Associate - Education - RPCD - Birmingham or Manchester

Location: United Kingdom
Office: Birmingham
Discipline: Regulatory public & commercial disputes
Contact name: Himpal Bains

Contact email:
Contact phone: 0121 456 8003
Vacancy reference: 020930
Closing date: 10 July 2023

What does the role involve?

  • We are looking for a lawyer of 1-5 years PQE to join our Education & Public Law team in Birmingham or Manchester, assisting with delivering a service nationally across all of our offices.  Your workload will primarily involve advising clients across a range of public law, litigation and liability matters such as:
  • Conducting litigation, including breach of contract, judicial review, discrimination and personal data claims; 
  • Advising universities colleges and other education institutions in connection with student complaints, disputes and claims; 
  • Advising on, and conducting litigation concerning, equality and diversity issues (other than employment law obligations), especially in the education sector; 
  • Advising learned societies and other membership organisations on governance and membership issues, including complaints and disciplinary matters; 
  • Advising a variety of clients in the education sector on safeguarding vulnerable groups legislation and obligations; 
  • Drafting and advising on education institutions’ governance documents, policies and procedures; 
  •  Immigration issues for student sponsors (ie education institutions);  
  • Advising on existing and new legislation affecting the higher education sector;  
  • Advising on the application of the freedom of information and data protection legislation, including advising on responding to data subject access requests and complaints to the Information Commissioner and First Tier Tribunal; and 
  • Supporting the NSL on any contentious matter. 

A significant proportion of the work will be for clients in the education sector, including universities, further education colleges, academies and related educational bodies, meaning that the context of a lot of the work is the institution/student relationship.

You will be based in either our Birmingham or Manchester office and will be expected to travel within the UK (Covid restrictions permitting) to support clients, engage in business development and work collaboratively with colleagues across our six UK offices.

The role involves business development and client relationship responsibilities such as:

  • Building strong client relationships
  • Supporting client relationship manages to deliver outstanding client service
  • Attending internal and external networking events  
  • Contributing to the continued development of the profile of the firm through the writing of articles and blogs for both Mills & Reeve and external publications
  • Supporting the delivery of training and other sessions to clients and prospects 

Much of the business development activity you will be asked to engage in will be in the education sector (universities, further education colleges, independent schools and related educational bodies) and learned societies. 

The Person

You will be between 1 and 5 years PQE (solicitor or barrister) with some experience in conducting litigation.  Ideally, you will have experience in some of the legal areas listed above, but experience of the education sector is not essential.  We recognise that similar experience may have given you transferable skills and knowledge, which will be helpful.


  • Good academics (eg 2.1 degree or equivalent with good  A levels or equivalent)
  • Experience of conducting litigation
  • IT literacy, including familiarity with MS Office
  • Excellent written English and ability to produce clear, logical drafting
  • Lateral thinking and problem solving skills
  • Ability to build and strengthen relationships with clients and potential clients
  • Good research skills, including an ability to use online information sources
  • Negotiating skills
  • Effective time and matter paper management skills with a systematic approach to work
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal and team skills, including ability to work with others, influence and persuade
  • Drive and commitment to see a job through
  • Attention to detail


  • Experience of public law and/or working for HE or FE clients
  • Marketing skills
  • Advocacy and other public speaking.

Who will I be working with?

You will be working with Richard Sykes, partner (to whom you will report on a day to day basis and Sian Jones-Davies (Principal Associate). The team is part of the cross-office Regulatory Public and Commercial Disputes NSL headed up by partner, Duncan Astill.

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 and security clearance

This post is also subject to a satisfactory response from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (to check for any previous criminal convictions and cautions) and, given the nature of the work-type, you may also be required to undergo national security vetting to SC level – the latter can be undertaken following commencement of employment. 

And finally

Mills & Reeve is committed to building a diverse workforce and fostering an inclusive environment in which all our people can thrive. We hire people from a wide variety of backgrounds because it makes our firm stronger, and we have a collaborative culture that celebrates different perspectives and values respect for one another, working together, and openness and integrity. Our approach to flexible working means that we work in a way that achieves the right balance for our people, our clients and for our business.