7th Floor, Phoenix House, 3 South Parade, Leeds, LS1 5QX
- Specialism: Legal
- Sector: Private Practice
- Roles: Permanent
- Location: Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside and Staffordshire
Type a day in the life of sellick from Catherine Wasilewski
Recently we sat down with Danielle Hammond, a qualified lawyer from New Zealand who has recently moved to the UK to pursue a career in childcare law. Danielle is a Locum Childcare Lawyer working within a London Borough via Sellick Partnership since arriving from New Zealand 6 months ago. There is currently a huge demand in local authorities across the UK for Childcare Lawyers of all levels of experience. There has been a large increase in childcare lawyer job vacancies across the legal locum sector and we have noticed there is a shortage of experienced qualified lawyers to fulfil these positions. As a result New Zealand/Australian qualified lawyers have been enormously popular and tend to do remarkably well due to their transferable skills and knowledge within the childcare legal sector. In this Q&A, Consultant Zanub Najmi gains some inside information from Danielle Hammond, a qualified lawyer who has recently moved from New Zealand to get an insight into her experience on transitioning from a government department in New Zealand to a local authority in London. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and experience? I studied law, psychology and social policy at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. Going into university I always wanted to work in child protection law. During university I did an internship at the Police Prosecutions in Wellington. After University I was lucky enough to get to work as a solicitor at Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children. This role involved doing some benefit prosecutions but was mainly child care/protection law. After working for two years, I was ready to explore the rest of the world. What made you want to move over to the UK? My life plan was always to come over to the UK, experience British life and travel all over Europe. England is so close to Europe and getting anywhere from New Zealand takes forever! What made you want to work in local authority childcare? I have always been really passionate about human rights – especially children’s rights. They are so vulnerable and you don’t get to choose the world you come into, it’s honestly luck if you get a great set of parents. Being involved with childcare law, it is an area where you actually make a significant life altering change to better someone’s life. What was the transition like moving from The Ministry of Children in New Zealand to a local authority in London? The transition itself hasn’t been too difficult. The law is essentially the same, just different numbers and abbreviations. The people you work with are really kind and helpful too. The main difference I have found would be the role we play. In New Zealand we were both the advocate and the solicitor, and although I know that is an option here I haven’t really had the opportunity. The other difference would be the tight timeframes in each case. 26 weeks for a case to be completed can go so fast, whereas at home in New Zealand the case is generally in court for their whole childhood. Has the move to United Kingdom been worthwhile in regards to your work? And if so, why? Coming over here I have been exposed to so many different scenarios. The population of London is so much greater than New Zealand, so there is more exposure to unusual cases. The cases involve more diverse cultures and tend to have more of an international element than I would be exposed to in New Zealand. The Courts and the Local Authorities have a more varied and vast range of resources available to them and I feel I am learning about different solutions and how they can benefit the client and the child. What is it you enjoy about the role? Which aspects do you find challenging? I like that every day can be a different challenge and that I am constantly being exposed to different situations. The people that are involved in childcare law I have found are always welcoming and friendly - you easily fall into being a part of a team. Working in London is flexible in a way, as most Local Authorities offer a work from home day each week. The challenging part would be the roll-over of cases, each case is only meant to be before the court for 26 weeks, which can make timeframes very tight, but it’s still exhilarating when a case comes together at the last moment. You have now been working within the public sector as a Childcare Lawyer for over 4 months. How are you finding it? I feel like I am really starting to settle in and I’m becoming more confident day by day. I’ve been to two separate Local Authorities and have been lucky as they both use the same Central Court, which has helped with consolidating the court processes. The workload in general tends to vary depending on how smooth the cases are. From time to time there can be issues that arise which can be very time consuming. Overall I’m really enjoying this experience. How was your recruitment process with Sellick Partnership? The process was seamless, I started the process about a month prior to arriving in the UK. I sent my CV through to Sellick Partnership and had a chat over the phone about what job areas they thought I would be suitable for. They helped me alter my CV so that it would relate to the UK local authorities and that my New Zealand experience was easily understood and translated well. Sellick Partnership then managed to set me up with interviews within a week. They set them up so that I would have the interviews clustered together for time efficiency and even sorted out