It is undeniable that the employment law market in Manchester has undergone a significant evolution in the last 3 years. If we go back to 2012 to 2013, tribunal claims hit an all time low, which by inference created a stagnant if not contracting market for employment services.
According to the latest statistics in September 2015 from Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service the number of cases accepted in the period from April to June 2015 was up 30% on the same period last year. Although this is substantially lower than the peak of claims seen at the end of 2102/2013, this upturn clearly indicates an increase in contentious employment work. From a recent discussion with the head of a top tier national firm, they were still being instructed regularly on the higher value tribunal claims for which there will always be a need for expert advice and representation.
Further competition has entered the market in the form of the HR and Employment consultancy model, with firms offering retained employment solutions to their clients which offer certainty of cost. This allows businesses to budget effectively on an annual basis for their employment services and protect themselves against falling foul of employment legislation. Arguably utilising this service of one retained firm incentivises that firm to invest firm in understanding the client’s business model and commercial objectives. This seems to offer a ‘win win’ all round.
It is certainly not all doom and gloom for employment lawyers as this year we have seen new instructions from the national firms at the NQ to 3 years PQE level. In fact the message is one of cautious optimism as employment teams appear to have ridden the storm and emerged on the other side, having effectively adapted to the challenges presented to them by the legal market.