Senior Associate - Employment (Education) - Birmingham

Location: United Kingdom
Office: Birmingham
Discipline: Employment pensions & immigration
Contact name: Himpal Bains

Contact email:
Contact phone: 0121 4568003
Vacancy reference: 014150
Duration: Permanent
Closing date: 03 April 2023
Startdate: 29 September 2022 - 29 September 2022

The role

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 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.

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, arising from the size and complexity of many higher education institutions as public, private and charitable employers and the national and geopolitical context in which they sit. The clients are rewarding to work with; they are highly qualified, experienced and keen to do their best for their organisation as well as being fair to employees.  Our clients are located across the country 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 and local weekly team meetings, we have monthly cross-team sessions 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.

You will be based in our Birmingham office.  The clients you will work for are located across the country and you will be expected to travel to the client’s premises as appropriate.  This is unlikely to involve overnight stays and will be agreed with you.

The team

Our Employment, Pensions and Immigration National Service Line (“NSL”) is led by David Mills. The lawyers in the NSL work in sector teams, supporting employer clients in the Commercial, Health, Education and Charity sectors. Our education employment team is led by partners Nicola Brown, Nick Abbott and Alex Russell.  In total the team has over 15 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.

The person 

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

  • Client service - We expect the successful candidate to deliver outstanding client service to both internal and external clients to foster client retention and referrals
  • You will have a sound understanding of clients’ legal, commercial and service requirements within your practice area and the education sector and will aim to further develop commercial and personable client contact skills
  • Technical excellence - Someone with strong technical competence and legal knowledge in their practice area will excel in this role as you will be responsible for delivering accurate, technically correct and practical advice in writing, on the telephone and in person
  • New clients, new work - As part of this role, you will assist business development with existing and new clients and other professionals as part of the National Service Line, education sector and firm-wide plans

Your experience 

You will ideally be 5+ years PQE and be able to demonstrate good employment experience gained in a reputable firm which specialises in employment law.

Skills and attributes required 


  • good academics (2.1 degree or equivalent with good A levels or equivalent)
  • Appropriate IT skills
  • excellent written English for drafting purposes
  • proactive case management skills
  • well-developed presentation skills
  • You will have an interest in working for higher education clients (universities and colleges) as well as a clear drive and enthusiasm for employment law
  • You'll need to have the ability to prioritise and work to tight deadlines whilst balancing high volume urgent matters with an appetite to work on complex matters
  • You will be used working effectively both within a team and also independently, have a keen attention to detail and be self-starting with common sense and initiative
  • The successful candidate will have the ability to establish personal chemistry and build effective and long lasting relationships with colleagues, clients, targets and multipliers with excellent interpersonal and team skills, including the ability to influence and persuade
  • You will have an understanding of business management and an ability to deliver profitable work and possess a desire to develop yourself and your career within the team


  • You will ideally have had experience of working for education institutions as well as some experience of conducting Employment Tribunal advocacy or an interest in doing so

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, 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.