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  • Working Together

A little bit about us

Joe Rees
Email Joe
Nick Tappin
Email Nick
Thornton Legal is a recruitment business owned and managed by Joe Rees and Nick Tappin.

We have strong relationships with law firms of all sizes and specialisms, and help build the careers of solicitors, paralegals and legal assistants across a broad range of experience levels. The team has over 30 years combined legal and recruitment experience with Nick qualifying as a solicitor in 2003 and Joe working in the recruitment industry since 2005.

Working together, our priority is to deliver the right outcome for clients and candidates. Get that right and we know that the success of Thornton Legal will follow. If you would like to know more about our individual backgrounds then please have a look at our LinkedIn profiles, or ask when we next chat.


Find your perfect job


Our Ethos

We don't want to be the biggest but we do want to be the best
Repeat business and referrals are key to Thornton Legal's success
We're not interested in making quick sales but in building relationships
Running a business is hard work, so having a laugh along the way is important!
This also means we can be agile and commercial when making decisions
We are a quality rather than quantity recruitment business e.g. No spam!
We are the bosses so we can tailor our service to suit your individual requirements
Rest assured we will keep you updated. There’s nothing worse than being kept in the dark!
*You may notice there are no buzz words like honesty, integrity, professionalism etc. The reason is they are so fundamental that they should go without saying
Get the above right and we know that professional success, job satisfaction, pennies in the bank and, most importantly, happy home lives will follow!

For Candidates

candidate diagram
We guarantee not to send your cv to firms without permission
We offer a fully consultative service as opposed to being a cv sending agency
We would rather have a chat over the phone so, if we are available, we will take your call
We consult, support and advise, but ultimately the choice is always yours
It's really important to meet people, and we hope you feel the same
We won't spam you with irrelevant jobs (but you may receive information we think you will be interested in)
We have a simple, straightforward and rewarding "refer a friend" scheme
We understand the importance of confidentiality at all times
Everyone has different career goals so we will tailor our approach to suit you

For Clients

client diagram
It's not possible to work with every law firm out there...
...we do however want to have a long term and mutually rewarding relationship with those that we do recruit for
We need clients to recommend us to others in their network, so what we offer must be top notch
Our 'hit rate' of cv send to offer is very good. We know quality beats quantity hands down
We are confident in our fee/ rebate structures which are competitive and fair
In the right circumstances there is room for negotiation but it’s a two way process. Things need to make sense for us too
We really value meetings with both clients and candidates. This is hugely important
Working together in an open and honest way makes recruiting a much easier process


Sun 22nd October 2017

Thornton Legal - "Best Start Up " at the MIB Awards

Joe and I put our DJ’s on and attended the 2017 Merseyside Independent Business Awards ceremony on Thursday night. It was black tie event held in the very snazzy Rum Warehouse of the Titanic Hotel.

Thornton Legal had been nominated for the “Best Start Up” award and we saw the event as an ideal opportunity to celebrate the first 2 years of our recruitment business with wives, friends and colleagues.

We were happy to have even been shortlisted in what was a very competitive category and were therefore somewhat taken back to win on the night, much to the delight of our table!

Thornton Legal are thrilled to have won such a prestigious award. The awards themselves were designed to platform and celebrate independent businesses on Merseyside, their owners and those who support them. They were founded in 2013 by Morecrofts Solicitors, a prominent local firm, to celebrate being 200 years old and remaining independent.

A lot of hard work went into the application process itself and the shortlist and eventual winners of all categories were decided by two different judging panels made up of eight respected and very experienced professionals from different parts of the Liverpool City Region.

The night itself was a bit of a blur, as was the next day at work. Suffice to say we had a great time toasting the success or not only ourselves but also the other fantastic businesses nominated for awards.

We would like to thank all of the loyalty and support shown to us by clients and candidates alike since we first started trading in January 2016. It’s been a whirlwind start!

Winning an award for “best start up” in a city brimming with talented start-up businesses is a real honour. Joe and I firmly believe that Liverpool and the wider North West is a fantastic location to continue to grow and that exciting times lie ahead.

We are hoping to go live with our brand-new website in the next couple of months and are already looking to add several legal recruiters and a marketing assistant to the Thornton Legal Team! We will be advertising he roles on our website soon so please do get in touch if you are interested in hearing more.


