Karolina Smolicz Profile

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 work.

Here we introduce Karolina Smolicz, a newly-qualified Solicitor in our Employment team.

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

A typical day involves working with team members to support employer and employee clients with their legal and HR needs. The work we do is wide-ranging, and the Employment team is agile in adapting our approach to fit each individual client’s needs.

For employer clients, the team offers our HRExpress service on a subscription basis where team members alternate on the helpline and email queries, to ensure that clients have access to direct legal support within a set turnaround time. Typical tasks within the team include drafting and updating employer handbooks and contracts, advising employers on how to approach often sensitive workplace issues, assisting employers in navigating their policies and procedures, as well as advising on holding disciplinaries, grievances and managing employee absences.

We also support individual employee clients with their workplace issues which can include advising on settlement agreements offered by their employers or even supporting them through more contentious routes, in particular, claims to the Employment Tribunal.

Why did you choose to specialise in employment law?

After a fulfilling Training Contract at Stephens Scown, I am thrilled to be qualifying into the Employment team as a Solicitor. Through each of my training seats in Planning, Commercial Property and Employment I have had the opportunity to work alongside some fantastic team members, develop my legal knowledge and assist clients on a variety of matters.

Aside from having the opportunity to join such a supportive and innovative team, I chose to specialise in employment law due to the diverse range of issues and client scenarios that can arise, along with the challenge of staying on top of developments in employment law. With each new client arrives a new and different set of circumstances where we tailor a suitable approach to fit their specific needs.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of the job is without doubt providing help and support to our clients. In employment law, the circumstances in which clients require assistance can often be sensitive and require a rapid response. I enjoy applying legal knowledge in a way which presents clear options and next steps for clients, often with a commercial or ethical HR lens.

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

As a first-generation member of my immediate family attending University and an alumna of Sutton Trust programmes supporting access to higher education, I hold a keen interest in social mobility and promoting opportunities for students from under-represented backgrounds. If I was not a lawyer, I would most likely pursue a policy-making role or work within a charity whose focus is on building access to education.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

To relax, I enjoy playing my alto saxophone and clarinet in a local jazz orchestra, attending live concerts and shows, reading and following NFL (American football) games. I also have a keen interest in exploring new cultures and places through travelling. During my most recent travels to the US, I had the opportunity to attend a Broadway show, college football game and NFL game abroad for the first time! On my list of places I aspire to travel to in the future are Japan and Alaska.

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

Here at Stephens Scown, we are an employee-owned law firm and the culture, values and behaviours are embodied in what we do every day. There have been so many positive highlights during my training, such as representing employee interests as a Trainee Trustee within our employee ownership structure and promoting our Giving Back initiatives through charitable fundraising and team volunteering. There is also a great focus on celebrating achievements, regardless of whether these achievements are on an individual basis with Scowners reaching personal milestones or teams achieving positive outcomes for clients. All of these opportunities truly resonate with our BCorp certification in balancing people, planet and profit!