How to go about finding a good employment lawyer?(23 Posts)
I have been looking at this for a while as I need some legal advice and possibly some action to be taken against my employer.
Every law firm I have rang who specialises in employment law has done the following:
- someone has taken the details of my case
- as the case is fairly complex I said it was essential I was assigned someone experienced.
- In all three cases I was called back by someone extremely junior, ie only just qualified.
I suspected so as they kept saying they would have to check things with the partner, and one of them really didn't sound like they knew what they were talking about (I have done a bit of research on this already and have all the relevant articles of the law). I subsequently went to check their names and all had just qualified.
I am at the end of my tether with this as the value of my claim is potentially pretty high, and the company high profile so they will have pretty good lawyers. Can anyone suggest how to go about finding an experienced employment lawyer who will take me on?
I could ring around friends but I wanted to keep this quiet if possible, so any advice greatly appreciated!
It is pretty common for an employment law case to be assigned to a junior solicitor they will seek advice from a more experienced solicitor when necessary.
The case may appear complicated to you but most employment cases are relatively straightforward to deal with when you are looking at different cases day in day out. I wouldn't push too much to get your case assigned to a senior partner as a senior partner in the city can charge around £1k an hour! Generally speaking a senior partner wouldn't have much to do with a case at the early stages anyway.
If you do not have confidence in the person you have spoken to I would suggest that you try another firm.
Can you share information on this forum or would you prefer not to?
As thedollshouse says, it is normal for someone failry junior to be assigned to your matter and if your claim is complex they would probably end up mostly "sitting in" on whatever work a partner/senior associate was doing for you and performing the easier tasks. No matter what, you will be assigned a partner to oversee the work.
Who is it that has told you your claim is complex? Are you speaking to a partner in the beginning? I would be inclined to look the firm up on the web, call a partner direct and speak to them. If the issues are complex they will be able to help, but obviously that sort of help comes at a higher price.
Go to a very small firm if you are determined to have partner level attention. If there are only partners at the firm, you can't be passed down to a newly qualified.
Thanks for your reply. Maybe you're right, I need to find the right person who gives me a warm feeling though.
My case is this:
When I was on mat leave my team was displaced. All my colleagues went through consultation with HR and were offered the opportunity to apply for "equivalent" roles. As there was no equivalent roles, they created a small number of hybrid roles that would help people to retrain and reintegrate into the organisation.
4 of my colleagues, (similar grade, experience, etc) applied and got these jobs.
The others (other 10) a mix of didn't apply and got something else, or went to a different part of the organisation, as their experience and background meant they could go and do other types of work.
I was never informed of all this at all. I knew nothing about it. Upshot is I don't have a job to go back to (i am about to return from mat leave now).
What makes it much worse than it probably sounds, is this:
- I tried several times to speak to the boss of this new organisation and he refused to talk to me, emailing me back that he thought I was better suited elsewhere (no reason why or no feedback, just that) and gave me the name of this person.
I called this person who had never heard of me, and after a long discussion it transpired that he headed up an admin style set up - never done those jobs in my life and wouldn't want to or have the skills to do them - and he agreed.
I wrote to HR and my line manager asking for an explanation of all the above and as to what would happen when I get back.
I got a one liner back saying that I could ring up HR when I got back and we'd sort something out. I could always speak to x and y - they clearly hadn't even read my email as I clearly indicated that I had spoken to the same people and there was nothing there for me.
I feel like they are playing table tennis with me as they screwed up in a big way and now there is no vacancy/job for me.
They won't make me redundant, they will just try and push me into doing a job that I am not qualified to do and I will be set up to fail. If I accept a job I am not qualified/able to do, it will solve their problem as I will then be managed out of the business through poor performance. (I have seen it happen/done before many many times).
I am of course extremely annoyed and anxious about this situation.
ps I was told by the 2 out of 3 lawyers I talked to that it was a very complex case and therefore they would need to consult with their partner.
One said that I didn't have a case at all, then rang me up 30 minutes later saying that, having spoken to a partner they had got it wrong and I indeed had one.
That's why I am a bit worried about it. I need someone I can trust 100% on this one...