Fri 12th May 2017

Beware The “Counter Offer” – Things to Consider

Beware The “Counter Offer” – Things to Consider
Since the recession, the legal industry has seen the creation of a skills gap which has resulted in, as the market picked up, a shortage of suitably experienced candidates for an increasing number of roles in areas such as residential property, real estate and corporate/commercial.

Firms have not been able to grow their own lawyers at a sufficiently quick rate to satisfy demand and the knock on effect has been a job market where good quality lawyers often find themselves with multiple opportunities with firms vying for their talent and experience.

In circumstances like this a “counter offer” from their current firm is something that every candidate should be prepared for from the very beginning of their job search.

Thornton Legal find that on just about every occasion now where a candidate hands their notice in, the disgruntled firm tries, sometimes successfully, to counter offer their employee and prevent them leaving.

Firms are aware that the cost of hiring a replacement person can be high, not to mention the costs associated with having a position empty for any period resulting in a fall in revenue or an added burden on the remaining members of the team who are often reallocated work.

Some candidates enter the recruitment process hoping that their current employer makes such a counter offer, for others it can be the last thing they were expecting.
Either way, the decision whether to stay or go can be a daunting one but our experience at Thornton Legal is that the vast majority of accepted counter offers ultimately fail to satisfy the candidate and they find themselves re-entering the job market a little further down the line.

Why is this and why are counter offers a tricky thing to navigate?

There are a number of factors but the common themes are:

If you’re worth it now, why did it take you to hand your notice in to force their hand?
If a person is worth the increased salary or promotion that comes with the counter offer, the firm in question really should have rewarded their employee earlier. Candidates are often flattered to receive a counter offer but they should really be asking the question why they were undervalued for such a long time in the first place and whether their current firm is the right place for them to satisfy their ambitions in the long run.

It’s often not just about the money
Other motivating factors often play a significant factor in why candidates look elsewhere in the first place: work life balance, commute, promotion prospects, firm culture and quality of work can be lacking. Accepting a counter offer just for the money can be a temporary sticking plaster that doesn’t solve any of the other underlying issues.

Staying can cause resentment/trust/loyalty issues
It’s an understated problem that once a lawyer looks elsewhere, in the minds of their firm, even if they stay the bonds of trust and loyalty can be broken and never fully heal. This problem is circumstance specific and doesn’t occur every time but can be an issue that rears its head and is often difficult to resolve.

Does the salary increase price you out of a future move?
Staying at a firm for a big pay rise whilst useful in the short term can affect a lawyer’s position in the job market further down the line. Hefty hikes in salary can put candidates in an artificially high position that they find difficult to justify when they eventually look to move and can put some potential employers off.

Thornton Legal are at hand at every stage of the process when it comes to providing clear, pragmatic and focused advice to lawyers entering the job market.  We are only too happy to speak out of hours to candidates on a confidential basis and give them sensible advice, tailored to their individual circumstances.

If you are a lawyer that would like to explore the job market in the North West or Yorkshire, we would be only too happy to help. 
Tue 25th April 2017

Nice Words About Thornton Legal via Testimonials

We’re proud of the testimonials we receive and we feel there is no better way to promote Thornton Legal’s recruitment services to future clients and candidates.

Below is a selection of testimonials given to us over the past few months – thanks to all for making the effort, it does mean a lot!

Property Solicitor

Joe is a very diligent, honest and professional recruitment consultant. He took the trouble to get to know exactly what I was looking for in my next role and delivered. I would have no hesitation in working with Joe again in future and would definitely recommend him to fellow professionals.

Family Solicitor

I can't recommend enough the professional service I received from Nick at Thornton Legal . He took a lot of the stress out of searching for suitable roles. He kept informed and was always available to speak to when I needed him.

Private Client Solicitor

Nick was really helpful in finding me a great new role. Before contacting Thornton Legal I was unsure what was available on the legal market job wise. He had lots of good advice and before too long he was able to secure me a new private client solicitor position at a firm that offered the flexibility I required from a childcare perspective. I would definitely recommend Thornton Legal to anybody looking for a move. They are well connected with firms in Lancashire and offered a consultative service instead of pushing me in any particular direction. 

Family Solicitor

I would highly recommend Joe Rees who took the time to assist me in finding the ideal new role. Joe took a pro-active and tailored approach which resulted in a successful move for me as a candidate, and I found Thornton Legal to be supportive throughout which made the process far less stressful than I was expecting.

Costs Draftsman

Nick was a real help in finding me a suitable new role in the centre of town. I was really happy with his efforts and he was able to negotiate a good deal for me in a role that I was suited to. I would definitely recommend any Costs Draftsmen in the market use Thornton Legal in their job search.

