Legal Counsel

This job has now expired
Hybrid - remote working and London
Employee
Salary in the region of £60,000 per year

Our aim is for everyone in the National Church Institutions (NCIs) to feel that they belong, and are valued for who they are and what they contribute. Together, our people contribute in different ways towards our common purpose, whichever NCI they work in and whatever their background.

The Legal Office based in Westminster, provides advice to the national policy-making and governance institutions of the Church of England, including a legislative assembly.

Those institutions comprise a number of large national charitable bodies including the Church Commissioners, a substantial endowment fund with assets valued at £9.2bn (2020) which has positioned itself at the forefront of Responsible Investment and which supports the mission of the Church, and the Archbishops’ Council, a national policy and strategic decision-making body.

We are a small, inclusive team comprising barristers and solicitors, working with paralegal and administrative support. Our existing team’s professional backgrounds are diverse, with members coming to us from private practice in law firms, at the Bar, from government, and from regulators. We are about to become a training institution with a first trainee due to join us in April.

As Legal Counsel, supporting the work of the Legal Office and particularly the Deputy Official Solicitor to the Church Commissioners, you will be part of an extraordinary community of organisations seeking to make a difference across a diverse society, by supporting the mission and ministries of the Church at a national and international level.

This role will appeal to you, if you are motivated by work at the interaction between public and private law, and the resolution of challenges which are often complex, novel and politically sensitive. Our work is high quality, intellectually stimulating and rewarding and as a collegiate and supportive team, we are proud of the work that we do.

You will be joining us at an exciting time and the role will offer you the opportunity for genuine career growth and development in a supportive environment, including interaction with some of the most senior stakeholders in the organisation. You will also have the opportunity to take a meaningful role in existing and new projects and contribute to the wider aims of our values-driven organisation.

We would like to hear from you if you are a self starter who enjoys building relationships and thrives in a team environment, with substantial experience of practice post qualification, and the skills and knowledge required to excel in this role.

To arrange an informal conversation, please contact paul.stevenson@churchofengland.org

The Church of England is for everyone, and we want to reflect the diversity of the community the Church serves across the whole country. Therefore, while of course we welcome all applications from interested and suitably experienced people, we would particularly welcome applicants from UK Minority Ethnic Backgrounds.

We are taking a flexible approach to work, with many colleagues opting for a hybrid approach to their working week, with a mixture of home and office-based working. Further details will be discussed at interview.

We offer a unique environment with opportunities for continuous learning, generous annual leave for work life balance, season ticket loans and a range of benefits including discounted entry to attractions and what we feel is a market leading package when it comes to our pension scheme.

The Role

  • Provide advice to the Church Commissioners, the Archbishops’ Council, the Church of England Pensions Board, their boards, committees and staff on legal and procedural issues arising out of their work. Some of these activities are legislative or regulatory in nature.
  • Assist the Deputy Official Solicitor with advice in connection with the approach to strategic litigation, including appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and preparing briefing for trustees and other senior members of the organisation.
  • Liaise with external law firms regarding litigation strategy and the resolution of disputes.
  • Support national projects as a legal adviser, including contractual risk reviews and drafting and amending legal documentation.
  • Contribute to the development of national policies and codes of practice. The role may also offer you the opportunity to support the work of the Church’s legislative assembly, the General Synod.
  • Represent the Legal Office in committees and at meetings as required.
  • Undertake special assignments or project work as required.

The Requirements

Essential

Skills/Aptitudes:

  • Demonstrable sustained experience of practice in at least one of the following with a willingness to develop an understanding of the others: administrative and public law,matters usually under the supervision of the Chancery Division of the High Court, charity law ordispute resolution and civil procedure (you will not need to undertake court advocacy).
  • Good up-to-date working knowledge of middle-value supply and service contracts.
  • Excellent written and oral communication, including a proven ability to explain difficult legal issues to non-lawyers.
  • Excellent computer literacy and word processing skills.
  • Good grasp of legal research methodology, including in unfamiliar areas of law.
  • Ability to work individually without supervision, and as part of a team.
  • Willingness to work pro-actively and take the initiative in developing and improving complex processes without unnecessary formality.
  • Strong organisational skills including the ability to organise, prioritise and handle a number of competing tasks in order to meet hard deadline.

Education:

  • Qualified solicitor or barrister with a current practising certificate.
  • We will consider applicants who can show satisfactory evidence of suitable high-level academic and/or professional achievement (for example in your first degree, or in GDL, LPC, or BPTC results).

Personal Attributes and values:

  • Self-starter – you will be able to work under your own initiative and exercise sound judgment.
  • Relationship builder – you will have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships at all levels with people from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Flexible – you will be willing and eager to develop an understanding of new areas of law.
  • Inquisitive – you will have a real interest in work within a complex organisation.
  • Innovative – you will take a creative and strategic approach to problem solving.
  • Resilient - you will be able to work under pressure, meet deadlines, and work flexibly to meet changing demands.
  • You will have empathy with the culture and aims of the Church of England and be able to work sympathetically in a church context.

Desirable

Knowledge/Experience:

  • Some professional experience of dispute resolution.
  • A working understanding of one or more of the following areas of non-contentious practice: employment, data protection/regulatory, and/or corporate/governance.
  • Experience of working with clients in the public, government services, or third sector would be a plus.

We in the National Church Institutions support the mission and ministries of the Church all over England. We work with parishes, dioceses (regional offices), schools, other ministries and our partners at a national and international level.

Excellence, Respect, Integrity

We follow these three values in everything we do, whether we are of Christian faith, another faith or no faith. To learn more about working for National Church Institutions and our benefits, please click here

As a Disability Confident Leader, we actively look to attract, recruit and retain those of you who are disabled.

As a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, we welcome applications from those of you who have served in our Armed Forces and their families.

We are committed to being an equal opportunities employer and to ensuring that everyone, job applicants, customers and other people with whom we deal, are treated fairly and not subject to discrimination. We will do whatever is necessary to provide genuine equality of opportunity. We continuously review our policies and processes to support our aim to create a workforce as diverse as the nation the Church of England serves.