Last one I promise. I just wished they had
either offered me one of the alternative jobs available at the time, or made me redundant.
The fact they haven't done either worries me as I know it will be virtually impossible for me to get a job I CAN do, therefore they hope I will either leave or do so badly they can get rid of me in other ways (
Ok, well it sounds as though they just got the most junior person in the office to speak to you to find out what was going on. It's good that they went to check things. I have a fair amount of experience in my area, and will give preliminary advice over the phone, but often there will be points I want to check too just to be sure that I am spot on with my advice. Perhaps call one of the ones who didn't say you didn't have a case and ask for a meeting, and say you'd like the partner in charge to be there too. Then you can go through what happened, get some fuller advice and decide how to go forward.
Where in the country are you? Someone might be able to give you a personal recommendation.
thanks Haliborange, I am in the north of England if anyone has any recommendations!
Technically at the moment you don't have a case as your still on mat leave.
You said you "don't have a job to go back to" and that "they won't make you redundant".
Are you currently employed by them or not? If your off over 6 months on mat leave they don't have to give you the same job back, just a suitable job.
"I know it will be virtually impossible for me to get a job I CAN do"
Why? Do you have special requirements or do you just not want to go back?
Why not just give the job a chance, you may end up enjoying it but if you don't go back it'll be nearly impossible to claim anything at tribunal.
I am employed but I was specifically employed to perform a highly qualified and very specific role, which they have now outsourced. So I am curious as to what job they will actually offer me, as I am not qualified to do any other job at the level I am paid/employed at. I have already looked in all departments - for any job at my level you need massive experience and qualifications which I don't have.
It's like saying that you will give a solicitor an accountant's job. It can't work can it? It's not a matter of enjoying it or not. That's why they are shoving me from pillar to post, as they are panicking big time....and I am not too happy about being in this situation either.....
Have you had a look in the legal 500 (google it). You'll be able to find an expert in your area, I'd recommend you seek someone who claims experience in sex discrimination matters. They might be pretty expensive, but maybe that is worth it to formulate a sensible plan of action.
Hi. I am an employment lawyer. I don't advise on here really but wanted to give you some quick advice on how to forward.
Your case does not sound terribly complicated to me. It should be able to be dealt with by a mid level lawyer with perhaps some partnership input. If your role disappeared while you are on mat leave you do have a right to be consulted about it at the time and to be offered alternative employment in preference to other employees who are not on mat leave so your employer has already breached your rights.
To find a firm to represent you I would suggest legal 500 as has already been suggested. Look for a firm which acts for employees as opposed to employers as the tactics etc can be quite different.
If they outsourced it is there not an argument you should have been subject to TUPE?
Like Cornetto, I'd say that the case isn't particularly complex.
FWIW, it is normal for a junior to be given the job of calling a potential client and scoping the work, conflict issues, etc. It is a standard NQ job. If it turns out to be complicated, they will then perform a junior function in the case. If it turns out to be straightforward, they will mostly run it (saving you money).
Don't fixate on partners- a senior level associate can be much better value for money. All the experience you need but much lower costs.
I would find a firm (either one you've spoken to our a new one) and ask for a meeting with someone senior (either a partner or a senior assocaite) attending. Then take it from there.
If your employer has out sourced your job or your job is no longer there, why have they not put everything in writing to you. Surely it should not matter if you are on maternity leave. What date are you due to return to work ? Perhaps, your job is not being out sourced until a few months later or a year later ? I assume if you are on maternity leave, that you are still employed. Perhaps you need to wait until you return to work. Normal advice is to speak to ACAS.
Before you do anything OP you need to submit a grievance to your employer. Without that, your case is weakened because you must highlight the concerns you have, in writing, to enable them to address the matter.
I am at the end of my tether with this as the value of my claim is potentially pretty high
On what assumption are you basing this?
It is highly likely you are in a redundancy situation if they outsourced your role. You'd be better off calculating how much you might get according to their redundancy policy (esp if you are on a high salary and package, and have earned quite a few years service) than going all-out to take them to Tribunal where a chunk of your potential award (not guaranteed) will be swallowed up in legal fees.
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