Residential Conveyancer

I would highly recommend Thornton Legal and Joe Rees to anybody looking for a new position within the legal arena. I had been looking for 'the right move' for several months and Joe has facilitated that for me. His support for me as a candidate was outstanding, ensuring I had the best information at my fingertips in preparation for my interview and then afterwards ensuring that I was offered the contract which met my requirements. Thus creating a win-win situation for both employer and candidate, which can only be good for a successful long term working relationship. The 'Congratulations' card I received was a really lovely touch too.

Senior Commercial Solicitor

I would highly recommend Joe Rees and TL to any solicitor seeking a move. He took the time to meet with me which was both appreciated and useful. Not only were TL professional and attentive but Joe Rees's knowledge of the market and that he didn't just at obvious placement positions resulted in a very successful move.

Private Client Solicitor

I had the hard task of finding a new job retraining into Wills and Probate from a litigation background. It proved to be a very pleasant task with the help of Joe. Joe was very positive and helped me prepare for interview. He went above and beyond the call of duty and met with me before the Interview. He was extremely helpful and approachable throughout the process and I could not recommend Joe or Thornton Legal enough. After my interview Joe then met with the Law Firm and made sure I was offered the best contract. I loved the extra touch of receiving a Congratulations Card when I secured the job. From my previous experience of recruitment consultants, it often seemed impersonal but Thornton Legal made the whole experience very pleasant.

Managing Director

Having rarely used agencies in the past to assist with recruitment, it was refreshing to come across Thornton Legal who exceeded expectations. I dealt with Joe throughout the process who understood exactly what we were looking for in the ideal candidate and I was impressed with the calibre of CVs that I received. I have now placed a candidate via Thornton Legal and I am using them again to source a candidate for a new position.

HR Director

I have worked with Thornton Legal since I moved to my current firm in the Spring and I have found him to be both professional and polished in the manner in which they deal with their clients and their needs in terms of candidate profiles. Look forward to working with them again in the future.

Private Client Solicitor

Joe was fantastic from beginning to end and even thereafter. He found me a role that suited my needs to a tee. He offered unfettered support and guidance throughout the whole process and made a very difficult time for me much more bearable. I would recommend Joe to anyone considering new opportunities.

FILEX Insurance Litigator

I would highly recommend the services of Thornton Legal. When I got in touch with Nick it was a refreshing change from what I had experienced with other recruiters. He put me forward for a specialist position following a lengthy discussion about my career to date, where I wanted to be in the future and provided full support throughout the process. I would certainly utilise Thornton again should the need arise and would encourage others to do so. Their level of communication and personal touch is, in my experience, unrivalled in the legal recruitment industry. 

If you would like to contact Thornton Legal please email [email protected] or call 0800 011 6634.

Tue 04th April 2017

Our move from Launch 22

The below is taken from Launch 22, our home from early 2016 to Spring 2017. 

Joe Rees and Nick Tappin founded their recruitment company in 2016 and have now been with us at Launch22 for just over a year. Their business has been successfully accelerated towards the next level and as a result of this, they are now moving onwards and upwards to fulfil the next step of their business venture.

We had a chat with Nick, the co-founder of Thornton Legal, and asked him about their experience at Launch22 and how we helped them and their business grow.

What do you guys do here at Launch22?
We own a boutique recruitment business focusing on the legal market in the North West. We recruit for law firms and recruit & bring paralegals and solicitors primarily out of Liverpool, Chester, Manchester and everywhere else in between.

How has your experience been?
Really positive! We’ve been here for 12 months, started the business in 2016 working out of Joe’s front room for the first couple of months.

Like any other successful rock band then!
Absouletly! We started off very small. We did reasonably well and we made a couple of decent placements which allowed us to move to Launch22.
Joe and I love the work space — we find that it’s a really creative and positive environment. It’s full of nice people who are always happy to help with any queries regarding the practicalities of running a business.

How did you find the facilities at Launch22?
We started working on the hot-desks which are fantastic, really good. My only problem was that my bottom got really numb after sitting on them for a while! Definitely need some cushions — it suits some people/doesn’t suit some people ha-ha.

More cushions… Noted!
But we wanted something a little bit more permanent hence why we opted for the personal desks in the corner of the room. We made that space our own, we didn’t get bothered by anybody, it’s reasonably quiet but if it does get a bit buzzy in the office you have that option to tap in to that vibe too. The people are friendly so we can’t fault it as a place to be for a period of time.

