Senior Legal Counsel : Trinity College Dublin

Post Specification (034050)

Post Title: Senior Legal Counsel
Post Status: 5 Year Fixed Term Contract (Full-time)
Department/Faculty: Contracts Office, Trinity Research & Innovation, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin
Location: Contracts Office, O’Reilly Institute, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
Reports to: Head of Research Contracts
Salary: Appointment will be made on the Administrative Officer 1 salary scale (schedule B, full scale pts. 1-6, €57,326 - €89,905) at a point in line with Government Pay Policy. The University procedures for advancement beyond point 3 of the scale are currently being reviewed. The procedures emanating from this review shall apply in respect of advancement beyond point 3 of the scale.
Hours of Work: 37 Hours per week
Closing Date: 12 Noon (Irish Standard Time), 12th September, 2019.


The successful applicant will be expected to take up the post as soon as possible.

Post Summary

Applications are invited for the post of Senior Legal Counsel, Contracts Office within Trinity Research & Innovation (TR&I), Contracts Office (CO). The successful candidate will report to the Head of Research Contracts. They will have, inter alia, full responsibility for the management and coordination of their team’s contracts portfolio which shall incorporate a variety of contractual engagements of strategic importance to College. They will manage this dedicated team in all aspects including training, performance monitoring, delegation of workload, etc.

They will be required to apply their specialised knowledge of all areas of contract law for the purposes of drafting bespoke agreements, negotiating, as well as concluding and bringing to finalisation contracts with key stakeholders in particular external strategic industry funders, multinational companies and other institutions etc.

This role will augment the support the CO provides to College by identifying scalable ways to deliver services and drive results by ensuring a professional and efficient process of negotiation with the aforementioned stakeholders, including engagement with internal College Stakeholders, Managers and Principle Investigators.

They will advise and support College on miscellaneous and complex research projects and shall be responsible for taking pre-emptive measures to avoid legal risks, conflicts and issues. They will be responsible for monitoring and advising on applicable regulations and legislation and at all times ensuring that internal College policies are adhered to and College / Schools / Principal Investigators etc. are in a position to comply with same.

They will also work with the Head of Research Contracts and the Director of TR&I in the implementation of key projects, management of staff and ensure the smooth running of the Contracts Office.

Further Information

Informal enquiries about this post should be made to Meta Sweeney, Deputy Head of Research Contracts, Email: HR queries should be addressed to

Standard Duties and Responsibilities of the Post

  • Managing and having full accountability for the team’s contracts portfolio ensuring that all contractual documentation is completed in order to meet sponsor’s deadlines;
  • Applying their legal expertise and know how when drafting, reviewing, negotiating and finalising complex, high-value research contracts including clinical research;
  • Reviewing, negotiating and finalizing specific Sponsors’ Terms & Conditions
  • Driving the development of best in class processes for managing the development, implementation and signing of contracts;
  • Being the face of the College in respect of contract negotiations with stakeholders;
  • Ability to make decisions and provide advice/explain the rationale for decisions;
  • Initiating and taking the lead on a national level on the development of appropriate contract architecture for research programmes with multiple academic and industry stakeholders;
  • Drafting and updating College’s suite of template contracts e.g. Industry/Academia collaboration agreement, Inter institutional agreement etc.
  • Effectively manage a high-volume of contracts and prioritization of tasks;
  • Applying their problem-solving skills to deal with issues that arise which require analyses and evaluation of complex scenarios, using sound judgment to arrive at the most appropriate solution;
  • Continuously upskilling their knowledge of law to keep abreast of changes which impact on contractual negotiations i.e. GDPR, Export Controls, State Aid etc.;
  • Managing and supervising the CO team and other CO staff members when required;
  • Providing legal training and support to the CO team;
  • Managing the CO budget ensuring appropriate levels of funding are secured to meet staff, training costs etc.;
  • Representing College at face to face meetings etc. with key stakeholders and having full autonomy and accountability for achieving the optimal terms and conditions for College during negotiations;
  • Reviewing budgets in contractual documentation to ensure accuracy and compliance with relevant regulations (College policies, VAT regulations, etc.);
  • Driving the management of relationships with internal and external stakeholders;
  • Liaising with relevant College service providers, understanding the College’s policies and requirements for involvement in research funding schemes and contracts, and ensuring such procedures as detailed by the College are adhered to;
  • Developing, drafting and documenting CO Policies and Procedures;
  • Preparing and delivering presentations at relevant Workshops/Courses;
  • Managing and administering any special initiatives that the College wishes to have developed by the CO and as directed by the Head of Research Contracts and/or Director of TR&I;
  • Participating in relevant cross-sectoral initiatives such as Inter-University Legal Groups;
  • Representing College at external networking events;
  • Any other duties which arise from time to time as directed by the Head of Research or Director of TR&I.


Person Specification


  • Candidates for this post should have a professional legal qualification with a minimum of 5 years PQE. Experience in a University environment and an Intellectual Property accreditation would be desirable.


Knowledge & Experience (Essential and Desirable)


  • In-house experience in a commercial and/or research contracts environment;
  • Ability to draft, review and negotiate (multi-party) contractual documentation;
  • Ability to analyse complex contractual arrangements and implement the most effective and efficient contractual framework;
  • A proven understanding of general commercial contracting and intellectual property law principles;
  • Experience with running independent negotiation processes;
  • Ability to effectively communicate complex legal concepts to both orally and in writing;
  • An independent and rigorous thinker;
  • Experience in managing a team;
  • Ability to work as part of a team and work autonomously;
  • Excellent communication skills required e.g. face to face, teleconferencing, email etc.;
  • Energized working in a fast-paced, high-pressured environment;
  • Adept at managing document templates and efficiently processing legal documentation


  • Experience of research contracts gained in a University environment;
  • Experience of clinical-related contracts;
  • Knowledge of State Aid rules and regulations, export controls, GDPR, VAT etc.;
  • Knowledge of the research environment in Ireland.

Skills & Competencies

  • Communication skills: Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Analytical ability: excellent analytical skills (including proofreading skills) are required;
  • Extensive I.T. skills: e.g. MS Office suite. Ability to continuously upgrade IT competence is a requisite. Display evidence of a high level of competency in Microsoft Office, in particular Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Microsoft Outlook;
  • Team worker: Ability to work effectively as part of a team – tolerant, cordial and willing to help others, shares work and information; establishes rapport with others;
  • Financial and Budget skills: Demonstrate proven ability in developing and maintaining budgets, provide summary reports of expenditure as required, using Excel;
  • Organisational Ability: Excellent organisational and task management skills together with the ability to work on a number of tasks simultaneously. Have the ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines; be capable of working on own initiative and work under time constraints; Ability to develop creative solutions to multi-faceted problems;
  • Conscientious: Have a pro-active approach to work, anticipating and resolving problems in advance; Attention to detail - from anticipating and addressing issues in advance to understanding requests and delivering quality work with minimal errors;
  • Flexibility: can operate flexibly within a busy environment; can shift focus when required. Be enthusiastic, flexible and willing to work beyond normal office hours when a need arises;
  • Customer Focus: customer service skills are essential. The Research Development Office and Contracts Office seek to facilitate researchers in the very best way they can; Can operate effectively as part of a team – is cordial and willing to help others, is co-operative and patient; shares work and information; establishes rapport, can influence and develop effective networks; Demonstrate emotional intelligence and communicate with a high level of initiative, tact, diplomacy and confidentiality;
Closing date: 
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Originating organisation: