Website Government Legal Department
About the job
About the job
We are looking for highly capable qualified lawyers to join our supportive teams where we can offer a challenging and exciting career.
We provide legal advice to Government Departments on matters that are frequently scrutinised in Parliament and the media. Our advisory clients range from Departments such as the Home Office, the Department for International Trade to the Department for Health and the Ministry of Defence, to name just a few. Whether you join us as an advisory, employment, commercial or litigation lawyer, we offer broad and unrivalled career opportunities.
We would be thrilled to receive applications from candidates whatever stage you are at in your legal career. Whether you are newly qualified, returning to work after a break, or looking to ‘do something different’, GLD is a supportive and happy place to work.
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 year’s 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 Government’s 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 General’s 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 UK’s 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.