what tube I needed to take. The team at Sellick Partnership are really lovely and after every interview they would call so I could have a debrief about how the interview went. They were really lovely and ensured that I received a good rate and could go on holidays that I had already organised. Do you have any words of advice for a New Zealand/Australian qualified solicitor moving to London/UK? Definitely have a chat to the team at Sellick Partnership before you arrive, just for ease of mind as they give you a realistic understanding of the job opportunities in the UK. Have the recruiters look over your CV, to ensure your skills and qualifications translate to the UK market. Also get a criminal record check completed in your home country before you leave, as you don’t want to be waiting for over a month when you arrive in the UK for your home country check to come through. About Sellick Partnership Sellick Partnership is a market leading recruitment firm within the legal sector with over 600 locums currently working for across the UK. We specialise in a range of sectors and areas within Legal such as public sector local authorities, central government, in-house and the private sector. Sellick Partnership will provide you consistent support throughout your job search process from the initial screening, feedback on CV to being placed in your role and thereafter thus making the procedure as smooth and efficient as possible. Myself and the public sector team worked with Danielle prior to her moving to the UK to understand and establish her experience and requirements. Utilising this information and helping to tailor CV to the area of law she required. We were also able to set up multiple interviews for Danielle. Due to the great relations we have with the London Boroughs it was easier to manage her interviews, feedback and multiple job offers she received. What next If you would like some additional information or are interested in working as a lawyer within a local authority in the UK, please feel free to get in touch. We regularly work with lawyers with very little local authority experience and we would be more than happy to help you. Alternatively, you can visit our legal locum jobs page and view our latest vacancies.
Asking for help in the workplace can be daunting, and it is something very few of us want to do. As people climb the career ladder, many think that asking for help at work shows a sign of weakness, and perhaps a lack of confidence in your position, however this could not be further than the truth. Asking your colleagues or manager for help can build relationships and even lead to career progression. In this blog, Manager Laura Smith looks at the best way to recognise when you need help and offers her advice on how to seek help in the workplace. I speak with candidates that are looking for their next legal job on a day-to-day basis and three reasons I am often given for why they are looking for a new role include having an unmanageable workload, being given work outside of their area of law or feeling like they cannot get to grips with a new IT system. Each of these scenarios can make somebody feel uncomfortable, and support is needed to ensure they are able to work. How to recognise when you may need to ask for help Many candidates I speak with choose not to raise concerns or ask for help from their line manager as they feel that it will come across that they are not able to cope with their role. This should not be the case and employees should be encouraged to seek help. If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, it is a good idea to pinpoint the problem that you are experiencing. This will ensure you are in control of the situation, and that you are in the best possible position to articulate your issues to a manager or colleague. If you have a lot of work on and are not able to meet the deadlines, this is a clear sign that you may need to ask for help. It could be that you just need to ask for a deadline extension or that you need some extra support in order to meet the deadline. The sooner you discuss this with your manager or colleagues, the better. This way you can manage expectations and ensure you deliver the work within a reasonable amount of time. If you are new to a role, and need some additional help on understanding something, make sure you ask for help sooner rather than later. It’s completely understandable to not know everything when you first start with a new business, so ensure you have all the knowledge available in order for you to effectively complete your work. How to ask for help effectively If you are worried that by asking for help you will look as though you are unable to cope with your work, take time to think about how you word it to your manager, and also a plan for how they can help. If you can identify where and how help could be given, this will show your manager that although you need help, you are still in control and you have thought about the situation thoroughly first. Scheduling a meeting with your manager will ensure that you have enough time to discuss everything in detail, and will show that you have thought everything through. Asking for help can assist in building relationships, improve health and wellbeing in the workplace, increase productivity and provide an opportunity to learn and expand skills. The benefits of accepting you need help and seeking this out within the workplace has so many potentially positive outcomes. What next? If you would like more advice on dealing with a situation in work, please feel free to contact me by emailing email@example.com, or if you are unhappy in work and would like to discuss what opportunities we currently have, please check out our latest legal jobs.
