Guide on how to choose an Employment Lawyer to represent you* Do you need an Employment Lawyer to help you with a problem you may have?

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1 Guide on how to choose an Employment Lawyer to represent you* Do you need an Employment Lawyer to help you with a problem you may have? Are you unsure as to how to do this? If so, hopefully this article is for you. Hiring a Lawyer to guide you through an employment matter can be a challenge. If you go on-line, unlike cases involving accidents, there aren t hundreds of Employment Lawyers advertising in an attempt to get you to call them. Employment Law is complex. The legislation itself is complex. It is not simply a matter of putting in a claim and going and telling your story. Very often, because the legislation is complex, you may need to put in claims under various pieces of legislation. Claim under the wrong piece of legislation and you receive nothing. Not every Solicitor will undertake Employment Law. Those who are qualified to act for you, whether you are an employer or an employee, will have years of experience. The Solicitor you are looking for will probably be busy. It helps if you do some research and get your material together before you start making a call. The following is a short guide which sets out some of the steps you might consider taking. 1. Do research online. Before you pick up the phone and start calling a Solicitor, look online. Look on the websites of Employment Lawyers. An employment Lawyer will usually have a website and / or blogs which will give you a lot of quality information about Employment Law issues. Take the time to look at what practice areas the Solicitor claims he or she practices in. In picking an Employment Solicitor you want somebody who spends the majority of his or her practice on Employment Law issues.

2 2. Expect your Solicitor to ask you a lot of questions and even to fill out a questionnaire. Many Solicitors, who do Employment law, will have a questionnaire. Why do they have this? It is surprising when these questionnaires are filled out how much information your Solicitor gets. A lot of background information will help your Solicitor decide what type of claim you have. It may also indicate to him or her other potential claims that you might have. The fact that you may go to a Solicitor about an Unfair Dismissal claim and first of all be asked about seeing a copy of your contract and staff handbook or being asked what type of hours you work or rest and break periods which you get may indicate other claims which may potentially be there. 3. Prepare for your consultation. Once you have a consultation with your Employment Solicitor it is important that you prepare to make the most of the time that you have with him or her. Employment Solicitors will get a lot of contacts every week from potential clients. On the basis of your initial meeting, your Solicitor will decide whether he or she believes that you have a case that they are prepared to act in. Here are some important tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the meeting. 4. Take the meeting seriously and be prepared. Make sure you have good clean copies (not originals) of any documents with you when you arrive. Your Solicitor will not want the originals normally at the start. 5. Set out the facts. Employment cases can be complicated. They can be intensive. Your Solicitor will not be able to tell you whether he / she can help you unless he / she knows more of the details of your case. The best way to do this is to bring a simple fact sheet which outlines the factual timeline of your case. A simple date and fact format will work fine in most cases. It is important to remember the four W s by which I mean WHO, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN. Remember your Solicitor does not work in the workplace you are in.

3 6. Be on time. If you have an appointment be on time. Because Employment Lawyers are few in number and will be busy if you miss your appointment time your Solicitor may not be able to give you the time that you need to go through everything. 7. Don t bring unexpected guests. The Solicitor Client communications are privileged. This means that anything that you say to your Solicitor is absolutely confidential and cannot be discussed or disclosed by your Solicitor outside of the office. However, this privilege can be lost if you bring others to sit in on the meeting. If you need an interpreter for example that is different. Certainly someone can come with you to the Solicitors office but you should not expect them, or ask or them to come into the meeting, unless you cleared it with the Solicitor in advance. Remember your Solicitor wants to hear your story. Your Solicitor is less interested in your husband / wife / girlfriend / boyfriend or Mothers version of the story. Unless they are a witness to what happened your Solicitor will want to hear from you. You are the person who may need to give evidence in a Court hearing. Your Solicitor will want to concentrate on what you have to say. 8. Don t bring children. I admit it, I love children. They should not however be brought to a Solicitors office for a consultation. Why is this? The reason is simple. They are a distraction for you and your Solicitor. It can sometimes be difficult to discuss sensitive matters in front of them. If you are going to see a Solicitor it is important if at all possible to get a family member or a baby sitter to watch them for you when you come to see your Solicitor. It is very difficult for a young child to sit through a minute meeting with a Solicitor. They get bored. They can distract you as a result of which some important piece of information is not given to your Solicitor. If some important piece of information is not given then the advice that you get will be on the information that you give.

4 So what should you bring with you? 1. Bring a copy of some photographic I.D. that has your full name and your date of birth. 2. Bring a copy bill or bank statement showing your address. If you have an . Write it out on a piece of paper and give it to your Solicitor. 3. Write out your contact details being your mobile number and your home number. 4. Bring a copy of your contract, if you received one. 5. Bring copies of your P60/P Bring any payslips with you particularly for the previous 12 months. These should be in date order. 7. Bring any documents or letters you have received from your employer such as a staff handbook or any warning letters or any letters at all that you have received. Again, these should be in date order. 8. Write out a statement in relation to the issues which you want your Solicitor to advise you on. If you have an Unfair Dismissal claim that it is important to write out what happened. What incident resulted in you being dismissed? What meeting did you have? Whom did you have the meeting with? Are there any records of the meeting? If so, give them to your Solicitor. Was there a note taker? What do you remember happening at the meeting? Are any notes of the meeting correct? If there are any matters that are not correct set out what you disagree with. This might seem like a lot of work. It is. However, it saves a lot of time. It means your Solicitor, when you meet him / her will very quickly be able to work out your story, what is being complained about and to work out if he / she can help you. It is a huge help to your Solicitor if you have a statement in your own words setting out what happened and what your complaints are.

5 It is important that you help your Solicitor as best you can. The more help you give your Solicitor the lower the fees are going to be. It is as simple as that. The more time your Solicitor can concentrate on dealing with the law and less having to find out the facts from you the quicker he/ she will be able to work out whether or not you have a good claim. Conclusion We have never had any person come to our office with an employment law problem who does not believe that they have been treated badly. Whether it is that they were unfairly dismissed or required to work too many hours or discriminated against or any number of complaints which employees and former employees will have our job and that or any Employment Lawyer is to work out whether you have a claim under the Law. That is why you must help your Employment Solicitor. Simply saying that you were unfairly dismissed or have been discriminated against, bullied or harassed, does not help your Solicitor decide whether you have a good claim. Setting out what happens lets your Employment Solicitor work out whether in fact you have been unfairly dismissed, whether you have been discriminated against or whether you have been bullied or harassed. This is what the four W s are so important namely; WHO, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN. You might not have the exact date as to when it happened but you will be able to give a rough date. You will know what you are complaining about, where this happened and who was involved. The same applies to any meeting or telephone call that you receive. Your Employment Lawyer is here to help you. The more you can help your Employment Solicitor the easier it will be for him / her to work out whether you have a good claim. We hope this short guide helps you. This does not claim to be legal advice. We are just one of many Solicitor firms who provide specialist advice in Employment Law. We do not claim to be the best We try to be.

6 *Before acting or refraining from acting on anything contained in this Guide legal advice should be obtained. In contentious cases a Solicitor may not charge fees or expenses as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. In employment cases always use the services of a Solicitor who is a member of the Law Society of Ireland. It is your guarantee of a professional service.

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