Local Government Lawyer Insight December 2018 LocalGovernmentLawyer It is not just legal-to-legal collaboration either, she says, pointing to the importance of co-operation with other local government professionals and different sectors such as health. And, she argues, this is one of the ways that LLG – as the national representative body for lawyers in the sector – is making a difference. “We can make sure we are plugging those gaps. We need to open a door for people to connect with their health colleagues.” For Binjal, the recent appointment of the organisation’s first chief executive – Deborah Evans, a former chief executive of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Law Society’s Legal Complaints Service (as was) – is a significant moment in its development. “It will be pivotal not only for our membership, but also for our stakeholders and corporate partners,” she says. “As presidents come and go they bring their own style, they bring their own key issues. Having Deborah in place will help deliver a strategic vision – which is longer than a presidency term. LLG is supporting, connecting at a national level and is moving towards a campaigning organisation, whilst forging relationships with SOLACE, CIPFA, ADSO and CfPS to name a few.” As well as bolstering LLG’s representative role on the national stage, the appointment will aid its work helping lawyers to develop their careers in the sector, and help legal and governance departments tackle thorny issues around recruitment and retention. “We can recruit, but we can’t retain and there is a reason why – it is because we are not highlighting clear lines of succession – to becoming a head of law, or a director, or a chief executive,” Binjal argues. “One of the things I am doing here in Hackney is modernising the service and developing legal talent. I would like to leave a legacy where a member of the team can arrive as a trainee solicitor and feel that in, say eight to ten years’ time, that they can become a director.” LLG can really help with that, she says. “As a membership organisation, we are truly focused on proving support and for training /junior lawyers and also provide excellent courses for specialists. And we are very good at providing support and championing our more experienced member, such as the heads of service and the monitoring officers. But it is the lawyers at the start and middle stages of their careers that we need to attract and retain to move into more senior roles in the future. LLG is currently building a campaign agenda focused exclusively on doing just that. For Binjal, whose term of office at LLG runs until March 2019, it is the opportunity to continue making a difference that keeps her motivated – and a reason why she has always resisted the lure of private practice. “For me, the key driver isn’t just the financial rewards. Yes, of course, the rewards can be excellent in private practice, but I think there is greater flexibility and more choice in what you do in your day job in local government. I like the broad strategic approach and the ability to serve the communities in which we all live.” Philip Hoult is the Editor of Local Government Lawyer. Philip.hoult@localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk 10 “We need to create a structure that allows both generalists and specialists to progress and be rewarded in local government. I think for someone starting out now [in local government legal practice] it is such an exciting, but challenging time. The budget cuts have opened doors for us to be creative and pioneering as lawyers, finding solutions and applying the law in such ways that deliver really good results for our councils. You can actually be a person that makes a difference."