20 January 2017

Three (employment law) predictions for 2017

Few would dispute that 2016 was a tumultuous year. The biggest news in the UK was surely June’s vote in favour of Brexit. Theresa May has indicated that Article 50 will be triggered in March, which will then start the formal process of the UK leaving the European Union. That may generate some of the bigger political headlines of the year, but as we have discussed previously triggering Article 50 is, in itself, unlikely lead to major changes in employment law.

That does not mean, however, that 2017 will be uneventful from an employment law/HR perspective. Prediction may be difficult, "especially if it is about the future" as Niels Bohr once said, but we can still make some educated guesses about what will be competing for our attention over the next 12 months.

24 November 2016

Plumb is the keyword: a fruity search advertising dispute

Buying a bath can be a confusing experience at the best of times. This isn't helped by the fact there are 2 bathroom retailers with very similar names: Victorian Plumbing and Victoria Plum, who have been co-existing since 2001.

To confuse things even further, towards the end of 2012 Victorian Plumbing started bidding heavily on the keywords "Victoria Plum" and "Victoria Plumb" as part of its search advertising campaign. As a result, users searching for "Victoria Plum(b)" were presented with ads linked to Victorian Plumbing's website, and which variously contained the words "Victorian Plumbing", "Victora Plum(b)", "Victoria Plumbing" and "Victorian Plumb".

14 November 2016

What does the Uber case tell us about the direction of travel in employment law?

It is not often that an Employment Tribunal decision makes headline news, but the recent Uber case was a noisy exception. As was widely reported, two Uber drivers brought a claim alleging that they are entitled to certain employment rights, including the national minimum wage and paid holidays. In its defence, Uber argued that it simply provides a technology platform (through which cabs can be booked) and that each of its drivers operates their own business, with the passengers as their customers. The drivers were therefore, said Uber, genuinely self-employed and not entitled to any employment rights.

13 October 2016

Lessons from the U.S. election - when an old story causes new trouble

The 2016 U.S. presidential election has been like no other. Donald Trump has been embroiled in a series of controversies each of which might have been expected to derail other campaigns. Most of these have arisen from things Trump has said or done during the course of the campaign. But the latest, and most serious, relates to a private conversation that took place in 2005.

29 September 2016

14 negotiation hacks to close deals faster and cheaper

Most commercial lawyers like a good contract negotiation. It gets us out of the office and doing what we do best.

After a while though, when the novelty wears off, ongoing negotiations can often become frustrating, bad tempered and, crucially, way too expensive.

So if ‘getting to yes’ quickly, effectively and efficiently is more your thing than debating the hypothetical nuances of convoluted legal drafting, each of these fourteen hacks could serve you well.

21 September 2016

Outsourcing - innovation, risk and opportunity

“Innovate or die”. We’ve all heard it, nobody seems to know who first coined it, but everyone understands it. Our businesses must constantly be better, cheaper and faster or inevitably, we’ll be overtaken by our competitors (à la Kodak, Blockbuster, and the entire motor industry if it doesn’t keep up with Google and Über). 

12 July 2016

My nine-year-old lawyer

You’re sitting in the vast reception of an expensive, upmarket law firm, sipping your perfect cappuccino and scanning your email (again), when you look up to find yourself literally eye-to-eye with a smiley four and a half feet tall nine-year-old girl in a surprisingly tailored business suit. She politely introduces herself as Zoë, and she's your lawyer.

Do you buy it, or do you beat a hasty retreat to the exit?