Senior Legal Counsel – (21000001)

Permanent Gowling WLG Email Job
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Job Description

Job Description

Senior Legal Counsel  (21000001)



Gowling WLG is an international law firm with more than 1,400 legal professionals and a presence in Canada, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America. We provide our clients with in-depth expertise in key global sectors and a suite of legal services at home and abroad. We see the world from the perspective of our clients, and collaborate across countries, offices, service areas and sectors to help them succeed – no matter how challenging the circumstances.

‘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.

Main purpose of the role: To ensure that the firm meets all of its legal, regulatory & professional obligations.


Management Reports: One direct report depending on experience.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Acting as a key contributor and member of the Compliance Team and the General Counsel Team;
  • Be the firms’ technical expert in Data Protection, including:
  •  leading on developing the firm’s ongoing GDPR programme;
  • overseeing compliance with Data Subject Access Requests;
  • advising the business on its data protection compliance obligations as and when required;
  • ensuring necessary steps are taken to ensure compliance in relation to data transfer between the offices of the international firm;
  • working with the Head of Information Security in relation to Privacy Impact Assessments, cyber-security and data and information security risk assessment and management/mitigation associated with the firm’s business development, suppliers and client relationships;
  • driving firm-wide awareness, including overseas offices, to embed compliant behaviours; and
  • communicating and presenting to the business in relation to the firm’s data protection risks, feeding into the Enterprise Risk Management Programme (ERM).
  • Advising and supporting the General Counsel in their capacity as Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) on complex business critical regulatory and legal issues;
  • Leading on developing strategies (and implementing those strategies) for general legal practice compliance obligations and any new or amended legislative obligations impacting legal practice;
  • 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 General Counsel and 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 Head of Compliance in working with the overseas offices to ensure compliance with the SRA Overseas and Cross-border Practice Rules, and local jurisdictional obligations;
  • Devising & implementing training on business critical issues, in order to comply with legal and regulatory obligations, as well as meet the expectations of the firm’s ERM programme, insurers and ISO 9001 accreditation;
  • Where necessary, 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 accreditations;
  • 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;
  • Managing and developing the performance of the Compliance Manager; and
  • 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.




Key Skills and Experience:


  • A qualified lawyer, with significant experience either in private practice, industry or in post at a regulatory authority, either specialising in data protection or having developed data protection knowledge and expertise within a general regulatory role.
  • Ability to understand and interpret complex law in a variety of areas drawing on a working knowledge of legislation relevant to legal practice (in particular the Data Protection legislation).
  • Strong communication and influencing skills, capable of delivering complex information confidently and persuasively at all levels.
  • Confident and experienced in advising senior lawyers on difficult regulatory/compliance issues.
  • Strong IT skills, including Word, Excel and Power Point, enabling independent delivery of tasks.
  • An understanding of Data Analytics.
  • A wide understanding of business issues so as to understand the firm’s goals, and the risks inherent with those goals.
  • Strong people management skills including the ability to co-ordinate workloads and drive high performance.
  • The necessary drive and commercial focus to identify practical, compliant solutions to achieve the firm’s goals within the regulatory framework, where possible.
  • The desire and ability to work at pace and to deadlines.



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.


Standard hours of work are 9.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday, with 1 hour for lunch (35 hours per week).



Work Locations


Snow Hill Birmingham

Two Snowhill

Birmingham B4 6WR


: General Counsel & Compliance


: Business Services


: Full-time

Employee status

: Regular

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