The Government Legal Department (GLD) is the largest provider of legal services across government, working with all the main Whitehall Departments. From trade agreements to transport, roads to rivers, and health to human rights, our work touches on most aspects of public life.
GLD 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 2,300 employees, around 1,800 of whom are solicitors or barristers. We are a national department. Most of our employees are in London; we also have teams in Bristol, Manchester and Leeds.
Our vision is to be an outstanding legal organisation, committed to the highest standards of service and professionalism and also a brilliant place to work where we can all thrive and fulfil our potential. Job description Vacancy description
The posts offered are within a number of the Government Legal Divisions and may include:
Department for International Trade Legal Advisers (DIT)
The work of the DIT legal is diverse, fast-paced, challenging and often high-profile. Working closely with lawyers across government:
• DIT lawyers advise on the development and implementation of DIT's international trade and investment strategy and policy. The Division regularly takes part in trade negotiations, including for free trade agreements and initiatives in the World Trade Organization, and advises on trade disputes. Our work covers all aspects of trade and investment law, from trade in goods and services to government procurement, intellectual property and sustainable development.
• our Export Controls and Sanctions team provides advice on matters of strategic and operational policy relating to the export of goods from the UK and in relation to the implementation of the UK's sanctions regime. Our work often involves providing advice to senior officials and ministers on public and international law, and drafting secondary legislation.
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 therefore important. We offer a supportive environment where we help you acquire the necessary expertise together with a thriving CPD-accredited in-house training programme.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Legal Advisers (BEIS LA)
BEIS is a Ministerial Department, focused on building a stronger, greener future by tackling climate change, fighting coronavirus, unleashing innovation and making the UK a great place to work and do business. BEIS Legal Advisers is the largest GLD Advisory Division with around 175 people. We advise the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, together with a number of its Partner Organisations. We cover a very wide spectrum of work, from space travel to oil rigs and the “gig” economy to climate change. Rarely a day goes by when something we are doing isn’t in the news. The Energy Crisis and COP26 are currently keeping us very busy! We have 14 teams (13 Legal and one Business Management Team), based in 1 Victoria Street, but currently with significant homeworking. Our Service, Investment and Trade Team co-ordinates on trade matters and provides centralised expertise on trade issues as well as leading on trade in services, professional qualifications and investment issues. However with responsibilities which range from many aspects of non-industrial goods to intellectual property, from net zero issues to the Energy Charter, there are trade based roles in many of our teams.’
Cabinet Office Europe Legal Advisers (COELA)
COELA is a friendly and specialist Division of GLD providing legal advice on a variety of cutting-edge issues relating to the UK's relationship with the EU following Brexit. COELA supports the Cabinet Office Europe Secretariat which provides direction and coordination across Whitehall of the UK’s relationship with the EU; the Northern Ireland Taskforce, which leads policy development on the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement; the Border and Protocol Delivery Group in the Cabinet Office which coordinates the UK borders strategy; and the Brexit Opportunities Unit which supports the regulatory opportunities arising from Brexit.
Within COELA, we are seeking to recruit an experienced trade lawyer to join the EU Trade and Economy team. The team advises on the trade relationship governed by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, including goods, services, transport, energy, fisheries and the level playing field measures set out in the agreement, as well as work on the UK border. Our work includes the interpretation of the TCA, coordination of legal positions across Whitehall, supporting policy teams in meetings of the Specialised Committees and we would play a key part in preparing for and managing any disputes under the agreement. A role in COELA would particularly suit a trade lawyer keen to specialise in EU-focused issues.
Defra Legal Advisers
Defra is responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Defra Legal Advisers (DLA) is made up of around 120 people. DLA has a team of eighteen lawyers advising on international trade issues within Defra’s areas of responsibility, in particular, agri-food trade, and related market access and technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) matters, geographical indications and the environment. Working closely with DIT and other Whitehall legal teams, we play a full part in the negotiations of free trade agreements and in the UK’s position at the WTO. Agri-food issues are often the most controversial in the negotiation of free trade agreements and engage considerable Parliamentary and public interest. The team also provides advice on all other aspects of international law to Defra which has its HQ at 2 Marsham Street in Westminster, Central London.
Treasury Legal Advisers – Trade and Negotiations Team
The Trade and Negotiations Team is one of six teams in Treasury Legal Advisers. It comprises a dozen lawyers led by a Deputy Director and is responsible for providing advice on trade law matters falling within the scope of HM Treasury’s mandate. The team is divided into two subs-teams roughly covering goods and services issues respectively. The Services Sub-team is responsible for advising on financial services issues in trade negotiations. The Team leads on the negotiation of financial service chapters in UK bilateral trade agreements as well as the negotiation of mutual recognition agreements relating to financial services working closely with other Whitehall Departments including BEIS, DCMS, UKMIS (Brussels and Geneva) and DIT and liaising with the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority on financial services regulatory issues. The sub-team is also responsible for advising on issues around the UK’s autonomous regimes for granting market access to third country financial service providers (for example through decisions on whether a third country’s regulatory and supervisory regimes for financial services are equivalent to the UK). This work involves cooperating with a large number of other Treasury policy and legal teams.
The Goods Sub-Team covers a broad range of goods related issues including advising on issues related to the operation of the UK tariff regime, HMT work related to climate change, border control issues and some flagship policies such as the implementation of the Government’s freeport policy. The goods work is varied and includes litigation, some SI drafting and Bill related work as well as general advisory work. It involves working closely with a large number of other Government Departments, in particular HMRC, on some high profile and complex legal issues such as the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
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.
Responsibilities Essential Criteria
We are looking for highly motivated qualified lawyers. You will need leadership, strong communication skills, good self-awareness and a commitment to using feedback to learn and develop as a professional. You must be able to demonstrate Legal Professional Skills appropriate to a senior lawyer at Grade 6 level. This means that you would normally have at least 4 years PQE.
In particular, we are looking for the following -
Legal Professional Skills:
Substantial expertise and practical experience of international trade law.
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 legal research to produce timely and fit for purpose advice.
The ability to communicate advice effectively both in writing and orally.
Good understanding of the role of lawyers in government.
Promote diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity, respecting difference and external experience. Welcome and respond to views and challenges from others, despite any conflicting pressures to ignore or give in to them. Stand by, promote or defend own and team’s actions and decisions where needed. Seek out shared interests beyond own area of responsibility, understanding the extent of the impact actions have on the organisation. Inspire and motivate teams to be fully engaged in their work and dedicated to their role.
Behaviour: Communicating and Influencing:
Communicate with others in a clear, honest and enthusiastic way in order to build trust. Explain complex issues in a way that is easy to understand. Take into account people’s individual needs. Deliver difficult messages with clarity and sensitivity, being persuasive when required.
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. Behaviours
We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process: