The last 10 years have gone past faster than we ever thought possible. We have been speaking to lawyers who have been involved with the service about how employment law, and the work of employment lawyers, has changed over this period, and how Practical Law has helped them dealing with these changes. It made us feel old when one solicitor said “to be honest, I can’t remember a time without Practical Law Employment”.
We are all aware of the many changes in the law, in particular the impact of tribunal fees, but also the increases in technical complexity and issues with legislative drafting. However, perhaps the biggest changes have been caused by advances in technology. Work is increasingly done by phone or email, rather than face to face. These changes have enabled some lawyers to be more flexible about the way they work, and have also increased the importance of reliable online resources.
Changes in clients’ expectations over the last 10 years have also been a key issue. There is much more emphasis on speed, cost, understanding the client’s needs and adding value. As Matthew Ramsey of Macfarlanes LLP said, lawyers are “expected to be faster, more accurate, more commercial and cheaper all at the same time”.
Hopefully, Practical Law Employment has helped lawyers deal with all these changes. It was described as a “one stop shop”, easy to use and, by Mandy Perry of Orrick as “the best cheat sheet there is”. Perhaps most importantly, one lawyer described it as saving time and helping lawyers keep fees at a level that is acceptable to clients, by reducing the cost of work that is not “value added” strategic input or bespoke advice. It also makes things more efficient when working with clients or other firms, as it is possible to refer to Practical Law Employment to settle points in contention and save time when negotiating if using a Practical Law document, as Stephanie Dale of Stevens & Bolton LLP noted that they are usually less heavily negotiated.
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