Recruitment Services

The last few years have witnessed some of the most turbulent times that the recruitment sector has ever seen. Not only has there been a rapid development and review of regulations and laws which have impacted all levels of the industry, but there has been an unprecedented volume of corporate activity in the sector, with mergers and acquisitions and restructuring activities taking place on a large scale. Added to this is the increasing strain on businesses caused by debt management and collection issues, increasing levels of regulation as well as with the endemic problems of consultants moving between agencies, often taking with them highly valuable information and breaching post-termination restrictive covenants.

At Mishcon de Reya, we have a dedicated Recruitment Services Group made up of recruitment specialists from our corporate, employment and litigation practices. We act for numerous high-profile recruitment clients on the most important matters they face, and fully understand the dynamics of today’s increasingly complex, competitive and global recruitment environment.

We provide clear and concise business and legal advice in respect of all aspects of our clients' business requirements. We are straightforward; we fight their corner and consistently deliver a return on their time and financial investment.

We are an Affiliate Member of APSCo, a trade association dedicated to representing the interests of the UK Professional Staffing industry. The APSCo brand is a recognised benchmark for quality in the professional recruitment marketplace and gaining APSCo membership illustrates the firm's recognition of the importance of fully aligning ourselves with the industries in which we work, and our dedication to best practice.

Services

Our services in the recruitment sector include:

Corporate

Our team has over 20 years' experience advising on some of the largest transactions in the recruitment sector. We advise on all aspects of transactional work, including disposals, mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, joint ventures, re-organisations and shareholder arrangements. We work closely with our tax and banking experts to provide tailored advice on tax structuring, finance restructuring and bank lending. Examples of our experience include:

  • Advising Staffing 360 Solutions Inc. on the acquisition of London-based IT staffing firm, The JM Group.
  • Advising the specialist international telecoms recruiter Penta Consulting on a management buy-out by the senior executive team.
  • Advising Staffing 360 Solutions (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of Staffing 360 Solutions, Inc., on the acquisition of the business and assets of Poolia UK Limited as part of Staffing 360 Solutions' acquisition strategy, adding to its existing capability and operations in Europe.
  • Acting for the shareholders of Initio International Holdings Limited ("Initio") on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Initio. Initio was purchased by US listed company Staffing 360 Solutions Inc. for a consideration in excess of US$15 million.
  • Members of the team have acted for the shareholders on the merger of Kinsey Allen and GRS Group.
  • Advising Darwin Enterprises Limited in connection with the sale of a 20% stake in the company to Benula Capital.
Employment

The team at Mishcon de Reya manages the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment law for our recruitment clients, from quick questions and day to day HR advisory to large scale strategic reorganisations and redundancies, complex litigation, and business disposals and acquisitions (including TUPE). We have unique experience managing exceptional, complex, high profile and high stake situations, acting at the highest level for both organisations and senior executives within the recruitment sector. As a result we have a unique understanding of tactics deployed by both sides and a balanced understanding of the issues involved.

We know that the relationships between consultants, clients and candidates are central to the success of a recruitment agency. We work with our clients to protect these relationships using and enforcing restrictions - both during employment and post-termination - in contracts of employment. We have extensive experience of drafting and advising on effective and comprehensive contractual restrictions and policies that are tailored to both the sector and the business, and which focus on the prevalence of unfair competition issues amongst recruiters.

We are frequently instructed on complex, high profile and high value breach of covenant, breach of confidence and team move disputes in the recruitment sector. We are adept at deploying and defending specialist injunctive proceedings, including springboard injunctions, and regularly advise on both sides of team moves and poaching raids, including how to acquire teams without incurring liability or, conversely, how to protect a business against poaching and the significant disruption and costs caused by raids.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Advising clients on the full spectrum of day to day employment issues, including HR strategy, family friendly issues, performance management, disciplinaries and grievances and dismissals.
  • Drafting sector specific employment contracts, policies and procedures, including comprehensive policies regarding the use of LinkedIn and other social media and the protection of client and candidate databases to respond to the difficulties that recruitment companies face in policing and prosecuting unlawful competition online, and to preventing and policing the theft of valuable confidential information and databases.
  • Working with employers on preventative measures to minimise the risk of employment claims, ensuring adequate training, policies and procedures are in place.
  • Managing large scale and complex Employment Tribunal and High Court litigation for clients, with cases ranging from discrimination and whistleblowing to high-value bonus and commission disputes and applications for injunctive relief.
  • Prosecuting and defending large scale team moves for recruitment companies in the High Court. Such cases often involve multiple and wide-ranging claims in respect of a number of individuals and businesses, including breach of confidence, breach of express, implied contractual duties, breach of fiduciary duties, inducement to breach, conspiracy and acting in concert.
  • Advising on tax efficient share schemes and incentives, long term incentive plans, tax efficient termination payments, related taxation of partners in partnerships and cross border movement/secondment of employees within the EU as well as further afield.
  • Acting for senior employees and directors in the recruitment sector, negotiating contracts of employment, complex remuneration provisions and termination packages, or in Employment Tribunal and High Court litigation.
Regulatory

Compliance with the recruitment industry regulatory regime is key to running a successful recruitment business. We provide expert advice on the legislation governing the conduct of the recruitment industry, namely the Employment Agencies Act and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations. We can advise on aspects such as how to obtain valid opt outs from the Conduct Regulations, ensuring that temp to perm fee provisions are enforceable, how to resist contractor migration on contract termination, and audits and investigations by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. The Agency Workers Regulations give equal treatment rights to agency workers. We advise on the application and interpretation of these Regulations.