So, would you say we have matched your needs for your start-up company?
Completely. It is relatively inexpensive compared to other options in the market. Hypothetically, if you’re a start-up with two people in a closed office environment, growing your business can get quite isolating. So, to be in a fun working environment like this makes it conducive.
Matt was great, Nat was great and all the new people have been really great too. Location-wise is absolutely ideal — all or most of our clients are based within the city. We also get parking out back and took advantage of the rooftop terrace last year doing yoga and pilates in the sun with YinYan which was fantastic. So, we relished the opportunity to take advantage of all the perks that you offer!

What’s in store for the future?
We are moving to a self-contained office in Cotton Exchange with scope to bring two or three people over the next six to twelve months to grow further. There was three of us in January but we parted ways with that individual in beginning of March, but the plan is very much to push on and bring in junior recruits. It’s just a case of finding the right individuals and people we can buy into in terms of personality. It’s been a fantastic a year being here but as we grow experience is telling us that we need a self-contained office space as we reach the next level of our business so we can deal with confidential meetings, HR and so on.

Would you class Launch22 as the perfect stepping stone?
Yeah definitely. Anybody we speak to who was in the same boat as us from 12 months ago, we are happy to recommend Launch22 as a platform for them to grow their business because it’s been a positive, engaging environment for us to find ourselves in. We have grown the business as a direct result of that and so, we have Launch22 to thank. Not to mention the value for money — you’re not going to find anything else better in Liverpool.

Is there anything that you are going to miss?
Yes! The people, the environment and the ping pong table, for sure. We’ll be sad to leave that behind. Joe and I have probably spent too long on the table the past 12 months. Not that that is the reason we are leaving! It’s a welcoming distraction.

We couldn’t agree more! We recently did a blog on the benefits of having a ping pong table in the office.
Yeah it’s great. It refreshes the mind and wakes you up after a long session at the desk, so we’re going to miss that while we’re gone and may have to invest in one when we move into our new space ourselves.

Thank you for choosing Launch22 as your start up incubator and we wish you all the success with the future of your business!

It’s been a pleasure!
Mon 13th March 2017

Cv Writing Tips

Putting together your cv can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve been at the same firm for a long time or are simply unsure as to how to set your experience out in a way that’s going to be attractive to potential employers.

Thornton Legal are always happy to take the sting out of the process and offer a comprehensive cv advice service to candidates who want their cv’s to stand out from the crowd.

We are often asked what the best advice is for would be applicants unsure of the basics or in need of a cv MOT. Our golden rules on cv writing remain the same:

Get the basics right
Ensure that the document covers your education, qualification and experience, interests and includes relevant referees. A short candidate profile summarising your current role and suitability for the job should be inserted towards the top of the document to catch the eye of the person reading it.

Presentation is key
Other vitally important things to consider are a clean and well-structured lay out that ensures the cv can be scanned quickly by the reader. It should be clear and concise and ideally no more than 3 pages in length. Insert paragraphs into the body of the text at appropriate points. Ensure that you get somebody to proof read the cv to ensure that it is grammatically correct and devoid of embarrassing spelling mistakes.

Your job history should be set out in reverse chronological order with your current/most recent role at the top. The dates that you were employed at each firm should be included together with full job titles.

Showcase your achievements/skills
If you are particularly good at something job related or have achieved something significant in a particular role, be sure to mention it. By way of example, law firms are always keen to see:

A consistent billing history
Examples of winning new business or business development
Leadership or management skills
Examples of the type of client you have worked for, the value or complexity of work done or any interesting or niche skills that you may have which could set you apart from other candidates in the process.

Understand the job description and tailor your cv accordingly
A general cv setting out your experience is useful but in the event that you have a job description or job specification for a particular role, consideration should be given to tailoring the contents of the document with reference to the specific skills and experience sought by the firm.

If you don’t have an up to date cv or even want some help in putting  a fresh one together, Thornton Legal are happy to help.  
Tue 14th February 2017

Flexible/ Remote Working

As a legal recruiter, I meet my fair share of clients and candidates and company benefits are often discussed with flexible working policies a hot topic.

For example, last week I went for lunch with the HR Director of a large commercial law firm who was at the latter stages of rolling out theirs and the following day I met a solicitor employed by a firm with 100% flexible working, if transparent targets are achieved.

