The Changing World of the Employment Lawyer

TribunalClaim By TribunalClaim, 27th Apr 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Employment Law

Get a glimpse of evolution of employment law in UK from late 80's till now. How did these changes over period impacted related job-holders like employment solicitors.


In the late 1980s, it was an uncommon sight to find competitive employment lawyers in the UK, since most of the specialised lawyers were working almost exclusively in private practice. Similarly, even in areas like London, which were bustling with activity, almost all of the employment lawyers were members of either the corporate commercial or litigation departments of various firms. It was at that time when the brightest of legal minds were quite sceptical about a novel and narrow specialism like employment law.

The beginning of the change

As the demand for grew for specialist employment law advice, a number of smaller law firms across the country took this opportunity to develop specialist practices of their own. Subsequently, employment lawyers became a permanent feature in the roster of most commercial firms. In the 1990s, however, with the advent of several EU-inspired laws, especially those pertaining to workplace discrimination, there was a veritable explosion of regulation that directly impacted workplaces. Subsequently, many lawyers began to dabble into employment law as their specialisation.

The evolving world of employment

With the growth of employment law practices over time, employment law has now become more complex. Therefore, a new role of professional development lawyer or professional support is now becoming common throughout the UK. In this role, an experienced employment lawyer supports colleagues in making sure that they keep abreast with this rapidly changing area of law. Given the fact that many case reports, analyses, employment legal publications, and blogs are readily available on the Internet, having such support has become more of a necessity. Similarly, the increasing accessibility of information on the Web means that most of the basic information that employment lawyers have learned over years, it is now publicly available for free. As a result, lawyers are now focusing to add value to their portfolio, rather than merely being sources of “textbook” information for their clients.

The growth of Employment Law as a niche

The growing self-consciousness of employment law as a unique specialisation is clearly evident over recent decades. In many European countries, the changing compliance requirements and workplace regulations, has resulted in the creation of separate employment law department across firms. By the time of the financial crash in 2008, employment lawyers saw their practices prosper in such challenging economic times. Businesses were by now directing their finances towards obtaining comprehensive employment law advice as employment litigation. Therefore, it was only logical for established businesses to hire an in-house team of employment lawyers.

Factors affecting the way Employment Lawyers operate

Globalisation and Technological changes are some of the factors that are now significantly changing the way employment lawyers operate. Similarly, factors like increasing competition resulted in lawyers making their working arrangements more flexible. Furthermore, the increasing number of in-house employment lawyers and a drastic reduction (around 70 percent) in statutory employment claims presented in front of employment tribunals, have particularly affected employment law practices across the UK.

If we consider the impact of globalisation on the work opportunities for employment lawyers, most lawyers are now allowed to work and travel in other jurisdictions as even the relatively small organisations need international coverage. Similarly, technological changes permit lawyers to be located almost anywhere yet provide a seamless client service. Not only this, these newer models that give lawyers much greater freedom, also help the firms reduce their cost base.

Changing employment practices

Nowadays, many British employment practices have been undergoing modifications to help reduce small employment claims and support in-house employment law teams. Therefore, employment lawyers in many firms are now encouraged to specialise in specific areas of employment law, say, employee data protection, equal pay or works councils.

Likewise, firms are also supporting the fluctuating demand for help for experienced in-house teams of lawyers. Over recent years, therefore, Lawyers on Demand have seen a tremendous increase in demand, to aid the in-house teams across various sectors.

Wrapping up

What next? Well, the demand for more flexibility from employment lawyers will not change or cease any time soon. Technology will evolve in many ways and will have a profound effect on the ways lawyers work. There are developments that suggest the use of computers programmed employment law “avatars”, to provide most of the day-to-day advice in place of actual lawyers. If this comes to pass, firms will still need employment lawyers to programme the avatars to know what to say


Employment Law, Employment Laws, Employment Lawyer

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author avatar TribunalClaim
A No Win No Fee basis employment solicitor working in UK.

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