Examples of experience of members of our group include:

  • Advising a number of recruitment businesses and an online provider in relation to Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate allegations of non-compliance with the recruitment industry regulatory regime.
Tax

Tax law as it affects the recruitment sector is an ever-changing landscape. We advise on tax law and consultations specific to the recruitment sector, including the agency, intermediaries and managed service company legislation, tax relief on travel and subsistence expenses, IR35 and CIS.

Examples of experience of members of our group include:

  • Advising both recruitment agency clients and candidates on the implications of IR35 and structured arrangements to address issues arising from IR35.
Incentives

Implementing an appropriate and effective remuneration and incentive policy for management and employees is a key driver for a successful business, increasing employee engagement, motivation and alignment with shareholders and giving companies a greater ability to attract, reward and retain the best talent. Our team provides specialist advice on the design and implementation of incentive arrangements, working with businesses on the strategy and financial metrics that are right for them. In addition we advise on the related tax, corporate and employment issues together with all plan drafting.

Commercial

To trade effectively with your clients you need to have robust terms of business that smooth the business relationship, allow effective enforcement in the event of breach and are compliant with the recruitment industry regulatory regime. We have senior commercial lawyers with extensive experience of drafting such agreements for recruitment agencies as well as negotiating client - imposed contracts both for agencies and their clients.

Examples of experience of members of our group include:

  • Advising Hays plc, and drafting a suite of documentation, to support and effect a reorganisation.
  • Amending a prominent recruitment industry trade association's model contracts in light of the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations.
  • Advising recruitment agencies on standard terms of business.
  • Advising a number of corporate clients on negotiation of recruitment agency terms.
  • Helping an engineering recruiter resist the forced migration of its contractors to a replacement preferred supplier.
Data Theft

We know how important your data is to your company. The theft of client and candidate data in the recruitment industry is amongst the fastest growing economic crimes. We specialise in protecting our clients from data theft and use effective investigation and litigation techniques designed to deal with the theft of confidential business and client information. To do this we have developed Mishcon Recover, a tool that we use to recover and prevent the unlawful use of your stolen data by swiftly obtaining powerful injunctions allowing us to search premises without notice to the data thief, recover stolen data, freeze assets and seize evidence of wrongdoing. We use this evidence to reach a quick settlement, avoiding protracted and expensive litigation. We also advise on preventative measures to protect your business in the future.

In the last five years our team has successfully resolved over 180 data theft cases for our clients. Mishcon Recover is the product of over 20 years' experience of tackling large scale, cross-border, cyber fraud with a particular focus on the recruitment sector. We have the largest group of injunction specialists in the country and make more successful applications than any other firm.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Acting in relation to High Court litigation against various recruitment consultants who had misappropriated recruitment agencies' confidential databases and other trade secrets, obtaining search orders and freezing injunctions to prevent further breaches.
  • Advising in respect of legal remedies against all types of activities used by consultants to steal information, including acting in the case of Hays v Ions (use of information sent to LinkedIn social networking site).
  • Bringing High Court proceedings on behalf of a number of recruitment companies to enforce restrictive covenants and confidentiality clauses against departing employees.
  • Successfully devised innovative investigatory techniques to identify and bring to justice anonymous online users committing wrong-doing against our clients.
  • Advising on the first reported case involving misuse of confidential information using LinkedIn.
Competition

We treat a client's claim as an asset to be recovered. We use experienced economists, forensic accountants and financial analysts to investigate our client's claim and provide comprehensive risk assessments.

We also devise pro-active risk management strategies and compliance procedures, testing their effectiveness through the use of mock dawn raids and business audits. A good compliance procedure manages risk but does not stifle growth and innovation; our lawyers understand this dynamic and take the time to establish what is best for each organisation.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is one of the growth areas within the recruitment sector. We can advise on all phases of the outsourcing transaction lifecycle, including structuring, due diligence, negotiating, implementing and re-negotiating recruitment process outsourcing contracts.

Examples of experience of members of our group include:

  • Advising on numerous recruitment process outsourcing transactions and preferred supplier arrangements.
  • Advising a global defence company on the termination of a managed service agreement for personnel resourcing.
  • Assisting an IT recruiter with its tenders for major public sector contracts as a preferred supplier, including advising on the potential for contractor migration on termination.
Trademark and IP

Recruitment agencies have valuable intangible assets and intellectual property rights, such as trademarks, that should be protected. Our specialists can assist with the process from inception and acquisition through to protection and enforcement.

Data Protection

Compliance with current data protection legislation is essential to protect recruitment agencies, their clients and candidates. We can advise on how to achieve this, utilising our expertise in all aspects of data protection and the related fields of privacy and information law.

Examples of experience of members of our group include:

  • Advising multinational recruitment agencies on international data transfer agreements.
  • Advising recruitment agencies in relation to handling of candidate data and policies in relation to sharing personal data with their clients.
IT

Within an increasingly internet based industry, it is essential that IT projects come in on time and within budget. It is vital to ensure that software and systems remain up to date and that ongoing support is received. We work with our clients to put the right contracts in place to start with, in order to help achieve these objectives and avoid problems later on.

Examples of experience of members of our group include:

  • Advising Michael Page on various software developments and web-related agreements.
Debt Recovery

One of the major risks for recruitment agencies is disputes over unpaid introduction, temp to perm and other transfer fees. The failure of a client to pay fees may occur for a number of reasons. We have extensive debt recovery experience and work to ensure that everything possible is done to recover sums due, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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