Regardless of the individual policy on offer it’s essential that it’s bought into and encouraged by management. The major obstacle to a flexible working going to the distance is employers trusting their staff not to take advantage of the policy. If it’s not ingrained the culture (which take time and effort) then there is a strong possibility it will be mothballed.

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School says “managers want people in the office because they want to see their little empires in front of them. It's totally about trust, and the incompetence of managers who don't know how to manage people remotely."

There needs to be a shift in focus to the end result, rather than the process of getting there, which can change from employee to employee. After all, delivery is what it’s all about and what does it matter if the work to get there is done from the office or at home?

To back this up Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK states "the fear factor for many managers is 'if I can't see you how do I know you are working?' Managers need training on how to assess a home-worker on their output, not their input."

From a practical perspective, businesses need to have the technology in place that allows employees to work to their full potential at home. There are numerous cloud based working and video conferencing options available so there really is no excuse for home working not to 100% reflect what is possible from the office.

At Thornton Legal, flexible working is a fundamental part of the business (I write this from home while holding a 6 week old baby!) .

We hope to have a policy that will allow employees work from home occasionally safe in the knowledge that they have the full trust of the Directors. Everything that can be accessed in the office can be access from home and it’s a brilliant system (we would say that of course!). Full flexible working won’t be on the table from day one as, in the early days, we will need to spend time together a team but we hope it will come into play sooner rather than later.

Recruitment is a results based business and, as long as fees are coming in, we don’t give two hoots where the work is being done. If the fees aren’t coming in then, well….that’s a story for another day….
Fri 11th November 2016

Christmas Elves at the Whitechapel Centre

When Nick and I decided to become business owners, we promised ourselves that we wouldn’t just work, work, work, but rather work innovatively and flexibly allowing us to spend time in other ways, including supporting local charities.

So this year in the run up to Christmas we are volunteering a few hours of our time to become Christmas Elves (helpers) at the Whitechapel Centre in Liverpool.

The Whitechapel Centre is a homeless charity started in 1975 to meet homeless needs in the city. They now have 80 staff, 40 volunteers who work with some of the most vulnerable, isolated and lonely people in the community.

The centre is open 365 days a year providing a service to rough sleepers, people living in temporary accommodation and those at risk of becoming homeless. Last year, 2,605 people came through their door which is a significant number of people!  

From the Whitechapel website: “We see a path that runs all the way from rough sleeping and street living to accommodation, independent living and employment, offering routes out of homelessness back into the community. We believe there are practical things we can do to address the factors that can lead to homelessness. Our aim is to help people find the solutions that work best for them and deliver positive outcomes”.

In the run up to Christmas the volume of donations dramatically increase so in December you will find Thornton Legal in a Portakabin at the Whitechapel Center sorting through the bags and boxes of donations.

If you would like to do the same or volunteer in other ways/ donate, information can be found on their website in the Christmas 2016 Appeal section -

Thu 20th October 2016

Interview rule No1. Preparation, preparation....and more preparation!

Nick and I generally feel that we prepare our candidates well for interviews but feedback from a client of ours last week made us realise there are certainly aspects that we, and the interviewees, can definitely improve on.

The client in question is one I know well and, consequently, we have pretty honest conversations about recruitment matters. The one last week went something like this:
Client – “we really like both candidates and we would like to bring then in for a second interview”

Joe – “that’s great news! When are you thinking?”

Client – “before we get to that, there’s something I’d like to get off my chest”

Joe – “yes of course”

Client – “why is that candidates generally know very little about us and our firm, or have any good quality questions to ask? We believe this is the opportunity for them to impress with their research and for them to gather information that will help them decide if we are the right choice. This lack of interest ends interviews on a flat note when it could be chance to really stand out from the crowd. Otherwise the interviews went well but this was disappointing”.

Joe – “oh dear, not great. We do go through the importance of interview preparation, pass on what we know about who they are meeting and give them ideas about questions to ask but this is something we must do better at. Having said that, it’s also down to the interviewee to take ownership and decide what interview preparation is required”.

What this conversation brought home is that it’s small margins which make the difference between success and failure at interview. Researching the firm and the interviewers couldn’t be easier in today’s digital world and if you are working with a half decent recruiter they should have additional information for you from client meetings that could swing the balance in your favour.

My candidates were asked “what do you think of our website?” – an easy one to answer…. if you have bothered to look!

