Qualified Lawyers (London)
- Civil Service
- Part Time
While previous experience or knowledge may be relevant to some vacancies, Government work is likely to involve a rapid learning curve to acquire legal skills and knowledge not required in private practice. Strong intellectual and analytical skills are important. We will provide support to help you acquire the necessary expertise and have a thriving CPD-accredited in-house training programme.
GLD encourages its people to develop their skills and provides opportunities to move between advisory, litigation, employment and commercial law services during their careers. For Newly Qualified lawyers with under one years experience, GLD operates a 2+2 policy, whereby these lawyers are allocated to two, 2 year postings over their first 4 years working with GLD; 2 years in a contentious team (litigation or employment), and a further 2 years in a non-contentious advisory post, or vice-versa. The scheme is intended to help NQs to develop a broader range of skills and stay fresh in working on different areas of law and in new environments.
Areas of Law and Our Work
The actions and decisions of government are under increasing scrutiny and challenge. Military action overseas, Brexit, immigration policy, welfare reform, climate change and energy policy are just a few of the issues that generate legal challenges that can hit the headlines. GLD litigation lawyers conduct a wide range of often high profile cases, frequently involving questions of constitutional importance. Our public law litigation practice covers the full range of judicial review challenges in areas such as immigration, planning and national security as well as the Governments wide ranging reform agenda. We also have a substantial private law practice representing large Government Departments such as the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence in personal injury, clinical negligence, misfeasance in public office, false imprisonment, and other claims. Litigation lawyers also provide expert representation in relation to inquests and public inquiries. We regularly litigate through the higher courts to the Supreme Court and offer the opportunity to handle cases at the forefront of the developing law.
Our litigators gain early responsibility for their own caseload within a supportive team environment, working alongside counsel from the Attorney Generals Panels. They also play an important co-ordination role when litigation involves several Government Departments.
Litigation lawyers work closely with policy colleagues and advisory legal colleagues in client Departments to reduce the exposure to litigation risk and to develop realistic contingency plans when the litigation risk materialises.
Government Departments need to draw on the skills of advisory lawyers to bring to life policies for which Ministers are accountable to Parliament and the electorate. The legal issues are often complex, novel and politically sensitive. The legal approach may be scrutinised by Parliament, the media, courts, and other institutions, domestic, European and International projects are often fast moving and the problems brought to lawyers are often both urgent and unpredictable. Our advisory lawyers work closely with policy officials and other professionals in the Department to find legally sound solutions to deliver Ministers priorities, even where these change overnight.
Ministers want to reform and improve the area they are responsible for. They are likely to be brimming with ideas about how to change things more affordable childcare, planning regulations which support the growth agenda, limiting bankers bonuses are some recent examples. Advisory lawyers think through all the legal implications of a policy, for instance human rights, EU and International law, equality and data protection issues, as well as core public law principles. They need to anticipate possible legal challenges and provide officials and Ministers with clear legal risk assessments. If a challenge is made they will instruct colleagues from Litigation Group and provide the interface with Departmental officials and Ministers.
Where new primary legislation is required, advisory lawyers work with Parliamentary Counsel on the draft Bill and support policy colleagues and Ministers at all stages of the parliamentary process. EU legislation is another strand of work, where our lawyers may need to advise on negotiations, including the UKs withdrawal from the EU.
Advisory lawyers also implement policy reforms and Acts of Parliament by drafting a huge volume of secondary legislation. To write a new law is a special privilege, requiring both precision of expression and creativity. It is a team effort involving multiple checks, but the drafter will always have a special sense of pride and ownership.
Commercial Law Group
The Commercial Law Group (CLGp) was launched on 2 June 2014, enabling the start of the journey towards a unified expert commercial law service for government. CLGp was created by drawing together the existing commercial lawyers in several government departments and consists of seven teams (Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team plus six commercial transactional teams). A number of teams are based in the main government buildings for the client department which they advise or one of the other client departments in CLGp. They provide non-contentious commercial legal services a number of Whitehall Departments.
The Employment Group acts as a shared service centre for advice and litigation across all government departments. The Group covers the full spectrum of employment work ranging from day to a day advice to HR staff to advice on large scale employment policies affecting every civil servant. It deals with employment litigation against the Government from single unfair dismissal cases to multi-party equal pay and pensions cases. It also advises on the employment aspects of large scale commercial insourcing and outsourcing contracts
If you apply, please note that your application will be for a generalist qualified lawyer role at the Government Legal Department. If you have a developed a specialism in a particular area of law (e.g. employment law, trade law, commercial law) then you should reflect that in the CV section of the application form, however please bear in mind that you will be offered a role in order of merit and not necessarily within your specialism.
Minimum eligibility criteria
Applicants should have a minimum of a 2:1 honours degree in their first degree (in any subject). Where an applicant holds an overseas degree qualification this should be equivalent to a 2.1 degree. GLD will consider applicants who do not have a 2.1 degree but only where satisfactory evidence of equivalent high level academic and/or professional achievement can be provided (e.g. via relevant experience and results achieved for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)/CPE, Legal Practice Course (LPC), Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)).
Applicants must be qualified to practise as a Solicitor, Barrister or Chartered Legal Executive in England and Wales (or will be qualified 3 months from application date). You must have completed a training contract/pupillage/qualifying employment, or have been exempted from this by the Law Society, the Bar Council or CILEx. Applicants qualified in a jurisdiction outside England and Wales will be required to undertake the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme within 5 years of appointment, and employment will be conditional upon the successful completion of the QLTS within this time period. GLD offers some partial funding for the QLTS, however applicants should note that there is also a cost to the individual.
Professional entry criteria for Chartered Legal Executives (i.e. Fellows): Chartered Legal Executives are eligible to apply where (i) a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) is held; or (ii) the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)/CPE has been completed; or (iii) where exams have been passed (i.e. a score of 50% or above achieved), at CILEx Level 6*, in all of the following seven foundation subjects in law:
1. Contract Law
2. Criminal Law
3. Equity and Trusts Law
4. European Union Law
5. Land Law
6. Public Law
7. Law of Tort
* Note: There are specific requirements relating to academic achievement in the CILEx Level 6 exams where these are being used to demonstrate 2.1 degree equivalence as set out below.
Chartered Legal Executives should note that GLD will be willing to accept an, overall, average score of 65% or above across exams passed in the seven foundation subjects in law (where studied at CILEx Level 6) as demonstrating 2.1 degree equivalence (where a 2.1 degree is not held).ResponsibilitiesEssential criteria
At application stage, you will be assessed on the following criteria:
Technical Legal Skills:
Sound understanding of public law.
Reliable legal judgement and appreciation of legal risk.
The ability to think strategically and creatively, see legal issues in their wider context and advise accordingly.
Sound analysis, using secure legal research to produce timely and fit for purpose advice.
We need to know how well our requirements and offerings match your aspirations.
An understanding of the role of lawyers in Government.
Please outline why you are motivated to join the Government Legal Department and how you feel you might contribute effectively to a role with GLD.
At interview stage, you will be assessed on the following criteria, alongside strength-based questions:
Technical professional skills as above
Motivational Fit as above
Behaviour: Communicating and ...