Spotlight on our solicitors is a series of interviews showcasing the talent of our solicitors who have recently joined us. In this series, we get to know more about the experts behind the advice.
This week we caught up with Sam Owen – one of our senior employment solicitors at Harper James. Sam joined the employment team in January 2022 after working at Irwin Mitchell for 14 years.
How did you start your career in employment law?
‘I had an early introduction into the legal world by studying it at school for my A-levels’ Samantha explained. ‘The course was taught by a barrister who was very inspiring. He encouraged me to continue studying Law at university. I took his advice and the rest is history!’
Samantha studied Law at the University of Birmingham and after graduating, stayed in the city to complete her LPC.
‘After my LPC, I was offered a training contract with Irwin Mitchell and I stayed there for over 14 years. Working at a large law firm meant I gained a huge amount of experience across a wide variety of employment matters.’
What are some of the key moments of your career?
‘Key moments I recall the most are the litigation cases. I’ve acted for all types and sizes of businesses and claims. Some of the wins I have enjoyed the most have been for small businesses and young, entrepreneurial enterprises who’ve had claims against them. Claims are stressful and put a lot of pressure on a business. Working with them through the process and successfully getting those claims knocked out or winning them decisively is a really special moment – for both myself and the business. Winning those types of cases is rewarding because you know how much it means to them.’ Samantha recalled.
Samantha also has experience in large, high profile litigation, including multi-party claims and complex discrimination and whistleblowing cases spanning over a month in the Tribunal.
‘One of the things I really enjoy about employment law is that it affects all businesses in one form or another and each claim you deal with (as an employment solicitor) is vital to get right. The fact that I’m able to help take some of the pressure off and reach a sensible resolution is something I really enjoy.’
Flexible work and employment law
Harper James has been operating a flexible and remote working model since we launched in 2014; allowing our solicitors to have an all-important work/life balance. As a senior employment solicitor, Samantha knows the significance of flexible working, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting on recent trends, Samantha said, ‘we can’t ignore the fact that Covid had affected absolutely everything related to employment law and employers. Many employers have had to change the way they work and think creatively about how to survive during the pandemic. This has been one of the causes in the rise of flexible working.’
What can you offer clients?
‘One of my strengths is that people say I’m easy to talk to, which is important as an employment solicitor. I like to get to know my clients and understand what’s important to them so I can guide them through the advice they need to achieve the outcome they’re hoping for. Not many clients want jargon, they just need somebody they can understand who is there for them to help them when they’re in need.’ She explained.
How are you finding Harper James so far?
‘Everyone at Harper James has been really welcoming so far! I was ready for a fresh challenge, and after speaking with Toby Harper, Simon Gilmour and the rest of the team, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me. I really like the ethos of the firm – that we’re all working for the common good of helping our clients.’ Samantha explained.
Alongside her career, Samantha is a mother and loves spending time with her family, so the flexibility that Harper James offers was also a key reason for joining the team.
‘Outside of work, I love to spend time with my six year-old son, who is wonderful and very adventurous. In lockdown we also threw a puppy into the mix, so now I have both my son and an over excited cocker spaniel to keep up with!’
Samantha advises clients on all aspects of employment law, including advising on grievance proceedings, dismissals, employment contracts, policies and more. Contact Samantha to see how she can help you and your business.