Shelter (Plymouth) - Justice First Fellowship Trainee Solicitor

Job Title: Trainee Solicitor

Department: Legal Team

Reports to: Hub Manager/Solicitor

Location: Plymouth

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 are 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 are seeing on the frontline.

Within our frontline services, we employ a thriving legal team – including some of the country’s leading housing lawyers – to advise and represent people across England. Each of our local hubs has their own legal team, including our Devon Hub in Plymouth.

Our national 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 around the country. Within Shelter Legal Services, we also have a strategic litigation team that works on bringing and supporting test case litigation with the aim of positively changing legislation, policy and practice.

Shelter Legal Services has a national reputation for excellence in housing law and human rights, 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, ensure people’s rights are upheld and test the limits of the law. We want to be able to offer all Shelter clients a complete advice and advocacy service, and in the current challenging environment ensure that people have access to justice and a safe, secure place to call home.

Shelter’s Devon Hub, located in Plymouth, is made up of highly skilled solicitors and advisers offering legal aid, and non legal aid, advice and guidance on housing rights related issues. The Hub provides a range of services to assist people facing homelessness or housing issues, including litigation and specialist advice. We also provide representation at court through the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme where we help those at immediate risk of losing their home.

For further information, visit our website.

Any questions regarding this organisation or the position should be directed to


Job Description

About the role

We have an exciting opportunity, funded by the Legal Education Foundation, for an individual dedicated to working in social welfare law to join Shelter as a trainee solicitor as part of our legal team in Plymouth.

As well as carrying a caseload of diverse housing cases, with the opportunity to provide advocacy at court, you will be working to support strategic litigation within the legal team and wider hub, with a view to effecting wider systemic change for the people we work with on a national level.

Working with partner organisations, the trainee solicitor will have the opportunity to do at least one secondment which will provide a unique experience during the traineeship to cover a different area of law with another social justice organisation.

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 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
    • Conducting legal research
    • Liaising, instructing and negotiating with third parties, including opponents, experts and counsel
    • Attending court with counsel
    • Court Duty Scheme representation and providing advocacy
    • Research
    • Other fee earning tasks as required
  • Other tasks as agreed with the supervising 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


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


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 position, please see the description on the Justice First Fellowship website.


Applications are through the Justice First Fellowship website here.


  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:


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