The importance of asking good quality questions towards the end of the interview can’t be over stated. Nothing says “your just another law firm” like asking the interviewer about parking arrangements then having nothing else to say.

Rather, ask the interviewers about themselves – when did they join the firm? How have they progressed? What has kept them so long? Other questions could be - how is the team trained and developed? What career progression can be expected? Do I have the skills and experience that you are looking for? How do you feel I performed at interview?

As I said earlier, I feel we are better than most when it comes to helping with interview preparation but we have resolved to do even more to ensure that we do all we can to help you get the job of your dreams. But interviewees also need to take on the responsibility themselves - ultimately they will be sitting in from of a Partner, not us.

Proper research and well thought out questions are simple to do, but are too often missed and can be the difference between success and failure.

(If you would like to see a full copy of our interview guide then please let us know).

PS. We try and meet candidates for preparation as much as possible as these solicitors testify:

“Nick was a real help throughout. He was well connected and knew the family law market well. His relationships with firms put him in an advantageous position when it came to advising me of my options. I would not hesitate in recommending his services to anybody looking to gain a real insight into what jobs are out there. He took the time to come and meet me and this itself was very useful”.

“Joe's mantra of quality over quantity really proved true for me. He took the time to get to know me and focused on finding the right fit for my skill set and personality. He took time to speak to me outside of office hours and even drove across Cheshire to meet me. I thoroughly recommend Joe's services to anyone looking to move jobs. To top it off, he's a great bloke too”.

I found our pre-interview meeting especially useful. My Interview techniques were a tad rusty and being able to meet face to face and practice interview questions made me feel much more confident. Joe's communication was excellent from beginning to end whether that be by email, phone or text message. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a new challenge!"
Thu 29th September 2016

The good, the bad and the indifferent: A tale of legal recruiters

Speaking to candidates this year has been an interesting and informative task. Some of their tales of previous experiences with recruiters have demonstrated to Joe and I why we set up our own recruitment business in the first place. It has also served as a great reminder of the standards we aspire towards for our own business.

We wanted to see how we could keep on improving the services we offer at Thornton legal and   recently decided to survey some of our existing candidates to try to identify what they liked and what they disliked about recruiters and the recruitment experience generally. The results were very interesting.

A great many candidates found their previous interaction with recruiters to be a positive experience but struggled to name them, even the ones who had placed them in their current jobs.  This worried us.

Others had a less favourable perception that involved one or more of the following:

“Being kept in the dark as to applications”
“Not being contacted when they were told they would be provided with an update”
“Recruiters sending cv’s to firms without the candidate’s permission”
“Their consultant not knowing enough about the role or firm”
“The application for a particular job falling down over salary at the 11th hour”
“Recruiters not taking the time to find out what the candidate actually wants”
“The role being very different to the one painted by the recruiter”
“Was a hindrance rather than a help”

A fair number, thankfully, gave glowing appraisals of the recruiters that had helped them find their perfect role. Some of the more positive comments included:

“Going above and beyond what I had come to expect of a recruitment consultant”
“Was knowledgeable and well informed and knew a lot about the culture of the firm, the team and the role itself”
“Took the time to understand what the candidate actually wanted from a job”
“Managed expectations and kept the candidate in the loop throughout the process”
“Helped out with interview preparation”
“Was trustworthy and efficient”
“Was easily contactable and seemed genuinely interested in helping”

It struck us that in a candidate driven market awash with legal recruiters that we needed to take on board what our most valuable commodities were telling us. Without them we simply wouldn’t have a successful business.

Since the very outset, Thornton Legal has been keen to emphasise what it stands for. We want to be the best we can at what we do and this is only possible by offering a first rate service to all of our candidates.

It simply isn’t good enough not to respond to enquiries, not to get back in touch when we say we will get back in touch, not to prepare candidates properly for interview. I remember only too well from my own time a solicitor in private practice, the frustrations I had with some recruiters who suggested roles to me that didn’t fit with my experience or ambitions, who didn’t call me back, who didn’t offer constructive feedback or advice.

Thornton Legal is keen to buck the current trend of impersonal legal recruitment. We want to meet candidates, to get to know them, to offer a consultative approach to recruitment that ensures that each and every candidate we deal with feels as though we have listened to their needs.

We have received some fantastic testimonials from candidates placed through us recently. We think we are doing the right things. The recurring themes we came across were; acting with integrity, a knowledge of the market, offering a personal service and believing that we care.

