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HR consultancy group launches specialist employment law firm under new rules

The launch of ESP Law Ltd, as part of the ESP Group of companies, gives the firm equal capability as traditional law firms to offer employment law services, without the constraints of the traditional law firm structure.

The 2011 legislation allows for non-traditional law firms to gain regulatory status as an alternative business structure (ABS) to directly compete with traditional law firms.

The launch of ESP Law Ltd was hailed as a major landmark for the HR sector by Peter Byrne, Managing Director of the ESP Group of Companies. 

“The launch of ESP Law helps finally break the monopoly on providing specialist employment legal advice, loosening the grip traditional law firms have had over HR departments and their budgets for a significant time,” he said.

As a fully-fledged law firm, ESP Law Ltd is able to bring in practising employment law solicitors and other specialist legal advisors, to offer customers the full range of employment law services alongside its HR consultancy and online HR resource services.

Before, HR professionals had two choices at opposite ends of the spectrum: 1) seeking help from low-cost & lsquo;helplines’ (some offering insurance-backed advice), or 2) engaging traditional law firms with an employment law team. 

According to Byrne, ESP Law fills a huge market gap for HR professionals who want greater capability, fairer pricing and higher levels of customer service.

“Our new status enables us to recruit top talent from the traditional law firm, offer the very best city law firm-quality advice and best of breed integrated online HR resources - at fixed subscription prices.”

Over the past year, ESP Ltd’s customers have saved an average of 40%* on their specialist legal spend over previous years, while, in many cases, increasing their specialist employment law capability.

The lengthy process of applying for ABS status requires candidate firms to work with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to ensure that the rules of a rigorous regulatory framework are met.

Some HR advisory services have been overly critical of the process and, as a result, have rejected the opportunity to apply for full law firm status. 

Byrne explains, “The Legal Services Act offers firms like ourselves the opportunity to directly compete with law firms by providing better standards of customer service, higher levels of customer care and by creating a pricing model which is fairer and puts the HR professional in control.

“The path to full law firm status is a difficult path to tread. However, we understand the opportunity that becoming an ABS presents to the HR sector in finally breaking the monopoly law firms have held and releasing organisations from being held ransom to the extortionate hourly costs and pricing models used by most traditional firms.”


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