Thursday, September 25, 2014

Getting Good Help These Days - A Closer Look at Employment Law

Richard Susskind is trending on Twitter for his keynote address at Clio Cloud Conference. Mr. Susskind suggests law firm clients want "a fence at the top of the cliff, not an ambulance at the bottom." In other words, your goal as an attorney should be risk avoidance rather than risk management. Dispute avoidance is a far greater priority than dispute resolution, according to Mr. Susskind.

I've always found Mr. Susskind's perspective persuasive. It makes good sense. Yet how often have you known someone to put off car maintenance including oil changes preferring to avoid the expense of something they don't think they need, only to have to pay an exorbitant bill for a serious car repair later? It seems perhaps people don't want an insurance policy. They don't necessarily want to involve the attorneys unless something has gone wrong.

This approach can be disastrous in the employment world. Slate.com recently ran In Defense of HR, an article which suggests start-ups should have sound HR (or legal) advice early on to ensure that as the company grows, it complies with local, state, and national employment laws.

And Home Depot's security breach woes, stemming from a former security architect with a history of causing computer mayhem at a previous company, suggest that solid hiring practices are critical. From arstechnica,
When Mitchell learned he was going to be fired in June of 2012 from the oil and gas company EnerVest Operating, he “remotely accessed EnerVest’s computer systems and reset the company’s network servers to factory settings, essentially eliminating access to all the company’s data and applications for its eastern United States operations,” a Department of Justice spokesperson wrote in a release on his conviction.
What does this mean for you? Give employment law some thought and move beyond considering a career in litigation. If you can work with clients early and help them avoid risk at the outset, you may find yourself in demand. Here are a few books to get you started:

Employment Law in Context: An Introduction for HR Professionals
The Manager's Guide to HR
Employment Law for Human Resource Practice