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United Kingdom > London > Human resources > Employment: employers and senior executives > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Employment: employers
  2. Employment: senior executives
  3. Leading individuals

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘outstanding’ team is ‘excellent on all fronts’ and provides ‘a gold-standard service’. The department’s ‘depth of industry knowledge is unmatched’, particularly in the financial services sector, where it acts for clients including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and BlueBay Asset Management. Highlights in other sectors included advising Pure Storage on the enforceability of restrictive covenants, and assisting TE Connectivity on the multi-jurisdictional employment elements of the $3bn sale of its broadband network solutions division to CommScope. The ‘formidable and no-nonsense’ Karen Seward leads the practice, which includes the ‘intelligent and experienced’ Mark Mansell, Sarah Henchoz, who is ‘the person you want when dealing with a complex matter’, and ‘truly exceptional and insightful’ counsel Louise Skinner.

Clients consider Baker McKenzie LLP’s practice as ‘best in class’. It provides a ‘second-to-none service’ with ‘exceptional global coverage’ across international projects and M&A mandates; recent examples include advising Hewlett Packard on the employment aspects of a global spin-off. The team is also strong domestically and has substantial expertise in industrial relations issues. The ‘highly pragmatic and deeply technicalJohn Evason leads the practice, which includes Monica Kurnatowska, who ‘really knows her stuff’; Daniel Ellis; Christine O’Brien, who ‘goes the extra mile’; and Stephen Ratcliffe, who was promoted to the partnership in 2015 and works across employment and benefits.

The ‘absolutely first-class’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides ‘well-reasoned and clear advice’ and includes ‘serious, top-notch litigators that stand out above the rest’. Andrew Taggart (‘fantastic, unflappable, and among the most able employment solicitors in the country’) leads the practice and recently acted for Wesfarmers on the employment elements of its £340m acquisition of Homebase. Peter Frost, who ‘consistently gives good, clear and relevant advice’, defended a discrimination case against the Church of England. ‘First-class lawyer’ Christine Young and the ‘robust’ Tim Leaver are also singled out. Other clients include easyJet, Chevron and Lloyds Banking Group.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s ‘top-notch practice’ has ‘real depth and breadth across employment’ and provides ‘an outstanding level of service’ to both employers – including Credit Suisse, Ford and Viacom international – and senior executives. The firm gains substantial cross-border mandates through its Ius Laboris membership. Toni Lorenzo is praised as ‘one of the best High Court litigators’ and the ‘excellentEllen Temperton is noted for her data protection and privacy expertise. The ‘fantasticJames Davies and Michael Burd co-head the department, which includes ‘strategic thinkerRichard Miskella, ‘go-to partnerSean Dempsey, and the ‘highly practicalNicholas Hadaway. Christopher Hitchins joined Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP.

Simmons & Simmons’ team acts ‘at the highest level across the board’ and is ‘extremely clued up on issues and changes in the financial services sector’. The department is also recognised for its contentious expertise, and successfully defended Jefferies in a sex discrimination claim. The practice has seen an increase in regulatory mandates; the ‘commercial and pragmaticAndrea Finn and Philip Bartlett led advice to numerous clients on the Senior Managers Regime. Simon Watson leads the group, which includes the ‘genuinely fantasticMark Hewland and Julian Taylor. The ‘hardworking’ Vicky Wickremeratne made partner in 2015. Other clients include BlueCrest, Moody’s and Deutsche Bank.

The ‘commercial, accessible and understandingMichael Leftley leads the ‘excellent’ team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP, which is ‘one of the key firms’ for mandates in the financial services sector. The practice also has notable contentious strength and often advises clients in the Employment Tribunal and the High Court. International project work is also prominent for the firm, for which Leftley and the ‘practical and pragmaticRichard Yeomans are recommended. Clients include Barclays, British Airways and Laing O’Rourke. Alasdair Simpson and ‘knowledgeable and pleasant’ managing associate Annabel Mackay are also recommended.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘tremendously responsive’ team provides ‘practical, sensible and commercially-oriented advice’ and is co-led by managing partner Lisa Mayhew and the ‘focused’ Rob Eldridge. The ‘hands-on and straightforwardRebecca Harding-Hill is recommended for contentious issues including discrimination and whistleblowing claims. The department is prominent in the financial services sector, and also has numerous clients in the retail, tech and energy sectors; its client roster includes Tesco, UBS and Credit Suisse. Marian Bloodworth joined Kemp Little LLP.

