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Alumni

John Hatton

Career Path: Senior Solicitor, Capsticks Solicitors LLP
Location: Birmingham, UK

I first became interested in Employment Law (and legal issues more generally) after hearing my Grandfather's stories from his days as a union representative at Boldon Colliery during the 1984-1985 coal miners strike. This fed my interest in Employment Law throughout my Undergraduate study and my study on the BPTC at Northumbria University where I took the Employment Law elective.

Following graduation in 2012, I relocated from Newcastle to Cardiff and took a Paralegal role with the in-house legal department of NHS Wales. This role mainly involved defendant clinical negligence but I also undertook some employment tribunal litigation for the Health Boards in Wales. After a year of practice, I was offered a training contract with NHS Wales and therefore decided to cross-qualify and seek admission as a solicitor. During my training contract I undertook seats in clinical negligence, employment law and healthcare law. I was admitted to the roll in September 2017 and relocated to Birmingham for a newly qualified Solicitor role in employment law at Capsticks Solicitors LLP. After three years, I was promoted to my current post of Senior Solicitor.

What are you doing now?John Hatton

I am a Senior Solicitor and exclusively practise employment law. 95% of my client base is made up of NHS Trusts and other healthcare organisations and I advise on a full range of employment issues including discrimination, unfair dismissals, whistleblowing and wage disputes. More recently, my time has been taken up advising the NHS on disputes arising out of the management of staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Employment solicitors have the benefit of undertaking a lot of tasks that barristers would ordinarily do in other areas of law. For instance, I do all of my own drafting including grounds of resistance and counter schedules of loss, and I am regularly on my feet in Tribunal dealing with case management and substantive preliminary hearings. There is also the opportunity and support to conduct my own final hearings too rather than instructing Counsel.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I thought the facilities at Northumbria Law school were exceptional and the range of experience on the faculty also meant that I would be taught by lecturers with real practice experience.

How connected was your course with industry?

The course was very well connected with local chambers, often providing interesting guest lectures and real feedback from practitioners on sessions such as advocacy.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Even though I now practise as a Solicitor, I use the drafting and advocacy skills from my time at Northumbria every day. I practise an area of law where it is very common for Solicitors to undertake all aspects of tribunal litigation, and the teaching on the BPTC for both drafting and advocacy is exceptional.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Challenging, fun and encouraging.

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