Colleague Spotlight

Hussain Kayani, Principal Employment Solicitor

Hussain's background

As a fully-qualified and experienced solicitor, Hussain is highly regarded for his pragmatic and commercial approach to employment law. Having joined Ellis Whittam in 2016 with a wealth of experience already under his belt, he wasted no time making his mark within our Glasgow-based Employment Law Team.

Today, he holds the position of Principal Employment Law Adviser, where he manages the development of trainee solicitors and delivers regular on-site and internal training for his clients, many of which are household names.

In everything he does, Hussain is able to draw from a range of experience and specialisms. These include an affinity for the retail, manufacturing and medical sectors, and his stint as a visiting professor at Glasgow Caledonian University – the institution where he received his First Class Honours Degree in Law.

Hussain's qualifications

First Class Honours LLB Law Degree

Diploma in Legal Practice

An interview with Hussain

What sparked your interest, and career, in employment law?

I first became interested in employment law whilst studying towards my Bachelors Degree in Law. I undertook a specialist module in it during my second year, and I particularly took to the topic of discrimination. I felt drawn to concepts such as equality, fairness and justice, and this inspired me to base my dissertation on the topic of positive action. From there, I was lucky enough to secure a traineeship with an employment law firm, and this allowed me to build an even more thorough understanding of the subject. I think it’s fair to say that I excelled during this period; I even ran my own caseload of Tribunals despite being just a trainee. Further down the line, I secured a position heading up an immigration law firm’s employment law department, and then in 2016 I joined Ellis Whittam as an Employment Law Adviser and Solicitor. All in all, I’ve now been in the field for just shy of a decade. Based on my personal passions combined with the experience I’ve accumulated, I would say my specialties are retail, care, manufacturing and charity, though I like to approach everything with an open mind no matter what it is.

What does your role at Ellis Whittam entail?

Having switched roles multiple times during my time at Ellis Whittam, I currently fulfill the position of Principal Employment Law Adviser and Solicitor. This comprises numerous responsibilities, but most notably I manage my own set of clients, deputise for the Head of Team, assist with managing the Glasgow Employment Law Team, and manage two trainee solicitors. A typical day in my role begins with checking in with my team and ensuring that they are all well. I then respond to emails and calls from my clients, and throughout the day review the work that my trainees have produced and provide them with feedback. I will also liaise with internal teams in relation to BREWS matters (our employee representative forum). I support a very diverse range of clients, which range from key account household names in the retail, manufacturing and care sectors, to small and medium-sized charities. I take a very solutions-focused approach and instil confidence in my clients by providing them with clear, concise and pragmatic advice. I like to think that my clients view me as an extension of their own team.

Which aspect of the role do you enjoy the most, and which do you find most challenging?

To put it simply, I enjoy solving my client’s problems. They contact me because they find themselves in difficult situations, and I feel a great deal of satisfaction when I am able to advise them on the best course of action to take. That said, the role does not come without its challenges, and dividing my time amongst my clients and my internal colleagues is certainly one. However, I believe that my excellent organisation and time management skills allow me to consistently achieve this.

What advice would you give to employers?

The most common mistake you see employers make is not following their processes fully. Naturally, this exposes them to a variety of claims. Employers are more at risk now because employee relations in general has become more litigious in recent years. With the abolition of fees, employees do not hesitate to raise claims, even if they are vexatious. As such, it is so important to have a legal adviser who can navigate you through these tricky waters, so that you can rest assured – even if a claim does come your way. That’s why I advise that, if you have an issue, contact us early. We can advise you on how best to address the matter before it becomes a bigger issue.

What have you done recently that has made you proud?

One thing I can say for my time at Ellis Whittam is that I feel I have achieved great things during my tenure. For instance, I successfully completed the Ellis Whittam Future Leaders Programme, created the BDE Training Academy, and received a nomination for the ‘Rising Star in Law’ award at the Scottish Asian Business Awards. Other proud moments include publishing articles for Ellis Whittam which have also appeared in Personnel Today magazine, and delivering training on flexible working requests via Zoom for one of my key account clients.

How would you describe Ellis Whittam’s support, and what makes it unique?

Ellis Whittam operates a fixed-fee model, which in my view is the way forward. Many of my clients have informed me that they were always hesitant to contact their solicitor for fear of immediately incurring fees. With our model, this will never be an issue. What’s more, I can say with sincerity that the quality of our service is second to none. What makes it unique from our competitors is that we have dedicated advisers who understand and know how their business works. Almost all of the Employment Law Team at Ellis Whittam are qualified solicitors, and we have a variety of dedicated teams, so the client knows that their contracts and claims are being addressed by experts in their respective fields. Finally, we are not risk averse and nor do we sit on the fence. We provide pragmatic solutions to whatever challenges our clients come to us with.

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