hazel sanders

In this series, we introduce some of the people that make up Stephens Scown. We learn about their expertise, what drew them to join the legal profession and find out a little bit about who they are outside of the workplace.

Here we introduce Hazel Sanders, chartered legal executive in our Employment and HRExpress teams.

Can you share with us a little bit about your role and a typical day?

As part of the employment team I advise on day to day HR matters, corporate transactions, non-contentious matters and on contentious issues. No day is ever really the same and that is what makes the role so interesting.

I support both employers and employees. I find that having these dual sides to my role is beneficial to clients, as I have an insight into the tactics and thought processes of both sides. It helps me understand the motivation behind the tactics used so I can read between the lines and explain what the latest developments most likely mean for my client’s position and how they should respond.

I am a member of the HRExpress team providing practical advice to employer clients on a range of Employment Law and HR issues in the workplace, including developing contracts and handbooks which works for their business. This is a very rewarding aspect of my role as clients often contact the helpline in a bit of a panic about what to do and its very fulfilling being able to support them to come up with a pragmatic approach to resolve the situation. We also aim to support our clients to learn from situations which arise and it is great to see many grow more comfortable in their own roles.

Why did you specialise in your area of law?

I originally qualified in 2014 in a different area of law at a different firm. Alongside my role at that firm I worked on a helpline advising across a range of legal issues and discovered a real affinity with employment law. Shortly after qualifying the department I worked in was closed down and I was made redundant. Going through the redundancy process made me aware of the impact employment had on an individual, it is so entwined with your life that any disruption has a big impact. I therefore decided that moving forwards I wanted to support employees through these challenging times and assist employers to navigate the complexities of employment law to help them deal with the employment relationship fairly whilst protecting their business.

What do you love most about your role?

When you look at the black letter of employment law it can be very intimidating and feel like you have nowhere to turn to resolve a tricky situation. My favourite thing about my role is helping employees and employers to understand that there are options and that, whilst it might not feel like it, normally both sides want a pragmatic solution.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

Outside of work I enjoy getting muddy on my mountain bike, cycling over the moors and on trails. I also enjoy playing strategy board games and visiting National Trust sites to soak up local history or spend time exploring Dartmoor and the local coastline. I have had to tone down the rides and walks but I am very lucky that my young daughter also seems to be embracing the outside world and enjoys being carried around on walks and took well to a bike seat. One of my favourite things to do now is visit the aquarium which my daughter loves and looks upon with wonder.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be and why?

Being a professional mountain biker is a little too unlikely, as I can only just cope with the easy trails in Wales but I love being outside and in nature, so something outdoors would be right up my street. Maybe a forest ranger, supporting the local forests and wildlife. This would be great as I could get posted to Haldon and have a cheeky ride on the trails at lunch.

What does it mean to work for Stephens Scown, what makes us different?

What first attracted me to Stephens Scown was that they truly care about supporting the sectors in the local communities of Devon and Cornwall. When I first applied to work for Stephens Scown I did so because I had seen a campaign where the firm had tried to secure a fairer deal for local dairy farmers. They also had a Love Where You Live campaign which helped to highlight the great facilities, activities, food, culture and products that Devon and Cornwall can offer. Working for a firm that really cares about the local community is priceless.