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Legal Counsel

Company Gowling WLG Location Birmingham
Contract Permanent Position Salary Competitive
Sector(s) Legal

Job Description

We have more than 1,400 legal professionals working around the world. Our offices span across 19 cities in Canada, the UK, Continental Europe, Asia and the Middle East. There's strength in our global presence – we embrace our differing cultures and work together as one team. We also understand the importance of investing in relationships that build knowledge and trust, while we provide legal advice that's tailored to our clients' world.

'Our people and distinct culture are what makes us different. We know this through client and employee feedback and this drives everything we do''

 Chris Oglethorpe, HR Director.

There are great opportunities for all our people to flourish. Through training and personal development they can grow in their role. Our people are the cornerstone of our success, across legal, business support and early talent. We care about their happiness and believe in the power of teamwork. We want them to feel empowered and recognise that by supporting, respecting and embracing everyone's different contributions we achieve more.

Working flexibly, working fairly

Agile working offers people more freedom and flexibility in where, when, and how they work. As technology advances and our workforce becomes more diverse – and with clients often working to a 24/7 rhythm – having extra flexibility is key to helping us balance work and other commitments sensibly and productively.

By supporting people to choose where and when they get their work done, we help them to make a full and fair contribution to their team – while maintaining that all important work-life balance.

Where possible and depending on business needs, we will consider all flexible working options such as part-time working, job sharing, working from home and staggered hours. If in considering a role with Gowling WLG you favour flexibility in your working arrangements, please discuss this with the recruitment team in the early stages of the application process.

Main Purpose of the Job

To ensure that the firm meets all of its legal, regulatory & professional obligations, and operates in such a way as to minimise so far as possible the risk of claims or sanctions. 

Main Duties and Responsibilities
  • Acting as a key contributor and member of the General Counsel Team.
  • Leading on developing the firm's ongoing GDPR programme including communications and presentations to the business.
  • Advising the  General Counsel in their capacity as Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) on complex business critical regulatory and legal issues;
  • Providing support, advice and assistance to partners, fee earners and Business Services on all aspects of conduct and compliance as well as complex business critical regulatory and legal issues with a view to providing practical compliance led solutions;
  • Deputising for the Head of Compliance on key projects/issues when required.
  • Liaising and collaborating with the Support Directors of the business (including leading for the Compliance team on firm-wide projects)  to ensure that business support solutions take account of general risk principles and are compliant with regulatory, legal and professional obligations.
  • Supporting the overseas offices to ensure compliance with the SRA Overseas Rules 2013 and local jurisdictional obligations, including dealing with the relevant local and overseas regulatory authorities to deal with reporting obligations and to resolve any specific issues as and when required to ensure that the firm maintains its required regulatory licences;
  • Leading on developing strategies (and implementing those strategies) for all areas of compliance (e.g. Terms of Business and the regulation of overseas offices);
  • At the operational level leading on reviewing, monitoring, developing and improving the firm's processes and procedures;
  • Devising & implementing training on business critical issues, whether by written guidance, on-line modules or face to face sessions in order to comply with criminal law and regulatory obligations, as well as meet the expectations of insurers and ISO 9001 accreditation;
  • Advising and supporting the internal audit function, including evaluating issues raised and devising corrective action, to improve the performance of the business, reduce the risk of claims, complaints, regulatory action for non-compliance, and meet the objectives of the firm's ISO 9001 accreditation;
  • Reviewing and advising upon (in a solution-led way) the legal, regulatory and professional impact of commercial tender/pitch documentation and bespoke client engagement terms;
  • Providing advice, support, mentoring and training to the firm's central Client and Matter Acceptance Team on complex conflict/confidentiality issues.
  • Attendance at local and national compliance events to represent the firm, keeping on top of developments in/changes to the profession's regulatory compliance obligations and leading on any action required to ensure compliance.
  • Providing supervisory support for managing people, processes, and workflow.
Key skills and experience
  • A qualified lawyer, preferably with significant experience in a regulatory role either in private practice or in post at a regulatory authority; 
  • Ability to understand & interpret complex law in a variety of areas drawing on a working knowledge of legislation relevant to legal practice (in particular the General Data Protection Regulations) and an awareness of the possible implications/relevance in relation to common law, contract and/or tort; 
  • Strong communication skills, capable of delivering complex information to all levels from members of the Executive Board to support staff;
  • Ability to influence at senior levels;
  • Confident and experienced in advising senior lawyers on difficult compliance issues;
  • A wide understanding of business issues so as to understand the firm's goals, and the risks inherent with those goals;
  • The necessary drive and commercial focus to identify practical, compliant solutions to achieve the firm's goals within the regulatory framework, where possible.
Equal Opportunities

Gowling WLG is committed both to promoting equality and diversity in the firm and to Equal Opportunities in employment.  The firm believes in equality of opportunity regardless of race or racial group (including colour, nationality, ethnicity, national origins), religion or belief, age, disability, sexual orientation, sex, gender re-assignment and gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy, maternity and paternity.  This also includes any incidents of perceptive or associative discrimination and harassment.

At Gowling WLG we seek to attract and retain talented people from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, to create an exciting and rewarding place to work.  Our aim is to fulfil everyone's potential and together to achieve personal and business goals.


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