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The Donkey Sanctuary
Sidmouth, Devon
Closing date
2 Jan 2024

The Donkey Sanctuary is an international animal welfare organisation, offering care and protection to donkeys worldwide. Our vision is a world where every donkey has a good quality of life, and our mission is to improve the lives of donkeys every day. We will achieve this by transforming the lives of donkeys in need worldwide by fostering greater understanding, collaboration and support, and by promoting lasting, mutually life-enhancing relationships.

These are exciting times for the charity, and we now have an excellent opportunity for a solution oriented and highly pragmatic Lawyer with a specialism in Property/Land Law to join our busy Legal and Governance Department. As Senior Legal Counsel, you will play a key role in safeguarding the reputation of the Charity, working closely with other members of the Charity’s legal team to provide a first-class legal service and high quality, strategic advice on legal issues across the Charity’s group. You will also assume the management role for the Charity’s small legal team with responsibility for business planning, prioritising activities and controlling workflow to best support the charity in delivering its strategic aims and objectives.

About you:

  • An England and Wales qualified Solicitor, Barrister or Legal Executive with extensive post-qualification experience in land/property law (in-house and/or international legal experience preferable).
  • A demonstrable ability to advise with authority at a senior level, and to effectively explain legal points and their impact on the charity clearly and concisely to stakeholders.
  • Able to understand and interpret complex legal information pertinent to the running of a charity and its global operations. Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to communicate with people at all levels and across different cultures and to act with credibility and diplomacy.
  • Able to strategically manage work priorities by addressing immediate critical issues and progressing long-term aims.
  • Good understanding of (and the ability to adapt to) the context in which The Donkey Sanctuary operates.
  • Able to hit the ground running – adept at working autonomously and using initiative to tackle new areas of law confidently and effectively.

About the role:

The primary duties and responsibilities within this multifunctional and rewarding role will include:

  • Providing accurate, relevant and timely advice to the Charity and our internal clients on a variety of legal topics, in particular property and agricultural matters, both in the UK and internationally.
  • Working closely with external law firms, where needed, to ensure that high quality and cost- effective legal support is obtained.
  • Working "hands on" on the drafting and negotiating of contracts and other key agreements for the Charity.
  • Developing the legal function, frameworks, processes and reporting frameworks to best support the Charity in delivering its charitable objectives; including –
    • Building a map of legal need and activity across the charity to prioritise resource.
    • Ensuring the legal team understand their contribution to the organisation’s strategic objectives.
    • Setting of clear performance standards and targets for the legal function.
    • Managing, motivating, recruiting, training and developing the Legal Counsel and/or Paralegal roles in line with the Charity's strategic aims and objectives.
    • Setting and reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs) to demonstrate the value of the legal function.
  • Managing and mitigating legal risks arising from the Charity’s operations in order to protect the Charity’s reputation and assets

What we offer in return:

The opportunity to apply your skills and experience to a purposeful operation in a more agile role than is generally available in private practice!

Based in Sidmouth, Devon – an area of outstanding natural beauty – this is a full-time, permanent contract starting as soon as possible, working 35 hours per week, 08.30-16.30, Monday-Friday.

The working pattern for this role will combine onsite and home working under our guiding principles for such roles. Primarily working from home, flexibility regarding onsite attendance will be considered for suitable candidates and will be agreed between the hiring manager and post-holder.


Competitive pension.

Life Assurance.

31 Days holiday (including Bank holidays), rising to 34 with each full year of service.

Wellbeing Team.

Recorded Pilates and Yoga classes.

Long Service Awards.

Healthshield Plan –

  • Reimbursement of some medical expenses up to the specified limits per membership.
  • Offers, discounts and cashback on shopping, travel and entertainment from participating outlets.
  • Access to a 24/7 GP and counselling service.

Free Parking.

Subsidised restaurant and shop.

Closing date for completed applications: 2 January 2024.

Interviews will be held at The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, during the week commencing 15 January 2024.

For further information regarding this role, including application instructions, please copy and paste the following link into your web browser:

The Donkey Sanctuary is a Disability Confident Employer.

The Donkey Sanctuary is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of vulnerable people (children and adults), and expects all staff and volunteers to undertake this commitment. Applicants will be subject to safer recruitment processes, including an application for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check where required for the post.


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