Find out more about the people behind the advice in this series of interviews with our solicitors. Our employment partner Simon Gilmour shares his life in law with us.
How long have you worked at Harper James?
I joined in April 2018. I’d spent my career up until that point heading up employment divisions of top 50 Midlands law firms and was ready for a change.
What inspired you to practise law in the first place? Tell us about your legal career so far
I did some work experience at Rigbeys in Birmingham (sadly they no longer exist) working with a litigation partner one summer when I was at university. It was fascinating, every day was different with lots of client interaction and regular visits to court – definitely law at the sharp end. I also did some work in an accountancy practice later that summer, which was a stark contrast!
How does working with Harper James compare with other firms you have worked at?
It is without comparison. I was getting very disillusioned with being a lawyer in private practice and Harper James opened my eyes to a whole different way of working. I now have a proper work-life balance and working flexibly has made my life so much easier and less stressful. I really enjoy doing what I do and I couldn’t have said that for the previous five years of my career. There are no politics, no pointless meetings and very little admin. I can focus on getting on with work: winning clients and looking after them.
Define employment law in a sentence
Helping employers sort out tricky staffing issues, or SOS!
What’s the best piece of employment advice you could give a business?
Be proactive and treat others as you would wish to be treated.
What has been your proudest moment at Harper James?
Doubling the size of the employment team, with the excellent additions of Alan and Ella, both of whom I have previously worked with.
What do you do to unwind?
In the absence of the gym, I’m a recent convert to online Tabata/HIIT sessions and currently train every day with my youngest son, including some one-to-one rugby coaching.
Tell us a prediction for your practice area in 2020 or beyond
Despite the pandemic and lockdown, Harper James will still continue to grow. Now is undoubtedly the time for financially strong and agile businesses like ours to take opportunities and prosper. Employment is always going to be a growing area and now in particular we should see more new work.
What advice would you give regarding the challenges businesses will be facing from the COVID-19 outbreak?
Be decisive and take action sooner rather than later.