find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
No windfall from IR reforms

No windfall from IR reforms

A leading industrial relations (IR) lawyer has flagged the federal government’s Fair Work reforms and the Royal Commission into unions as lucrative but limited sources of legal work.

Alice DeBoos (pictured), a partner at K&L Gates, told Lawyers Weekly that 2014 would be a positive year for IR practices. She admitted, however, that many firms would enjoy a modest, rather than dramatic, uptick in legal work.

The federal government’s wide-ranging Royal Commission into union governance, for example, will involve a select group of employers and, therefore, is relevant to only a handful of firms.

“There is certainly work for firms like ours, but in general the bulk of legal work will be the union’s legal work,” said DeBoos.

Planned changes to Fair Work laws is another high-profile issue that will direct some work to law firms, but the main recipients will be practices involved in the construction industry, she added.

DeBoos singled out recently-introduced bullying laws as triggering employee claims across industry sectors, particularly in the second half of 2014. The laws allow a worker who “reasonably believes” they have been bullied in the workplace to apply to the Fair Work Commission and seek orders against the perpetrator and their employer.

The first bullying decision to be released from the Fair Work Commission was issued this month (12 February).

A recent salary survey by recruiter Robert Walters has also predicted that IR will be a growth area in 2014 thanks to the federal government’s Fair Work reforms.

The survey also found that an increase in M&A activity would have a knock-on effect for lawyers with skills in corporate restructuring and infrastructure.

DeBoos said that IR practices would also derive work from the pickup in M&A and other commercial transactions.

“While other [practices] pick up, we benefit from the flow-on effects of that increase in work.”

Most IR practices, however, will be sustained in 2014 by a steady flow of individual employee claims, including unfair dismissals, adverse actions and sexual discrimination suits, all of which “showing no signs of slowing down”, according to DeBoos.

She added that firms are likely to add lawyers to their IR practice this year, including K&L Gates’ workplace relations group, which is planning to hire mid-level to senior lawyers across its national offices in 2014.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

No windfall from IR reforms
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...