Jane Hallas, Head of Team, Legal Services
With over 20 years of experience and more than a decade spent at Ellis Whittam, Jane Hallas is not only a veteran in the field but also one of our longest serving team members.
Since joining us in 2008, Jane has climbed through the ranks and undertaken a series of different roles, serving first as a Senior Adviser, then progressing to Principal Adviser.
Today, she proudly stands as Head of our Education and Charities Team, leading a team of 12 people. Having trained and worked extensively as a solicitor but also boasting experience in lecturing and consulting, Jane brings a range of skills and expertise to Ellis Whittam.
LLM Master of Laws Degree (Distinction)
LLB Law Degree (Hons)
Legal Practice Course (Distinction)
An interview with Jane
Tell us more about your background?
I would say that my background is actually fairly non-traditional compared to most lawyers. Despite starting out as an articled clerk (trainee solicitor) at a small law firm, I left to become a lecturer with a particular focus on EU and employment law. Though this probably seems like an abrupt change, I thoroughly enjoyed the work and ended up spending 10 years doing this. From here, I was invited to join a consultancy firm specialising in change management, equality and diversity, HR and employment law, and worked for them as a director and company secretary. Again, I enjoyed my work in this role, but the travelling aspect began to wear on me after a while, and I realised I was ready for another change. I needed to become a fully-qualified solicitor to make my next move, so I completed my studies and joined Ellis Whittam as a Senior Adviser in 2008. I’ve now been at the company for 12 years, and in that time I’ve had two role changes. All in all, I’ve been in the field in one way or another for over three decades. It feels strange to say that out loud! Aside from all of this, I was also an Employment Tribunal member, a qualified mediator, and an external examiner for both the CIPD and the then University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate, and have published academic and non-academic papers in the past, so it’s fair to say that I like keeping busy!
What does your role at Ellis Whittam entail?
I now manage a team of 12 people and lead the development of our education offering in conjunction with the Health & Safety, Commercial and Marketing Teams. I am responsible for the education and charity sectors, including MATs, academies and independent schools. Aside from that, my day-to-day typically entails advising clients, drafting documents, writing articles and supporting my team. I would say that, based on my particular experience and background, my speciality is the education sector.
Which aspect of the role do you enjoy the most, and which do you find most challenging?
Even the most basic and rudimentary aspects of the role bring me great pleasure and fulfilment. For instance, helping a client reach their desired outcome is something that can never really get old in this field; it’s what keeps me going. I also derive great pride and enjoyment from ensuring that my team is happy, supported, and functioning as it should. Of course, we’re living in a new climate now, and with it has come new challenges. In particular, keeping up to date with all the changes we’re experiencing can be demanding.
What advice would you give to an employer?
Though every scenario I deal with is different, I would say that, in general, employers need to nip certain issues in the bud early on, so to speak. Failing to do this often allows them to fester and become increasingly serious, and that’s the point where we have to get involved! This problem is made worse by the fact that it’s now much easier for employees to bring claims, and that they’re more sure of their rights. Based on this, I would also recommend that employers establish the facts early on to avoid any doubt or confusion. This could involve keeping more meticulous records or tightening up on paperwork – whatever it takes.
What are your proudest achievements?
Though this is more of a long-term project than an individual achievement, I’m particularly proud of building my Education Team from scratch. It’s quite satisfying to step back and see the team functioning well as a unit and performing highly. I’m also proud of my work as a writer. Though this isn’t something that directly relates to my role, I regularly offer my expertise to various publications, and take great enjoyment from it. Finally, I’m proud of the fact that I’m a trustee of an education charity. Not only is it satisfying to contribute to a charity, but as I mentioned previously, education is something of a speciality for me and sits close to my heart.
How would you describe Ellis Whittam’s support, and what makes it unique?
In short, I would say that we offer exactly what one would be looking for when looking for legal support: quality, timely and affordable advice. As someone with extensive experience and who heads up a fantastic team, the quality aspect is something I can particularly attest to. We’re an organisation full of dedicated, knowledgeable advisers, and our approach is very much a personalised and client-focused one.
Meet some of our team
“I’ve taken Ellis Whittam into every organisation that I’ve worked with. I’ve introduced them to many teams and many colleagues and referred them with absolute pleasure because I genuinely trust in the service that we get.”
Debbie Jamieson, People Director
“We get a great deal of comfort and satisfaction knowing that we have support as and when we need it, in a decisive and responsive way.”
Richard Berry, Group HR Director
Bluestone National Park Resort
“What we recognised in Ellis Whittam is the background that they have. They are able to supply knowledge and experience in a number of disciplines, which enables us to develop our business in a way that’s safe, to do it on time and with a quality to it.”
Debbie Rainbow, Director of Human Resources and Health & Safety
“As the company started to get larger, we knew we had to protect our employees and our contractors both onsite and in the offices. Ellis Whittam is exactly what we needed to move the company forward.”
Joanne Beaver, Operations Director
“We have found Ellis Whittam to be responsive and aligned with our business in terms of our processes and expectations. Their pragmatic approach has proven to be a great fit – nobody wants to be fighting their adviser on basic employment decisions.”
Jonathan Green, COO
“Ellis Whittam supports our 280 staff members with Employment Law and Health & Safety and has provided quality management training too.”
Lisa Best, Head of Service Delivery
What do you need help with?
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