Thursday, 19 October 2017

Employment lawyer takes top award

An employment law specialist from a Midlands firm has been named as a winner in this year’s Black Country Asian Business Association awards.

John Mehtam leads the employment team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Wolverhampton and Telford, and he has won the coveted Business Professional of the Year title.

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this award and it’s a great honour to be recognised in such a high-profile way,” said Mr Mehtam.

“At Martin-Kaye Solicitors we are committed to expanding our legal services still further into the Black Country area, and we are working very closely with BCABA to ensure we deliver the very highest levels of service to local businesses.”

Mr Mehtam received his award at the BCABA Network annual dinner at Wolverhampton Racecourse, and the event raised over £3000 for the Midlands Air Ambulance charity.

Hosted by ITV Central’s Sameena Ali-Khan, the evening heard from key representatives from the network who emphasised the importance of collaborating with stakeholders to achieve business success.

Martin-Kaye’s Rakesh Saini also gave a brief overview of BCABA’s roots and future plans, and he also shared a poignant message for younger professionals on the endless benefits of being the very best in their chosen industries.

Other award winners on the night included: Angela Bir of the Ramada Park Hall Hotel who won both the Business of the Year and Businesswoman of the Year categories; Amerjit Singh from Nationwide Electrical and Security Wholesalers, who took the Retailer of the Year award; and Manjinder Sangha from Kapture8 which was named as Learning Business of the Year.

The Black Country Asian Business Association was established in 2001 and its aim is to provide a strong voice for lobbying and a platform for Asian businesses. The network is going from strength to strength with over 2750 businesses benefiting from the variety of services it provides, and it’s a diverse group which supports a socially aware, responsible, cohesive and healthy sustainable community in the West Midlands.

Pic: John Mehtam from Martin-Kaye Solicitors (centre) receives his award at the ceremony with, from left, Jas Mandair (KTV), Arran Mehtam, Amrik Singh Gill (KTV), Jagit Singh Bassi (KTV), and Sameena Ali-Khan (Central TV)

Monday, 16 October 2017

Raising funds for a worthy cause

Martin-Kaye colleagues George Heron and Gemma Himsworth put themselves to the ultimate test to raise money for charity.

Together with Gemma's friend, Laura, they successfully completed the Birmingham Marathon and they have now raised almost £1,000 for Tommy's, the baby charity.

It was Gemma's first marathon, and she ran it just 12 months after giving birth to baby Elsie - not to be outdone, George decided he'd run the entire 26.2 miles wearing a rucksack that weighed the same as Elsie's weight on race day!

George said: "For those who (like I used to) thought Birmingham is flat, it certainly isn't! Thank you so much to those who have already donated, it was such a boost during the race and makes all the aches and pains worthwhile.

"It was Gemma's first marathon, so she was entering uncharted territory and I was in awe of the way she kept on going. It's a huge distance to cover on foot, so a time of 6 hours 7 minutes is incredible just 12 months after giving birth. It was a very tough day, but the feeling crossing the finishing line is just indescribable."

Laura is an accomplished marathoner and she is on target for 18 marathons in 18 months!

Pic: George, Gemma and Laura after their marathon challenge

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Two new Associates at law firm

Two long-serving employees at a Telford law firm have been named as Associates as a reward for their commitment and dedication.

Alison Thornton and Emma Palmer have been with Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way for many years, and both have worked hard during that time to build and develop the departments they work in.

Martin-Kaye Partner and Head of HR Alison Carter said: “Over the years both Alison and Emma have provided a stable and calm presence within their departments, and this has been combined with consistent quality work recognised time and time again by clients in excellent feedback questionnaires.

“They have also demonstrated flair and enterprise in the face of challenging conditions, and for these reasons, the Partners believe they thoroughly deserve this recognition.”

Emma is the firm’s Employment Team Manager, and she has played a key role in developing, setting up and running Martin-Kaye’s HR support scheme, Alpha.

She has since overseen the successful development of the service which attracts a wide range of employers from across the UK, as well as providing employment law and HR advice to Alpha client.
Emma is also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

Alison worked for a number of large regional and national firms before joining Martin-Kaye’s personal injury team as a solicitor in 2003.

She has successfully handled many different types of claims including fast track and multi-track cases including road traffic, industrial injury and public liability.

Alison has also been involved in the development of the firm’s inheritance disputes team answering enquiries through Martin-Kaye’s contest-a-will website.

Pic: Alison Thornton (left) and Emma Palmer who have been named as Associates at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford

Friday, 8 September 2017

Gemma steps up to lead the Family Team

A law firm’s Family Team has a new face at the helm – but she’s already well-known in the local area.

Gemma Himsworth has stepped up to lead the team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way, Telford, having worked in the sector for over 12 years, with the past three years spent working for the local firm.

“I’m absolutely delighted to take up this promotion and I’m so proud to have been given the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and effective department,” said Mrs Himsworth.

“Between us we have a great deal of experience and you’d be hard pressed to find a situation that we have not encountered before, so we’re perfectly placed to help families through the most difficult and stressful of times.”

Mrs Himsworth specialises in divorce and financial issues surrounding separation, particularly those involving businesses or pensions. She also deals with complex matters involving children, including issues of residence and contact, as well as disputes about parentage.

“As a team, we are always striving to achieve the very best possible outcome for our clients and we give sensible, grounded advice that is both practical and pragmatic. We’re also leading the way when it comes to fees too as we offer comprehensive fixed fee packages for a lot of the work we do, and we were one of the first local firms to introduce such a policy.

