Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Niche work if you can get it: employment law firm that might suit you

Joanne White is a partner in a niche employment law firm
Joanne White is a partner in a niche employment law firm

Jones Cassidy Jones is a very successful niche employment law firm based in Belfast's Ormeau Road.

It is well established, having been started by Beverley Jones and Fiona Cassidy in 1993. The Jones and Cassidy firm became Jones Cassidy Jones in 2008, when the founders were joined by a third senior partner, Alana Jones.

Today the three women have another two partners, Joanne White and Alison Collins. Between them they cover a variety of employment law specialities, with each of the five women having developed expertise in different parts of employment law.

Partners have in-depth experience in equality law, discrimination legislation and industrial relations law. This has involved partners representing clients in the highest courts, including at the European Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Justice and at Supreme Court level in the UK.

"It is balanced between public, private and voluntary sector work and some employee work as well, but primarily for employers," says Joanne White.

Most of the firm's work is for Northern Ireland employers, but with Alana Jones having practised in Scotland and Beverley Jones in England, the firm also has clients from elsewhere. In addition to legal representation, the firm also provides advice, guidance and training for clients, as well as conducting equality audits to ensure organisations meet their legal obligations.

As is often the case with professional firms, the most important aspect of their marketing is word of mouth. "Our marketing is based on our website and the reputation of the partners in the firm," explains Joanne. "We also speak at local conferences and write for various publications."

Recognition by the Chambers UK directory of lawyers is also very important for Jones Cassidy Jones. "Chambers has rated us as one of the top employment law firms in Northern Ireland," says White.

"All members of the [Jones Cassidy Jones] team are tremendously experienced and switched-on in meeting the needs of clients," says the Chambers directory. It adds that Jones Cassidy Jones "is highly regarded for its handling of equality claims, human rights matters and industrial relations issues for public sector bodies. Practitioners at the firm have made appearances before the European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice. Sources agree that the firm is a leader for discrimination claims."

As further external endorsement of the firm, it was awarded the prestigious title of Employment/Labour Law Firm of the Year in Northern Ireland in 2010 by the Corporate INTL magazine.

Although the firm is all women, this has not been an objective. "It is not really important," says Joanne. "It's happened really by accident. It's perhaps a reflection of more women going into law, staying in the field and going into private practice."

Jones Cassidy Jones is well placed for organic growth, benefiting from its reputation. "We just hope to go from strength to strength," says Joanne.

On the basis of past experience, it looks as if this is exactly what will happen.

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