Legal PR blog

Law firm of the Week: Leigh Day takes on Sports Direct in zero hours crusade

February 6th 2015, by Ralph Savage – Leigh Day has made a habit of taking on big game opponents, so the latest chapter in its continued assault on retailer Sports Direct this week merits an inclusion in LFotW.

The Guardian broke the news on 3rd February that Leigh Day had issued letters of claim on behalf of 300 ‘zero hours’ employees of Sports Direct who it says were unlawfully excluded from a lucrative bonus scheme in favour of ‘permanent’ workers.

Mike Ashley; the Sports Direct owner's chain of stores are the ultimate prey for campaigning law firms like Leigh Day
Mike Ashley; the Sports Direct owner’s chain of stores are the ultimate prey for campaigning law firms like Leigh Day

The law firm, which confidently describes its typical caseload as ‘David vs Goliath‘ generated a steady stream of coverage throughout the week, with Guardian shares and comments numbering in excess of 3500 by Friday morning and a review in the Financial Times which suggested its claim would become a test case for the Zero Hours contract itself.

Interestingly, the FT piece enabled other firms to jump on the PR bandwagon and provide commentary, with Eversheds and Allen & Overy giving the unsurprising soundbite that “employers would be watching closely”.

Cynicism aside, such opportunities are not to be sniffed at; particularly for firms more often associated with the Goliath camp. Eversheds and A&O PRs did well to ensure their side of the story received an airing in the press.

So what next for this story? Well as we mentioned above this is only the latest chapter in a fairly long running saga against Sports Direct and the purveyors of the hated Zero Hours contract. Had Leigh Day got their letters of claim off a few weeks earlier, might they have been able to feature in Channel 4 Dispatches’ programme ‘Low Pay Britain‘?

Legal PR Blog will be watching carefully as the story unfolds…

Legal PR Blog scores Leigh Day's performance across four media categories
Legal PR Blog scores Leigh Day’s performance across four media categories
Post by: Ralph Savage / Website:
A business journalist by trade, Ralph Savage represents a series of B2B clients on media and marketing matters. He provides strategic PR advice, media training and consultancy. He also ghost writes regularly on behalf of FTSE 250 CEOs, leading counsel and senior professionals including solicitors, accountants and brokers.