Is being an employment law solicitor haram?

I am a law graduate struggling to find an area of law that would be permissible to enter. I have watched Mufti Faraz Adam’s video on haram and halal work but I still don’t have any clear answers with regards to practicing employment law.

Employment lawyers deal with all areas of employment law from discrimination claims, to restructures and redunancies, TUPE, settlement agreements, employment contracts, restrictive covenants, dismissals, due diligence checks etc.

My worry is that some clients may be haram businesses such as financial corporations, alcoholic beverage companies/breweries, and tobacco industries. But many other clients could be permissible businesses such as health and social care, education, manufacturing, charities and transportation/logistics. So you may be drafting employment contracts, or supporting these haram businesses by helping them restructure etc.

Law firms which provide employment services encourage solicitors to be very commercially focused, and say that their job is to support and help your business grow. But i’m worried it would be haram to support business in this way by being a solicitor.

Other than this, I’m worried about certain aspects employment solicitors may cover more generally. Such as the inclusion of health and life insurance benefits in employment contracts or stock options/share schemes. If you were to advice on setting up these schemes or were to negotiate the inclusion or better terms for these employee benefits, I don’t know if this would be permissible or not given that the conventional opinion is that insurance is haram, and also these stocks could very well be haram too, especially if they are in haram industries.

I feel really lost at this point as so many legal areas encounter haram. I’ve spent all these years studying law and I don’t know what to do anymore. Family law involves surrogacy and adoption issues. Corporate/commercial law could include interest based transactions and other haram dealings. Probate includes writing haram wills for non-muslim clients. Conveyancing I have been advised is haram if the client is buying a second home with a mortgage, ie for business purposes rather than a first home which would be permissible. Commercial property also seems haram as I believe you would be part of helping gain funding ie through an interest based loan to acquire the property for your client. Banking law is out of the question. Dispute resolution can include disputes over haram wills.

Employment law seemed like it would be free from haram things, but looking into it I’m just not sure anymore if it would be a permissible line of work to enter into. Even with so many areas of law encountering haram areas, where can you draw the line with what is permissible and what is not. I really need help with this.

Wa alaykum salaam,

The area of legal practice is very challenging given the fact that there are varied challenges and scenarios.

What we currently advise people is to avoid any scenario where you are material and executing actual unlawful transactions or impermissible actions.

In scenarios where contracts are already drafted by your firm and you are not inserting any unlawful clauses from your own side, then this is less of a concern.

If majority of the services and responsibilities you are delivering as part of your job are lawful, then the small portion of your work for unlawful service, if you cannot avoid it, then as a last resort, you should purify the income gained in actual work doing the unlawful legal work, and also seek Allah’s forgiveness and assistance.

Allah knows best

Salaam Mufti,

One of the problems is that I don’t know what is permissible and what isn’t permissible.

For example, I don’t know if it’s permissible to work as a lawyer for a client that is haram, such as a brewery or a financial services company. You may be drafting employment contracts for them for haram jobs, or advising on restructuring the company. Actually drafting employment contracts and advising companies on these things may be permissible, but does it become haram when the company is haram?

Given that we live in the West, and work for a company we don’t have a say in who our clients are, or what work will come to us in the field of employment law.

In addition to this, you also can’t predict how much of your work will be permissible and how much won’t be permissible. Every legal firm is different and will have different clients walking in everyday, so it’s not easy to foresee if what you’ll do on a day to day basis will be permissible.