At Clifford Chance LLP, the ‘always accessible’ practice head Chris Goodwill is ‘streets ahead of the pack’ and is representing Barclays in several high-profile investigations by multiple regulators. Goodwill is also assisting with the employment elements of GE Corporate Finance Bank’s sale of its capital leveraged loan business across several European jurisdictions. Alongside the firm’s transactional and contentious strengths, the department is also recognised for its ‘outstanding’ advisory expertise. Other key names include Mike Crossan and Alistair Woodland.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s team of ‘consummate professionals’ is ‘in a word, superb’. The firm provides advice to clients including Novartis, Blackstone and Sports Direct International. Practice head and ‘go-to practitioner’ Caroline Stroud specialises in high-value disputes and investigations, while Kathleen Healy focuses on cross-border projects. Nicholas Squire, who is recommended for transactional matters, is assisting Anheuser-Busch Inbev with the employment aspects of its $100bn takeover of SABMiller.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘impressive outfit’ is led by the ‘terrific, experienced and unflappableElizabeth Slattery, and grew in strength in 2016 following the arrival of ‘seasoned practitionerStefan Martin from Mayer Brown International LLP. The department is strong across advisory and transactional matters, and on the contentious side, clients single out Ed Bowyer for his High Court experience; Bowyer is advising AlixPartners as administrators and a syndicate of lenders on the asset sale of the Parabis Group. Further clients include eBay, Honeywell and News Corporation.

Impressive rainmakerNicola Rabson leads the ‘top-class team’ at Linklaters LLP, which is a ‘leader in the field’ for transactional issues and high-value employment litigation; recent examples include successfully representing HSBC in an unfair dismissal, race and religious discrimination tribunal claim. Other clients include the National Grid, Credit Suisse and Commerzbank. Rabson also stands out for her whistleblowing expertise, and clients recommend ‘excellent litigatorJean Lovett, who ‘remains relaxed under pressure’.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is ‘an authority in employment’ and ‘should be a first stop for City clients’. The practice is strong in litigation and cross-border transactions, and acts for a roster of high-calibre clients including HSBC, Wells Fargo and Hibu. Nicholas Robertson (who ‘puts his neck on the line for clients’) heads the team, which includes senior associate Miriam Bruce, who is ‘a real joy’, ‘seasoned senior associate’ Ann Robson, and Christopher Fisher. Stefan Martin joined Hogan Lovells International LLP.

The ‘friendly and responsive’ practice at Bird & Bird LLP excels in cross-border matters, regularly advising clients on multi-jurisdictional projects and restructurings. Elizabeth Lang has substantial experience in the aviation sector, and recently represented Jet2.com in multiple tribunal claims. Lang also acted for the same client in a restructuring following Blackpool International Airport’s closure. Other clients include Verifone, Amey and Monarch. Ian Hunter leads the department, which includes James Froud, ‘excellent litigator’ Warren Wayne and legal director Penny Hunt, who ‘gives clear and pragmatic advice’.

CMS provides ‘an excellent level of service’ with substantial strength in litigation and cross- border transactional mandates. Recent work for the ‘extremely knowledgeableGraham Paul includes advising Korn Ferry on the pan-European employment elements of its $450m acquisition of the Hay Group. Practice head Anthony Fincham successfully defended Foot Anstey in an age discrimination claim; the matter is on appeal. Sarah Ozanne provides ‘sound knowledge’ and Robert Davies is recommended for outsourcing projects.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s ‘effective, professional and balanced’ team ‘gets results which exceed expectations’. The practice is strong in the retail and sport sectors, where it acts for clients including Sports Direct International, Mercedes-Benz GP and Harrods. In an illustration of its growing financial services practice, the firm recently advised Chantry Vellacott on its merger with Moore Stephens. Michael Powner leads the department, which includes William Granger, who leads on senior executive mandates. Clients also single out the ‘groundedTrevor Bettany, the ‘invaluableNick Hurley, Emma Bartlett, and ‘superb and tenacious consultant’ Alan Julyan.

