Legal Counsel (Advisory Lawyer)

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 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 £10.1 bn (2021) 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 a training institution, and were delighted to welcome our first trainee in April this year.

As Legal Counsel (Advisory Lawyer), 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 intersection 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 experience of practice post-qualification and the skills and knowledge required to excel in this role.

We aim to agree times and dates for both an initial discussion and a panel interview in late November or early December.

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 and people with disabilities.

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

  • Provision of 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.
  • Assisting 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.
  • Liaison with external law firms regarding litigation strategy and the resolution of disputes.
  • Supporting national projects as a legal adviser, including contractual risk reviews and drafting and amending legal documentation.
  • Contributing 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.
  • Representing the Legal Office in committees and at meetings as required.
  • Undertaking special assignments or project work as required.

The Requirements

Essential

Skills/Aptitudes:

  • 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, or dispute resolution and civil procedure (you will not need to undertake court advocacy in this role).
  • Good up-to-date working knowledge of mid-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.
  • 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 deadlines.

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 an understanding of and empathy with the structure and culture of the Church of England and be able to work sympathetically in a church context.

Desirable

Knowledge/Experience:

  • An interest in, or willingness to develop an interest in, legal project management and legal technology.
  • 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.

In the National Church Institutions (NCIs), we support the mission and ministries of the Church of England. We work with parishes, dioceses, schools, chaplaincies and other ministries, and with national and international partners including mission agencies, and other denominations and faith groups.-.

Find out more about working for the National Church Institutions at Careers | The Church of England

Our emerging values

  • We strive for excellence
  • We collaborate
  • We act with integrity
  • We show compassion
  • We respect others

We welcome everyone and we accept and value people for who they are and what they contribute, treating others in the way we would wish to be treated ourselves. We actively listen to and include others, encouraging and enabling everyone’s voice to be heard in discussions and decisions. When we disagree, we aim to disagree well with respect and kindness.

We want to encourage applications from a diverse group of people. Even if you have never thought about working for us before, if you have the skills and experience we’re looking for then we would like to hear from you. If there is anything we can do to support you in your application please get in touch via email to hr.recruitment@churchofengland.org.

  • As a Disability Confident Leader, we actively look to attract, recruit and retain those of you who are disabled.
  • We are a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, and welcome applications from those of you who have served in our Armed Forces and their families.