Deputy Director of Legal Services

United Kingdom
Jun 18, 2017
Jun 29, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Job Purpose Legal Services is the in-house solicitors’ office at the University of Birmingham. It advises Schools, Colleges and Professional Services within the University and liases with external bodies and solicitors as required. It is led by the Director of Legal Services who reports directly to the Registrar and Secretary.

The University also has arrangements with a panel of external solicitors. Litigation (including employment tribunal matters) is referred to them, together with occasional substantial matters where specific expertise is required.

The volume of work received by Legal Services has increased extensively during the last three years. The wide variety of issues can be both challenging and rewarding. The recent Vice–Chancellor’s review of Legal Services highlighted the need for a Deputy Director to be appointed, in part to relieve the Director of the volume of work she currently undertakes, to respond to the limitations of the current flat organisational structure, to assist with succession planning, and to develop the more extensive legal knowledge necessary to fulfil and support the role of Director and the wide range of legal or quasi-legal issues which impact the University.

In addition to general support and assistance with the increasing workload, the new post holder will provide legal advice in an area of specialism to support the Legal Services existing range of advice areas. The Deputy will, over a period of time, be required to acquire legal knowledge and understanding of the wide range of legal matters that affect the University. This will enhance their ability to provide support to team members in relation to their cases.

The Deputy will be responsible for the administration and operation of the department and, together with the Director, provide day-to-day management of the other members of the team (both the professional and support team members but support team members only in the first instance). The Deputy will carry out the PDR for all support members except the PA to the Director.

Reporting to the Director, the Deputy will work closely with all other members of the team, and with senior personnel across the University. Person Specification Main duties

1. Administration
• Strategic and operational management of administration within Legal Services.
• Developing and delivering systems/structures to enable effective day-to-day management and administration within Legal Services.
• Leadership and management of Legal Services support staff ensuring that all are working collectively in delivering efficient, effective and cohesive support to Legal Services.
• Managing Legal Services administrative processes for legal quality review, working closely with the Director
• Continuous improvement of processes and procedures within Legal Services ensuring these articulate with and contribute to process improvement across the University.

2. Financial Management
• Ensuring that Legal Services resource planning and financial management supports effective planning and decision making, working closely with the Director.
• Oversight of financial matters, including budgetary control.
• Ensuring that Legal Services adopts appropriate processes and procedures for all financial transactions, in light of the implementation of NewCore.
• Understanding, helping to develop and contributing to the effective operation of Legal Services’ planning and budget processes, including the Compact process, working with the Director.

3. Strategy & Maintaining Legal Quality
• Responsible for further developing and implementing an in house quality assurance process, working in close partnership with the Director and other members of the team.
• Implementing the VC Review Action Plans, and other measures to manage ‘unmet legal need’, working with the Director and other team members.
• Working with colleagues across the University, and with external partners to ensure Legal Services has strong relationships within and outside the University.
• Developing an understanding of the external environment of the University and Legal Services, their impact upon the Service’s strategy, and identifying practical solutions to these challenges.

4. General Legal Responsibilities
• Advising on and drafting documents within existing legal specialty, and acquiring sufficient legal expertise in other key areas, e.g. advise on and draft collaborative agreements with other Universities or external commercial bodies, both here and abroad, relating generally to research projects or academic matters, knowledge and understanding of property law as relating to the University, Charity law implications.
• Managing and contributing to projects at both Legal Services and University level – from project design to delivery, working in collaboration as required.
• Drafting complex internal Regulations, Codes of Practices and guidelines.
• Providing detailed legal support in the training for and implementation of new statutory initiatives or requirements.
• Implementing and monitoring the Protocol which ensures that all instructions to external legal advisers are issued via Legal Services

The post holder will be required:
• To cover for the Director during absences (including dealing with matters arising);
• To lead on specific internal projects arising from time to time;
• To carry out a substantial amount of drafting;
• To identify and solve both legal and practical problems associated with the business of the University of Birmingham. As indicated the nature of these can vary tremendously, from a query on gambling, to the requirements of the Anatomy Act;
• To give clear and concise explanations of legal issues to non-qualified members of the University at all levels;
• To be proactive in identifying and establishing methods to reduce potential risk or liability to the University;
• To be willing to acquire new skills and to cover for other members of the team;
• To provide training to Schools, Colleges and Professional Services on new legal initiatives and statutory compliance;
• To produce his/her own documents emails and letters on occasions. He / she should also be sufficiently computer literate to produce their own presentations using PowerPoint; and
• To manage their own time and workload.

Skills, qualifications and experience required:
• Interpersonal skills with an ability to lead and motivate a team of staff and build effective and trusting partnerships;
• Strong planning and project management skills;
• Knowledge and experience of managing large complex matters, including the ability to prioritise workloads;
• Confidence in negotiating agreements with strong influencing skills to gain commitment and engagement from all types of individuals;
• Presence in senior meetings and extensive experience of thinking and working at a strategic level;
• Excellent oral communication and presentation skills;
• Cultural sensitivity, tact and diplomacy;
• Demonstrates a positive response and adaptability to change;
• Resilient, with an ability to work effectively under pressure and deliver to targets;
• Ability to think strategically and formulate operational plans to deliver the University’s strategic objectives;
• Considerable experience as a qualified Solicitor.
• Experience gained in the Higher Education Sector is essential;
• Experience of the University is desirable; and
• Experience of Charity Law is desirable.

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