My work life balance isn’t about managing just one role

March 29, 2023
Helen Miles


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I love being a lawyer, particularly as part of the pensions industry.

The work is technically challenging but that’s what makes it stimulating.  Most pension lawyers and other industry professionals have worked alongside each other, whether as part of a client team or on transactions and projects, over the years.  This makes for a strong community.

After nearly 20 years at partner level in global legal practices, I still wanted to find opportunities for development.  The traditional large-team, large-firm structure didn’t provide those, though you might expect that it could.  I was missing being able to spend time alongside my clients in the way I knew worked best for them, and for me.  I also wanted to explore other opportunities but I was firmly of the view that I wasn’t through with my legal advisory career.

I found gunnercooke through former colleagues and contacts in pensions law.  But I also found it because I could see how it would let me explore other opportunities.  My own ‘work/life balance’ isn’t just about managing one job. I’m able to do several roles.

I am hugely proud to be the independent Chair of the NHS Pensions Board.  I chair and manage a Board of thirteen representatives from NHS employers, trade unions and other employee groups, working alongside the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS Business Services Authority.

My Board is accountable to the Secretary of State for oversight of the administration of the NHS Pension Scheme.  The NHS Pension Scheme has over 3 million members and is the largest centrally-administered public service pension scheme in Europe.  This role is a unique take on being a pensions industry specialist, supporting the NHS and working with a hugely-talented team of Civil Servants. 

Yet I can combine this with a partner role in a leading law firm, because the gunnercooke structure allows me to manage my time and priorities, without conflict.

I’ve also been able to get involved in supporting education in the West Midlands (where I live) and for young people with special needs. I am a governor at Birmingham Metropolitan College and at the Royal National College for the Blind. These roles are really satisfying and I’ve met many great people through them too.

And this still leaves me with plenty of time to enjoy with family and friends.  It never ceases to amaze me how many of those people have forgiven me for being ‘chained to the desk’ of big law for nearly 30 years!

Helen Miles is a Pensions Partner, with nearly 30 years of experience. Helen advises employers and trustees on a broad range of pension issues, with a focus on medium-to-large schemes . You can contact Helen here.

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