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our employment seat in the Nottingham office

10 December 2012

How many in the team?
The employment team in Birmingham consists of 3 partners (one of whom is also an employment judge), 1 associate, 2 solicitors (1 currently on maternity leave), 1 Legal Support Co-ordinator and 1 Team Assistant.

What does the team do?
The team deals with all types of employment matters, from equal pay claims to discrimination and unfair dismissal, usually acting on behalf of Respondents. NHS and public sector clients form a key part of the team’s client base, although two of the partners especially have a broad base of private sector clients. As well as representing clients in contentious proceedings, the team also advises clients on their policies and procedures, employee contracts and advises employers on action that they are considering taking. One member of the team is also involved with the employment aspects of Academy conversions.

What type of work does a trainee do?
As a trainee, you can expect to be involved with the vast majority of the work that the team does. In contentious matters this will include being responsible for collating documents and preparing bundles, advising clients on the merits of their case, researching points of law, drafting statements of case, drafting COT3s and compromise agreements, drafting instructions to counsel and attending case management discussions, pre-hearing reviews and full hearings. It has been known for trainees to get involved in advocacy at CMDs as well!

On the non-contentious side, trainees will mainly be involved in reviewing clients’ policies and procedures, either in whole or in part, to advise on their effectiveness and legality and may be asked to put together seminar notes and slides on various employment law topics. There will also be the opportunity to be involved with the Academy conversion process where conversions are allocated to you.

What level of responsibility/hands on experience (i.e. manage your own files etc) does a trainee receive?
Obviously as a trainee you are closely supervised, but this should not detract from the level of responsibility you enjoy. As with any other seat, you can sit back and wait for tasks to be assigned to you, or you can try to proactively manage your files subject to supervision. There is a marked difference! The fee earners in the team are happy for trainees to have a crack at most tasks and the feedback that you receive is always useful.

How much client contact does a trainee get?
This is an excellent seat for client contact, which includes attending conferences with counsel, hearings and client meetings.

What has been the highlight for you in this seat?
Attending a 5 day race discrimination hearing with 4 witnesses for the client, and counsel who was always pleased to answer your questions. We won too, which helped!