The ‘practical and persuasiveKhurram Shamsee leads DAC Beachcroft LLP’s ‘outstanding’ department, which acts for financial services and public sector clients including Deutsche Bank, Axa Insurance and UCLH NHS Foundation Trust. The team is representing Arthur J Gallagher & Co in a claim against multiple insurance brokerage firms relating to the misuse of confidential information. The practice is also advising TalkTalk on employment issues arising from its purchase of Blinkbox from Tesco. Nicholas Chronias specialises in industrial actions and the ‘pragmaticUdara Ranasinghe is recommended for whistleblowing matters.

Farrer & Co is a force in the education sector, where it advises schools and higher education establishments such as Imperial College, Charterhouse School and Eton College. Practice head David Smellie also leads the firm’s schools group. ‘Exceptionally safe pair of handsKatie Lancaster and the ‘calm and objectiveJonathan Eley are recommended for senior executive matters, and William Dawson is noted for handling regulatory cases in the financial services sector. Rachel Lewis and David Hunt are also recommended.

Mishcon de Reya LLP has ‘a strikingly good team for both employers and employees alike and is fantastic for contentious matters’. The ‘extremely talentedDaniel Naftalin leads the department, which includes the ‘technically excellentJoanna Blackburn, the ‘supportive and commercialSharon Tan and the ‘impressiveMark Levine. The ‘pragmaticGreg Campbell led advice to the management team of Morgan Stanley on its exit from the company. Other highlights included Naftalin’s representation of Pimlico Plumbers in a dispute regarding employment status. Also recommended are Sarah Keeble and ‘first-rate tactician’ and newly promoted partner Jennifer Millins.

In an illustration of its ability to leverage its international office network, Squire Patton Boggs recently advised Coats on the employment aspects of the $125m sale of its European crafts business to Aurelius Group, and assisted Oliver Marketing with the employment elements of a global marketing contract with Adidas. Caroline Noblet co-heads the global labour and employment practice, which includes Miriam Lampert, David Whincup, newly promoted partner Natalie Bellwood, and Fraser Younson, who is a consultant with the firm. Jane Bullen retired.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, practice head Paul Callaghan provides ‘excellent strategic oversight’ and is ‘keenly attuned to clients’ needs’. The practice, which ‘has particular expertise with transatlantic clients’, includes Andrew Granger, who is representing easyJet in tribunal litigation relating to holiday pay, and is also advising Pan Macmillan on various employment issues arising from its demerger from Macmillan Publishers. Sean Nesbitt is recommended.

Tim Gilbert leads the practice at Travers Smith LLP, which includes Ed Mills, who is acting for Brewin Dolphins on the employment elements of the sale of its Stockade business to Alliance Trust Savings. Mills also assisted Virgin Active with the restructuring of its head office and senior management team, in which the UK leadership team was folded into a European executive board. Other clients include AIG, Deloitte and Pinewood Studios. Siân Keall is recommended for discrimination matters. Andrew Lilley is now a consultant.

The ‘very competent, pragmatic and business-oriented’ team at Dechert LLP continues to grow its presence in the senior executive sphere alongside the firm’s ‘excellent’ employer practice. The client roster includes SAGA Group, BNY Mellon and Barbican Insurance. ‘Exceptional employment lawyerCharles Wynn-Evans is ‘trustworthy and reliable’ and leads the practice, which includes Jason Butwick, who is ‘first class and a safe pair of hands’.

Eversheds LLP’s ‘consistently effective’ team maintains its strength representing City clients on international projects and in industrial relations matters. The ‘unflappableFiona Bolton led the firm’s multi-jurisdictional advice to Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking on its acquisition of Neovia Logistics, and Paul Fontes assisted London Stock Exchange Group with the sale of its market data vendor business to IRESS. Fontes leads the practice alongside Martin Warren, who ‘provides wise counsel in challenging situations’. Audrey Williams joined Fox Williams LLP and Philip Davies joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

Fox Williams LLP’s ‘extremely professional’ practice provides ‘thorough and robust advice’ with a substantial focus on the financial services and professional services sectors, assisting both employers and senior executives. Jane Mann leads the practice, which recently recruited Audrey Williams from Eversheds LLP, and also includes ‘standout litigatorJoanna Chatterton, City specialist Aron Pope, the 'infallible' Joanne Owers, and Helen Farr, who is recommended for senior executive matters.

King & Wood Mallesons is praised for its ‘fantastic work’ on international projects; practice head Carl Richards, who is ‘excellent across the board’, recently advised Golden Gate Capital on the non-US employment elements of its acquisition of The Dow Chemical Company’s global Angus Chemicals business. Other clients include Telstra, Ladbrokes and Universal Music Group. Hilary O’Connor and ‘great’ managing associate Nicola James are other noteworthy names.

