Grade 7 Commercial Lawyer (Department for Transport)

The Government Legal Department (GLD) is the largest provider of legal services across government, working with all the main Whitehall Departments. From roads to rivers, and health to human rights, our work touches on most aspects of public life. 

The department has more than 14 client-facing advisory teams who provide legal advice on the development, design and implementation of government policies and decisions, draft secondary legislation and work with Parliamentary Counsel on primary legislation. Our cross-cutting expert service groups for Litigation, Employment and Commercial Law provide specialist legal services to a wide range of government departments and public bodies. 

We are a non-ministerial government department with more than 2,300 employees, around 1,800 of whom are solicitors or barristers. The department is based primarily in London but has teams in Bristol, Manchester, and Leeds. 

Our vision is to be an outstanding legal organisation, committed to the highest standards of service and professionalism and also a brilliant place to work where we can all thrive and fulfil our potential.

Job description

Department for Transport Legal Advisers 
The DfT Legal Advisers’ Division is co-located within the Department for Transport’s main offices in Great Minster House, although the Division has temporarily relocated to Albany House in Petty France during refurbishment works until 2021. With over 115 legal staff, DfTLA looks after almost all of the DfT’s legal needs across the four transport modes – aviation, maritime, roads and rail. The Division is split into 10 Deputy Director led teams, and undertakes a wide variety of commercial and public law work, much of it concerning the interface of the two. 

Up to four posts are available in the DfT Rail Commercial Contracts and Procurement (RCCP) team, which involve contributing to all aspects of the Department’s Rail Franchising Programme. We assist the government in delivering its public service obligation to provide rail services by awarding contracts to train operating companies, and manage those contracts throughout their lifetimes. We also work with rail assets, such as supporting the procurement of new train fleets and the construction and redevelopment of stations. The team worked closely on proposals to reform the railways (, the impact of Brexit on rail, and was instrumental in ensuring continuity of train operations during the Covid-19 pandemic by putting in place temporary, emergency contracts with franchisees. The work is varied, challenging and fast-paced and you would be joining the team at a pivotal point as the impact of these external influences starts to reshape the rail industry and its legal structures.  

This is an excellent opportunity to get exposure to utilities procurement, and management of complex contracts, in a fascinating and unique legal space where you can make a real difference to the daily lives of the public. You will have the opportunity to take on a significant level of responsibility and develop quickly. You can expect to work closely with clients, as well as with external legal advisers on major transactions. Candidates should note that whilst the work of the RCCP team is largely commercial, it is not purely commercial: there is also a rich public law, policy and advisory element to the work of the team with significant opportunities for exposure to senior officials and ministers. 

Vacancy Description 

As set out above, the advertised role is for Grade 7 posts. 

Post holders will be expected to demonstrate strong personal legal and strategic analysis, judgement and pro-activity. They also will be expected to make valuable contribution to the wider team, the advisory and litigation communities in GLD, and the department as a whole through knowledge management, training, projects and other opportunities that demonstrate the GLD Values. 

GLD is committed to flexible working, but business needs for these roles may limit the scope for particular working patterns. You are encouraged to contact the listed manager to discuss the position for these roles.


Essential/Desirable Criteria 
The post holders must be able to demonstrate Legal Professional Skills at Grade 7 and meet the following competencies (at level 4 of the Civil Service Competency Framework): 

Essential Criteria (Key competences) 

Legal professional skills 
• Good commercial law experience or evidence of potential to acquire these skills. 
• Experience of project-based or transactional work, or evidence of the skills needed to carry out such work effectively. 
• Understanding of public law (desirable but not essential). 
• Reliable legal judgement and appreciation of legal risk. 
• The ability to think strategically and creatively, to identify potential legal issues and see them in the wider context. 
• Sound analysis using secure legal research to provide timely and fit for purpose advice. 
• The ability to communicate advice effectively both in writing and orally. 
• Knowledge of and experience of public procurement law (desirable but not essential). 

