“There is the same expectation for excellence you would find at a London firm but with a better work life balance; if you show initiative you are given the scope to grow your own business”
James Brawn, senior lawyer

“We are a young and ambitious team, all under 40 but we are supportive of each other and there is a really warm and friendly culture.”
Juliet Schalker, partner

The opportunity

We are looking for a senior associate (commercial/IT contracts) for our corporate and commercial team; this stand-alone commercial role is supported by the wider commercial practice that includes employment, property and litigation. With partner led teams in each of the commercial areas, there is plenty of scope for working with lawyers of all levels and there is also a dedicated trainee solicitor in the corporate and commercial team who you will have the opportunity to train, develop and work with.

We are looking for someone who likes the law firm environment and all that it entails: working with like-minded, intelligent professional people doing good work with quality clients. The right person will have the opportunity to progress to partnership by building a dedicated commercial practice and team.

“We take a holistic approach to the service we offer, whilst remaining focused on positive client outcomes; I believe that because of the unique nature of the role an individual with the right skillset and energy can really make it their own.”
James Brawn, senior lawyer

The work

This is a dedicated commercial role (no corporate work) so you will be involved in all aspects of drafting, advising on, and reviewing commercial contracts, including franchise agreements, supply terms, distribution, agency, e-commerce, software, and service agreements. St Albans has a thriving and prosperous business community, and many large businesses call Hertfordshire their home. We have a solid portfolio of good clients who come to us for corporate, litigation and property law needs but we also want to support them with the commercial side of their businesses.  We need someone who wants to build and develop this side of the business but rest assured, you will not be starting from scratch, there are clients already waiting for you.

“We need somebody technically excellent, who knows what they’re doing and needs little supervision. They are used to running their own cases and used to servicing a wide variety of clients because they will effectively be servicing the clients of the rest of the commercial teams, a broad spectrum from local SMEs to bigger multi-nationals.”
Juliet Schalker, partner

“The team works incredibly effectively, with similarly high baselines for commitment to client care and quality work.”
James Brawn, senior lawyer

The clients

We work with some impressive companies who instruct us on a wide range of high-quality work. Our lawyers mainly help medium-sized owner-managed businesses but we also work with some large organisations including a national pharmaceutical company and well-known banks.  Clients come from a mix of industries but over the years we have developed a sector focus in healthcare, charities and private wealth (entrepreneurs and family business).

There is a real opportunity to build your own practice; it is vital for us to be able to offer new and existing business clients a complete service to deliver our growth plans. With full autonomy and support to grow the practice, you will have access to an extensive client base and day to day collaboration with the commercial teams; Hertfordshire has a strong business community which doesn’t necessarily want to go into London or pay London prices to get quality legal advice.

“We don’t have an existing commercial team, but you will get a lot of internal support both in terms of feeding client work through and checking in on you to see how you are getting on.”
Juliet Schalker, partner

The candidate

  • A minimum of 6 years PQE with a high level of commercial technical knowledge across different sectors.
  • The ability to work with minimal supervision and a genuine enthusiasm to focus on commercial contracts work.
  • Creative problem-solving ability, commercial insight working as an extension of the client’s business to provide commercial, practical advice with their business needs and objectives in mind.
  • A client-centred focus, taking responsibility for service levels and proactively maximising and improving client relationships.
  • A can-do, motivated and positive attitude.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

“I thought that the price I’d pay for moving out of the City would be quality of work and quality of clients and it was such a lovely surprise when that wasn’t the case. I am dealing with high-net-worth individuals, directors, sophisticated business people, local SMEs, owner managed businesses.”
Juliet Schalker, partner

“For any hungry individual who wants to grow personally and professionally, this is a great opportunity to work with quality clients locally, in London and nationally. Debenhams Ottaway is a genuine alternative to a London firm.”
James Brawn, senior lawyer

The firm

Our recruitment and retention programme is a key success factor in our three-year growth and succession plans – we are committed to grow our people, look after our clients, and remain financially strong.

Developing our future talent is a priority and we help our lawyers to develop specialisms and skills to succeed, with full autonomy and support, and access to an extensive client base. Debenhams Ottaway is a progressive law firm with a long history and a reputation built on providing outstanding support to clients and staff alike and our teams of talented and ambitious people work together to help clients succeed. You will join an exciting and demanding work environment that offers support and guidance to help you achieve your best. Our career framework gives you the opportunity to learn and develop in a structured but flexible way.

“Working at a firm with a 252-year history is an honour and I believe that by looking after our people, they in turn will look after our clients… our people are welcomed, heard and respected”.
Susan Glenholme, managing partner

“50% of the partners started in the trainee programme, we have some serious home-grown excellence. There is a spirit of continuous improvement at Debenhams Ottaway, we want to change the way people think about lawyers”
Alexandra Langley, HR business partner

The next steps

Please drop Alex Langley, HR Business Partner a line at AL@debenhamsottaway.co.uk for a full job description and to arrange an initial telephone chat.

“The concept of true collaboration i.e., 1+1=3 has been part of the firm’s DNA for generations and Debenhams Ottaway’s corporate and commercial team has a solid business development plan and a real ambition to grow talented lawyers to be part of our future success.”
James Brawn, senior lawyer