Legal services

Within this service the teams are as follows:

  • Contracts
  • Property
  • Litigation
  • Safeguarding

There are currently only two routes to becoming a local authority lawyer. The first is to apply directly to one of the lawyer or senior lawyer positions as advertised online. In the application process you will be asked to answer a number of written questions. If successful at this stage, you will be asked to attend an interview with the relevant staff members.

The second route to becoming a local authority lawyer is to apply to a legal assistant role in one of the legal teams. You will again have to complete a written element of the application form and an interview. In order to apply to a legal assistant role, you will need to have completed a law degree and passed your Legal Practice Course (LPC), SQE or Cilex course.

If successful, you will begin your role as a legal assistant. You then will be notified of when the next round of internal interviews are for the training contract. A training contract is a period of training that every solicitor must complete in order to become a qualified solicitor. If successful, you will become a trainee solicitor and complete your training period of 18-24 months. Once completed, you will have the opportunity to become a lawyer in Tower Hamlets Council (subject to vacancy).

Currently there are roles open as follows in the legal department:

  • Legal Assistant
  • Junior Lawyer
  • Senior Lawyer

As part of qualifying as a lawyer through the SQE and Cilex routes you will be required to gain legal experience, working a legal assistant for at 12 months is relevant experience to qualify as a lawyer.

Name: Daniel Hollingsworth

Job title: Planning Lawyer

I work as a Planning Lawyer in Tower Hamlets’ Legal Services Team.  I advise on major planning applications, for example for mixed residential/ commercial developments. In particular, I specialise in drafting s106 agreements which secure legal obligations by landowners to mitigate the impact of their development by providing, for example, affordable housing, children’s play areas, carbon off-setting, public open space and improvements to roads.

Having obtained my degree in Law at Reading University, I studied my legal professional diploma at Nottingham Trent Law School. I completed my training contract (2 years as a trainee solicitor, whilst completing my professional skills course) at Suffolk County Council then entered private practice as an Immigration Solicitor. 

After 10 years I decided to leave the legal profession and became a pizza franchisee, opening 24 pizza delivery outlets and employing around 500 people.

After having had two children, I decided I wanted to try to re-enter the profession. I worked my way up again from a temp in Eastleigh Borough Council to the job I have now.

I had no idea what I wanted to do after school – hence choosing random A levels– German, French & Biology.  Subjects I enjoyed rather than ones leading to a particular career.  I decided on Reading University, where I continued my procrastination, studying two subjects, Law and Psychology, which I was permitted to choose between at the end of my first year. At the end of that year my indecision was finally resolved – I felt a passion for learning about Law which has never left me. 

Whilst travelling as an undergraduate I worked as a playworker on a refugee camp in Holland. I found my vocation within the legal profession by assisting (amongst others) Zimbabwean, Afghani and Iranian refugees with their UK asylum applications and appeals.  I found a real sense of purpose in using my languages, my legal skills and people skills; sitting in legal drop-in centres taking statements from clients, whilst also attempting to distract kids who had travelled for days in the worst conditions imaginable.

Sadly, given changes to legal aid funding, many private firms found it unviable to continue their immigration practices and so I decided upon a complete change of career. My husband (also a lawyer) suggested we try something entirely new and become franchisees in the food and beverage industry. One company decided we were too young and inexperienced, Another required too much up-front investment; The one we joined were a good fit and welcomed our unorthodox entry to the sector. 

Owning my own business opened my eyes to a different way of working – it gave me a commercial awareness and introduced me to tax, accounting, human resources, investment, marketing issues to name but a few.  It was all-consuming and the hours incredibly unsociable – business admin/ recruiting and training staff during the day; working ‘the rush’ in our new stores in the evenings and at weekends. 

I came to realise that, whilst I had enjoyed this rollercoaster of a journey as a Domino’s franchisee, I was more suited to life as a lawyer.

After a maternity break I found a job as a temp in Eastleigh Borough Council in their Planning team. I was fascinated by Planning and enjoyed the challenge of learning the subject from scratch. I was lucky that the newly appointed Head of Legal there gave me a chance and took me on as a paralegal. He encouraged and supported me; he helped me believe that I could make a success of my second time round as a lawyer. I worked my way up to my role as Senior Planning Solicitor.

As one of the busiest local planning authorities in the country, Tower Hamlets offers planning lawyers an incredibly varied and challenging workload. I have found colleagues and clients friendly, dedicated and professional. I would highly recommend working for Tower Hamlets and am incredibly happy in my work here.

I wish you the best of luck in your career and I’ll be happy to answer any questions at the ‘Show and Tell’ day at the Town Hall. 

Namw: Soner Koroglu

Job title: Litigation Lawyer

I provide client departments and officers with legal advice, issue possession claims and attend court hearings defending disrepair claims - providing advice on liability and quantum- negotiating costs – instructing counsel drafting statements/claims.

  • I have the following qualifications:
  • DPSI – Diploma public service interpreting
  •  Senior (Complex Language) Interpreter for Ministry of Justice
  •   LLB(Hons) – Law Degree
  •   LPC-  Legal Practice Course

I enjoyed computers, so I qualified in Microcomputer Technology which involved writing software in Pascal , building circuits boards, building models of lifts and interfacing the programs and circuits.

Whilst working as a social worker I served on a management committee on a personnel sub-committee at a large housing charity. I started a new position as a care coordinator for a Local Authority, covered court hearing during my luch break as interpreter informally, so I retrained as a court interpreter.

 At court hearings members of the judiciary often and mistakenly referred to me as counsel or representative and that made me think, why not? So, I started attending evening classes to complete my LLB , I also worked as a senior outdoor clerk for family law firm dealing mainly with very serious child abuse and neglect cases and a few that have set precedents too.

I completed my LPC, however I continued with my interpreting as to be honest it was more lucrative then a training contract.

 I worked both paid and voluntarily as a paralegal for Law Centre’s in South and East London.

Eventually I worked in private practice securing a training contract and eventually entered into local government as a Litigation Lawyer for an East London borough.