This page is for employment lawyer career advice for those looking to study and work in the UK.
What does an Employment Lawyer do?
Employment lawyers are qualified legal professionals who specialise in employment law. They represent and advise both employers and employees.
Employment law is a very fast-changing area of law. Employers may work with clients on general employment law queries, as well as on workplace disputes.
The types of tasks employment lawyers will be involved in include:
- Dealing with employment tribunal claims on behalf of either an employer or an employer
- Advising on employment contracts
- Providing guidance on redundancy
- Drafting and checking employment policies
- Researching regulations, decisions and employment law changes
- Preparing for court
- Negotiating settlements
- Liaising with other legal professionals, trade unions and clients
Employment Lawyer training and qualifications
To become an employment solicitor, there are two routes:
- You can study an undergraduate law degree
- Alternatively you can study any subject to degree level and then take a law conversion course
After this, you’ll need to undertake a one-year legal practice course (LPC), followed by a two-year training contract with a law firm.
There are three stages to becoming a barrister.
Academic: A degree course at 2:2 level or above must be achieved. This may be a law degree or another degree-level subject, followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PgDL) or a Common Professional Examination (CPE).
Vocational: In the vocational stage, you need to join one of the ‘Four Inns of Court’. These are all based in London. You need to complete 12 qualifying units as well as the Bar Professional Training Course.
Pupillage: Finally, the pupillage phase must be completed, which is a year shadowing and training alongside a qualified barrister.
Like all lawyers, employment lawyers need to undertake regular CPD (continuing professional development).
Employment lawyers need to undertake regular CPD (continuing professional development).
If you’re wondering whether a career as an employment lawyer is right for you, consider the following questions:
- Are you interested in law and are you committed enough to keep up with this fast-moving area of regulation?
- Do you have good verbal and written communication skills? You will need communicate with a wide range of people, from other legal professionals to those with no legal knowledge
- Are you able to stay calm under pressure? As an employment lawyer, you may need to work to tight deadlines and some of your clients may be very stressed at times.
- Do you have good research and analytical skills? You’ll need to analyse regulations and case decisions on a regular basis.
Many employment lawyers work within law firms. Positions for employment lawyers also exist in large businesses which have such a large HR department that they need an in-house lawyer.
It’s also possible for employment lawyers to be self-employed.
Employment lawyer salary
The average employment salary is £45,750 according to recruitment website Reed in 2020. For some lawyers working for large firms or private companies, this figure can be much higher, with some earning above £200,000.