EM Development Network

Helping you gain, train and retain your team’s skills and experience

 

IntroductionBenefits to an EmployerBenefits for an IndividualContactsCase studies

What is the EM Development Network?

Most local government legal departments find it difficult to recruit and retain the high calibre lawyers they need, at all levels, from trainees and newly qualified staff to highly experienced professionals.

 

The Development Network is a collaborative approach to meeting these challenges, with a proven track record of success. The Network consists of local authorities and private sector law firms specialising in advising local government. The approach is adaptable to your specific circumstances – but at its core, it is about thinking creatively to meet the challenges you face.

 

It is a new way of thinking to bring skills to employers and individuals which will support and create a talented pool of local authority practitioners. As a “network” it is intended to be a way of working together effectively to achieve these objectives.

THE BENEFITS TO AN EMPLOYER

We are aware that most local government legal departments find it difficult to recruit and retain the high calibre lawyers that they need.  This includes from early recruitment of trainees through to the retention of more senior lawyers.

The Development Network has been created to support employers to meet their HR challenges, including:

  • becoming a more attractive employer, to support successful recruitments
  • investing in the development of staff and aiding retention
  • meeting the development needs of current employees, enhancing the skills of those retained.

Attracting the right people

To meet the challenges of recruitment, it is necessary to think differently. Bearing in mind the role, the likely quality of candidates and the unique features of your existing team, your needs will vary each time.

Retaining talented individuals

We can’t keep hold of staff forever, but we can make their role and experience as interesting and engaging as possible and give them the best opportunity to move into a quality role in the future. Sometimes a lawyer’s role changes or they want to take the next step in their career, but providing that support in-house may not be possible.

How can the Network assist you?

It is intended that the panel firms will, over the duration of the current EM Lawshare Framework term, seek to develop and adapt their offers.  Different firms will potentially offer differing solutions depending on the circumstances.

Any employers interested in an opportunity should feel free to liaise with the panel firms (click the ‘Contacts’ tab above).  Similarly, it is hoped EMLS authorities will contribute to opportunities and seek to support each other.

There are a range of opportunities available, including:

Recruiting to meet the needs of your organisation

By working together the Network can widen the pool of quality candidates available to you, whilst reducing recruitment costs eg

  • Co-branded recruitment & succession planning
  • Co-sourcing and interim provision
  • Supported interviews
  • Advertising within EMLS Newsletter & website

Developing your team

The Network can also assist in creating new opportunities to develop your team, transferring skills and knowledge from others which results in a higher skilled team at a lower cost. Your team will also benefit from building new relationships and a strong support mechanism. For example,

  • Supported learning
  • Mentoring
  • Buddying
  • Secondments

NEXT STEPS

The Development Network will be advertised on:

  • the website
  • in each newsletter
  • in relation to each training opportunity
  • at the EMLS Conference.

We will identify the individual lead from each of the panel firms as a point of contact.

However, if there is a general enquiry then we would encourage them to come through the EM Lawshare contact to be put in touch with Bevan Brittan who are the lead on the Development Network Initiative.  Upon receipt of a request Bevan Brittan will share that with the contacts at all the other firms for each and any of them to follow up with the requesting employer or individual.

THE BENEFITS FOR AN INDIVIDUAL

There is a wide range of opportunities available to individuals, each centered on the continuance of professional development.

These opportunities are delivered in partnership with employers, engaging with other local authorities and/or EM Lawshare panel firms.

Are you looking to develop and enhance your skill set?

The Development Network consists of local authorities and private sector law firms who work together.

The Development Network can assist in organising a range of opportunities, for you and your employer, to help build upon your current knowledge and skill set:

1. Mentoring and Buddying

This has the opportunity to help you build the confidence in the advice they provide to the Council and its Members. This can be on a short or longer term basis as may be required.  Sometimes this engages senior lawyers in the panel firms or it may be on occasions more appropriate to have somebody of a similar level to create a supportive relationship to discuss legal, commercial and perhaps career issues with similar individuals from either authorities or panel firms.

2. Opportunities for secondments

The panel firms offer a range of opportunities and experiences around secondment.  We are conscious that Councils can rarely afford to lose their staff for significant periods of time so there is considerable flexibility available to meet particular needs of individuals.  This could extend to:

  • a short term immersion in a particular skill set
  • a short or medium term secondment swap
  • an opportunity to spend some time in a panel firm’s office albeit doing some of the Council’s own work whilst there
  • a secondment arrangement based upon a particular project allowing time to be embedded in appropriate offices
  • an in-house lawyer forming part of the panel firm’s advisory team

3. Supported Learning

To reflect individual skill set needs which could be by connecting to other lawyer(s) with similar skill sets for periodic support.

4. Supported interviews and selection

An offer to bring support or capacity to the recruitment and selection process.

But the list is not limited to the above.

Take a moment to discuss your career plan with your manager. If you have a suggestion of how you could expand your skills, let us know – we’re open to new ideas!

