Ref: 1616948

Original Listing

Company: 1616948

Salary: Grade 7- 48,800, Legal Officer- 42,844 (up to 3 years PQE)

Closing Date: Closing date: 26 Jun 2019

Location: Westminster, London

Qualified Lawyers (London)

Unique and high-profile work for Government

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.

Headline information

These vacancies are for permanent roles across all our London based divisions. We have roles that can be worked full-time, part-time or as part of a job share. For certain roles, some travel may be required, including to Brussels. Our starting salary for Grade 7 lawyers is £48,800 and £42, 844 for those joining us with less than 3 years’ PQE until they hit 3 years’ PQE or are in service for one year, whichever comes sooner. Please note salary is non-negotiable.

The Department

The Government Legal Department (GLD) is the largest provider of legal services across government, working with all the main Whitehall Departments. From roads to rivers, and health to human rights, our work touches on most aspects of public life.

The department has more than 14 client-facing advisory teams who provide legal advice on the development, design and implementation of government policies and decisions, draft secondary legislation and work with Parliamentary Counsel on primary legislation. Our cross-cutting expert service groups for Litigation, Employment and Commercial Law provide specialist legal services to a wide range of government departments and public bodies.

We are a non-ministerial government department with more than 2,500 employees, around 1,800 of whom are solicitors or barristers. The department is based primarily in London but has teams in Bristol, Manchester, and Leeds. These posts are London based only.

As an organisation our vision is to be trusted by government to provide consistently excellent and value for money services so government departments want to come to us to meet their legal needs, to be known throughout the legal profession for the quality of our legal work, and to be the best employer for our people.

Our career offer

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

Litigation Group

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.

Advisory Divisions

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.


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.

Essential 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.

Motivational Fit

• 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 Influencing

• Communicate with others in a clear, honest and enthusiastic way in order to build trust.
• Deliver difficult messages with clarity and sensitivity, being persuasive when required.
• Explain complex issues in a way that is easy to understand.

Behaviour: Managing a Quality Service

• Demonstrate positive customer service by understanding the complexity and diversity of customer needs and expectations.
• Deliver a high quality, efficient and cost effective service by considering a broad range of methods for delivery.
• Proactively manage risks and identify solutions.

Behaviour: Working Together

• Actively build and maintain a network of colleagues and contacts to achieve progress on shared objectives.
• Challenge assumptions while being willing to compromise if beneficial to progress.
• Create an inclusive working environment where all opinions and challenges are taken into account and bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable.

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