Job roles in law firms – advising on employment law and employment rights

This article is part of our Job roles in law series which explores some of the legal sector’s practice areas and the associated job roles which may offer a starting point for someone looking to start a career in law.


This area of law is carried out by law firms throughout the country. It involves giving advice to individuals relating to dismissal, discrimination and redundancy and also to organisations about their obligations to employees. Employment law includes all matters to do with the workplace and applies to organisations of all sizes.

What’s involved?

Employment law covers the rights of both employees and employers.

Employees have rights in law to prevent discrimination due to age, disability, sex and religion. There are also laws relating to the circumstances when an employee can be dismissed or made redundant and rights to maternity, paternity and adoption leave. The employment department advises individuals on their rights and on seeking compensation when these have been breached by an employer. If a claim or potential claim arises, a law firm assists in negotiating a settlement and, where necessary, taking the case to an Employment Tribunal.

Law firms also advise employers on how to make sure that they are operating within the law on employment matters. Employers vary from small businesses employing one or two people to national organisations. Smaller-scale employees are most likely to seek advice on an ad hoc basis when issues arise. Larger organisations have Human Resources (HR) departments who ensure that they operate within the law, and HR managers seek advice on an ongoing basis relating to staff policies, directors’ contracts, team moves and takeovers as well as on specific matters when problems arise.

What jobs are there for non-qualified staff?

As an unqualified member of staff you will assist in opening client files, taking statements and collating information. When a case goes to  Tribunal there is an administrative role in creating the claims using standard templates.

See how Catherine Miles developed a career in employment law.

What job titles will be advertised by recruitment agencies?

Employment paralegal, employment law paralegal. Applying for legal secretarial jobs is also a good route into this area of law.

What CILEx units will support my application for these job roles?

We recommend that you enrol on courses leading to the CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice (Employment Practice). As well as an introductory unit you will study Employment Law and the Practice of Employment Law. Have a look at the tables of contents to see what is involved. You will also study two professional skills units.

If you already have a law degree, you can achieve your CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma by studying Level 6 The Practice of Employment Law, Level 6 Client Care Skills and one other CILEx Level 6 practice unit of your choice, which we recommend should relate to a law unit studied as part of your degree. If you have not studied Employment Law as part of your law degree, we also recommend that you study this unit at either Level 3 or Level 6 too.

What have other students achieved?

Catherine Miles developed an interest in law while working as a legal secretary and is now a Chartered Legal Executive specialising in employment law. She worked for a law firm initially while studying before moving to The Body Shop International.

Working in an in-house legal department – Catherine Miles

I first properly got into law as a legal secretary in 2005 at Thomas Eggar LLP. The first manager I worked for was a trainee Chartered Legal Executive and there was also a Senior Chartered Legal Executive in our team. Talking to them and observing their work gave me an insight into the work that Chartered Legal Executives do and made me realise that it is not just a choice between being either a solicitor or support staff if you want to work in law.

March 7th, 2019|
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