Hampshire Legal Services (HLS) is part of Hampshire County Council and is based at the Council’s headquarters in Winchester.
The Council, which was established in 1889 as a result of the reorganisation of local government introduced by the Local Government Act 1888, is one of the largest non-metropolitan local authorities in the country delivering a full range of “top tier” public services.
HLS’s expertise, which mirrors the Council’s requirement for legal advice, has evolved from a traditional local authority legal support function into a public sector in-house legal service team that increasingly advises a wide range of public and third sector organisations. With around 70 qualified lawyers plus dedicated support personnel, HLS is one of the largest local authority legal teams in the country, working not only for the Council but a wide range of other organisations that deliver public services, including fire and rescue authorities, national park authorities, maintained and academy schools and police and crime commissioners.
Professional regulation and external clients
Hampshire Legal Services (HLS) is registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) (Registration ID No: 64065), though as an in-house legal practice and part of Hampshire County Council, it is not registered as a law firm. Our work for you is subject to professional regulation by the SRA in respect of our solicitors, and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in respect of our legal executives.
We work with other external organisations that provide public services, whether that’s other public sector bodies, or charitable and third sector organisations delivering public services on behalf of central and local government. We do not offer our services to members of the general public.
Charges for our work are highly competitive and reflect the fact that as a public sector legal practice we do not undertake work on a purely commercial basis; instead, by sharing our resource and our wealth of knowledge, our team of 70 specialist lawyers can deliver a highly cost effective expert legal service that provides the best value for money to those delivering public services across Hampshire and the wider region.
Terms of Business
When we work with you we will ensure that you are clear about the scope of the service that we’re providing, our timescale for completing the work, the amount that you will need to pay, and more generally, our respective responsibilities for ensuring that we have all we need to provide the service that you require. Our agreement with you will normally be set out in a General Retainer Letter which will incorporate our standard terms of business. For larger ongoing projects or work relationships we are happy to discuss a service level agreement or other bespoke arrangement.
Quality Assurance (LEXCEL)
Lexcel is the Law Society’s practice management quality mark. It sets out a framework of operational standards against which law firms and in-house legal departments are measured by independent assessment.
Lexcel is awarded by the Law Society to firms that meet the highest management and customer care standards. In particular, it helps practitioners comply with the Solicitors Regulation Authority Code of Conduct 2011 and other relevant professional regulations.
Lexcel accreditation means that we have in place a framework of best practice to ensure that the highest standards of client care are maintained. In this way we ensure that a quality service is received by our clients with the minimum risk of dissatisfaction and complaints.
As a growing legal team we are frequently looking to recruit a range of professional and support staff. If you would like to join us then visit our recruitment website for details of any current vacancies.
We have an annual work placement scheme during the summer period that is aimed at students in higher education who are interested in finding out more about a legal career, and in particular the opportunity to work in a local authority legal practice.
The scheme takes the form of a structured two week internship based in Winchester where we provide an overview of both the work of Hampshire Legal Services and of the County Council more generally. If you are interested in applying for the annual scheme then please contact Adrian Owen between 1 February and 15 March for further details about the application process for the coming summer. Apart from our summer internship programme, we regret to say that we are not normally able to provide formal or informal work placement or work shadowing opportunities.