compatible with the Equality Act 2010); to any issues that might occur on a day-to-day basis and, finally, if there needs to be a termination of employment, including any litigation that might arise. Throw in a healthy dose of corporate transaction work that might include elements of TUPE – Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations – and employee due diligence and it’s fair to say that the job is a real mixed bag. “Most employment lawyers do both contentious and non- contentious work,” says Rachel. “I’ve been qualified for five years and new challenges and facts come up every day. It’s true that no two cases are the same!” There’s always something new to learn and the law is changing constantly. I love the challenge and the intellectual stimulation that every case brings A changing world Those looking to enter into this area should recognise the gig economy as a key issue affecting the work of employment lawyers. In 2018 Rachel was successful in advising Uber drivers in the worker status claim against Uber. “It was definitely a highlight!” she says. “Winning at the Court of Appeal was very exciting and rewarding.” Rachel explains how cases like these – and issues revolving around employment status more broadly – are impacting on her work and the industry as a whole: “It’s not that the legal principles have changed, but the way in which our modern economy operates is constantly evolving. The challenge for lawyers and organisations is working out how to fit new businesses and technologies – and the way they work and interact with individuals – into
Employment lawyers work across all areas of employment law, including, for example, handling discrimination, staff restructuring and whistleblowing issues. There has been increased focus on employment law in recent years, due to a combination of new legislation, government policies and employees’ increased awareness of their rights. Trainees assist with a wide variety of work, such as the employment aspects of corporate or commercial transactions, preparations for tribunal claims, attending hearings and meetings, and helping to draft documents such as employment contracts or policies.
No two days are the same for Rachel Mathieson. Although she was initially
attracted to this area of the law by its logical framework, it’s the human element that really excites and energises her. “Adding a human interaction to a methodical approach adds a degree of unpredictability and chaos to the job,” she explains. “I worked on several employment cases during my training contract and have been wedded to the area ever since.” After her law degree and training contract at a small firm – “it gave me excellent access to work and responsibility” – Rachel joined Bates Wells as an employment solicitor in 2016. “I’ve always wanted to be a solicitor rather than a barrister,” she says. “My attraction to the law is about the people and the long-term relationships. I love that as a solicitor you work on cases with the client that can last for years and you are with them every step of the way. It means I’m able to build a real rapport with my clients.” Birth to death of employment relationship The work of an employment lawyer involves everything from the beginning of the employment relationship (eg, drafting contracts and offer letters and assisting with the recruitment process to ensure it’s
For more firms that work in this practice area, please use the “Training contract regional indexes” starting on p197.
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