The EM Development Network is a way of looking at the issues around recruitment, training, development and retention of staff as opportunities rather than problems.
The EM Development Network consists of public sector bodies and private sector law firms specialising in advising the public sector and has a track record of success.
The approach is adaptable to your specific circumstances – but at its core, it is about thinking creatively to meet the challenges you face.
To find out more please contact:
North West Leicestershire District Council
We are aware that most public sector 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 EM Development Network has been created to support employers to meet these challenges, including by:
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.
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.
Sharing expertise and experience, organisations have engaged in joint recruitments, mentoring schemes, secondments, lawyer-swaps and supported learning.
Any employers interested in an opportunity should feel free to liaise with the panel firms’ leads. Similarly, it is hoped EMLS members will contribute to opportunities and seek to support each other.
Check out the EM Development Network Twitter to see some examples of how this way of working is helping employers and lawyers right now.
The EM Development Network offers a wide range of opportunities to individuals, each centred on the continuance of professional development.
These opportunities are delivered in partnership with employers, engaging with other public bodies and/or EM Lawshare panel firms.
The EM Development Network consists of public bodies and private sector law firms who work together, for the benefit of their teams.
The EM 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:
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!
Check out the EM Development Network Twiter to see some examples of how this way of working is helping employers and lawyers right now.
During Lockdown, Bevan Brittan offered a “virtual” work experience package to trainee solicitor Sara Fayaz at Gedling Borough Council. The package included access to training with lawyers of all levels, one to one mentoring sessions on particular legal areas, the opportunity to undertake research tasks, being involved in casework discussions, as well as getting the chance to access virtual “social” events with other trainee solicitors.
Bevan Brittan tailored the training to Sara’s individual needs, together with the needs of the Council, providing flexible timings to ensure that no undue pressure was put on the partner firm to host or the Council to release resource.
“I found the meetings via zoom to be really useful, it was clear that all of those I spoke to had a wealth of knowledge and experience. They were friendly and approachable and were more than happy to take the time to impart practical tips and advice that I was able to put into practice straight away. I was also able to direct the conversations towards any areas where I had particular questions which I found invaluable.
I take comfort in now having points of contact should I need any guidance or pointers in future. Sometimes you just have that quick question and it’s nice to know I can just ping across an email or pick up the phone.
My “virtual” work experience is ongoing and I couldn’t recommend it enough to others looking to develop their knowledge, build contacts and gain some extra insights and support in areas of law that interest them.”
Bevan Brittan offers a mentoring programme that can take place over a number of months or for longer periods (on an ongoing basis).
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Browne Jacobson 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 Jacobson 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?”