Greenwich Housing Rights (London) - Justice First Fellowship Trainee Solicitor

Job Title: Trainee Solicitor

Reports to: Senior Solicitor

Location: Greenwich, London

Grade/Salary: £26,500 (year 1); £27,500 (year 2)

Hours: 35 hours per week

Deadline: 5pm on Monday 14 September 2020

 

If you think that decent housing is a fundamental human need and right, and are prepared to help us fight to end the blight of homelessness, poor living conditions, discrimination and the threat of eviction to people living in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the surrounding areas, please read on……… Based in Woolwich and Bromley, Greenwich Housing Rights is a specialist housing charity, representing local people facing eviction and homelessness. We have delivered high quality legal services for over 37 years. We represent clients at court, provide litigation services and through our helpline, telephone and online services and network of local hubs, we provide expert information, advice and support to people in housing crisis. Alongside this, we are committed to tackling the root causes of our client’s housing problems through wider campaigning and policy work.

We have been awarded a grant through the Legal Education Foundation and are looking to appoint a Justice First Fellow /Trainee Solicitor.

 

Organisation Detail

We are social justice lawyers fighting for the housing rights of the people of Greenwich and the surrounding areas through litigation services, casework and advice. We provide access to justice for our clients beyond the confines of the current legal aid contract.

This post is open to an LPC graduate (or equivalent) and will suit anyone committed to social welfare law and an interest in the addressing poverty, suffering and distress amongst the most marginalised members of our society.

The candidate will need excellent communication and IT skills and a competence in the use of social media. The candidate must have the ability to thrive as part of a small team.

Through high qualify training and support from our experienced solicitors and caseworkers the candidate will be provided with a broad range of experiences and the support required to develop legal practice skills and expertise in housing law and other areas of social welfare law.

For further information, visit our website.

Any questions regarding this organisation or the position should be directed to pamela.robotham@grhr.co.uk

 

Job Description

Introduction

The main purpose of this role is to deliver highly specialised legal advice, casework and litigation services to our client group.

Our clients have complex needs and present with interconnected legal issues. Our solicitors, trainees and caseworkers therefore take a multidisciplinary approach to resolving legal problems and ensure that clients have access to a wide range of advice and support services. While the post-holder will concentrate on delivering legal services, s/he will also be expected to contribute to the review and development of support services, policy work and public legal education.

The trainee will work under the direct supervision of a Senior Solicitor but will also benefit from the support of our experienced team of solicitors and caseworkers.

As Greenwich Housing Rights is a specialist housing organisation, the trainee will be provided with a broad range of experiences and the support required to develop legal practice skills and expertise in housing law and other areas of social welfare law. The trainee will have ready access to experienced, welfare benefits, employment and immigration law practitioners through our partnership with Plumstead Community Law Centre (PCLC).

Objectives of the Position

To provide the Trainee Solicitor with the opportunity to develop, practise and gain experience in housing law and related social welfare law disciplines:

  • Communication skills
  • Client care
  • Legal research
  • Drafting
  • Interviewing and advising
  • Negotiating
  • Advocacy and oral presentation skills
  • Case management

Purpose of the Position

  1. Under supervision, to gain training and experience in and take responsibility for the provision of legal advice and representation in housing law and practice and related welfare law.
  2. To be responsible for the delivery of advice, casework, support and representation for clients from the London Borough of Greenwich and neighbouring boroughs.
  3. To work in partnership with community venues, advice agencies and other agencies to ensure the needs of local people are met and that social policy work is co-ordinated to prevent problems occurring wherever possible.

Duties and Responsibilities

A. Legal Aid Services

  1. To provide specialist advice, casework and litigation services under the supervision of senior staff.
  2. To ensure that publicly funded cases are run in compliance with the requirements of the LAA Contract, Specialist Quality Mark and regulatory framework.
  3. To represent clients in the county court in possession or other proceedings, at housing benefit tribunals and at other types of hearings and meetings where appropriate.
  4. To participate in the County Court Duty Advice Schemes (HPCDS) by advising and representing defendants in possession proceedings and applications to suspend eviction warrants.
  5. To ensure that concluded cases are billed in a timely fashion and that payments on account are claimed where appropriate.
  6. To develop and maintain GHR’s working relationship with Counsel, costs draughtsmen and an appropriate range of experts.
  7. To ensure the effective operation of GHR’s services by working collaboratively with advice and support staff and volunteers.
  8. To ensure that all files are maintained in accordance with GHR’s case management system requirements.
  9. To contribute to the development and implementation of GHR’s annual training plan.
  10. To undertake such support functions that may arise from GHR’s involvement in local advice partnerships.
  11. To meet income targets from casework and targets set by the organisation and as required by funders.
  12. To participate on a rota basis in initial advice services offered by GHR at the office and at other outreach locations.
  13. To take a holistic approach to casework by providing tailored specialist legal advice, assisting clients to develop non-legal strategies for problem resolution when possible and enabling client to access appropriate external sources of advice and support.
  14. To comply at all times with GHR’s Operational Procedures and Employee Handbook and to assist with the review and implementation of GHR’s Equality and Diversity Policy.
  15. To undertake home visits and undertake out of hours work where appropriate.
  16. To provide second-tier advice, training and support to professionals and volunteers working in other third sector agencies and public sector teams.
  17. To provide support for and to assist in the training of staff and volunteers involved in the Duty Advice Schemes.
  18. To carry out such other duties as may be required to ensure the effective operation of GHR’s advice and other services.