Macfarlanes LLP’s ‘classy outfit’ is led by the ‘brilliant, clear and conciseSeán Lavin. The practice remains strong across advisory and contentious mandates, and works closely with the firm’s litigation team. Dan Lavender is recommended for financial services litigation. The department is strong across the financial services sector, and represents senior executives and employer clients including Visa, Legal & General Group and Schroders. Hayley Robinson is praised for her ‘hands-on, pragmatic approach and astute legal analysis’.

Olswang LLPmarries a keen eye for detail with a strategic and tactical approach’, enabling the firm to provide clients with ‘practical and commercial advice’ in a ‘highly responsive’ manner. Practice head Melanie Lane stands out for her expertise in outsourcings and reorganisations, and assisted Catalent with the proposed closure of its UK packaging facility site. The ‘bright, energetic and motivatedCatherine Taylor is recommended for cross-border and High Court litigation.

Osborne Clarke provides ‘first-class service and invaluable assistance’ to clients in a range of sectors, with a focus on the financial services, recruitment and tech sectors. ‘Detail-conscious’ practice head Victoria Parry is representing Nomura International in a disability and age discrimination, victimisation and whistleblowing claim. Other clients include Dell, Silicon Valley Bank and Nomura International. David Cubitt, who is head of the firm’s London office, has ‘laser-sharp focus and gets to the crux of the matter quickly’.

Patrick Brodie (‘one of the cleverest lawyers around, and maintains a sense of commerciality and fun’) leads RPC’s ‘genuinely outstanding’ practice, which excels in high-profile litigation and transactions, often with an international element. Clients include CBRE and Associated Newspapers, with new client wins including Coca-Cola Enterprises and Lifeways. The team continued to defend the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia before the Court of Appeal in a claim concerning the application of diplomatic immunity. ‘Technically brilliant legal directorKelly Thomson is also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP’s team has ‘remarkable strength in depth, with hardworking and high-quality lawyers’. The department remains a key name in international matters, and recently advised AECOM on the employment aspects of a global restructuring. Thomas Ince leads the department and is deputy head of the firm’s EMEA group. Clients also single out Robin Jeffcott, who is ‘a terrific name in the field’ and is European vice chair of the litigation department. Graham Green is recommended for global projects and media matters.

Stephenson Harwood’s ‘excellent’ practice has grown following Purvis Ghani’s recruitment from Mayer Brown International LLP. The department assisted DNB with the employment elements of a loan book transfer to the client’s new subsidiary. Other key names include Kate Brearley, who specialises in team moves and restrictive covenants; the ‘brilliantAnne Pritam; the ‘truly exceptionalPaul Reeves; and newly promoted partner Kiersten Lucas.

Caroline Carter leads Ashurst’s ‘knowledgeable’ team, which provides ‘a faultless and client-focused service’. The practice has a substantial international element, and Crowley Woodford, who gives ‘invaluable support’, has a strong Japanese client list including Zeon Corporation and Mitsui & Co. Recent highlights include advising on the employment aspects of AVEVA Group’s acquisition of multiple industrial software assets from Schneider Electric.

While traditionally strong in the not-for-profit sector, Bates Wells Braithwaite continues to expand its commercial client roster, which includes Caffe Nero, Euromoney Institutional Investor and Corporate Media Partners Limited. Practice head William Garnett advised the English National Opera on the removal of its chief executive and also negotiated the departure of its artistic director. Paul Seath, who ‘has excellent judgement’, is recommended for senior executive mandates, and Martin Bunch is ‘beyond insightful’. Paul Jennings is also recommended.

CM Murray LLPexcels in its representation of senior executives’, particularly in cross-border issues and whistleblowing matters. The international strength also transfers to the firm’s employer practice, which regularly acts for multinationals with UK operations. Key names include managing partner Clare Murray, Bettina Bender, the ‘professional and extremely knowledgeable’ Anna Birtwistle, Esther Martin and David Fisher, who specialises in High Court injunctions.

Clyde & Co LLPprovides extremely pragmatic and commercial advice at an excellent level’, and is led by ‘effective negotiator and problem-solver’ Robert Hill. The team continues to act for Estée Lauder on all employment matters, with multiple tribunal claims and two potential acquisitions occurring in the last year. Chris Holme and James Major are names to note, and Charles Urquhart is ‘approachable and utterly reliable’.

