Benefits of Public Service Legal Work
by Meera Patel, Trainee Solicitor
Furthering the Public Good
One of the main and most important reason why lawyers work in house for local authorities is because it gives them an opportunity to become involved in decisions affecting their local community.
As an in-house local authority lawyer you support an important public cause – equal access to justice for local people and groups. Such a cause can provide a feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement that you might not gain defending large corporations in the private practice sector.
Better Work Life Balance
I have worked for the public sector for six years and not all of those in the legal sector. One of the most important attributes for me and a key decision why I applied for training contracts within local authorities was because of the emphasis on a work life balance for all employees.
There are no fixed nine-to-five work days. Employees have flexible schedules and opportunities to work from home and/or part-time hours. Such practices are common for in-house public sector lawyers, especially those at North West Leicestershire District Council.
Public sector government lawyers are not under the same pressure as private practice lawyers to meet high billable hours or fee targets. The work culture is often more relaxed as the focus is on providing a solution based service rather than profit.
Valuable Experience and Training Mentoring and Networking Opportunities
As a Trainee Solicitor at North West Leicestershire District Council, an authority that is a part of the East Midlands Lawshare consortium and has valuable connections with other local authorities, fire & rescue authorities, universities, national parks, NHS trusts and town and parish councils, I have had a lot of exposure to training opportunities, networking events and mentoring opportunities. Such opportunities have helped me to build relations with a number of professionals including public sector lawyers and lawyers within private practice, whom I can turn to for advice and are readily available to provide training and support.
The lawyers at North West Leicestershire District Council have the support of senior staff to attend training sessions both within the EM Lawshare framework and other private companies to further their professional development.
Whilst working at North West Leicestershire District Council I have had the pleasure of working closely with team members to market our services externally given the current clients’ needs and having to be more commercially driven. NWLDC have been very forward thinking in their approach as a Local Authority and implemented NWL Legal to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our clients whilst understanding the remits we work within.