Are you a public sector lawyer and wondering what skills you should be concentrating on in order to be a success in the 21st Century? Chelsey Newsom, Manager and legal recruitment expert gives us some insight into the skills her clients often look for in local government lawyers. She offers her advice on what skills clients should be looking for in candidates, what skills candidates should be developing and how local government can ensure they are attracting and retaining the best legal talent on the market. The legal recruitment market is constantly evolving which can be challenging for candidates trying to keep up. As a result the role of a lawyer in any sector is becoming increasingly difficult and my legal clients are constantly looking for candidates with niche skillsets that have relevant and adaptable soft skills. As we move further into the 21st century this need will only grow, and lawyers will need to ensure their skills and knowledge are up-to-date. In this blog I look at some of the skills that are currently in highest demand, and how I think the role of the lawyer will continue to evolve. It is very evident that local government are under constant financial pressures, especially as there is little clarity on where organisations funding will come from in 2020. Candidates therefore need to be able to adapt to certain surroundings and find innovative ways that they can continue to the service they provide. Local government lawyers need to be versatile and flexible to be able to manage the changes happening in the sector such as shared services, alternative business structures (ABS) and the implementation of new technology across the sector. Skills in demand with local government As local authorities move towards new structures such as shared services and ABS and adopt a way of working similar to that in private practice, they require their lawyers to be able to undertake a range of skills. As a result we have seen an increase in the need for the following skills when recruiting to local authorities across the UK: Client care skills – the ability to manage several clients at one time and build a rapport is becoming essential for any candidate looking to secure a legal role within local government. As pressure increases, lawyers need to be able to work with multiple clients, and effectively manage their expectations whilst delivering the highest level of service. For that reason we often look for legal candidates that have experience in, or show skills in stakeholder management. Technology – technology is constantly changing with the legal sector, and as a result candidates need to be able to learn new systems and adapt. The ability to record key information on case management systems with little to no legal support is often required in local government, therefore efficient typing skills and the ability to confidently use different platforms is essential. Candidates also need to be able to adapt to new technology as and when it is introduced. As the sector continues to evolve, and more technology is introduced to local government, this will become an even more important skillset to have. Niche and specialised skills within a set legal field – generally lawyers will specialise in a key area of law, so having expert insights and knowledge of your chosen sector is essential. Our clients are also often asking for candidates that have very specific skills, so it is important to know what niche skills may be important within your chosen sector. For example, there has been a significant increase in childcare lawyers with strong advocacy skills and an increase in CPO and development experience within planning and property roles. Experience within more than one area of law – candidates who are able to gain experience in multiple areas of law will always be in high demand. We have seen a significant change in the market where the demand for litigation lawyers does not just require housing or civil but clients needing lawyers to be versatile so that they are able to pick up any level or type of work in small teams such as districts or boroughs. There is also a greater need for candidates to be able to conduct advocacy in more than one area of litigation to enable a cost saving exercise to try and reduce spend to external barristers or practice. We have also recently seen a rise in the need for regeneration lawyers, but clients are asking that these candidates possess skills in project experience and knowledge within property, planning and contracts. This gives lawyers with experience in any of these areas an opportunity to develop further and gain work in a different area of law. Adapting skills to remain successful within local government It is not always skills that lawyers need to think about to remain successful in local government. Legal professionals should also be aware of the market, adapt and look at where their skills may be transferable. For example, many local authorities still struggle to recruit for childcare, property, planning and contract positions both on a permanent and on a locum basis. These areas of law are in constant high demand within the market and commercial roles are always in competition with private practice and in-house roles that offer a more competitive salary. There is also a real need for skilled regeneration lawyers. This is a relatively new area of law for local government, and a skill that is increasingly in high demand. There may be lawyers already in local government that have the skillset to deliver these projects, so it is worthwhile considering these roles and looking as to whether your skills are transferable. Local government hiring managers should rethink their approach to recruitment Client retention is also very difficult, especially within the public sector. Within the areas of law that are most difficult to recruit to, clients often focus too much on experience and post qualified experience (PQE), however this is limiting the talent pool available to them. I would strongly advise local authorities to consider those with less PQE as these candidates can be an investment in the long-term and it may be that these skills can be developed which will ultimately lead to a highly skilled lawyer that is committed to the organisation. Finally, if local government organisations want to attract, train and retain future legal talent, they need to invest time in the candidates they employ. Many legal candidates we work with have the right soft skills, but without adequate training within a key area or organisation they cannot grow or flourish. To further discuss the skills you need to be a successful lawyer in the 21st century or for assistance with your recruitment strategy please contact me on 0161 834 1642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, browse our latest roles here.