DLA Piper’s ‘high-quality’ department is noted for its ‘commercially astute strategies and excellent understanding of the law’. In a reflection of the firm’s ‘true international strength’, ‘exceptional team leaderAdam Hartley recently advised Amlin on the employment aspects of the proposed merger of its European subsidiaries. Jonathan Exten-Wright is recommended for matters with human rights elements. Pattie Walsh joined Bird & Bird LLP and Tom Kerr Williams joined PriceWaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP.

The ‘incredibly knowledgeable and charmingMichael Bronstein leads Dentons’ ‘excellent practice’, which is strong in TUPE, outsourcing issues and cross-border projects. Clients include the Royal Mail Group, Network Rail, the Bank of China (UK) and the John Lewis Partnership, which is a new panel win for the firm. Ryan Carthew and Gilla Harris are also recommended.

At boutique firm Doyle Clayton, ‘unflappable litigatorPeter De Maria (who ‘combines charm with tenacity’) is acting for Robert Reid and Andrew Brogden in a repudiatory breach of contract claim relating to incorrect bonus payments. On the employer side, clients include Travelex, Capco and Vitality. Clients also single out the ‘savvyPeter Doyle, who has substantial senior executive expertise; the ‘reassuringly goodDarren Clayton and the ‘steely but sensibleJennifer Nicol. Litigator Helen Brooks joined from Goodman Derrick LLP. Jessica Corsi left for an in-house role.

Latham & Watkins focuses on non-contentious issues, often with a cross-border element; examples include advising Allergan on the employment aspects of the sale of its global generic pharmaceuticals business to Teva Pharmaceutical. Practice co-chair Stephen Brown assists on tax matters. Catherine Drinnan is also recommended.

The ‘proactive’ team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP recently advised Actavis on the reduction of its workforce across 70 countries following the client’s acquisition of Allergan. Practice head Matthew Howse led on that matter and is also recommended for contentious mandates. Pulina Whitaker, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable with a practical approach’, joined in 2015 from King & Spalding International LLP.

Paul Griffin leads the department at Norton Rose Fulbright, which ‘combines technical knowledge, commercial acuity and a range of experience to provide excellent advice, especially on international matters’. Clients include BMW, IMI and HSBC Holdings. The ‘professional, personable and credibleCatrina Smith is recommended for regulatory investigations and the employment aspects of insolvency and restructuring issues.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘smart and practical team’ focuses on the financial services and infrastructure sectors, where it acts for a client roster that includes Balfour Beatty Group, Bombardier and RBS. ‘Astute and pragmatic’ practice head Edward Goodwyn advised Kier Limited on the employment elements of its acquisition of Mouchel, which involved due diligence across several jurisdictions. Steven Cochrane primarily acts for financial services clients.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP is ‘fast becoming one of the top firms for employment litigation’ thanks in part to its ‘substantial reputation and expertise in the equal pay field’. Ed Stacey, who ‘commands respect while being extremely approachable’, leads the practice, which acts for clients including Phones4U, Eni International Resources and Dreamjet. Nick Willis and Chris Perkins are also recommended, as is Tom Kerr Williams, who joined in 2016 from DLA Piper.

Jonathan Fenn leads the department at Slaughter and May, which is ‘a real class act’ and recently advised Ladbrokes on the employment elements of its merger with Gala Coral. Senior consultant Roland Doughty is ‘someone you absolutely want on your team’ and ‘has a rare ability to perfectly read a situation’. Charles Cameron is ‘calm, wise and reassuring’ and senior associate Lizzie Twigger is ‘a good strategic thinker’.

White & Case LLP’s practice leverages the firm’s international presence to act on cross-border matters. The ‘outstanding’ team recently advised LINE Corporation on the employment aspects of its acquisition of the global MixRadio business of Microsoft Mobile Oy. ‘First-rate lawyerStephen Ravenscroft and Oliver Brettle jointly head the department.

The ‘commercial and responsive’ Henry Clinton-Davis leads the practice at Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP and ‘provides invaluable expertise’. The practice has substantial experience representing international clients, especially in cross-border investigations. The practice regularly acts for technology and retail clients such as Monsoon Accessorize, AT&T and McArthurGlen.

