EU COMPETITION PRACTICE DEVELOPMENT LAWYER –BIRMINGHAM/GLASGOW/ LONDON
Pinsent Masons is an international law firm with a long-standing reputation for delivering high-quality legal advice rooted in its deep understanding of the sectors and geographies in which its clients operate. With over 1,500 lawyers operating from 22 locations throughout the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Pinsent Masons is well-placed to advise on complex multi-jurisdictional transactions across a full range of legal disciplines.
In recent years it has achieved more tier 1 rankings in The Legal 500 UK guide than any other firm, and is recognised among the most innovative law firms in Europe by the Financial Times. The firm has significant international credentials in the global energy, infrastructure, financial services, real estate and advanced manufacturing and technology sectors. Services provided across these sectors include corporate and M&A, commercial, competition, litigation and arbitration, banking, restructuring, insurance, regulatory, construction, projects, pensions, property, planning and environmental, procurement, outsourcing, employment, share plans, technology and tax advice.
Pinsent Masons stands out in particular for its innovative approach to service delivery. For example, the firm operates a hub of freelance lawyers, called Vario, and has also developed Cerico, a cloud-based regulatory compliance solution. It has developed long-term service agreements, often referred to as ‘sole adviser’ relationships, with a number of blue-chip organisations.
We are looking for an enthusiastic, well organised and self-motived practice development lawyer to provide knowledge and practice development support to our EU & Competition Group. The candidate can be based in London, Birmingham or Glasgow.
The Group covers the practice areas of EU & UK Competition law, Public Procurement, State aid, EU law and International Trade law. In each of those legal areas, the PDL's responsibility is to assist the team in having access to cutting-edge and innovative know-how, developing and maintaining client relationships and achieving high quality service delivery.
Responsibilities will include drafting thought leadership publications (external and internal articles, newsletters, briefings, current awareness and alerts, etc.); producing and managing appropriate precedents, standard forms and practice notes; preparing responses to public consultations on legal and policy developments; researching and providing information, analysis, and expertise on legal and policy developments to the lawyers within the group; maintaining the group's knowledge database; organising training programme for the group; working with the firm's Knowledge team to ensure best use of resources and technology.
The successful candidate will report to the Head of the EU & Competition Group, Alan Davis, with a dotted reporting line to the firm's Head of Knowledge, Tim Dale.
This is an exciting time to join Pinsent Masons given the continued growth of the firm in the UK and internationally, including across Europe. It is also an opportunity to be a key part of the growth and expansion of the EU & Competition Group as we look to expand the team's presence in the UK and in Europe. Competition Partner Alan Davis recently re-joined the team as its new Head of EU & Competition from Jones Day.
Brexit will offer both challenges and opportunities for the team and our team is at the heart of the firm's Brexit activities with Competition Partner Guy Lougher leading the firm's cross-disciplinary Brexit Advisory Team which advises clients in a joined-up way on the implications of Brexit. We are also anticipating the need to provide more international trade law advice, including on the WTO regime, and are engaged in upskilling our team on trade law and looking to recruit specialists in that field.
Consistent with the firm's culture and values, there is a strong collegiate and entrepreneurial culture within the team. The team's business development activities are firmly focused on the firm's key sectors of Energy, Advanced Manufacturing and Technology, Financial Services and Infrastructure, as well as Government and Real Estate.
- Understands and exploits the firm's technologies and platforms to improve the team’s operational efficiency, profitability and cost-effectiveness (e.g. through the automation of standard documents, the creation of [online] toolkits and workflows) and to improve service delivery
- Monitors recent legal and policy developments and keeps the group and our clients informed with expert analysis, through external and internal briefings and alerts
- Work with client teams and Business Development to develop and deliver intelligence, products and know how, particularly for key Atlas clients within the group
- Drafts responses to public consultations on legislative and policy developments
- Drafts precedents, standard forms, practice notes, flowcharts and keeps them up to date
- Encourages a culture of knowledge sharing within the group
- Manages contributions and collection of know-how and keeps the group's knowledge database up to date
- Assesses needs for new and/or updated versions of information resources, both online and hard copy, ensuring we maximise benefit of our subscriptions
- Assesses legal training needs and training budget for the group; organises training and seminars for the team
- Attends external seminars and shares and reports lessons learned with the rest of the group
- Organises trainee inductions
- Collaborates with other PDLs across the firm as well as with the firm's Knowledge team, assists members of other groups, departments or offices when needed
- Keeps the group informed on the firm's knowledge management strategy
Key skills and competencies
- Excellent legal research and drafting skills
- Excellent communication and influencing skills
- Excellent attention to detail
- Excellent analytical, troubleshooting, organisational and planning skills, able to handle multiple projects and shifting priorities
- Team oriented but able to work alone and drive progress independently
- Strong supervision and delegation skills, using junior solicitors, trainees and paralegals to assist on know-how tasks and projects
- Excellent competency with relevant firm computer software programs (e.g., Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint), with the ability to learn new applications, including web page editing software, collaborative work software and platforms (e.g. Webex)
- Familiarity with the resources important to the group, including: MLex, Global Competition Review, Justis, Achilles, Lexis, Westlaw, European Courts, European institutions, UK competition authorities and regulators, main Competition law, State aid, Procurement and/or International Trade text books and periodicals
- Strong interest in, and understanding of, knowledge management principles, technology and best practices and how the legal services market is evolving in this area
Education and experience
- University degree
- Admission as a solicitor (or equivalent) in any of the UK, EU or Commonwealth jurisdictions
- Practicing experience in at least one of the group's practice areas (EU or UK Competition Law, Public Procurement, State aid, EU law and/or International Trade Law), preference 4+ PQE
- Prior experience in a large, international, law firm or similar working environment is essential
- Prior experience in knowledge management would be an advantage
- Native level English language capabilities (oral and written) are essential.
