What Should I Choose?
If you have an employment dispute you may be considering whether an employment lawyer or an employment advocate is the best choice to assist you and represent you. Whilst there is some crossover between the two, the best choice will be dependent on a few key factors.
Employment lawyers are qualified professionals who specialise in employment law and are legally permitted to provide legal advice and court representation in these matters.
An advocate can provide advice, support and representation to clients within the employment court. They can also provide non-legal advice and out-of-court representation to a client. There are currently no qualifications required for advocates. A good employment advocate, such as the team at My Advocate, will have a strong background in dealing with employment issues and be able to offer sound advice pertaining to employment issues.
Both an employment lawyer and an employment advocate are legally permitted to represent a client in employment court, out of court discussions and mediation processes. A good lawyer or advocate will take time to prepare you for mediation. My Advocate have a great deal of experience in these processes and a strong track record of reaching out of court dispute resolution. Our team help prepare clients for what to expect from mediation sessions and help identify issues and potential solutions and how to articulate these in the meeting. These mediation sessions can usually be held in person or via a video conferencing tool. My Advocate can provide their services anywhere in New Zealand.
Should your employment dispute end up at a court other than employment court, employment lawyers are qualified to represent clients in legal proceedings. Employment advocates are not permitted to represent clients outside of employment court but may be able to refer you to a suitable lawyer at this point. At My Advocate we can assist with finding you a trusted employment lawyer should your case go beyond employment court. We can also support you in with non-legal advice and support throughout the court process.
Additional support required
Where an employment lawyer may be focused on the legalities of a case, an employment advocate can offer a more holistic view of the situation. This could include emotional support, referrals to other support services and assistance with navigating the complexities of other associated organisations such as government.
Resources you have access to
From a cost perspective, an employment advocate can be more affordable then an employment lawyer. At My Advocate we have a “No win, No Fee” policy for employees. Often advocates are associated with trade unions and community organisations which can be easier for employees to access if they don’t have easy access to legal services or a lack of trust in the legal system. Regardless of where in New Zealand you are located, we can be there for you in person or via phone and video conferencing. My Advocate have supported clients with locations all over the country including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tauranga, Hamilton, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Northland.
Employee advocates may have a more flexible service offering than an employment lawyer. At My Advocate we can be available outside of regular business hours for those whose schedules require it. We can also meet online or over the phone for those who are not able to travel in person.
Making the right choice between an employment advocate and an employment lawyer depends on your individual circumstances, the complexity of the case, the specific services needed and the available resources. In some situations it can be appropriate to have both an employee advocate and an employment lawyer.
At My Advocate we are always happy to discuss your situation with you and help you decide if advocacy is right for you.