Bircham Dyson Bell remains prominent in the not-for-profit sector, and regularly assists on regulatory mandates and corporate transactions, particularly TUPE transfers. The team also has substantial tribunal experience. Clients include Blue Cross, Qatar Airways and AECOM. Jesper Christensen leads the practice, which includes the ‘technically strong’ Brian Gegg and the ‘exceptional’ Caroline Yarrow. Nicholas Le Riche made partner in 2015.

Boutique firm Brahams Dutt Badrick French LLP is ‘at the top of the list for senior executive work’ and is noted for its ‘tremendous depth of experience and exemplary service’. The team has particular expertise advising entrepreneur-run businesses, especially in the financial services sector, and acting on discrimination and whistleblowing claims. ‘Flawless lawyerGareth Brahams, ‘standout practitionerArpita Dutt, the ‘no-nonsense and highly personableRuth Badrick and the ‘outstandingAlistair French are recommended.

Clients praise Covington & Burling LLP for its ‘ability to address international employment needs’. The firm regularly acts for US corporations; Chris Bracebridge and associate Antonio Michaelides recently advised Indivior on the UK and US employment elements of its demerger from Reckitt Benckiser. Managing partner Christopher Walter is global chair of the international employment practice.

The ‘incredibly ableHelga Breen leads DWF’s ‘strong and responsive’ team, which is ‘robust and user-friendly’, and focuses on non-contentious matters, especially large projects, often with an international element. The financial services sector is prominent for the department across employer and senior executive work. Clients include ADG Holdings and the Bankers Benevolent Fund.

The ‘impressive’ team at Fieldfisher provides ‘highly bespoke advice’, with a focus on large projects and cross-border outsourcing matters. Nicholas Thorpe is advising on the employment elements of the merger between DTZ and Cushman & Wakefield. Richard Kenyon leads the practice, which includes Margaret Davis and James Warren. David Carmichael, joined from Eversheds LLP.

Boutique firm GQ Employment Law LLP provides an ‘excellent, Rolls-Royce service’ and has a ‘second-to-none reputation in tough litigation’. Clients include Commerzbank, Close Brothers and Mercer. Founding partners Paul Quain, whose ‘first-rate judgement enables him to unpick the knottiest cases’, and ‘unflappable fighterJon Gilligan are singled out. Darren Isaacs, ‘great strategistRichard Harvey and the ‘excellentDaniel Pollard are also recommended.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s ‘faultless team’ has a particularly strong capability in the media and entertainment sector, and is ‘a first-class firm for theatre clients’ including the National Theatre, Really Useful Theatre Group and Nimax Theatres. ‘Fast-acting and compassionate’ practice head Howard Hymanson stands out for his expertise in psychiatric illness cases and bullying in the workplace. Other key names include ‘extraordinary lawyerMarian Derham and the ‘practical and pragmaticYvonne Gallagher.

Howard Kennedy LLP is noted for its ‘sound legal and business judgement’ and the practice ‘goes the extra distance for clients’. ‘Excellent and quietly determined team leaderCarolyn Brown is acting for Glencore Energy UK in a high-profile Commercial Court dispute. Other clients include Foxtons and Mills & Boon. The ‘very sharp and tacticalJane Amphlett is also recommended. Taj Rehal joined Fladgate LLP in 2015.

Following its merger with Thomas Eggar, Irwin Mitchell now has an increased international offering; the ‘always professional’ department head Sybille Steiner is German qualified, and Melanie Stancliffe acts for a number of French clients. The practice focuses on the financial services, construction and real estate sectors; clients include Kleinwort Benson Bank and Jones Lang LaSalle. Christopher Tutton is also recommended.

Joelson’s team ‘has a genuine focus on clients’ needs’ and is led by David Greenhalgh, who is ‘refreshingly unstuffy’ with ‘a real commercial awareness’. Greenhalgh is acting for Sunrise Brokers in a case relating to employee restrictions, which has reached the Supreme Court. Jennifer Maxwell-Harris (who is noted for her ‘rare mixture of professionalism and compassion’) focuses on the hospitality and leisure sectors.

Kemp Little LLP’s ‘high-quality’ practice saw substantial growth in 2015 following the arrival of Marian Bloodworth (‘a jewel in the employment law crown’) from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. The team, which is led by ‘practical problem-solver’ David Williams, is strong in the technology sector, where clients include BuzzFeed, Spotify and AKQA, and has a growing presence in the financial services sector. The ‘very attentive’ Kathryn Dooks is also recommended.

