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15 minutes with Principal Consultant Laura Hayward

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05 Jun 2017
To celebrate our 15th year in business we sat down with Principal Consultant Laura Hayward to discuss her career to date and her advice to anyone looking to secure a legal role in the public sector.

What is your current role at Sellick Partnership?
I currently work as a Principal Consultant at Sellick Partnership and I supply a range of legal professionals from paralegals to qualified lawyers into the public and not-for-profit sectors on a locum basis. My client base includes numerous local authorities, universities, NHS organisations and housing associations in the South West region.

How has your career developed since joining Sellick Partnership?

I joined Sellick Partnership as a Resourcing Consultant in 2011 starting at the bottom of the recruitment career ladder. I was quickly promoted to a Consultant then to a Senior Consultant and in March 2016 I became a Principal Consultant. It was a natural progression for me; as I gained more responsibility it became evident that I wanted to build on my career in recruitment. I have strived to meet and constantly exceed my targets, which has enabled me to achieve my goals and climb the ladder.  

There are other ways in which you can progress in recruitment but I am glad I did it from the bottom up. In my opinion, starting off as a Resourcing Consultant gives you the best grounding for a career in recruitment. It gives you the opportunity to develop the skillset and the candidate knowledge needed to be successful, which is one of the most important elements of the job.

How has your market developed since you began with Sellick Partnership?
The legal market is always changing and evolving, usually in-line with new legislation coming out. Our market is always very busy for locums, and it will remain busy, it just depends which area is in demand at that time. There have been a number incidents in the last few years that have caused spikes in demand. For example in 2014 there was a case involving Cheshire West Council in the Supreme Court concerning Deprivation of Liberty. The demand for adult social care lawyers prior to this had been very sporadic, however the outcome of the case resulted in a spike in an area that still continues today. 
Another example is the Public Law Outline in 2014, which is legislation that means care cases have to be resolved within a 26 week timeline. This resulted in an enormous surge in childcare lawyer roles, a pressure that still remains today as authorities constantly try to meet and exceed that deadline. 

The market constantly changing means we need to ensure our knowledge is up-to-date and that we remain adaptable to the changes. Being a successful recruiter is about awareness and timing; we need to be able to adapt and understand our clients’ needs. Being able to understand why legislation is changing, and how it will impact the legal market helps me understand the needs of my clients and candidates, and therefore helps me support their recruitment needs more effectively. We also need to be able to speak confidently to our clients and candidates about the market; having a solid understanding of the law makes building relationships a lot easier and enhances your creditability as a recruiter.  

What advice would you give to anyone looking to start a locum career in the public sector? 
I truly believe that it is down to hard work and an open mind, no matter what level you are at in the legal profession. The candidates’ that tend to go the furthest in my experience are the ones that are willing to take a step back and look at the bigger picture in order to to get a foot in the door and gain exposure. For example, I have many candidates that are qualified solicitors who have never worked in local government, who will work as a legal assistant in order to eventually move into a qualified role.  

Where do you see your market progressing in the future?
The biggest challenge facing us at the moment has got to be Brexit. I don’t think there is any way we can get around not highlighting it, and the impact that may have on public sector lawyers and legal recruitment in general. When the vote happened last year we saw a knee jerk reaction with central government requirements and a surge for commercial lawyers to build teams in anticipation for what was going to happen, and even now when I am speaking with clients it is very much in the forefront of their minds now that Article 50 has been triggered. Organisations are still worried about what Brexit will mean for the public sector in terms of funding and how large their teams have to be to cope with demand.

Beyond Brexit and the challenges that it may present, I believe demand for locum lawyers will be steady within the public sector. Everyone working in the sector is in a difficult position as year-on-year they are under pressure to cut costs and save money, however there is always going to be work that needs to be done.

What has been your proudest professional moment at Sellick Partnership?
I definitely get the most satisfaction out of getting candidates on the career ladder and watching them progress as a result. Whether that is getting a paralegal a role that leads to a training contract or working with someone that has been in their role for some time and getting them a management position, they are the proudest moments for me as I feel like I am really adding something to that person’s career.
To find out more about Laura Hayward and the roles she currently has please visit her profile on the Sellick Partnership website, or alternative you can contact her direct on or by calling 0161 834 1642. Laura Hayward

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