Daniel Rawcliffe, is an employment law solicitor based in Liverpool at Napthens LLP. We recently caught up with Daniel who kindly shared what he does on an average day, his hopes for the future of the legal industry and advice for those who’d like to work in the industry.
Why did you choose a career in the legal industry?
I chose to pursue a a career in employment law because it’s about people and people are inherently interesting. No two days are ever the same.
What has been a highlight of your career so far?
Acting for a disgruntled manager against a rock band and getting them a decent settlement.
Have you faced any challenges throughout your career?
Every day is a challenge, but that is why it’s good!
Give us an overview of what you do on an average day:
- 8:00am I take my dog, Toby Wan Kenobi for a quick walk around the block. During the pandemic and working remotely I’ve been spending a lot more time with Toby. He is the perfect work companion! Once I’ve fed him (and myself), I’ll log on, check my emails and draft a to-do list of things that need to be done that day. I’ll also check my schedule for any meetings with clients and usually send a courtesy email to check they can still make the appointment.
- 9:30am Our team usually catch up each week on Teams. We’ve recently started opening the meeting sharing something we are grateful for and this has been a good way to kick off the week on a positive note. We also discuss financial performance, any interesting cases we’re working on and any leads or prospects. We’re a large, sociable team so it’s always good to join and see what everyone is up to.
- 10:35am – I have a telephone call with an employer client about a long term sickness issue. I talk through the importance of getting an occupational health assessment and the risks associated of proceeding without one. I have a trainee sit in on this call with me and we discuss the client’s risks in this situation. I then compose an email to the client summarising the advice given on the call and draft an invite letter for them.
- 12:00pm Employment is an area of law which changes, sometimes rapidly. So our team make sure we keep our legal knowledge up to date on a regular basis. I attend a webinar on the practicalities of suspending employees and make notes throughout. We watch the webinars together and sometimes discuss any instances where we have advised on suspension and how tricky and problematic it can be if not done correctly.
- 1:00pm I stop work for lunch. If I’m working from home this is usually a quick glance at the cupboards and then throwing something together for me and my husband to munch on. I’ll also give Toby, who is usually looking at me pleadingly, some food. If I have time, I’ll also take Toby for another walk. This gets my step count up and is a welcome break from looking at my screen in the morning.
- 2:00pm – Now I have a Teams call with one of our retainer clients. The meeting is not about any one issue. It’s a chance for me to find out if the client has found our employer protection service, HR3, useful over the last 12 months. It’s also an opportunity to discuss what the client’s business plans are for the next year. This client is looking to recruit so I make a note to have a word with the head of People Projects Team in case they need additional support from the firm. The client also confirms they’d like to renew their retainer which is good news!
- 3:00pm Now is snack and afternoon cup of tea time. After this I draft up a LinkedIn article about an interesting case I’ve spotted in the news. This case relates to the first time an employment tribunal has made a finding of indirect associative discrimination. It’s an interesting case legally but could also have a bearing on some of the cases my colleagues deal with on a daily basis. I share the link to the case with my department and post about it on Linkedin.
- 5:00pm I get an unexpected call from another retainer client. They have received some information concerning an employee and are looking to suspend. I talk through the issues with the client and we discuss whether or not it would be better to avoid suspend given the circumstances. The client agrees to move the employee to a different part of the business whilst an investigation in the matter is carried out. I tell the client I’ll draft up the appropriate letters for them today given the urgency.
- 5:30pm I finish drafting the letter and advice email for the client and send on. I ensure all my time has been recorded accurately and then turn on my out of office until tomorrow morning. I log off and grab Toby’s lead for his last walk of the day before dinner.
What are your goals and plans for the future?
I want to increase my knowledge of different areas of employment law. It’s always changing and there is always something new to learn.
What are your hopes for the future of the legal industry?
I hope that more people join the profession and the Government thinks about bringing back legal aid. A lot of people do not have access to justice due to their means and this is not fair.
What is one thing you would like to have known before?
I wish someone had told me the importance of networking. Knowing the law helps but if you don’t get out in the world and speak to people you wont be able to win your own work.
What skills/characteristics do you feel you need to have in order to work in HR?
You need to understand that employment law and HR is primarily about human beings. I think you need to have a good grasp of basic human psychology in order to be a good employment law advisor.
It also helps to be curious because you’ll get the chance to speak to people from a wide variety of sectors and businesses. You simply don’t get that in most lines of work.