'An unpredictable seat'
Arriving at the office, my first task is to check my emails for anything which has occurred during the course of the evening. Employment is an unpredictable seat and you never know what might have happened outside of working hours. A client may have an employee who has refused to attend work that morning, or an employee may have had an altercation with a fellow member of staff.
There is a lot of client contact in employment and a day will often consist of phoning clients and discussing their issues. It could involve a recent disciplinary meeting or a grievance that has been raised by an employee. Other tasks could include preparing tribunal bundles or booking counsel for an upcoming tribunal.
A day can vary significantly depending on whether you are dealing with non-contentious tasks, or contentious tasks such as an employment tribunal.
On one of the contentious days, my morning was spent double checking tribunal documents before phoning counsel to check that everything was in order for the afternoon's hearing.
Packing my suitcase full of lever arch files containing bundles for the judges, I got the train into Birmingham, before grabbing lunch from a local supermarket en-route. I arrived at the tribunal with plenty of time to spare. After going through security, I provided the clerk with the copy documents and went through to the claimants' waiting room. I spoke to the client about her case and listened as counsel went through the procedure for the afternoon's session.
Entering the court room, I sat behind counsel with the documents open in front of me, ready to take a detailed note for the associate back at the office who was dealing with the matter. As the judge went through some preliminary issues, it became apparent quite quickly that the case was not going to be completed in the 3 hour time slot it had been allocated.
Costs and legal issues meant that the hearing was adjourned to a later date. After a de-brief with counsel and the client, I phoned the associate back at the office and discussed the issues that had arisen with him.
It was then time to head home and gather my thoughts, before reviewing the case with a fresh mind in the morning.
Blog post written by Andrew Stokes