Shelter (Manchester) - Justice First Fellowship Trainee Solicitor

Job Title: Trainee Solicitor

Department: Strategic Litigation Team

Reports to: Solicitor

Location: Manchester

Grade/Salary: £21,769 (grade 2)

Hours: 37.5 hours

Deadline: 5pm on Monday 14 September 2020

 

A home is a fundamental human need, as essential as education or healthcare. Yet millions of people’s lives across the country are blighted by homelessness, soaring rents, deplorable conditions, discrimination and the threat of eviction.

 

Organisation Detail

Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe home. Each year through our expert advice and support services, we help millions of people struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own.

Through our helpline, 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 the current housing emergency. We do this through our wider campaigning and policy work which is always informed by the experiences we’re seeing on the frontline.

Our legal team has over 100 staff members, including 45 solicitors. We deliver the highest quality housing advice and litigation services from our network of 12 offices across England.

We work closely with other teams in Shelter’s services, taking referrals of complex and certificated cases to ensure that Shelter can provide an end-to-end service to its clients. The work of Shelter’s solicitors is predominantly funded by legal aid but offers CFA/DBA where appropriate. The service conducts certificated litigation work, controlled work and Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes. In addition to supporting individual clients, we also provide digital advice and training to other solicitors and advice agencies as well as supporting the organisational priorities of policy and campaigning on social welfare law and access to justice issues.

We have a national reputation for excellence in housing law and a long history of seeking to assist the development of English law in the field of homelessness and issues of inadequate housing through litigation. We use the law to solve people’s problems and test the limits of the law. We want to be able to offer all Shelter clients a complete advice and advocacy service and to fill gaps in existing legal services. In the challenging current environment, offering legal solutions to enable people to access, keep and improve their homes whilst maintaining cost effectiveness requires innovation, imagination and high calibre financial and problem-solving skills.

The Strategic Legal Team (SLT) is a small team within Shelter Legal Services. The SLT has until recently been based in London but has now started to employ solicitors in Shelter’s advice centres around the country. This role would be based in Shelter Manchester, sitting with the legal and advice team in Manchester. The embedding of the SLT in our advice centres gives them good insight into housing issues across the country. The SLT engages in strategic litigation on a national level concerning homelessness and bad housing and is also a resource for Shelter solicitors across the country to assist them in engaging the law strategically on a local level.

The legal team in the Manchester office have a legal aid contract to deliver three court duty housing possession schemes to represent people facing eviction from their homes. In addition, they represent clients under legal aid in many areas including challenging negative homelessness decisions, representing clients in court in defending possession proceedings and bringing claims for unlawful eviction.

For further information, visit our website.

Any questions regarding this organisation or the position should be directed to Robert_Brown@shelter.org.uk

 

Job Description

About the role

We have an exciting opportunity, funded by the Legal Education Foundation, for a high calibre, adaptable trainee solicitor to join the team. You will have completed your LPC and will work under the housing and public law legal aid contracts as well as having the opportunity to support Shelter’s test cases and interventions.

The trainee solicitor will be based in Shelter’s Strategic Litigation Team in our Manchester office. As well as carrying a caseload of strategically focused cases and working to promote strategic litigation within the Shelter Legal team and regional offices, the trainee will also provide support on legislation and policy development to Shelter’s Communications, Policy and Campaigns (CPC) teams and will proactively seek out housing and welfare test cases that will influence change as part of Shelter’s campaigning strategy. The trainee will explore different ways of funding the strategic litigation work, including legal aid, crowdfunding, grant applications and pro bono.

The trainee will have the opportunity to carry out strategic legal work in Shelter at both a local and national level. In particular, on a local level in Manchester, they will have a strategic focus on challenging poor conditions in temporary accommodation provided to homeless children and families.

Main Objectives

To provide a specialist casework service in Housing and Public law and related areas including advice and litigation work.

Key Responsibilities

Legal Advice & Representation

  • To assist the supervising solicitor to maintain an active caseload, including litigation, which enables homeless people, those with housing problems and (where applicable) those with problems relating to community care to enforce their existing rights. This includes litigation in test and lead cases and taking cases to judicial review.
  • To carry out such casework tasks as may be assigned or delegated by the solicitor from time to time, including (but not limited to)
    • Taking instructions from and giving advice to clients
    • Taking statements from witnesses
    • Drafting letters, statements, representations and other documents
    • Liaising, instructing and negotiating with third parties, including opponents, experts and counsel
    • Attending court with counsel
    • Research
    • Other fee earning tasks as required
  • Other tasks as agreed with the supervising solicitor and managing solicitor.
  • Actively promote the legal service and identify referrals from internal and external sources.
  • Meet income, open cases, work in progress, and other targets set by the management team.
  • Keep informed and up-to-date of changes in legislation, case law and other areas.
  • Comply with the requirements of the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority in ensuring that training records are kept.
  • Comply with the requirements of the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority in attending the Professional Skills Course by prior arrangement with the supervising solicitor.

General

  • Ensure all work meets both external and internal Quality Standards and any funding requirements.
  • Support Shelter’s legal team as required.

Diversity

All staff should adhere to Shelter's Equality and Diversity policy framework and will be expected to play a key role in its successful implementation.

 

This job description cannot cover every issue or task that may arise within the post at various times and the post-holder will be expected to carry out other duties from time to time which are broadly consistent with those in this document. This job description does not form part of the contract of employment.

 

For further information about this role please see the description on the Justice First Fellowship website.

 

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