We are happy that our candidates value the service that we offer but we don’t want to rest on our laurels. The recent survey has highlighted just how competitive the legal recruitment industry is and that candidates have a lot of choice as to who represents them.

The best kind of marketing a recruiter can get is our recommendation from a happy candidate to one of their colleagues. The number of referrals we have had this year is testimony to this.

There are a lot of legal recruiters in the North West. Some are great. The majority are pretty average. We want to be able to stand out from the crowd and ensure that we are memorable. We can only do this if we do what we say we are going to do and apply the Thornton Legal ethos consistently to each and every candidate we represent.

If you are a lawyer working in the North West who wants to have an open and honest chat about the job market, your career or an opportunity advertised on our website, we would be happy to take the time to listen. We appreciate that it can sometimes be difficult to speak during the day and are only too happy to put time aside in the evenings or at weekends if this suits you better.

We are fairly certain that we can help. We are absolutely certain that if we can’t help, you will still come away from the conversation having thought it was a positive and constructive experience.

Joe and I have over 20 years combined experience in what we do. The contacts that we have made during this time and the knowledge that we have gained has seen us successful place all types of lawyer from partner to paralegal, at international firms to busy high street practices.

We are often viewed as the best alternative to some of the larger, national recruiters. We want to succeed because this is our own business.  We have a lot riding on it. We can’t afford to fail!
Tue 19th July 2016

BREXIT: “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself”

I’ve been thinking about writing something on Brexit for what seems like ages but have always made excuses not to. Never the right time. Too many assumptions.

The problem is, I hear and read the opinions every day of people who are absolutely certain in their knowledge of what is steadfastly right and know exactly what the future heralds for us all. Brexit’s good! Brexit’s bad! Who should I believe?!  Some people must be very clever. Brighter than me as I just don’t know with any degree of certainty. Time to panic?

I’m plagued by questions. More questions! Do we really know what the likely impact will be? When will we know? Do we know what Brexit actually means? Will we ever invoke Article 50? What will be the impact on business? Our business? Business generally? Who’s it likely to effect?

So many imponderables. So much uncertainty.

I was. Still am, pro Remain. As a new business owner, I value stability and like certainty. Don’t want anything rocking the boat.

Personal allegiances aside, what’s been the effect on recruitment immediately following the Referendum? Always a reasonable barometer of the state of the economy.

Well; the vast majority firms we speak to are pressing on spite of the prevailing sense of uncertainty. Nothing has changed, not as yet! Business as usual.

Are we in a bit of a false position? People are spooked but recruitment certainly in the short term doesn’t seem to have been effected significantly. It’s quite possible and highly likely that we won’t really feel the real effects of Brexit for months, even years.

House prices are expected to stagnate over time but mortgage rates appear to be very good. What’s the likely effect on conveyancing practitioners? Once again, we’ve not seen any real signs of firms reigning in recruitment. Business as usual.

Will lawyers feel better the devil they know when it comes to their job search? No real signs of this either at the moment. Candidates continue to approach us on a daily basis with a healthy and positive attitude to the recruitment process. Business as usual.

New government. New focus? Lots to be getting on with. Will PI reforms take a back seat? The world keeps on turning. Business as usual.

We are sailing in unchartered waters. The lack of historical precedent renders almost all predictions worthless.  What is certain is that the sun will set and rise tomorrow morning and we will get up to go to work as normal. Life and business moves on at pace.

We’ve done a little bit of navel gazing ourselves the past couple of weeks but we don’t want to distract ourselves from the task at hand.  The overriding message from a robust and innovative legal industry is very much stay positive and plan sensibly. Business as usual.

From practical point of view much of UK Law is derived from or related to EU Legislation, Regulations and Directives.

We envisage lots of work will be required drafting/amending new agreements, interpreting legal changes, staying ahead of the curve, advising businesses. Maybe we will see a new stream of work created for UK lawyers in this sense. Let’s try to embrace change as best we can, seize the initiative and work smart and hard to ensure that we don’t fall into the trap of worrying about tomorrow and failing to see the opportunities in front of us today.

Business as usual.
Fri 06th May 2016

May - Our Update and the Legal Market

It’s been a little while since we put anything on the TL blog but we’ve not been idle! We’re coming up to almost 6 months since we started trading and the time has flown by!

Since the turn of the year, we have been working hard developing new client relationships, meeting great candidates, unearthing new roles and placing great people.

This hard work is beginning to pay dividends and Joe and I have even treated ourselves to a new pair of spectacles each as a reward for our labours! We like The Two Ronnies look. It suits us!

