Employment law relates to all matters concerning the workplace, such as salaries, benefits, and the legal rights of both employers and employees.
Employment is a cycle from initial hiring through to contract termination – making it an incredibly varied legal practice area. Regulations, law, and best practices in employment are constantly changing, so prospective Employment Lawyers will need to be able to keep up with the latest developments in order to thrive.
An Employment Lawyer is a qualified legal practitioner who deals with all legal and contractual aspects of the world of work. Employment Lawyers – especially those who can handle contentious and non-contentious matters – will find themselves in demand regardless of whether employment rates are high or low.
There are many rewarding elements to a career in employment law, but there is also a great deal of exposure to difficult and highly sensitive matters, meaning that Employment Lawyers need to be empathetic and able to exercise good judgement.
Employment law governs the employer-employee relationship, upholding and protecting the obligations and rights of both parties.
Non-contentious employment work involves the provision of advice, research, drafting, arbitration, and negotiation. Contentious matters relate to issues such as breaches of contracts, discrimination, dismissals, and harassment.
Employment Lawyers assist employees by advising them in instances where employers do not comply with the law and providing legal representation in contentious cases.
Conversely, Employers may seek the advice of an Employment Lawyer to ensure that they comply with the laws relating to the formation and cessation of employee relationships. This will likely relate to matters such as defending claims, drafting and negotiating employment contracts and advising on HR policies.
Employment Lawyers work in a range of organisations, including law firms, government bodies, within in-house legal or HR departments, and at employment agencies.
The duties of an Employment Lawyer can vary depending on factors such as the organisation they work for and whether their caseload is contentious or non-contentious. However, a standard Employment Lawyer job description is likely to include some or all the below:
• Conducting legal research into past cases and documents.
• Drafting and preparing claims, employment contracts or other legal documentation.
• Providing legal advice to clients.
• Negotiating on behalf of clients.
• Representing clients in court and tribunal hearings.
• Working in the best interests of employers and employees.
• Keeping up to date with new developments in employment legislation.
To become an Employment Lawyer, you will first need to qualify as a Solicitor. This will involve studying for a law degree – or a different degree and a law conversion course – and completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC), before embarking on a training contract.
You can find out more about the process in our article on how to become a Solicitor.
Once you have qualified, you will need to be able to show genuine interest in employment law in order to stand out to prospective employers. Keeping up to date with changes in employment law, as well as attending employment tribunals as a member of the public can show dedication and commitment to the practice area.
You can also further your prospects by studying for a CIPD accredited qualification. Courses such as the Advanced Award in Employment Law are designed to develop your skills and expertise and can be completed alongside your full-time occupation.
Employment Lawyer Skills
Check out any Employment Lawyer job description and you will likely find some of the below skills as key requirements:
• A sensible, methodical approach.
• A good sense of judgement along with the ability to make difficult decisions.
• Adaptability and proactivity.
• Strong negotiation and drafting skills.
• Good research and organisational skills.
• A high level of accuracy and attention to detail.
• Excellent communication skills with the ability to explain legal matters to clients in a clear, concise manner.
According to our 2021 Audience Insight Report, Employment Lawyers earn an average of £52,857 per year. This figure depends on factors such as experience level, type of employer and location.
For example, NQ and junior Employment Lawyers can expect to be earning around £30,000 - £35,000, whilst an experienced Lawyer in London could earn £75,000 - £90,000 and upwards.
As an Employment Lawyer, you will have plenty of opportunity to progress your career and develop professionally.
As you gain knowledge and experience, you will be able to take on further responsibilities such as supervising junior Employment Lawyers or overseeing business development activities.
An Employment Lawyer working in a law firm may choose to progress into a Partner or Head of Department role. Meanwhile, after several years of experience, those working in-house might step up to a Head of Legal or General Counsel role.
Why not check out our guide on how to become a Partner in a law firm for more info?
We hope that this Employment Lawyer job description has helped you to decide whether a career in employment law is right for you.
If you are an employment law specialist ready to embark on the next stage of your career, there is no better place to start your job search than TotallyLegal. Browse and apply for Employment Lawyer jobs today and set up a job alert so you can be the first to hear about the latest opportunities.