Recruitment Services

At Mishcon de Reya, we have a dedicated Recruitment Services Group made up of recruitment specialists from our corporate, employment and litigation practices.

Our clients in the recruitment services sector are both bricks and mortar and platform based and range from start-ups and SMEs to major international players. Sectors and specialisms for which our clients recruit cover a broad range, including IT, cyber, engineering, financial, legal, procurement and supply chain, life sciences, healthcare and education.

Some of the clients we act for include Allen Lane, Darwin Enterprise, Day Webster, Green Park, Impellam Group, Hays, nGAGE Specialist Recruitment, PageGroup, Penta Consulting, Quinyx, Search Consultancy and Staffing 360 Solutions.

We understand our clients’ businesses and the dynamics of today’s increasingly complex, competitive and global recruitment environment. We provide clear and concise business and legal advice to our staffing company clients. We fight our clients’ corner and consistently deliver a return on their time and financial investment.

We advise on all aspects of transactional work, including company sales, mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, joint ventures, re-organisations and shareholder arrangements. When undertaking transactional work, we can also advise on tax structuring, finance restructuring and bank lending.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Advising Staffing 360 Solutions on the acquisition of Clement May Limited.
  • Advising the management team of TMP Holdings LTD on its sale to TrueBlue
  • Advising Staffing 360 Solutions on the acquisition of CBS Butler Holdings.
  • Advising nGAGE Specialist Recruitment on the management buy-out of GCS Recruitment Specialists.
  • Advising nGAGE Specialist Recruitment on the acquisition of 85% of the issued share capital of Qu Recruitment.
  • Advising the management on the secondary buy-out of Search Consultancy by H2 Equity Partners.
  • Advising Staffing 360 Solutions on the acquisition of The JM Group.
  • Advising Allen Lane and its shareholders on the sale of their interests in the consulting and managed services company Allen Lane Consulting to Outsourcing UK.
  • Advising the specialist international telecoms recruiter Penta Consulting on a management buy-out by the senior executive team.
  • Advising Staffing 360 Solutions on the acquisition of Poolia UK.
  • Acting for the shareholders of Initio International Holdings on the sale of the company's entire issued share capital to Staffing 360 Solutions for a consideration in excess of US$15m.
  • Advising Darwin Enterprise on the sale of a 20% stake in the company to Benula Capital.

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, including on aspects such as how to guarantee 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. We also advise on the equal treatment rights given to agency workers under the Agency Workers Regulations and when these Regulations apply.

Team members provide advice on public procurement procedures and how to respond effectively to tender requests. We advise bidders on how to deal with challenges to tender processes, devising suitable solutions and getting bidders successfully reinstated where they have been unreasonably excluded from tender process. We also advise on the contractual aspects of public procurement, including reviewing, amending and negotiating contracts and identifying key areas of risk.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Drafting compliant provisions for terms of business.
  • Advising recruitment businesses and online providers in relation to Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate allegations of non-compliance with the recruitment industry regulatory regime.

We manage the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment law for our recruitment clients, from HR advisory to large scale 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 organisations, senior executives and teams within the recruitment services sector. As a result we have an in-depth understanding of the tactics deployed by both sides and a balanced understanding of the issues involved.

We know that the relationships between recruitment consultants, clients and candidates are central to the success of a staffing company's business.. We work with our clients to protect their relationships, both during employment and post-termination, through the use of enforcement of restrictions in contracts of employment.

Our team has extensive experience of drafting and advising on effective contractual restrictions and policies. These are tailored to both the sector and the business, and focus on the unfair competition issues prevalent amongst recruiters.

We are frequently instructed on complex, high profile and high value breach of covenant, breach of confidence and team move disputes. Our clients value our adeptness at deploying and defending specialist injunctive proceedings. We 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:

  • 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.
  • 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 complex, high profile and high value breach of covenant, breach of confidence and team move disputes in the recruitment sector.
  • Working with employers on preventative measures to minimise the risk of employment claims, ensuring adequate training, policies and procedures are in place.

Implementing an appropriate and effective remuneration and incentive policy for management and employees is a key driver for a successful recruitment business. It increases employee engagement, motivation and alignment with shareholders and gives staffing 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 as well as policy and plan drafting.

We offer solutions that go beyond those traditionally offered by other law firms. MDR Cyber provides cyber consultancy and cyber intelligence  services combined with data protection expertise to help our clients meet the challenges associated with cyber risk. We understand that actively managing cyber security will develop your business, protect your customers and build trust in your brand.

