Find out more about the people behind the advice in this new series of interviews with our solicitors. Say hello to Ella Bond, who recently joined Harper James as one of our senior Employment Solicitors.
How long have you worked at Harper James?
Since the 21st of January this year, so I’m a newbie! The opportunity to work here was first introduced to me by Simon Gilmour who is one of the Employment Partners at Harper James. We previously spent 5 years working together when we were both at Shakespeares (now Shakespeare Martineau) Solicitors. It’s great to be back working with Simon and to be part of the fantastic team here at Harper James.
What inspired you to practice law in the first place?
My stepfather was a partner of a law firm and also specialised in employment law. He used to tell me some of the stories which were connected to matters he had dealt with, they were really varied and interesting, so I was hooked from there! It’s the stories behind the matters that still feed my passion for employment law today – you wouldn’t believe some of the stories I have dealt with myself now in practice! I see every new case as being like a new chapter in a book and I can’t wait to read each page!
Define employment law in a sentence
It’s a fast-paced and diverse area of law covering all aspects of the relationship between employer and employee.
What’s the best piece of employment law advice you could give a business?
To be proactive and take advice early before the issue becomes a problem.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
When I first qualified as a solicitor, a job opportunity was presented to me by the firm I had trained with, but the vacancy was in a different area of law. Having always known that I wanted to practice employment law I turned down that opportunity. Instead, I applied for an employment law job that came up in Leamington Spa, which was almost 2 hours away from where I lived at that time. The first time I ever stepped foot in Leamington was for my interview! The job was offered to me and I took it, necessitating me having to relocate on my own, away from my family and friends but in pursuit of a career in the specialism that I have always been passionate about. I still live in Leamington now, some 13 years later, and travel back to my home town regularly. I now have a family of my own based in Leamington and I’m still working in the area of law which I love. I have to be proud of myself for that as, without taking that original leap of faith, I wouldn’t be where I am today, either personally or professionally.
What do you do to unwind?
I have two young children so unwinding is currently a bit of a foreign concept but we do like to go on breaks to the coast as a family, which I enjoy.
Tell us a prediction for your practice area in 2020.
I’ve noticed a surge in media articles promoting work-life balance recently. This area of law is nothing new but there seems to be more of a willingness from employers to actively promote a work-life balance which hasn’t been as widely evident before now. I think this is not only because employers want to showcase themselves as being a great place to work but also because employers are seeing the benefits in providing a work-life balance in order to help get the best out of their staff. Because of this, I think that we will not only see more requests from employees to work flexibly but also more proactive advice sought from employers on how they can facilitate flexible working in their business. This may involve re-structuring departments or workflow for example so that the business can be run flexibly whilst still being just as efficient (if not more so!). If you need advice on how you may be able to achieve this in your business, I can help!