B. Training and Professional Development

  1. To keep up to date on changes in housing law, welfare benefits and other areas of law relevant to the delivery of GHR’s services and to the training contract.
  2. To undertake such internal and external training as the organisation deems appropriate to enable the successful completion of the training contract.
  3. To successfully complete the Professional Skills Course.
  4. To regularly access relevant social welfare law resources and ensure those resources are applied appropriately in the delivery of GHR’s services.
  5. To be proactive in identifying and addressing training and development needs and to respond constructively to supervision to ensure the successful completion of the training contract.

C. Policy & Partnership Work

  1. To keep abreast of other social welfare issues, proposed new legislation and new policy initiatives at a local and national level and to support GHR to make representations to the appropriate government departments.
  2. To attend meetings of local advice networks, to participate in policy, project, campaigning or capacity building activities undertaken by those networks.

D. Project Work

  1. To lead on a project that enhances access to justice and/or promotes awareness of access to justice issues.
  2. To assist GHR to liaise with the LEF to comply with monitoring and reporting requirements in relation to the project.
  3. To share learning and outcomes from the project with key stakeholders as agreed with GHR and the LEF.
  4. To carry out all other reasonable duties as required to maintain the service, including being prepared to work outside of office hours.

 

Person Specification

The ideal candidate will have the following qualities:

Essential (E) or Desirable (D)

1. Successful completion of the Legal Practice Course or relevant experience in legal environment  E
2. Commitment to Social Welfare law, upholding human rights and providing support for disadvantaged members of society E
3. Understanding of some of the issues facing disadvantaged local residents E
4. An understanding of and commitment to equal opportunities issues and its relevance to legal advice E
5. Self-motivated with excellent organisational skills and the ability to prioritise and manage a busy workload to work under pressure and meet deadlines E
6. Ability to express clearly and accurately both written and spoken word E
7. Ability to accurately interpret information and follow instructions E
8. Willingness to acquire knowledge of housing law and develop expertise in that field E
9. Strong in the use of IT systems, proficiency with Word programmes and Social Media and the ability to use online and written resources to research law E
10. Experience of teamwork E
11. Willingness to familiarise yourself with legal aid requirements and procedures D
12. A sound understanding of the role of the voluntary sector and the challenges faced by the not-for-profit legal advice providers D
13. Experience of working or volunteering in a community sector organisation D
14. Experience of working under the legal aid scheme (Legal Help and certificated) and the exercise of delegated functions D
15. Experience of County Court litigation including advocacy D
16. Experience of Welfare Benefits/housing advice  D

 

 

Applications are through the Justice First Fellowship website here.

Eligibility

  1. The applicant must satisfy the appropriate entry condition for their type of training placement, i.e:
    • Training Contract (England & Wales) – passed (or expected to pass by 31st October(*1)) the Legal Practice Course (LPC)
    • Training Contract (Scotland) – passed (or expected to pass by 31st October(*1)) the Diploma in Legal Practice/Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DLP)
    • Training Contract (Northern Ireland) – graduated with a recognised law degree and be eligible to apply for September (of the following year) admission to the Solicitors apprenticeship scheme at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (Queen’s University Belfast)

Note: any or all of these types of training placement may be available in any given year.

  1. The applicant must have the right to work in the UK and be willing and able to commit to serving a two-year term as a Fellow commencing in the January (April for Northern Ireland Training Contracts) following their application.
  2. The applicant must have a demonstrated commitment to social welfare law. We are particularly interested in students who wish to effect change in the legal community, such as members of public interest and/or pro bono organisations on campus and those who have dedicated time to serving low-income or less privileged communities either during or prior to law school.
  3. Applicants may only apply for a position at one Host Organisation in any year.

Please complete the online application form with your contact information and responses to each question. Once completed and submitted your application will be acknowledged with an automatic receipt to your email address.

(*1) Please note that if you are shortlisted by your chosen Host, but cannot confirm that you have passed the LPC or DLP by 31st October you will not be allowed to attend for interview.

 

Application Timeline

The following lists the dates in the application process for 2020:

Event

Training Contracts

2020 Opportunities posted

May 2020

Applications open

17th August 2020

Applications close

14th September 2020

Applicants notified of Initial Selection

14th October 2020

Interview period

November/December 2020

Training Placements commence

January 2021 (*2)

(*2) April 2021 for Northern Irish positions