The Brussels Office of the three UK Law Societies (England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) acts as the voice of the solicitors’ profession in Europe. Situated in the heart of the EU district, the Brussels team are well placed to represent the interests and views of the legal profession to key decision makers and legislators.

The team are currently offering trainee solicitors, newly qualified solicitors and paralegals from the UK, a unique opportunity to undertake a three to six-month secondment in the Brussels office commencing in April/May 2019.

There has never been a better time to be in Brussels; you will be at the centre of the biggest political change of this century, which has momentous constitutional and legal implications.

Your role will be to assist the Brussels team in actively monitoring EU legal developments that range from competition law to criminal justice, public procurement to private international law. Specific tasks will include: preparing and writing the Brussels Agenda as well as drafting legislative updates highlighting developments in the corporate client and private client areas. You will also attend European Parliament hearings and high level conferences offering the opportunity to develop contacts with MEPs, key Commission officials and UK Government departments.

How to apply

Anybody interested in applying will need to provide a letter from their firm/employer confirming that it will continue to pay their salary during the secondment.

Candidates are invited to send their application, which should comprise a CV and covering letter and confirmation from your firm/employer of consent to the secondment to Antonella Verde, antonella.verde@lawsociety.org.uk.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 3rd March and interviews will take place the week of 4 March (telephone interviews are possible).

If you require an information note or would like to discuss the secondment, please contact antonella.verde@lawsociety.org.uk.

 

Why your firm should send its trainees to Brussels

Spending a seat in the Law Societies’ office in Brussels is not only a great opportunity for the trainee, but also for their firm.

During the secondment, trainees develop skills and acquire knowledge which are useful to their firms and which cannot be gained in any of the traditional seats; Brexit makes this experience even more important and valuable.

Read on to find out more about some of the useful skills and knowledge which are unique to a seat in Brussels.

Knowledge of EU Institutions

To be in Brussels, living and breathing EU policy and legislation, gives a knowledge of the institutions, the people and the policies which no book or webinar can ever match. The participation in committee meetings and private meetings with MEPs and Commission officials gives a unique insight into the mechanisms of law making. Attending hearings and expert meetings deepens subject knowledge, and the examination of amendments and compromise agreements helps trainees to understand the scope and reasons of legislation.

Research

Trainees are usually already highly skilled in legal research, but they learn to widen and hone those skills during their time with us. They concentrate on research on EU Law, and they learn to use original sources; academic articles and blogs; general press and political sources. The variety of topics they have to research contributes to the use of eclectic and unconventional sources.

Writing and editing

Trainees produce the Brussels Office monthly newsletter, the Brussels Agenda. They participate in the planning meetings, suggesting themes and ideas, they research and write articles, request outside contributions, and do the editing and the publishing.

Confidence in public speaking

Trainees attend public meetings, seminars and conferences where they are encouraged to ask questions and contribute to the discussion. They are required to present papers to the EU Committee, answering questions from the members. They also attend meetings of the European Bars and Law Societies Association, where they actively participate in the proceedings.

Social skills

Through participation in a number of social and professional events, trainees learn how to network and build up a wide circle of professional contacts at every level including: fellow trainees in British firms in Brussels (for whom our trainees organise a weekly meet up), people coming from all European countries who work in the EU institutions, lawyers from large and small firms who are members of the Law Societies’ committees, employees of British and European NGOs, Members of Parliament of all parties and of all countries, and their assistants.

At the Brussels Office, trainees are encouraged to pursue subjects that are of interest to them and their firm.

The next two years will be crucial in defining the relationship between the UK and the EU. Having a trainee in Brussels will allow your firm to have a unique viewpoint of the negotiations, and the chance of having unfiltered and unbiased information on the Brussels scene.

For further information, please contact antonella.verde@lawsociety.org.uk

Testimonials from law firms

Burges Salmon like to offer our trainees international secondment opportunities as it is an excellent way for them to experience working in a different environment and jurisdiction. Sending a trainee to the Law Society’s Brussel Office raises Burges Salmon’s profile with at the Law Society and develops a better relationship with the organization, through contact with expert committees and policy advisors and various high profile figures. Having a trainee at the Law Society in Brussels in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and going forward during the negotiations has and will prove very useful for the firm as they can share relevant information with the firm (as and when approved by the Law Society). Our last trainee provided us with weekly Brexit updates providing up-to date information on developments as they occurred and with a European perspective as well.

Our trainees have the ability to pick and choose which policy areas are more aligned to the firm’s practice areas which means the trainee’s experience is more relevant and useful for the firm. As for the trainees we have sent they come back more confident and with a much improved professional network from a range of industries and sectors and also with an understanding how lawyers practice in other jurisdictions.

Laura Devine Immigration Lawyers seconded Madeleine Lamond, a trainee solicitor, to the Law Societies Joint Brussels Office. It was an excellent way for Madeleine to learn about various aspects of EU law and the workings of the EU institutions, particularly at the crucial time of Brexit. Madeleine has been able to share much of this knowledge with other members of the firm, clients and contacts. The secondment enabled Madeleine to further develop her presentation, analytical and research skills, which are fundamental to her development as a lawyer. Madeleine also returned with an array of interesting contacts from both the UK and the rest of Europe and an increased confidence. I would highly recommend that law firms consider taking the opportunity of seconding trainees to Brussels where they will be greatly utilised and welcomed.

Brussels office

We have had an office in Brussels since January 1993. It is a joint office which is shared with the Law Society of England & Wales and the Law Society of Northern Ireland.