I am often asked: "what is the difference between an employment and HR solicitor and a consultant?” - and truthfully, there’s more than one answer to this.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should choose a solicitor over a consultant when dealing with matters of HR and employment law:
Firstly, anyone can grant themselves the title of HR consultant as they don’t have to have had training - this isn’t always the case, and some HR consultants have CIPD training. The difference is that solicitors have a more comprehensive knowledge of the law and how this affects the team - especially in areas like contract law. You need to have legal training to be and call yourself a solicitor.
The second reason is the in-depth training that solicitors undertake. Just because someone has done something for several years doesn’t mean it’s correct, and HR consultants have no obligation to keep up to date with the current regulations. Solicitors undertake CPD to ensure they provide the most thorough advice to their clients.
Then there’s the crucial matter of liability. Solicitors have professional indemnity insurance as they take liability for their advice, so if it is incorrect, there is financial recourse for you.
HR is about much more than saying the right thing - you must understand the consequences of what you say. Solicitors deal with the end-to-end process from recruitment, day-to-day management, terminating, and dealing with disputes in the Employment Tribunal (should it go wrong).
Solicitors must advise on the options, risks, and financial costs of your actions. They are experts who understand complex contract law. I’ve even come across ‘HR consultants’ who can’t figure out the correct holiday entitlement an employee should receive - whereas you can rest assured that solicitors know the full scope of the law and you won’t run into any confusions on topics like this.
Many HR consultants take a low-risk approach. If the person is working for you, solicitors will never tell you that you can’t dismiss them. We are proactive and always act in the businesses' best interests rather than trying to appease the situation.
We always take it for granted that a dentist has a degree in dentistry and is an expert in their work, and the same thought process should apply to HR and employment law.
Do your research before instructing someone to help you with HR, as getting it wrong can be a costly mistake and can affect team morale.
If you need a reliable, knowledgeable HR and employment lawyer, please get in touch to set up a call.