02 Mar 2018
22 Mar 2018
Vacancy Type
Solicitors, In-House
Full Time
Practice Areas
Experience Level
Mid Level


Are you looking to develop your career in-house in a high profile role at a world leading university that is part of the prestigious Russell Group? If so, and if you are ambitious, innovative and a commercial pragmatist, this role may be for you. 

The University of Birmingham is a £550m turnover charity and one of the most ambitious higher education institutions in the UK. We have a global reach providing teaching in Jinan, Singapore, and in September 2018 we will open our new branch campus in Dubai. 

This role will be based in our beautiful Edgbaston campus alongside the new Library and Sports Centre (see The University is well located in the UK’s “second” city with easy access to all main transport links and boasts its own railway station on campus. 

We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic individual to join our well established and highly regarded Legal Services team, to help support our pioneering academics and researchers address key national and global challenges. We advise on a wide variety of matters, from the creation of the UK’s only University Training Secondary School, to the establishment a new Life Sciences Park. 

Job Summary 

Legal Services is an in-house solicitors’ office and one of the University’s Professional Services. We advise Academic Units and other Professional Services within the University and liaise with external bodies and solicitors as required. The Director reports directly to the Registrar and Secretary of the University, and is a member of the University’s Senior Officer team and University’s Leadership Forum. 

The University has a panel of external solicitors who Legal Services instruct where specific expertise is required. 

The volume and nature 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.

For example, the number and complexity of large collaborations has been increasing. Frequently, these large collaborations also include the development of academic joint programmes and/or joint research projects, the construction of new buildings and the procurement of new equipment. These increasingly have an international element, e.g. the Joint Centre for Environmental Omics ( 

In addition, the University has grown its volume of research applications and awards significantly over the last five years and has ambitious targets for 2026. This post is essential in supporting academic colleagues in achieving the demanding targets set in Birmingham 2026 (see 

The Solicitor will advise on matters directly and indirectly relating to contractual and /or collaboration projects, including, for example, the overarching strategic agreements on collaborations, bespoke research collaborations and connected contracts, which might include IT contracts, service level agreements, academic programme agreements etc. After appropriate training the postholder may also be advising on other aspects of the projects, e.g. construction issues, terms and conditions, international elements, equipment purchase, service contracts or IP and spinout licences.

This post will enable the successful candidate to become involved in a broad range of projects or activities across the University. The postholder will report directly to the Director of Legal Services. 

Legal Services deals with some cases of considerable financial and reputational impact on the University, and therefore the applicant should have experience of managing large matters through to completion and the ability to take on a variety of work with varying degrees of complexity.

Person Specification

Main Duties 

The post holder will be required: 

  • To carry an active caseload, which will include drafting ab initio; 
  • To identify and solve both legal and practical problems associated with the business of the University of Birmingham, including the negotiation and drafting of contractual matters, working collaboratively with other parts of the University, such as academic colleagues, Research Contracts, Collaborative Provision, the International Office, University of Birmingham Enterprise Ltd., and Academic Services. As indicated, the nature of these arrangements can vary tremendously; 
  • 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 facilitate the Protocol which ensures that all instructions to external legal advisers are issued and managed via Legal Services; 
  • To ensure that priorities are balanced within the area of specialism and schedule work accordingly, taking appropriate action to keep things on track. 
  • To produce their own documents, papers, emails and letters on occasions. They should also be sufficiently computer literate to produce their own presentations using PowerPoint; and 
  • To actively manage their own time and workload. 

Skills, qualifications and experience required: 

  • Solicitor or barrister, qualified to practice within the UK, with current unrestricted practising certificate or licence to practice; 
  • Significant experience working in private practice or in-house, in a relevant area of law; 
  • Demonstrable interpersonal skills with a proven ability to lead and motivate a team and build effective and trusting partnerships; 
  • Evidence of strong planning and project management skills; 
  • Evidence of knowledge and experience of managing large complex matters, including the ability to prioritise workloads; 
  • Demonstrable confidence in negotiating agreements, and strong influencing skills to gain commitment and engagement from all types of individuals; 
  • Demonstrable confidence and presence in senior meetings;
  • Demonstrable excellent oral communication and presentation skills;
  • Demonstrable cultural sensitivity, tact and diplomacy; 
  • Demonstrates a positive response and adaptability to change; 
  • Demonstrates resilience, with an ability to work effectively under pressure and deliver to targets; 
  • Evidences excellent skills in time management (specifically meeting deadlines) and project working are required; 
  • Evidences excellent writing skills, with the ability to write/prepare high quality papers, presentations, reports and briefings to Project Board and University Committee level. This includes a clear style of communication and the ability to write for different audiences; 
  • Experience gained in the Higher Education Sector is desirable; and 
  • Experience of the University is desirable. 

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £39,993 to £47,722. With potential progression once in post to £53,690 a year.

To apply for this role, please click the Apply button. 

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