Food and drink businesses are increasingly looking to outsource legal expertise in order to deal with employment issues such as maternity leave or career breaks, according to Vertex Law.
The law firm, based at Kings Hill in Kent, says the obvious advantage of this form of temporary contracting is financial. Companies without the resources to justify full-time in-house lawyers can still access a wealth of varied support and draw on it only when they need it, says Vertex member Kate Mayor. "Small to medium-sized enterprises may still require legal advice on a regular basis. Outsourcing gives expert advice without the financial commitment of employing someone full-time.
"The client gets the benefit of - in our case - commercial, intellectual property, technology, dispute resolution, property and mergers and acquisitions lawyers."
Outsourcing could also be used by larger food processors for specific projects or to fill temporary vacancies. Mayor, for example, has been involved in several out-sourced projects including covering maternity leave for Ashford based food wholesaler Brake Bros.
"With recently introduced improved maternity and paternity rights, as well as people opting for extended breaks from their careers, the need to fill this type of gap is going to be more common in the future," she says.
Nick Willis, Brake Bros group account director, says the responsibilities he currently faces have made the speedy and detailed services of Vertex a necessity: "I manage a number of large group account customers for whom I have needed support in drawing up trading agreements."
Lawyers value working on temporary secondments, as it enables them to get to know food and drink clients at close quarters, says Mayor. "It also means you can focus 100% on your work without the distraction of day-to-day stresses and strains."