role

2021 ended with a record number of placements and we’re seeing a very active legal recruitment market at the moment.

We know that law firms are serious about recruiting for the long-term. There are plenty of opportunities and some attractive packages, as firms try to entice candidates back to the job market after a couple of uncertain years.

This makes it a great time to be job hunting!

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, make us your first call to find out how we can help you find the right role and firm.


Legal Southwest is a specialist legal recruiter, bringing together talented professionals with like-minded organisations. Take a look at our current vacancies or contact us to find out how we can help you.