King's College London is one of the top 35 universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022) and the fourth oldest university in England, based in the heart of London. King's has nearly 33,000 students from 150 countries, and some 9,700 employees. King’s is a multi-faculty institution, providing high-quality teaching, research and innovation across the sciences, humanities, medicine, law, dentistry, and social sciences. Its the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe, and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres spread across its three teaching hospitals.
The College Secretariat supports both the College’s Executive team and Council in providing world class management and leadership to the institution. The Legal Services team is one of three directorates in the Secretariat reporting to the College Secretary, with the other two being Governance Services and Business Assurance. The full Secretariat team comprises 20+ staff. The office is located in the historic Somerset House building on the Strand Campus.
The Legal Services team consists of the General Counsel & Director of Legal Services and Legal Counsel. The team provides legal advice to the whole College, manages the work of our external panel of law firms and oversees the College’s legal spend. The team is looking to expand and is now recruiting a second Legal Counsel position.
The Legal Counsel will be responsible for providing high quality, considered and pragmatic legal advice across a diverse range of matters, including strategic partnerships, international collaborations, dispute management and regulatory compliance, commercialisation, as well as delivering training and guidance materials to staff. Working with staff at all levels, the role holder will manage their own challenging and varied caseload of legal matters with minimal supervision.
The Legal Counsel will support the General Counsel and Director of Legal Services in the development and maintenance of a responsive and professional legal service for the College.
This post will be offered on an indefinite contract
This is a full-time post
• Draft, review and amend a variety of legal documents, including but not limited to commercial contracts, academic collaboration agreements; consultancy and agency agreements; NDAs; MOUs; and leases and licences;
• Provide clear and pragmatic advice on a range of legal issues, including student conduct, employment, intellectual property, construction, procurement, commercial and regulatory issues.
• Negotiate and develop heads of terms, complex contracts and agreements for commercial transactions and progressing projects through to completion.
• Provide detailed legal analysis, advice and recommendations, and commercial expertise to support the College’s strategic decision-making.
• Develop a detailed understanding of risk/benefit issues relevant to the College and the Higher Education sector and take this into account when providing legal advice to the College.
• Advise on legal and regulatory issues and risks in relation to the College’s current and potential activities, and on any specific contentious or non-contentious issues and problems that may arise.
• Make recommendations to the General Counsel and Director of Legal Services regarding whether legal issues should be dealt with in-house or referred to external panel firms.
• Where issues are passed to external legal advisers, be responsible for drafting appropriate instructions, reviewing any advice given, and generally handling the client-lawyer relationship in order to minimise costs while ensuring the College’s interests are protected.
• Develop and maintain standard legal templates for the College on a range of legal documents
• Support and assist the General Counsel and Director of Legal Services in the development, application and review of College regulations, policies and procedures that involve legal consideration.
• Work collaboratively with all stakeholders across the College and develop networks internally and externally which benefit the College.
• Develop the provision of training sessions and guidance documents for staff on legal issues and updates on changes to legislation affecting the College.
• Assist with the management of the Legal Service team’s systems and processes, including a knowledge-sharing platform, agreements database, surveys and intranet pages.
The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.
Skills, knowledge, and experience
1. Qualified to practice as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales
2. Substantial post qualification experience in a broad range of areas of law such as contract, charity, education, and intellectual property law but with a particular specialism in employment, consumer or commercial law.
3. Experience and in depth knowledge of the Equality Act
4. A well developed understanding of legal issues relating to education, research, enterprise and professional services in a Higher Education context
5. Highly developed and accurate legal skills including drafting complex legal documents, researching, negotiation, advocacy and interviewing
6. Very good organisational and time management skills.
7. Ability to liaise effectively with internal and external clients, exploring their respective needs, adapting the service, and setting expectations
8. A proven self-motivated approach to planning and prioritising work loads
9. Excellent IT skills (including working knowledge of all Office programmes) and ability to develop and maintain accurate case management systems
10. Evidence of ability to research and solve expansive problems using initiative and creativity; identify and propose both practical and innovative solution.
1. Experience working as employment solicitor, drafting pleadings, witness statements and conducting employment tribunal claims and advocacy.
2. In depth understanding of the legal and regulatory environment relating to the higher education sector.
3. Experience working in an in house team or university in house team