Kennedys’ ‘great expertise in the rail sector’ is reflected in its client base, which includes Great Western Railway, Virgins Trains East Coast and South West Trains. The aviation sector is also a key focus for the team, which regularly advises insurance clients in this sector. The ‘wise’ Allan Finlay leads the department, which includes the ‘clever and able’ Matthew Leake and the ‘respected’ Fiona Morgan.

Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘small but extremely dedicated team stands out for its senior executive nous’ and its ‘substantial commitment to clients’. On the employer side, the firm focuses on the professional and financial services sectors. The ‘extremely well-regardedRichard Fox leads the practice, which includes the ‘outstandingAdrian Crawford, the ‘personable and measuredMichelle Chance*, and Adam Lambert. *Since publication, Michelle Chance has joined Bond Dickinson.

The ‘commercial and responsiveKatie Clark leads McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s ‘solid’ practice, which advises clients including Cygnet Health Care, WSP Environmental and KP Snacks. ‘Pragmatic and knowledgeable’ associate Paul McGrath is also recommended.

Memery Crystal LLP’s ‘responsive, technical and engaging’ team is led by the ‘excellent’ Merrill April, who focuses on contentious issues and is defending Gulfsands Petroleum in breach of contract and statutory claims brought by a former CEO. Stephen Milne is now a consultant.

Nabarro LLP has prominent contentious expertise; practice head Richard Brown successfully defended the State Bank of India in a race discrimination and whistleblowing claim brought by a former trader. Other clients include Santander, Laing O’Rourke and Land Securities. The team also has expertise in mental health issues and reputational risk matters.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice advises on contentious and non-contentious issues, and has a growing international focus. The department acts for several high-profile clients including Burger King and Eurotunnel Services. Paul Mander leads the practice, which includes Tom Walker (who is ‘practical and client-oriented’), Jon Heuvel, Sarah Johnson and Andrew Haywood, who ‘knows his stuff’.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP remains the ‘go-to firm’ for housing associations and registered providers, and also has substantial TUPE expertise. The team acted for Hyde Housing Group in an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision relating to an unfair dismissal claim, which had implications on TUPE transfers. ‘Robust and trustworthy practice head’ Emma Burrows ‘moves effortlessly towards the core issue’. TUPE specialist Richie Alder, Tania Tandon and ‘highly promising lawyer’ Nicola Ihnatowicz are recommended.

Withers LLP is ‘an excellent firm for senior executives’, which it advises on a domestic and international level. Practice head Meriel Schindler acted for Harriet Green on her exit from Thomas Cook, which involved advising on the threat posed to the exit package following negative press coverage. Employer clients include Informa and The City Lit. Allso recommended are Daniel Isaac and the ‘tenacious and savvyElaine Aarons, who excels at senior executive work.

Jodie Sinclair leads the practice at Bevan Brittan LLP, which focuses on the healthcare sector. The firm acts for multiple NHS Foundation Trusts and recently defended the Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust in an employment tribunal claim. Alastair Currie made partner in 2015.

Bristows LLPhas a particular focus on transactions with an outsourcing element’ and often advises on global outsourcing projects; the team is assisting multinational outsourcing company Capgemini on employment and TUPE issues. Linda Farrell leads the department, which includes senior associates Lidia Poczok (who is ‘a delight’) and ‘all-round rock star’ Justin Costley.

The ‘well-respectedMartin Hamilton leads Capsticks LLP’s team, which is ‘one of the leading firms for NHS trusts’. The firm is advising multiple NHS bodies on the employment issues related to the implementation of new models of care. Clients praise Peter Edwards, Gary Hay, the ‘fantasticAndrew Rowland and the ‘greatVictoria Watson.

Nick Tsatsas leads the department at Fladgate LLP, which saw substantial growth in 2015 with the recruitment of Taj Rehal and Michael McCartney from Howard Kennedy LLP and Fasken Martineau LLP, respectively. The team recently advised Alliance Pharma on the employment elements of its acquisition of 27 products from Sinclair Pharma. Senior associate Mike Tremeer is ‘simply outstanding’.

