Specialist Law firm celebrates 15 years on the coast

Specialist Employment Law Firm, Aitken Legal celebrates its 15th year of operating on the Sunshine Coast this month, at the same time as it expands to open its third office located in Melbourne.

The last 15 years have seen the firm grow from a small home office in Founder Lisa Aitken’s house, to a strong business with six employment lawyers operating from the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and most recently Melbourne.

With hundreds of new matters opened a year for clients across all industries, the Aitken Legal team only advises and acts for Employers.  Last year was a particularly busy year as employers tried to understand their legal obligations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as keeping up with all the other changes in employment law, which included changes across all modern awards.

Lisa Aitken, Managing Director, reflects:

“When I left Minter Ellison and started the firm, in addition to helping Employers manage the complex minefield of employment law, my main vision was to provide an exceptional, unique and professional service to our clients.  I wanted to create a firm with likeminded people who are brilliant lawyers, genuine people and who enjoy a work / life balance, and our team fits that culture perfectly.  I also wanted a law firm that gave back to the community, something that was very important to me.  Thankfully we have been able to do this with more than $500,000 net of costs raised by the firm over the years, which has all gone to local community causes, and we have not stopped there.  We have reached many milestones, including after a rigorous process, the firm was appointed to the Whole of Queensland Government Legal Services panel for Workplace and Industrial in July 2020 which we are excited about as we join ranks with the top national and international firms on that panel. We have a fantastic team and couldn’t be any more proud of how far we have come and what we have achieved for our clients and the community.”

While family reasons prompted Legal Director Chris Campbell’s move to Melbourne at the start of this year, it presented an opportunity for the firm to open an office in the vibrant City.  He now works between the Sunshine Coast and the new Melbourne office, located in the trendy suburb of Port Melbourne.

On the Melbourne Office opening, Lisa explains:

“Chris and I have worked together for more than 12 years and we have always had a strong philosophy that family comes first, so, nothing gave me more pleasure than to support his family decision. Therefore, we have seen this as an opportunity to set up a Melbourne office for Aitken Legal, which Chris heads.  Whilst COVID-19 has caused so many challenges, it has taught us all how to work differently, with remote working becoming the new ‘normal’ for businesses worldwide and with this we believe that Chris’ Queensland clients will not notice anything different.”

Aitken Legal anticipates that 2021 will be an interesting time for businesses from an employment law perspective, as the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 was introduced into Federal Parliament in December 2020.  The Bill seeks to reshape the current industrial relations landscape by making significant amendments to; casual and part-time employment, agreement making (enterprise and greenfield agreements), modern awards (listed as ‘Identified Modern Awards), and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) compliance and enforcement framework.

In addition, Aitken Legal anticipates that the trend in the increase in unfair dismissals the firm saw in 2020 will continue during 2021 as well as a potential increase in redundancies once JobKeeper support winds down.

Aitken Legal reminds employers of the importance of staying on top of the changes in employment laws, including awards relevant to their workplaces, and to seek advice where they are unsure of their workplace obligations or have an employment matter they need assistance with.

Disclaimer: The information contained this article is general and intended as a guide only. Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances. While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this update, Aitken Legal does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.