The second seat of my training contract is in the Employment team at Michelmores. This was an area I was particularly drawn to for a number of reasons.
A seat in our Employment team provides a mixture of both contentious and non-contentious work. My colleague Grace has previously set out the difference between the two – please check out her blog here
The work of Employment law is varied and within the Employment team at Michelmores I have been involved in both advisory and contentious work for a range of clients in different sectors, which, as the old cliché goes, means no two days have been the same. In my first two months, I have delivered training to clients, assisted colleagues with the preparation for, and subsequently attended, an Employment Tribunal relating to an Unfair Dismissal claim, provided corporate support work assessing Employment-related warranties in a share purchase agreement, and assisted in appealing a preliminary hearing judgment on employment status to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Interesting subject matter
With Employment law, you are dealing with issues arising from the relationships between employees and employers. This is something that is very tangible and relatable and sits at the heart of every business and plays a crucial role in effective workplace management. It spans a vast array of topics from employees and their rights, an employer’s rights, duties and obligations, and more.
There has been an increased focus on employment law in recent years, due to a combination of new legislation, government policies, and employees’ increased awareness of their rights that often grabs headlines. Undoubtedly, this is the area of law that is at the forefront of social change, and as such it requires a keen eye on the news for developments such as the gig economy, the COVID-19 furlough scheme, and transgender rights, to name just a few.
Invaluable client insight
Whilst Michelmores have clients that are both employees and employers, I have particularly appreciated the understanding I have gained from advising organisations on their HR-related issues.
For example, the HR department of an organisation might have a problem with an employee in a sales role who has consistently underperformed and is negatively impacting the growth and vision of the business but is hugely popular and well-liked by all staff. To dismiss them because of performance may affect workplace morale but to continue to keep them employed will not be the best commercial decision. With multiple factors in play, there is a balance to be drawn based on the advice and options presented by Michelmores’ Employment team.
The Employment team at Michelmores has Tier 1 rankings in the Legal 500 and Chambers in the South West and deals with situations like the one above on a daily basis. It has been a great experience so far to learn from commercial and pragmatic Employment lawyers, and I am looking forward to how the rest of this seat unfolds.