Head of Disputes & Risk Knowledge

  • Osborne Clarke
  • Bristol or London
  • Sep 12, 2018
Full time Commercial Litigation

Job Description

"Osborne Clarke has a genuinely national and international practice." – Chambers & Partners

We have a unique opportunity for a high-performing and experienced professional support lawyer to create and lead a new knowledge team for Disputes & Risk, one of our four UK Practice Groups.

The opportunity

Knowledge is at the heart of Osborne Clarke's strategy, and the individual will play the leading role in building this key function within D&R, as well as being a key member of an innovative, market-leading and purposeful Knowledge Team.

Our principal aim is to establish a D&R Knowledge Team to provide dynamic, technically excellent and business-focused professional support to the D&R Practice Group. The team will build on and further improve the existing knowledge culture within D&R across our UK offices, implementing best practice professional support and knowledge leadership within a fast-growing part of our business.

The individual will work with other members of the Knowledge Team, including our Client Knowledge function, and with Business Development professionals and D&R partners to support both D&R's business development activities and the Firm's Sector strategy.

The expectation is that, once appointed, the individual will work with the Head of Knowledge and other stakeholders to appoint a second member of the newly-created D&R Knowledge Team. The individual would then be responsible for the line management of that second team member.

Our D&R Practice Group

The UK D&R Practice Group consists of 23 partners and 68 other fee earners across our Bristol, London and Thames Valley offices.

Within D&R are the following service lines:

  • Commercial Litigation
  • International Arbitration
  • Property Litigation
  • Business Crime
  • Construction Disputes
  • Intellectual Property disputes
  • Restructuring and Insolvency
  • Crisis and Reputation Management (including data protection and cyber security)
  • Mediation
  • Regulatory Disputes (including regulated procurement, HSE, product and consumer regulation, and food law)

Key skills and responsibilities

The key responsibilities for the Head of D&R will be to:

  • Develop the D&R Knowledge strategy, in conjunction with the Head of D&R and D&R Operations Director, the D&R Knowledge Partner and the Head of Knowledge.
  • Assist in the implementation of Osborne Clarke's Knowledge strategy.
  • Build technical excellence and drive best practice professional support in the D&R team.
  • Keep the D&R team abreast of relevant legal and regulatory change; prepare and distribute reader-friendly and relevant internal updates and client publications.
  • Organise know-how sharing, including collecting and storing external and internal know-how.
  • Deliver the D&R team's legal training programme.
  • Develop and maintain an up-to-date and technically excellent collection of D&R precedent documents, following an assessment of fee earner needs and, in a suitable timeline, within the context of the Firm's use of Contract Express.
  • Deal with queries from lawyers across the Firm and clients regarding current law and practice.
  • Assist in the preparation of client seminars and client training sessions and speak at such seminars and sessions.
  • Help to shape the work of D&R in the delivery of the Firm's Sector strategy.

Technical skills and experience

We are looking for:

  • Strong theoretical, practical and up-to-date knowledge of law and regulation within at least one of the following D&R practice areas: Commercial Litigation; International Arbitration; or Regulatory Disputes.
  • If the individual is a specialist arbitrator or regulatory disputes specialist, we would expect – given the nature of this role – she or he to have a substantive knowledge of commercial litigation practice.
  • We are ideally seeking a candidate who is currently or has recently been an experienced professional support lawyer in a large commercial law firm. However, we will consider exceptional candidates who have no previous professional support experience, provided that they have a demonstrable existing interest in knowledge best practice.
  • Experience of managing a small team within a fast-paced and changing professional services environment is desirable but not essential; support on team management will be available to the individual.
  • Enthusiasm for the work of D&R and for law and regulation generally within a client-focused professional services environment.
  • Demonstrable behaviour expected of a manager and team player, including pro-active leadership and the ability to generate enthusiasm with direct reports.
  • Proficiency in generating the confidence of others, particularly at partner and senior Business Services level, and in building the networks required to obtain the buy-in of relevant stakeholders and others, whilst having the flexibility to adapt plans to maintain progress to key goals.
  • Proven problem-solving ability on own initiative, and an appreciation of when to take matters to line manager and to other key relationships.
  • Ability to make decisions and progress work and projects quickly without undue process or over-complication; and confidence in own expertise.
  • An applied understanding of:
    • how technology, including products currently used by large law firms, can be used to drive productivity gains and cost efficiencies; and
    • the importance of efficient working processes,
    • and of how to manage, co-ordinate and promote the take-up of these technologies, practices and processes in a legal services context.
  • Excellent and realistic understanding of how knowledge is acquired by the lawyer and client audience, particularly in relation to the use of digital media, and how knowledge is now delivered using online and social media tools.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • A demonstrable interest in client knowledge activities, preferably with prior experience of – and confidence in – presenting to both individual client teams and at seminars and roundtables.
  • Enthusiasm for presenting technical legal and regulatory issues in a clear, approachable and professional way to both our teams and, through client knowledge products, to our clients.
  • Client-orientated approach – both internally and externally; ability to think laterally and to develop ideas in relation to business opportunities and training; appreciation of fee earner needs and constraints; commercially aware.
  • Enthusiastic and resourceful; pro-active and motivated self-starter with excellent organisational skills; flexible and pragmatic.
  • A strong understanding of how large law firms' Knowledge functions operate and of the wider commercial priorities of a client-focused business.

Salary and benefits

We offer competitive salaries and generous benefits.

For more information or to apply

At Osborne Clarke LLP we welcome direct applications - if you would like any further information about the role, or the firm, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact, in complete confidence, Emily Webb in the Recruitment team on 0117 917 3072 or email emily.webb@osborneclarke.com.


At Osborne Clarke, we are known for our open and inclusive culture. We believe that by investing in the diversity and wellbeing of our people, we