Region’s first legal recruitment firm run by solicitors opens in Bath

July 19, 2016

A Bath-based solicitor has teamed up with a colleague from South Wales to launch the first legal recruitment agency in the region run by fully qualified legal practitioners.

Rhiannon Cambrook-Woods, who spent the first nine years of her legal career at Bath insurance group Helphire, and Kate Shorney-Morris believe Zest Recruitment and Consultancy is filling a gap in the market.

Director Rhiannon said: “I have been in the industry for some time and have had the benefit of working with and for some of the most recognised and respected legal firms in the country.

“However, having been the hirer in each of my previous roles, I was often frustrated by the approach taken by recruitment providers and their general lack of any real understanding of the nuances and challenges that legal firms face when hiring new staff.

“The type of recruitment business that we wanted didn’t exist, so we created it ourselves.”

Zest, which also has an office in Cardiff – where Kate is based – covers all legal sector hiring requirements with a particular focus on litigation, negligence, commercial property and conveyancing.

Rhiannon graduated from the University of the West of England (UWE) in 1997. After working at Helphire she spent five years with leading Manchester firm Leech & Co before joining Kate at New Law in Cardiff in 2013.

Kate graduated in law from the Aberystwyth University in 1997 and started her career with Eversheds followed by a move to Cardiff-based Hugh James Solicitors, where she worked for 12 years before moving to New Law.

Zest has launched at a time when the legal sector is becoming evermore competitive. Law Society figures reveal the sector has grown by 8% over the past year, generating an estimated £26bn for the UK economy and employing 370,000 people.

Kate said: “Most of these roles – two-thirds to be precise – are in solicitor’s firms. But many law firms are under increasing pressure to battle the dual challenges of securing the right talent that they need in the here and now, while retaining that which they already have.

“The first challenge is where we believe we can make a real difference.

“Because we have come from within the legal sector itself, we have a clear advantage over all other recruitment providers operating in the same space. Our understanding is based on a practical experience as former hiring managers ourselves – we understand the industry intrinsically from ground level to the board room, which no other agency can claim.”

The pair have ambitious growth plans for the business. While Bath, Bristol and the wider South West region has a very strong legal sector, they also recognise the significant business potential that lies across the bridge in Wales.

Rhiannon added: “Expanding our reach in this region will not only go some way to consolidating our fast-growing reputation as the legal recruiter of choice, it will also enable us to realise our goals sooner.”

Pictured, from left: Kate Shoney-Morris and Rhiannon Cambrook-Woods

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