The MDR Cyber team works closely alongside our data theft lawyers and reputation management specialists to help define your strategy, meet data protection and privacy obligations, provide assurance to your stakeholders and manage any crisis swiftly and discreetly. Should you suffer a breach, you can rely on years of experience in asset recovery, coupled with close relationships with the investigator community, to identify those responsible and regain control of your confidential data.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Designing new systems and cyber security controls for staffing companies in order to understand how data is collected and held in line with GDPR.
  • Identifying cyber threats faced by our clients and monitoring the development of these threats over time.
  • Assisting clients with reviews of their cyber risk profile to provide reports to stakeholders, enabling clients to understand the maturity of their current security practices and create strategies to keep them protected.
  • Providing specialist advice and policy implementation to improve fraud prevention, as well as to respond to cyber incidents in the recruitment industry.
  • Acting in High Court litigation against consultants and staffing companies who seek to operate in unfair competition through the misuse of confidential databases and other trade secrets, often obtaining search orders and freezing injunctions to prevent further breaches.
  • Acting in the case of Hays v Ions, the first reported case involving misuse of confidential information using LinkedIn.

Compliance with current data protection legislation, including GDPR, is essential to protect staffing companies and 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 our experience include:

  • Helping staffing companies become GDPR compliant, including conducting an audit to ascertain the current compliance position, developing an action plan which identifies high priority activities for implementation, workshops and training.
  • Advising staffing companies in relation to handling and sharing personal data and on privacy policies.
  • Advising multinational staffing companies on international data transfer agreements.

To trade effectively with your clients and contractors, you need to have robust but fair contracts that smooth the business relationship, comply with the recruitment industry regulatory regime and allow effective enforcement in the event of breach. Our commercial lawyers have extensive experience of drafting such contracts for staffing companies as well as reviewing and negotiating client - imposed contracts.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Advising staffing companies on the appropriateness and enforceability of their terms of business with clients and suppliers.
  • Helping staffing companies negotiate contracts with key clients.
  • Updating a prominent recruitment industry trade association’s model contracts in light of the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations.
  • Helping staffing companies resist the forced migration of contractors/locums to a replacement supplier.
  • Advising one of the world’s largest recruitment networks on its international franchise arrangements.

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 and managed service company legislation, tax relief on travel and subsistence expenses, IR35 and off-payroll working rules.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Advising staffing companies and contractors on the implications of IR35 and assisting them in assessing status.
  • Helping staffing companies understand and comply with the off-payroll working rules and advising on potential work-arounds.
  • Drafting relevant contractual provisions.

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 staffing company clients to put the right contracts in place from the start, in order to help achieve these objectives and avoid problems later on.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Advising PageGroup on various software development and web-related agreements.
  • Advising a fast growing recruitment tech company on a suite of business critical contracts – including in relation to a G-Cloud contract with a major local authority and a number of other commercial clients.

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 our experience 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.

Disputes over unpaid introduction, temp to perm and other transfer fees are a major risk for staffing companies. 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.

Our competition practice advises staffing companies, as claimant or defendant, on all aspects of competition law. We treat a client’s claim as an asset to be recovered and use experienced economists, forensic accountants and financial analysts to investigate and provide comprehensive risk assessments.

We are not solely a crisis team. We also devise proactive 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.

In the arena of public contracts, we advise aggrieved bidders wishing to challenge the outcome of procurement processes. We have advised numerous clients on highly commercially sensitive and confidential internal investigations as well as in relation to problematic tender procedures relating to locum staff. Internal investigations typically involve employees undertaking activity that exposes the business to risk. The investigation needs to assess the level of risk and then devise an effective strategy for mitigating that risk.

We have been involved in defending a party which was accused of engaging in problematic behaviour together with its trade association. We have also attended trade association meetings to ensure that the members do not discuss topics that may expose them and the trade association to unnecessary risk.

We are one of the largest litigation teams in London with almost 200 litigators. We act for staffing businesses with disputes which cross several jurisdictions. We have litigators embedded in every practice area from IP and Corporate to Family and Real Estate who can advise on shareholder disputes, fraud, financial distress, regulatory disputes, white collar crime, and insurance coverage disputes. We have excellent links to both the investigative community and litigation funders and we have recently launched our own eDiscovery offering which allows our lawyers to handle even the largest disclosure exercises in-house.

We can assist recruiters to ensure advertisements for vacancies and recruitment processes are compliant with Home Office requirements. We can also assist recruiters to formulate an immigration strategy for candidates which safeguards the candidate’s immigration status throughout the recruitment process.

Examples of our experience include:

  • Advising clients in relation to all corporate immigration issues from registering with the Home Office as a Tier 2 Sponsor to the day-to-day management of a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.
  • Advising on Tier 2 compliance.
  • Advising on Home Office compliant advertisements for vacancies and recruitment procedures.
  • Advising on legal right to work documentation and record keeping.

Our Real Estate team is one of London’s largest specialist teams with a market leading reputation, offering a “one stop shop” service. Our advice encompasses asset management, construction, development, investment, planning, property litigation, property technology, real estate finance, real estate tax and residential work. We work closely with staffing companies on various real estate related matters, including advising them on all aspects of leasing property, lease renewals and any issues that may arise during their tenure.

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.

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