As you can see, the website is now fully up and running with a new and hopefully user friendly job posting function allowing candidates to search for vacancies with a minimum of fuss. Have a go! We think it works well but if you think there is anything we can do to make it easier to navigate, we’d be happy to hear from you.

The first half of 2016 has seen the legal job market in the North West bounce along with renewed vigour in spite of the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit Referendum and a slight slowing down of the economy.

Junior lawyers in any of the commercial disciplines but particularly Corporate, Construction, Real Estate and Finance have found themselves in pole position to reap the benefit of a number of newly created vacancies at top rated regional, national and international firms.

The NQ Market for September is a particularly interesting one. Firms continue to compete with one another for talented trainees with outstanding candidates finding themselves in receipt of multiple offers.  Joe and I have been interested to hear about the extent to which some firm firms will go to in order to bag the best talent on the market. We are seeing increasingly competitive starting salaries and even signing on bonuses in the more competitive areas. It’s definitely a good time to be a trainee solicitor!

Residential conveyancing continues to thrive with an equally competitive approach to recruitment amongst some firms, particularly in the likes of Manchester, Preston and Chester.

The Private Client job market, after a very busy couple of years is showing signs of slowing down slightly with a number of firms seemingly content with the recruitment they have done, particularly at the NQ to 4 year PQE end of the spectrum.

Personal Injury firms continue to receive a kicking at the hands of the Government with Clinical Negligence lawyers the next group to face the spectre of fixed fees and increasingly squeezed margins. There is however a small and robust number of firms with good quality work streams and expertly drilled staff and procedures that continue to be on the lookout for talented fee earners and managers.  Let’s hope for all concerned that the Government rethinks their policy of raising the small claims limit and banning general damages for whiplash!

One area that we are seeing a number of new instructions from law firms in is Family. If you are a Family Lawyer with good experience in mid to high net worth privately funded work, there are an increasing number of firms looking to recruit. It seems that Firms are slowly finding ways of making Family Law work after years in the doldrums as a result of cuts to public funding and legal aid, which is good to hear!

If you are interested in having a confidential chat about the market and what options they may be out there for you, we would be delighted to help. Get in touch and we can arrange to speak over the telephone or if you would prefer, meet face to face for a cup of coffee. That’s our preference!
Wed 04th May 2016

Refer a Friend

Since coming up with the concept for Thornton Legal, Joe and I have been thinking long and hard about how and where to spend our advertising budget. Do we do what so many recruiters have done and go big on the website? Are we happy to splash the cash on taking a big allocation of job ads on sites such as the Law Gazette or Simply Law? Is it sensible to market ourselves with a strategic but ultimately expensive online presence? 

We tried to bear in mind that job boards work sometimes, that job ads work sometimes, that Linkedin works sometimes. These standard recruitment tools for finding new candidates are great if used in moderation but the fear was that we falling into the trap of many other recruiters in being overly reliant on them and that they could be perceived as an old fashioned, slightly impersonal, arm’s length ways of candidate generation. 

After much deliberation, we came to the conclusion that by far the best way to get to speak with new and interesting candidates was by speaking more to existing candidates! They were the people with the wealth of information, the lawyer friends, the work colleagues; many of whom wanted a bit of career advice, market knowledge or insight into jobs or salaries. 

We like talking to people, not by email but over the telephone or in person. It’s the best way of building trust and developing relationships. By and large the people we speak to on a daily basis like what we have to say. We give them open and honest advice. If we can’t help them, we can sometime steer them in the right direction. We think we are pretty good at what we do. The fact that a significant proportion of our business comes about as a direct result of recommendations and referrals not only from candidates makes us happy. We got to thinking that some of the money we could spend on advertising could be better spent incentivising and rewarding existing candidates who recommend us to other people! 

That’s why we have put in place what we consider to be one of the best referral schemes in the business! If you recommend us to a candidate or pass to us a candidate’s details and we end up placing that person into a law firm, we will honour stand by what the website says. We would rather people we already have a relationship with were rewarded for their efforts than spending our marketing budget on yet another pay per click or advertising campaign. Click on our “refer a friend link” for more details. In fact, give us a call for a chat! We’d prefer it!

Contact Us


Thornton Legal
120E, Cotton Exchange Building
Bixteth Street
L3 9LQ


Liverpool: 0151 305 5757
Manchester: 0161 694 0004

[email protected]


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