Fixed-fee advice proves popular
RE “LAWYER hits out at ‘untrained’ jobs tribunal advisers” (Business, 2 July), Dawn Robertson is correct to observe that a number of fixed-fee providers who offer employment advice via non-lawyers do exist. However, it is naive of her to think companies would not pay to protect their businesses with the bottom line in mind.
When the economic climate is considered, it’s obvious why there has been a rise in businesses taking pre-emptive steps in employment law and retaining fixed-fee specialists.
As a fixed-fee consultancy, and unlike traditional law firms, Law At Work (LAW) does not send its clients hefty invoices at a time of uncertainty, such as employment tribunals. When it comes to tribunals, every client’s case at LAW is managed by a qualified specialist lawyer. As LAW wins 98 per cent of the cases it deals with at tribunal, it is wrong to claim businesses are being unfairly “seduced” by fixed-fee providers.
Employment tribunals were set up to provide a freely accessible dispute resolution forum, where claimants could pursue disputes without the need for legal representation. Today, however, tribunals often last days, raise complex legal issues and hear evidence from several witnesses. To keep up with the pace of changing legislation, many employers and employees are supported by lawyers.
The stop-watch billing system could be drawing to close. With the introduction in England of alternative business models, many firms that bill this way will face competition. But, this doesn’t spell the end of quality, qualified, specialist lawyers. On the contrary, more businesses want the security of this service, but appreciate paying for it on a more certain and transparent basis.
Margaret Anne Soderqvist-Clark, Deputy Head of Legal Services, Law At Work
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