Deputy Director of Legal Services

Fulltime Permanent University of Birmingham
  • Post Date : June 4, 2021
  • Salary: £51034 - £59135
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Job Description

Deputy Director of Legal Services – Legal Services – 57274 – Grade 9

– (210000WF)

Position Details

Legal Services

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £51,034 to £59,135, with potential progression once in post to £77,108

Grade – 9

Full Time Permanent

Closing date –14th June 2021


The Executive Support Division is a key component of Professional Services, led by the Chief of Staff. It brings together teams who collectively support the executive of the University in areas of policy, planning, resource, legal and change support. Ensuring the University responds effectively to major external regulation, legislation, and policy. The Division includes the Executive Office, Governance Support, Legal Services, Strategic Change, and Strategic Planning.

As part of the Division, Legal Services provides in-house, full-service legal advice to the University. This work includes a number of key aspects and themes:

  • Knowledge transfer – equipping colleagues to spot and address straightforward legal issues through the provision of templates, toolkits and training;
  • Horizon-scanning – understanding forthcoming legislation and raising awareness of the practical implications for the University. This is often undertaken in conjunction with our external lawyers and relevant sector bodies;
  • Strategic projects – involvement at an early stage in the planning of major University-wide projects and initiatives, whether related to research, teaching, or infrastructure matters;
  • Compliance – ensuring that the University meets certain statutory obligations (in accordance with the University’s Scheme of Delegation) and assisting other teams and departments with their compliance issues;
  • Dealing with routine enquiries on legal issues affecting the University.

By way of example this includes:

  • The many contracts which the University enters into (including issues relating to procurement, intellectual property, and research contracts);
  • Property matters;
  • International collaborations and projects;
  • Employment;
  • Equality legislation;
  • Licensing;
  • Legal aspects of ethics and research governance;
  • Legal and regulatory aspects relating to clinical trials;
  • Charitable and corporate governance matters;
  • Drafting University policies and Regulations;
  • Legal issues arising in student appeals, discipline cases and Fitness to Practise;
  • The Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act; and
  • Child Protection issues.

Deputy Director of Legal Services

We are looking for a talented and committed individual to join Legal Services as Deputy Director, to support the Director and the Legal Services team.

The volume and nature of work received by Legal Services has increased extensively during recent years, mirroring the ambitious nature of the University. The wide variety of legal issues this presents is both challenging and rewarding. As the University’s ambitions are realised, Legal Services requires a Deputy Director to help drive forward high-quality legal provision to support the continued growth of the University’s aims, values, and strategic projects. The post-holder will deliver advice to the University community to continue to build on our highly capable workforce, and facilitate risk management at source. The broad range of academic and professional activities across the University calls for a dynamic, confident individual, with excellent legal and problem-solving skills.

Reporting to the Director, the Deputy will work closely with the Director to provide leadership to the Legal Services team, with a particular focus on developing the team, focussing on efficiency and effectiveness, leading and supporting integration of Legal Services within the Executive Division and across the University community. The Deputy will also work closely with all other members of the Legal Services team, and additionally with senior academic and Professional Services personnel across the University. A collaborative, flexible, transparent, and trustworthy approach is therefore central to this role.

The post-holder will have a diplomatic, considered, and fair approach, and will need to be able to represent the Legal Services team, and wider Executive Support Division, in writing and orally, to an exceptional standard. This includes advising with clarity, integrity, and confidence, on a range of legal issues to University committees and senior leaders such as the Registrar and Secretary, Vice-Chancellor, and University Council.

In addition to independently carrying and advising on a broad case portfolio, the new post holder will provide legal advice in a specialist area to support 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 in order to support team members in relation to their cases. The Deputy will also 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 as appropriate.

The University has a panel of external solicitors who Legal Services instruct where specific expertise is required, and the Deputy will additionally be required to support the Director in effective management of these relationships.

Main duties

Leadership and 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

  • Identifying and implementing opportunities to improve the efficiency of Legal Services, for example through improvement of processes and procedures in line with the wider aims of Professional Services across the University.

  • Supporting initiatives within the Executive Support Division, including identifying opportunities to work collaboratively with other teams.

  • To deputise for the Director as required (including dealing with matters arising, attending senior committees, and advising the executive of the University).

General Legal Responsibilities

  • Advising on and drafting documents within existing legal specialty, together with demonstrably acquiring sufficient legal expertise in other key areas, e.g. to draft and advise on academic or research collaborative agreements with other universities or external commercial bodies, both here and abroad; to advise on general issues that relate to the University; or advise on data protection, and student complaints.

  • Managing and contributing to projects at both Legal Services and University level – from project design to delivery, working in collaboration as required. To lead on specific internal projects arising from time to time.

  • To carry an active caseload, which will include drafting ab initio.

  • Drafting complex internal Regulations, Codes of Practice 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 and oversight maintained via Legal Services.

  • 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 Human Tissue 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 provide training to Schools, Colleges and Professional Services on new legal initiatives and statutory compliance.

  • To produce their own documents, emails, and letters on occasions, with sufficient computer literacy.

Financial Management

  • Working with the Director to support resource planning and financial management as part of the wider Executive Support Division.

  • Oversight of financial matters, including budgetary control, ensuring adoption of appropriate processes and procedures for all financial transactions.

Strategy & Maintaining Legal Quality

  • Responsible for further developing and implementing an in-house quality assurance process, working in partnership with the Director and other team members.

  • Implementing Legal Services and Executive Support Divisional objectives, and Professional Services Values.

  • 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, its impact upon the Service’s strategy, and identifying practical solutions to these challenges.

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, leading a team of practising solicitors;

  • Strong leadership skills, with a proven ability to lead and motivate a team of staff, review and improve ways of working, build effective and trusting partnerships at all levels, and improve efficiency and effectiveness;

  • Demonstrable knowledge and experience of managing large complex matters and projects, 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;

  • High levels of credibility, confidence and presence in senior meetings and extensive experience of thinking and working at a strategic level;

  • Demonstrable excellent oral communication and presentation skills;

  • Demonstrable cultural sensitivity, tact and diplomacy;

  • Demonstrates resilience, with an ability to work effectively under pressure and deliver to targets;

  • Demonstrates the ability to think strategically and formulate operational plans to deliver the University’s strategic objectives;

  • Strong understand and interest in UK Higher Education and its external environment, especially legal and regulatory matters; and

  • The ability to write excellent, concise, and purposeful papers for University Executive Board, Council, and major committees and groups, and to present these with authority to those groups.

Informal enquires to Nicola Cardenas Blanco, email:

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

Primary Location GB-GB-Birmingham
Job Manager
Organization Executive Support
Schedule Regular
Job Posting 24.05.2021, 10:59:23 AM
Grade (for job description) Grade 9
Salary (Pay Basis) 51,034.00
Maximum Salary 77,108.00
Advert Close Date 14.06.2021, 5:59:00 PM

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