Legal arm of publicly quoted HR consultancy gains ABS licence

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By Legal Futures

31 May 2013

Right to remain: 3HR advises Asian multi-nationals

The legal arm of a publicly quoted human resource consultancy boasting global blue-chip clients has been granted an alternative business structure (ABS) licence.

3HR plc offers Asian multinational companies an outsourced employment business support service, from ex-pat health insurance to immigration citizenship applications.

The PLC’s clients are many of the biggest Japanese, Chinese and Korean names in the banking, fuel and electronic sectors, such as Nomura, Panasonic, Toshiba, Ricoh, Mitsubishi and Samsung.

Now its legal capacity, trading under the name 3HR Legal Ltd, has been approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to complete the ‘one-stop shop’.

Head of legal Philip Green runs a team of four qualified solicitors and one paralegal, focused on employment and immigration law.

He said: “Often when you’ve got multi-national companies, their UK operations are managed by ex-pats. We provide a UK legal framework for their HR operations – hiring, dismissing, making sure they have the right permission to come into the country.

“We are the only company focusing on UK operations of multinationals – lots of City firms are aiming to help the head offices overseas.”

3HR Legal Ltd provides services to companies and senior executives either on a fixed cost or hourly basis. They include employment tribunals, discrimination claims, TUPE proceedings, redundancy, contracts, dismissal claims, bullying and whistle-blowing.

Chief executive Terence Bennett said the other trading operation within the PLC is 3HR Financial Consulting Ltd.

It helps arrange and administer benefit plans for British staff of foreign-owned companies by setting up pensions schemes, medical insurance and providing advice on what will assist with the recruitment, motivation and retention of staff.”

Both trading operations started up five years ago and Mr Bennett said it has seemed “strange” that the lawyers within the organisation had not been able to call themselves solicitors or advertise the services they provide.

He said: “Having the conventional legal framework means we can more readily operate as a law firm, offering career opportunities, attracting future trainees and in the longer term being a place where people want to come to.

“We have a higher percentage of qualified lawyers than any City firm and simply want clarity so that our legal team can concentrate on being solicitors. ABS felt like the most appropriate way to achieve that.”

Mr Bennett said there are no plans just yet to exploit the new structure to bring in any external funding, adding the company is “catching its breath” and ensuring “everything is running the way we want it”.

He said that focusing on employment and law for foreign clients setting up in the UK is “the right space at the right time” and by “concentrating on what we know we do well”, the firm is financially confident enough to take the step to an ABS.

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