“This means there are no nasty surprises for clients once a case begins, and they have a clear picture of exactly what the advice we offer will cost.”

Mrs Himsworth said the team had wide-ranging experience of dealing with clients from all backgrounds, and they also work closely with the firm’s other departments – such as corporate commercial – if clients have business interests that need to be protected during divorce or separation proceedings.

Senior Partner Graham Davies said: “We’re very pleased to see Gemma stepping into a leading role with the Family team, and her promotion is a direct result of the dedication and commitment she has shown during her time with us at Martin-Kaye.”

Pic: Gemma Himsworth is the new Head of Family Law at Martin-Kaye

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

New face joins the Martin-Kaye team

A Telford law firm has appointed a new conveyancing solicitor to its residential property department.

Sharanjit Dhoot is the latest new face to join Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and she is already enjoying being part of the forward-thinking and close-knit team.

“I joined Martin-Kaye to have the opportunity to take a more hands-on approach and to work in a supportive and welcoming environment where I will have the chance to develop my skills even further,” she said.

Before joining Martin-Kaye, Sharanjit worked in a firm dealing purely with residential conveyancing where she built up her knowledge of the sector, and progressed to handling increasingly complex cases.

She has also worked for a High Street firm in Birmingham, and a legal firm in Cardiff where she gained experience in dealing with a wider range of residential conveyancing deals.

“My role at Martin-Kaye involves dealing with both sale and purchase residential conveyancing cases, right through from the very first enquiry to the completion of the process. It’s been a real change for me as Martin-Kaye has so many different divisions dealing with wide ranging legal matters, rather than purely conveyancing which my previous firm handled, so it’s great to join a team with so much varied and extensive experience.”

Senior Partner Graham Davies said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Sharanjit to Martin-Kaye and her skills are a valuable addition to our ever-growing team. Our property department is renowned for its high quality and effective customer service, and Sharanjit is joining a team that has an excellent reputation all over the UK.”

Martin-Kaye’s residential property division is also accredited under the Conveyancing Quality Scheme, the quality mark for legal experts in buying or selling property.

Pic: Sharanjit Dhoot is the new conveyancing solicitor at Martin-Kaye in Telford

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Minority shares are just as valuable

Minority shareholders should not be bullied by fellow directors when it comes to board room disputes, a Telford solicitor has warned.

Graham Davies, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way, said directors’ disputes could be extremely stressful, but minority shareholders had every right to be protected just as much as other directors.

“Company law gives greater rights to majority shareholders, which on the face of it puts minority shareholders at a disadvantage if a dispute occurs. This could lead to their wishes being ignored, and even to them losing their seat on the board, which would devalue their shares even further.”

But Mr Davies said if the majority of the board’s actions were seen by the courts to be unreasonable, the minority shareholder may be able to claim “unfair prejudice”.

“If the person at the centre of the dispute feels the other shareholders have been persecuting them, they can ask the courts to force the majority to buy them out at a higher than normal share price. The court could even order that the entire company should be wound up if it’s the only way the shareholder can get their money.”

Mr Davies said to protect their position, it was important for majority shareholders to show they had not acted unfairly and that they had not prejudiced the minority stake owner’s position.

“Keep strict and thorough records of any serious director-shareholder disputes, and don’t act hastily, no matter how you may really feel about the awkwardness of your position. Try to work with all your fellow directors – despite how difficult the situation may be – to either resolve the problem or find a way for the minority shareholder to leave on the best possible terms.

“Rather than punishing the minority shareholder to force their hand and get them to leave, it’s far better to negotiate a settlement or you could face a very expensive court case just to regain the shares in your own business.”

Mr Davies said disputes involving minority shareholders often occurred as a direct result of a family fall-out, and even if there was a clear shareholders’ agreement in place, problems could still arise.

“In private companies where management and decision making is shared on a one person one vote basis, even if you own different proportions of the company, then think very carefully about your actions before a minor disagreement escalates into something much larger.”

Monday, 21 August 2017

Employers could face legal action

Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace could take action against their employer if they fail to protect them during working hours.

The warning comes from Gemma Workman, an employment lawyer at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, who was speaking out after the latest unwanted crisis at technology firm Uber.

“Uber has faced a lot of negative publicity over cases of the status of their workers in the gig economy, and now there have been various allegations of sexual harassment too.

“A former engineer wrote a blog that described a culture of sexism and sexual harassment within the company, including the HR department failing to take her seriously and being propositioned by her manager.

“And with the blog being read widely and publicised online thousands of times, it’s a perfect example of what a huge impact such allegations can have on the financial status and the reputation of a company.

“This situation is a stark reminder to employers that they need to have effective and clear steps in place to prevent harassment in the workplace from the very start. As well as robust policies in place, you should provide adequate training to relevant employees so that they are well prepared if they need to deal with a complaint like this.

“All complaints should be treated sensitively by an appropriate person as soon as possible, so that you can try and resolve the problem before it escalates into a more serious issue.”

Miss Workman said in the UK, protection against sexual harassment at work was covered by the Equality Act 2010. It defines sexual harassment as ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them’.

“As an employer, you have a responsibility to create a safe work environment for your employees, and if you fail to take that responsibility seriously, potential victims could bring a claim against you too.

“Don’t get yourself and your business into a case which could bring significant legal costs – if you can show that you’ve taken reasonable steps to prevent the harassment occurring, you may be able to defend a claim, but it’s better to avoid the situation happening in the first place.”