Associate - Employment - Cambridge

Vacancy ID




Preferred location

Vacancy type

Qualified Lawyer
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What does the role involve? 


Due to continued growth, we are looking for an employment solicitor to join our top-ranked team.  You will undertake a broad mix of contentious and non-contentious employment work predominantly for higher education clients.


As well as advisory work, you will be involved in delivering our annual programme of training, seminars and legal updates to clients and targets.


A bit about the team


Our Employment, Pensions and Immigration National Service Line (¿NSL¿) is led by David Mills.  You will be able to develop your career within the NSL, which nationally consists of over 50 lawyers.  The lawyers in the NSL work in sector teams, supporting employer clients in the Commercial, Health, Higher Education and Charity sectors.


Our education employment team is led by partners Nicola Brown, Nick Abbott and Alex Russell.  In total the team is 12 lawyers.


The NSL is supported by two professional support lawyers who deliver our monthly in-house updates and assist with our know-how, precedents and client training.  We also have an in-house advocacy unit which supports some of the NSL¿s Tribunal work and which you would be welcome to join.


Our higher education clients and the work for them


Your role will focus on employment work for our higher education clients across the country.


Higher education is a key sector for the firm and is highly regarded throughout the NSL and firm.  The work is technically very interesting, bringing in issues such as the public sector equality duty and wider sector issues (most recently over the delivery of online teaching and potential industrial action) which feed into the legal advice.  The clients are rewarding to work with as they are highly qualified, experienced and keen to do their best for their organisation as well as being fair to employees.  Clients are national and include a range of universities and other education bodies/charities.


Training will be provided on sector specific issues, so if you have not worked in the higher education sector before, all you need is an inquiring mind and an interest in working with these great clients.


As a group of employment lawyers specialising in higher education work, as well as day-to-day team collaboration, we have monthly video cons and an annual away day.  These sessions are in addition to the monthly cross-NSL training delivered by our professional support lawyers and an annual away day for the whole NSL.


Where will I work?


You can choose whether to be based in our Birmingham or Cambridge offices.  The client base you will work for will be national and you will be expected to travel to the client¿s premises and our Birmingham, Cambridge and London offices as appropriate.  This is unlikely to involve overnight stays and will be agreed with you.


What is expected of me?


At the level of this role, you will be expected to perform as follows:


Client service

  • Deliver outstanding client service to both internal and external clients to encourage client retention and referrals
  • Have a sound understanding of clients¿ legal, commercial and service requirements within your practice area and the education sector
  • Develop commercial and personable client contact skills

Technical excellence

  • Have strong technical competence and legal knowledge in your practice area
  • Deliver accurate, technically correct and practical advice in writing, on the telephone and in person

New clients, new work

  • Assist business development with existing and new clients and other professionals as part of the National Service Line or education sector plan


What experience is required? 


You will be 3+ years PQE and be able to demonstrate good employment experience gained in a reputable firm

which specialises in employment law.


What skills and attributes would I need? 




  • Good academics ¿ 2.1 degree or equivalent with good A levels or equivalent
  • An interest in working for higher education clients (universities and colleges)
  • Clear drive and enthusiasm for employment law
  • Excellent written English for drafting purposes
  • Ability to prioritise and work to tight deadlines whilst balancing high volume urgent work
  • Well-developed presentation skills
  • Self-starting with common sense, initiative
  • The ability to work effectively both within a team and also independently
  • An appetite to work on complex matters
  • Proactive case management skills
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Ability to establish personal chemistry and build effective and long lasting relationships with colleagues, clients, targets and multipliers
  • Excellent interpersonal and team skills, including ability to work with others, influence and persuade
  • Appropriate IT skills, including an ability to use online information sources
  • Sound research skills
  • An understanding of business management and an ability to deliver profitable work
  • A desire to develop yourself and your career within the team


  • Experience of conducting some Employment Tribunal advocacy or an interest in doing so
  • Experience of working for education institutions


What else should I know?


This is an ideal opportunity to build your skills and experience with a major UK law firm, listed as one of the “Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For” for the last 17 years - the only law firm to achieve this. This year we were named as Roll on Friday's Firm of the Year. We have also achieved the much sought after Three Star Accreditation and been named as one of 100 Best Mid-Sized Companies to Work For as a result of outstanding levels of staff engagement and the firm's  commitment to creating a positive working environment for all employees.


Mills & Reeve is a major UK law firm renowned for its outstanding service to national and international clients, for its collaborative culture and for its deep sector expertise.


The firm has a strong sector focus with expertise in agriculture, charities, education, food and beverage, health, insurance, private wealth, real estate investment, sport and technology. Clients include businesses from PLCs to start-ups, high net worth individuals and landowners, more than 120 universities, colleges and education bodies and over 100 healthcare organisations.


What really sets Mills & Reeve apart from other law firms is the way we work with our clients. We understand that clients in the 21st century no longer want a traditional law firm -  they want one that embraces forward thinking approaches to service, billing, commercial know-how, innovation, people management and community engagement.


Pre-employment screening


Please note that, in the event that we make an offer of employment, we will conduct pre-employment screening that includes checks relating to your professional and academic qualifications, references from previous employers, your eligibility to work in the UK and any disciplinary history recorded with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). You will also be required to complete a self-declaration to assess your character and suitability.


Disclosure and barring service check


This post is also subject to a satisfactory response from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to check for any previous criminal convictions.


If you would like any more information about Mills & Reeve, you can visit our website by clicking on the link


Mills & Reeve


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As you would expect, the firm offers a generous salary and benefits. Everyone has different priorities and preferences, so at Mills & Reeve you can choose the benefits that appeal to you. From buying holiday and undergoing health screening to leasing a bicycle – the choice is yours.

Our core benefits are:

  • Equal all staff bonus based on the firm’s financial performance
  • Generous pension including the option to salary sacrifice
  • Five weeks' annual leave and the option to buy or sell a week each year
  • Extra day of leave for wedding/civil partnership, religious holiday and house moving
  • Bonus week leave every 11th year of continuous service
  • Enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption pay
  • Income protection after two years’ service
  • Life assurance with the choice of covering between two and 10 times annual basic salary
  • Confidential employee assistance programme providing guidance on every day issues to more complex matters and both telephone and face to face counselling.

More information can be found here.


The firm

What really sets Mills & Reeve apart from other law firms is the way we work with our clients. We understand that clients, in the 21st century, no longer want a traditional law firm – they want one that embraces forward thinking approaches to service, billing, commercial know-how, innovation, people management and community engagement. 

And finally

Mills & Reeve is committed to providing an inclusive and supportive working environment. We are happy to consider flexible working arrangements and endeavour to achieve the right balance for both our people and the business. This attitude to flexible working ensures we continue to provide outstanding service to our clients, whilst allowing our people to develop their careers in the knowledge that personal priorities will remain just that.

Mills & Reeve is committed to promoting equality, diversity and to providing an inclusive and supportive environment. Please click the link below to find further information regarding diversity and inclusion at Mills & Reeve.

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