But don’t just take our word for it

 “As a newly qualified Solicitor, new to local government, the opportunity to work with an established commercial team at Browne Jacobson, as well as drawing on the in-house experience of the existing team at NWLDC, was very attractive as a candidate. It was the perfect mix of support to help me transition from private practice into local government and be a productive member of the in-house team from the earliest possible opportunity”.

Sam McGinty, Head of Contracts, Loughborough University (former Principal Solicitor, Contracts and Commercial, North West Leicestershire District Council)

HOW TO MAKE CONTACT

The intention will be to offer you the opportunity to approach any panel firms that you already know. Notwithstanding the specific opportunities offered by the EMLS firms, if you have with existing relationships with any panel firm, feel free to discuss your options directly with. Alternatively, please see the contacts tab above for the individual lead from each of the panel firms.

If you have a general enquiry, please contact the EM Lawshare contact, to be put in touch with Bevan Brittan, who are the lead on the Development Network Initiative. Upon receipt of a request Bevan Brittan will share with all the other firms for them to follow up with you.

If you are interested in exploring working together with one of the EM Development Network partners, please feel free to make contact directly with the participants listed below.

Bevan Brittan LLP                  

David Hutton

 david.hutton@bevanbrittan.com

0370 194 8927

07867 976835

 

Browne Jacobson

Anja Beriro

anja.beriro@brownejacobson.com

01159 766 589

07796 343 136

 

Sharpe Pritchard

Annie Moy

amoy@sharpepritchard.co.uk

02074 054 600

 

Anthony Collins

Olwen Dutton

olwen.dutton@anthonycollins.com

0121 214 3625

07918 906 355  

 

Geldards

David Williams

david.williams@geldards.com

0115 983 3757

07976 272171

 

Freeths

Nathan Holden

Nathan.Holden@freeths.co.uk

08450779646

                                 

Weightmans

John Riddell

john.riddell@weightmans.com

02078221900

CASE STUDIES

Bevan Brittan mentoring In House Lawyers

Bevan Brittan offers a mentoring programme that can take place over a number of months or for longer periods (on an ongoing basis).

Upskilling an internal promote in a local authority

One example was prior to a recruitment process in which the individual who received the mentoring support was successful in being appointed to a higher post as Assistant Director.  The mentoring included support on expanding the individual’s knowledge and expertise around corporate governance and decision making with a view to developing a more strategic approach, broadening knowledge and skills for dealing with work across the full range of the Council’s functions.  As well as coaching and considering appropriate issues for the interview and appointments process we continue to offer ongoing advice and support and act as a ‘sounding board’.

“Coaching and mentoring helps the individual to build confidence in the advice they provide to the Council and its members – sometimes the most senior lawyer can find themselves in a lonely place and speaking to someone who has been there can be invaluable.”

Judith Barnes, Partner, Bevan Brittan


Development transformation plans

We can’t keep hold of staff forever, but we can make their role and experience as interesting and engaging as possible and give them the best opportunity to move into a quality role in the future.

Sometimes a lawyer’s role changes or they want to take the next step in the career, but providing that support in house may not be possible.  The EM Development Network can help.

Coventry City Council and North West Leicestershire District Council

CCC’s new Planning and Highways Lawyer Clara Thomson was buddied with NWLDC’s Principal Solicitor, Anthea Lowe.

Clara joined with limited practical experience of managing Committee, having previously worked in private practice.  She shadowed Anthea over the life cycle of a meeting of Planning Committee at NWLDC (including checking reports, attending briefing and the meeting of Committee) to broaden her understanding and learn from Anthea’s experience.

This opportunity meant that Clara confidently stepped into advising Members and Officers at Planning Committee at CCC.  The two Solicitors went on to develop a relationship whereby Clara felt able to pick up the phone and bounce ideas and tricky queries of Anthea.

“NWLDC were pleased to be able to support the development of a talented lawyer.  We were proud to see the outcome of our work in Clara’s increased confidence in dealing with planning committee.  This is exactly what the EMDN is all about.”

Elizabeth Warhurst, Head of Legal and Support Services, North West Leicestershire District Council


Recruitment transformation plans

To meet the challenges of recruitment it is necessary to think creatively.  Bearing in mind the role, the likely quality of candidates and the unique features of your existing team, your needs will vary each time.

North West Leicestershire District Council and Browne Jacobsen

Browne Jacobsen and NWLDC developed a joint model of recruitment to help overcome NWLDC’s difficulties in recruiting to their vacant Contracts and Procurement Solicitor post.

Craig Elder, a partner from Browne Jacobsen and Elizabeth Warhurst, Head of Legal and Support Services at NWLDC, worked together throughout the recruitment, to attract a junior solicitor (thereby making a salary saving) with the right qualities who could be supported into the role.

The successful candidate, Sam McGinty, was mentored by Craig and developed a close working relationship during the first year of his employment and beyond.

Sam’s competency grew rapidly and was quickly able to provide effective advice and service to NWLDC, despite having no background in local government previously.

“The EM Development Network is a fantastic opportunity to work with colleagues to develop talented lawyers, in a way which everyone benefits from.  Why wouldn’t we collaborate in this way?”

Sam McGinty, Head of Contracts, Loughborough University