Two lawyers with 30 years’ experience in employment and business law have joined forces to create a first for Aycliffe Business Park.
Boasting city level experience, Paul Humble and Ben Healey have launched their own practice, Greystone Legal, from Parson’s Court on the park.
Specialising in employment and corporate law, the pair want to offer SMEs a no-nonsense approach to legal advice.
They have devised a business support package, specifically tailored for small to medium sized businesses, which can be paid for in monthly instalments.
Impressively, they’re affording free initial employment and corporate legal advice to local companies, with a free consultation to new clients.
Paul (pictured above, left) said: “There have been many changes to employment law in recent years, and we aim to present law in a way which is relevant to employers.
“We believe in plain-speaking, breaking things down and keeping it simple, because employers don’t need to be bogged down with the legal complexities; they just need to know what they have to do to be compliant.
“We understand the day to day demands on businesses and we have a lot of experience working with them over the years.”
Paul and Ben, who both live locally, share a wealth of knowledge between them. Paul boasts almost 20 years’ experience as an employment lawyer, having acted for a wide range of employers throughout the region, and was appointed as a fee-paid Employment Tribunal Judge in 2011. He continues to combine his practice with sitting as a Judge in the Manchester Employment Tribunal on a part-time basis.
Ben provides employment and commercial business advice to companies, ranging from one-man start-ups to larger regional firms, and assists in advising, negotiating and drafting a range of contracts and terms of business to enable clients to contract and communicate effectively with stakeholders, customers, clients and suppliers. He also advises clients with company and contractual disputes which have arisen in the course of business.
Launched in June, Greystone Legal already has a number of clients on its books, mainly based in the North-East but with some further afield, and mainly consisting of SMEs up to 400 employees.
They’re advising them on all aspects of employment law, from drafting and preparing contracts and policies to representing clients before the employment tribunal.
“We want to build relationships,” says Ben. “We’ll be carrying out all the work out and provide a personal service, not just a faceless person at the other end of the telephone, getting away from factory-type legal work which has arisen in recent years where essentially you’re dealing with call centres and people reading from scripts.
“A lot of law firms say they’re partner-led, but what you often find is you’re not always dealing with an experienced lawyer and work is passed further down the food chain. With us you’re dealing with an experienced solicitor with a high-level of expertise in their field.
“We want to work with businesses as they grow and make sure they’re fully compliant with all the legalities in terms of commercial and employment law.”
Greystone’s client list already includes some of Aycliffe Business Park’s residents, such as transport company NE Business Solutions, financial advisors Gallagher & Tarran, and shipping and freight management service NIMS Freight Services, which trades as InXpress.
Greystone have also helped recently helped John Allen, of Aycliffe firm JRS Software, and his wife Margaret to diversify their business interests with the acquisition of the restaurant and pub at Woodham Golf Club in Newton Aycliffe, assisting with the transfer of ownership of the business and providing ongoing business support and employment law services.
John said: “We are grateful to Paul and Ben for the calm and professional manner in which they handled the acquisition. The biggest benefit for us is the ongoing support and the assurance that we have our advisors close at hand when we need them.”
Greystone offer tailored retainer packages for businesses which can include include the provision of terms of business, shareholders or partnership agreements and all employment law contracts and policies and procedures.
Their services are offered on a fixed-fee basis to local SME’s and, to assist with cash-flow, local businesses can take advantage of payment plans whereby legal fees are paid in monthly instalments.
“For us it is about establishing relationships, getting to know the business and its requirements and helping to steer businesses along the right path as they grow or face challenges.” says Paul.
Even more impressively, Greystone’s retainer deal includes access to a library of documentation as well as a HR support tool which allows holidays, absences and disciplinary issues to be administered via an online system.
This is designed to simplify staff management and provides a central resource where management and staff can access employment policies and procedures.
“We’re one of the few regionally based law firms to provide a comprehensive human resources and employment law service from qualified lawyers,” adds Ben.
“We have a level of employment law expertise that many other law firms can’t offer and we take the time to get to know our clients. We get to know business owners and managers personally and gain an understanding of how their businesses work.
“Our approach is to be practical and business focused, resolving employee problems as soon as they arise.
“A proactive approach can save companies a lot of time and money in the long-run. When things do go awry we can provide experienced tribunal representation so it’s the whole package.”