Pensions Associate

City of Bristol (GB)
Competitive salary and generous benefits.
12 May 2017
11 Jun 2017
Practice Area
Contract Type

"One of the strongest teams outside London. Osborne Clarke provides an excellent service and is very easy to work with" – Legal 500

We are looking for an associate to join our highly regarded pensions team in Bristol.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join an experienced and well respected team and be involved in the whole spectrum of pensions law and practice. You will have access to a broad range of high quality work, including contentious and non-contentious matters in both the private and public sectors. From the outset, you will be a valued member of the team and have the opportunity to build client relationships and develop your business development skills.

You will be joining a successful firm with a collegiate and supportive culture, which makes it a rewarding place to work.

The practice

"They absolutely get inside the skin of their clients and you know they are batting for you." – Chambers UK

The team advises both employers and trustees in order to help them to run their schemes compliantly while managing risks. We also run one of the UK's leading independent trustee company, Open Trustees, so we have direct experience of operating pension schemes.

Our lawyers have the opportunity to advise on a variety of pensions issues from risk reduction exercises (such as pension increases exchanges, buy-ins and buyouts and alternative funding arrangements) to advising pension schemes going through a Pension Protection Fund ("PPF") assessment period or an Administering Authority on matters relating to the Local Government Pension Scheme ("LGPS"). We also have particular expertise in the pensions aspects of corporate acquisitions and disposals, scheme mergers, insolvencies, restructuring and wind-ups.

One aspect of our work which sets the team apart is that our lawyers also have the opportunity to act for employers, trustees and representative beneficiaries on complex litigation claims, including professional negligence work and Part 8 claims.

Find out more about our pensions' practice using this link:

The team

Our team are noted for their 'all-round expertise' and for having ‘good strength in depth with shared knowledge' - Legal 500

Led by Jonathan Hazlett who is rated in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500, the team currently comprises of 4 partners, 14 qualified lawyers and 4 pensions managers, all based in our Bristol office. The team has been very busy in recent years and continues to grow in terms of both turnover and profitability.

James Saddler, a Senior Associate who recently joined the team, explains what attracted him to the team:

"I joined in April 2015 knowing that I was going to a highly rated firm with a nationally ranked pensions practice. Having now been in the role for two years, I can safely say it has exceeded my expectations. I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in a wide variety of interesting work – including on-going advisory, regulatory and pensions litigation. I’ve attended various client meetings, conferences with counsel and business development events. I would highly recommend the team to any aspiring pensions lawyer."

The work

  • As a member of the PPF's legal panel, we provide advice to trustees and the PPF in relation to schemes progressing through a PPF assessment period including in relation to recent high-profile insolvencies including the first scheme rescue. Our trustee company, Open Trustees, is also one of only five firms appointed to the PPF's trustee advisory panel.
  • Appointed to the LGPS national framework panel following a competitive tender. Under the panel, we provide a full range of LGPS related services, including scheme administration, outsourcing, benefits, dispute resolution and investment advice.
  • Advised the trustees of the Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund in relation to a £600 million surety bond.
  • Advised a large number of employers and trustees on recent amendments to future service benefits and the closure of schemes to the future accrual of final salary benefits, including negotiating the closure terms, inputting into the various consultation exercises, advising on amendments to complex benefit structures and assisting with responses to member enquiries.
  • Advised a large number of employers and trustees on liability management exercises, including enhanced transfer value exercises, pension increase exchanges, trivial commutation exercises and buy-in / buy-out insurance contracts.
  • Advised a large employer in relation to a potential investigation by the Pensions Regulator regarding the possible use of the Regulator's powers.
  • Acted in relation to a number of reported pensions cases including acting for one of the representative beneficiaries in the complex litigation surrounding the Gleeds Retirement Benefits Scheme in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal
  • Advised a representative beneficiary in relation to the High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings brought by Honda Motor Europe Limited arising out of a mistake in the rules of its pension scheme.
  • Acted for an emergency trustee for 13 pension schemes in complex fraud proceedings against the former pension trustees and their directors, officers and advisers.

    Technical skills and experience

    You will have knowledge and transactional experience of working for pensions' clients in a variety of capacities. You will have gained excellent experience in non-contentious pensions work in a high quality pensions team, covering the areas mentioned above. It will be desirable that you will also have some pensions litigation experience, although this is not a pre-requisite.

    Your career development

    Like all our lawyers, you will benefit from our multi-award winning career development programme. At each stage of your career this provides you with:

  • clear expectations of your role and what it takes to progress;
  • high quality clients and work, with early responsibility and client exposure;
  • thorough assessment and individual feedback from a range of experienced colleagues;
  • robust technical training with early skills based development, increasingly tailored to you; and
  • reward for your contribution, progression and potential, rather than PQE or tenure.

Salary and benefits

We offer competitive salaries and generous benefits.

For more information or to apply

At Osborne Clarke we welcome direct applications - if you would like any further information about the role, or the firm, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact, in complete confidence, Emma Watts or Geoff Mead in the Recruitment team on 01179 174 302 or email


Osborne Clarke is an inclusive environment which values diversity in it's workforce.