Find out more about the people behind the advice in this new series of interviews with our solicitors. Sean Walsh, employment law solicitor, discusses his career from management at a print manufacturing company to employment law solicitor at Harper James.
How long have you worked at Harper James?
I joined Harper James in April 2016.
What inspired you to practise law in the first place? Tell us about your legal career so far?
Law is a second career for me. Before I became a solicitor, I was a manager at a print manufacturing company. The print manufacturing industry was struggling, so I decided to study Law with the Open University (part-time). I was older than the trainees around me and others doing the LPC, because of my career change but when I got a training contract it was recognised that I could bring my commercial experience from manufacturing into the role.
After I qualified, I worked for Mace & Jones Solicitors which merged and became part of Weightmans. I was exploring the option of working as a consultant and this is how I was introduced to Harper James, I jumped at the chance. It was a very easy decision to make because I knew that I would be able to focus on the work that I am qualified to do with greater flexibility.
How does working with Harper James compare with other firms you have worked at?
It is far easier; you work far more effectively because there is less admin. Everything outside of fee-earning is covered by the support team and you have more time to concentrate on clients and their requirements. This is what I find great about working for Harper James, I don’t spend hours not doing the work I qualified for.
Define employment law in a sentence
The rules and regulations that govern the working relationship between an employee and employer.
What’s the best piece of employment advice you could give a business?
Document everything in writing (including minutes of meetings, agreements, contracts and addendums/changes to contracts, policies, and procedures). With a written record of documents, you always have a degree of certainty and an audit trail to refer to.
What has been the proudest moment at Harper James/of your career so far?
I represented a senior bank worker who had been treated very badly by her employer. I helped her issue a claim for bullying, harassment, sex discrimination and disability discrimination.
The solicitors for the respondent were very aggressive, making obstructive applications and requirements on every part of the claim. It was a very lengthy process, we got through it and the client was successful at the employment tribunal. She was awarded a six-figure sum as compensation.
What do you do to unwind?
I enjoy keeping fit, I take long walks and whenever I can I read fiction novels.
Tell us a prediction for your practice area in the future
Following Covid-19 I believe there will be a big change surrounding flexible working and working from home. There will be more evidence now that such an arrangement can work for businesses whereas before there was uncertainty. I believed employers will need to give added consideration to certain flexible/home working requests that perhaps they would not have in the past.