Motivational Fit 
• How well our requirements and offerings match your aspirations and motivation to join the GLD. 
• An understanding of the role of lawyers in Government. 
• How you feel you might contribute effectively to a role with GLD 

Behaviour: Making Effective Decisions 
• Clarify their own understanding and stakeholder needs and expectations, before making decisions. 
• Encourage both innovative suggestions and challenge from others, to inform decision making. 
• Analyse and accurately interpret data from various sources to support decisions. 
• Find the best option but identifying positives, negatives, risks and implications. 
• Present reasonable conclusions from a wide range of complex and sometimes incomplete evidence. 

Behaviour: Seeing the Bigger Picture: 
• Develop and maintain an understanding of economic, social, political, environmental and technological developments relevant to your role. 
• Ensure plans and activities in your area of work reflect wider strategic priorities and communicate effectively with senior leaders to influence future strategies. 
• Adopt a government-wide perspective to ensure alignment of activity and policy. 
• Bring together views, perspectives and diverse needs of stakeholders to gain a broader understanding of the issues surrounding policies and activities. 

Behaviour: Managing a Quality Service 
• Demonstrate positive customer service by understanding the complexity and diversity of customer needs and expectations. 
• Deliver a high quality, efficient and cost effective service 
• Ensure adherence to legal, regulatory and security requirements in service delivery. 
• Proactively manage risks and identify solutions. 
• Create regular opportunities for colleagues, stakeholders, delivery partners and customers to help improve the quality of service. 

Behaviour: Delivering at Pace 
• Comply with legal, regulatory and security requirements in service delivery. 
• Ensure delivery of timely quality outcomes, though providing the right resources to do the job. 
• Maintain own levels of performance in challenging circumstances and encourage others to do the same.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Delivering at Pace

Technical Skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Legal Professional Skills


• Learning and development tailored to your role 
•An environment with flexible working options 
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity 
• A Civil Service pension
Things you need to know 
Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standardchecks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours and Technical skills.

At application stage, candidates will be asked to complete a career history and the following to substantiate your application against each of the criteria listed below: 

You will be asked to provide a Statement of Suitability limited to 1000 words answering the question: 

Why are you pursuing a G7 role in the Rail Commercial Contracts and Procurement Team at DfT Legal Advisers and what would you bring to the role? 

In answering this question, candidates should have regard to the following criteria: 

• Technical – Legal Professional Skills 
• Behaviour –Motivational Fit 
• Behaviour –Managing a Quality Service 

Your application should demonstrate how you meet the criteria for the post, with relevant examples. It will not be sufficient to reiterate the criteria; you are expected to illustrate how you have met the requirements. 

Your application will be sifted by a GLD panel. 

Interview Stage 

Please note that interviews will likely take place via a video conferencing solution, unless there is significant change in the current pandemic situation. 

Should you be successful in being invited to interview, you will be assessed on your performance in all essential criteria as listed below (in the form of a scenario, exercises and questions), alongside strength-based questions: 

1. Technical – Legal Professional Skills 
o Will be assessed using a written legal scenario 
2. Behaviour – Making Effective Decisions 
3. Behaviour – Seeing the Bigger Picture 
4. Behaviour – Managing a Quality Service 
5. Behaviour – Delivering at Pace 

Alongside your invitation interview, you will be asked to complete a written exercise under timed conditions in advance of attending your interview. The written exercise will assess Technical Legal Skills. 

You will then be asked to present your response to the interview panel. Your presentation will be assessed against Managing a Quality Service. Any follow up questions will assess Technical Legal Skills.

We appoint in strict order of merit. If you meet the minimum criteria for this position but are not successful in obtaining a Grade 7 Lawyer because the number of successful candidates after interview exceeds the number of available vacancies, we may hold a reserve list. We will allocate successful candidates to the most suitable vacancy available at the time of our offer, taking into account any preference you express in the application form and your performance at interview.  

For further information about Civil Service recruitment processes and Success profiles, please visit:

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
Nationality Requirements 
Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.
Working for the Civil Service 
The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.