At Bellevue Law, we believe that any firm is only as good as its staff – and we’re fortunate to have an exceptional team! We hope you enjoy getting to know them.
This week we’re sitting down with Pauline McArdle, one of our expert solicitors, to learn a little bit about her background, life experiences, and what she loves about Bellevue Law.
Can you describe what you do 20 words or less?
I advise and act for clients in employment-related disputes in situations such as unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of confidentiality.
What did you do as your first job and what lesson did you learn from it that still rings true today?
Before I went to university I worked in a branch of Ladbrokes (the betting agent) in Blandford Forum. These were the days before self-adding tills – or any form of technology really, for that matter! – meaning that I had to stand in front of a whiteboard listening to the changing odds going out over the airways. It was a challenge to update the board quickly enough before the punters started shouting at me!
The role was a great learning experience, though: it taught me the importance of paying attention to detail at all times, particularly when dealing with things that matter to people.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I can’t think of any specific advice that I’ve been given, but the advice I would give to others is this: invest in the time to think through all the options and then back your own judgement.
What makes Bellevue Law special?
Bellevue Law combines thorough professionalism and the highest-quality standards with a flexible work model – which, in turn, delivers excellent client service and a happy workforce.
Looking back over your career, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced?
I have dealt with many challenging cases in my time, but the one that stands out is a reported decision on the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. I acted for 150 Swedish seamen and two trade unions in relation to the reflagging of a hotel platform for rig workers in the North Sea.
The case involved numerous novel and complex points, such as: was the hotel platform a ship and therefore outside the TUPE regulations? Is the continental shelf part of the United Kingdom and therefore within the territorial scope of TUPE? Was the operation based on the hotel platform itself? Or in Aberdeen, where the workers departed from? Or in Sweden, where the company was based (which, again, raised jurisdictional issues)? There were around eight different issues, and we had to win on all of them! The other side, by contrast, only had to be successful on one to defeat us.
After five days in the Aberdeen Employment Tribunal, we won on all but one issue. Unfortunately, a further three days in the Edinburgh EAT did nothing but complicate the matter, and then – en route to the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Justice – the clients ran out of money! The case, however, remains one of very few decisions on many of the issues, so I do look back on it with a certain sense of satisfaction.
I should also point out that the challenges I faced weren’t only to do with the law: I also had to explain the complex law and process to Swedish -speaking sailors, manage their expectations of success, not to mention containing their enthusiasm for exploring Scotland’s many watering holes after each day in court…!
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of work?
Wild swimming in a beautiful, remote Scottish loch or alternatively a warm Caribbean Sea – although I usually have to make do with Brockwell Lido!
And the best book you’ve ever read?
Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh, because it is beautifully written, clever, and laugh-out-loud funny.
If you could have dinner with any three people (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?
Charles Moore for his common sense and historical perspective; Andy Murray for his tennis tips; and Zia Mahmood for bridge advice!