Q: ISN'T my HR DEPARTMENT CAPABLE OF DEALING WITH EMPLOYMENT POLICY CREATION AND DISPUTES? ISN't THAT WHAT WE PAY THEM FOR?
A: The role of the employment lawyer is complimentary to the HR professional, not competitive. Since lawyer fees are tied almost exclusively to time expended, an HR professional doing initial employment policy drafting and then running them by the lawyer for review may represent the best overall value. Likewise, HR initial attempts to settlement employment disputes without lawyer involvement may prove fruitful, however running a settlement agreement by a lawyer prior to execution could best guarantee its ability to withstand later challenges. if a case is heading to a formal hearing at a tribunal or court action is initiated, legal counsel will usually be best placed to assist. While non-lawyers can represent others before tribunals, only lawyers can so appear in court.
Q: I DON'T HAVE MANY EMPLOYEES, AREN'T EMPLOYER LAWYERS ONLY FOR BIG ORGANIZATIONS?
A; We find that is often the small organizations who most need employment lawyer help, because they don't have internal HR departments to control workplace policies, and may have flatter management structures leading to less close supervision and thus less documentary evidence on the history of employment activities when dispute arise that call for evidence.
Q: Do you help employees as well as employers?
A; Yes. We conduct strict conflict of interest checks each time a potential new employer or employee client approaches us. But we find that representing individuals and organizations on both sides of the employment spectrum makes us more effective lawyers, because we gain insight into the inner workings of opposing parties' views.
Q: Isn't it only professionals who really did something WRONG who need your services?
A: The problem with professional conduct allegations is that they don't play by the normal well-established rules of criminal or civil litigation, where there are court supervised processes developed over hundreds of years that establish appropriate pleadings, disclosure of evidence, and burdens of proof at trial. By contrast, in the professional realm you might be facing confusing & non-sensical allegations, opaque evidence, and a panel of decision makers with no judicial training. With your career possibly at stake, you really need a lawyer to ensure your regulator or employer strictly obeys rules of procedural fairness and natural justice.
If you are facing more formal professional civil negligence or criminal offence allegations, although there may be greater procedural fair rules in place for those processes, you equally need a lawyer to defend you because you will be facing a very rules-based process, with strict timelines, format and content for responses.
As much as you might think you just need to tell the truth in order to be exonerated of whatever kind of proceeding you may be facing, the problem is that others may have preconceived notions about your conduct, and at least expect you to present other compelling evidence to back up your side of the story. A lawyer is best placed to make sure that you amass the necessary evidence, and tell your side in the most compelling way possible, while challenging competing versions of the facts by cross-examination.
Q: Why do i need a lawyer if i just want to quickly put My EMPLOYMENT OR PROFESSIONAL DISPUTE BEHIND ME?
A: We assist many clients who wish to resolve matters at the earliest opportunity. But to obtain an optimal result, you'll need to understand the full spectrum of legal issues possibly at play in your case, what evidence really exists, and what all the potential outcomes may be. There is often much that can be negotiated, especially in settlement agreement language where you need to ensure finality dealing with all aspects of an employment or professional situation. To negotiate effectively, you need to have knowledge of the position you are really in. Any opposing party - regulator, employer, employee - may talk much more freely with your lawyer than with you directly.
Q: Won't the regulator just go easy on me if i never previously had a complaint?
A: Professional conduct complaints unfortunately have a habit of "snowballing," where one small alleged transgression can quickly turn into a dozen separate accusations, and the severity of sanctions sought by regulators can be all over the map. A lawyer can help ensure that your regulator doesn't have other allegations lying in the weeds to spring on you later, that when you do want to resolve you will receive a truly appropriate sanction rather than one that is the subjective gut reaction of the conduct panel members, and that you are fully equipped to vigorously contest baseless allegations.
Q: How can you possibly understand my obligations since you're a lawyer and not a member of my profession?
A: Gordon Scott Campbell is in his third decade collaborating with other professionals, and understands that each profession has unique and overlapping obligations. Allegations concerning professional conduct are at their core legal rather than factual assertions (though facts underpin the law). Lawyers are best placed to defend against legal allegations. However, you or an expert who is a member of your profession might be required to give evidence to a board on acceptable standards of professional practice. The most successful professional conduct defences involve a close collaborative working relationship between the lawyer and professional client.