EU & Competition Group
The Group is highly regarded, sizable and experienced with strength across all areas of competition law. It comprises 8 partners and 18 lawyers, of which 6 partners and 8 lawyers advise purely on competition law matters, with the remaining lawyers advising solely on State aid and public procurement law.
The Group's work covers:
- Antitrust: We have extensive experience of advising on criminal and civil cartels investigations by the CMA, including advising on the recent Galvanized Steel Tanks cartel and on the only remaining CMA criminal cartel investigation in relation to Precast Concrete Drainage Pipes. Previously we have advised on EU and UK cartel investigations including in the construction, dairy and cement sectors. We advised on the Yen LIBOR investigations by European Commission, FCA, CFTC, US DOJ, Canadian Competition Bureau and Swiss Competition Authority, and we advised MBNA/Bank of America on the long-running credit card interchange fee investigations by the European Commission and OFT. We also advised National Grid plc on the abuse of dominance investigation by Ofgem that led to an infringement decision and fine of £41.6 million and the subsequently successful appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal.
- Merger control: We regularly advise on Phase I and 2 UK mergers including the $1bn merger between AMC, Odeon and UCI group; Teva's £600mn disposal of Actavis and University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust's £1.4bn acquisition of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. We also advised Groupe Eurotunnel on its merger control litigation against the CMA that reached the Supreme Court. we also advise on EU and multi-jurisdictional merger filings.
- Market investigations: The CMA recently concluded two major investigations into both the energy sector and retail banking market. We advised E.On on the former and a leading retail bank on the latter. These are the biggest investigations ever undertaken by the CMA - and our work for these major clients is a signifier of our reputation in the area. We also advised on market investigations in relation to aggregates and payment protection insurance, amongst others.
- Competition Litigation: We are acting a number of the largest companies in the UK in relation to follow-on damages claims concerning the 'Trucks cartel' where the European Commission imposed a €2.9bn fine, amongst other claims. We also regularly advise on appeals of regulators' decisions to the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the courts.
- State aid: Our strong State aid practice advises recipients of potential State aid, as well as public authorities on their obligations under the EU rules. That advice covers advising authorities on granting compliant subsidies to devising grants structures which legitimately fall outside the scope of the State aid rules or outside the notification requirements under those rules. The Team has particular experience of projects involving interlinking State aid, Competition and Public Procurement issues. We provide advice across all of our Global Sectors. Our principal areas of expertise are advising public authorities on the existence of State aid and/or the notification requirements to the European Commission, advising recipients of State aid on the commercial implications of State subsidies received, State aid and tax issues, State aid disputes, and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) applications.
- Public procurement: We have the largest dedicated team of procurement lawyers in the UK. The team advises on some of the most complex and challenging projects currently in procurement. That advice covers all aspects of procurement, from advising authorities on running compliant and effective tender processes to devising structures and agreements which legitimately fall outside the scope of the procurement rules as well as advising authorities or bidders on procurement disputes. A key part of our role is to provide strategic procurement advice, which is designed to minimise risk and maximise the effectiveness of the procurement process. We provide bespoke training to clients in both the public and private sector, with a strong emphasis on the practical application of the procurement rules. We provide advice across all of our Global Sectors.
In the 2017 legal directories, Chambers describes the competition team as "very efficient, knowledgeable and have a good understanding of commercial needs. They have a good strategic sense of how to get the client where they want to be" and "the team is an excellent set of competition lawyers, deeply committed to delivering great outcomes for clients". Legal 500 refers to Pinsent Masons' ‘responsive’ department which includes various ‘well-respected experts’, and delivers ‘first-class service’. The procurement team is rated by Chambers for its "sheer strength and depth", they "have considerable experience and are expert at what they do".