Goodman Derrick LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is led by Alison Downie, who is ‘a real professional and always a sensible voice in the crowd’. Downie continues to act for the Labour Party on employment issues; other clients include John Frieda Salons and the British Board of Film Classification. Clients praise ‘very likeable’ senior solicitor Clare Gilroy-Scott.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP has strong ties with its US offices, and regularly acts for US clients on UK employment issues. Practice head Naomi Feinstein is advising numerous clients on Modern Slavery law compliance, and is also recommended for transactional matters.

Following Jules Quinn’s departure to King & Spalding International LLP, ‘down-to-earth’ of counsel Mark Taylor leads Jones Day’s ‘responsive and insightful’ team, which is experienced in international mandates and focuses on the private equity sector. Clients include The Riverside Company and Goldman Sachs.

Adele Martins leads Magrath LLP’s practice, which saw an uptake in tribunal work in 2015 alongside the firm’s non-contentious mandates. Clients include Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, Innocent Drinks and Ellis Clowes. Susan Thompson is recommended.

Daniel Peyton heads the practice at McGuireWoods London LLP, which acts for a number of US clients and has notable experience in contentious matters and issues relating to confidential information and restraint of trade.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s ‘robust and highly capable’ team sits within the firm’s global practice and focuses on cross-border issues for multinational clients including Gap, Facebook and Western Union. ‘Clever, experienced and thorough litigator’ Nicola Whiteley leads the team, which includes of counsel Mandy Perry, who is ‘a joy to work with’.

Proskauer Rose LLP is ‘a favourite for funds and private equity clients’, and has substantial experience in contentious and cross-border mandates. Practice head Daniel Ornstein is ‘an extremely thorough and well-seasoned lawyer, who is hard to beat’.

Acute and commercial strategist’ Nic Hart leads Steptoe & Johnson’s ‘excellent’ team, which focuses on contentious matters and trade union disputes. Clients include Mott MacDonald, Pork Farms and Park Cakes.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s ‘strong and tailored’ practice is led by the ‘perceptiveAngharad Harris, who successfully defended longstanding clients Gearbulk (UK) and Gearbulk Services in the EAT in whistleblowing and breach of contract claims. Asha Kumar is ‘extremely professional’. The ‘friendly and approachable’ Liz Buchan is now a consultant.

Newly promoted ‘go-to’ partner Adam Grant leads Wedlake Bell LLP’s team, which is ‘excellent across the board’ and provides ‘to-the-point and efficient advice’. The practice has substantial cross-border experience, and recently acted for Bio-Rad Laboratories on employment issues across 22 EMEA jurisdictions. Other key names include Richard Isham, Ravinder Mahal and the ‘clear and straightforwardDavid Israel.

Slater and Gordon is highly regarded for its senior executive work for partners, City executives and medical professionals. The team is particularly prominent in contentious matters in the Employment Tribunal and the High Court. Julie Morris leads the department, which includes Paul Daniels, who is recommended for discrimination cases, finance sector specialist Clive Howard, Claire Dawson and John Marshall.

The ‘incredibly switched-onTim Spillane leads Stewarts Law LLP’s ‘strong, sensible and pragmatic team’ and ‘fights hard for his clients with real tenacity and charm’. The department is ‘a leader in the executive field’ and has particular expertise in the financial and professional services sectors. Richard Nicolle is ‘very detailed and focuses on the real issues’.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP’s ‘absolutely outstanding’ team provides ‘spot-on advice and an exemplary service’, making it ‘one of the best senior executive firms out there’. The practice is ‘a leader in the financial services sector’ and is highly experienced in whistleblowing matters. ‘Top-rate’ practice head Jo Keddiereally packs a punch’. Clients also praise the ‘outstandingSusan Kelly, the ‘efficientAndrew Yule, David von Hagen and James Lynas.

Edwin Coe LLP is ‘the complete package’ and ‘one of the best for high-end claimant work’. The team acts for clients in the financial services sector, and has a growing energy sector presence. Rachel Harrap (‘astute, savvy and composed under pressure’) heads the practice, which includes the ‘amazingLinky Trott, who is ‘unbelievably smart’, and the ‘client-friendly and commercialAlexandra Carn.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s four-partner team ‘rates highly for executive work’ and is led by Anthony Sakrouge, who is ‘responsive, efficient and generous with his time’. ‘Seasoned professionalJane Klauber is prominent in the not-for-profit sector, and Edward Wanambwa is ‘tenacious and leaves no stone unturned for his clients’.

Kervin & Barnes Solicitors focuses primarily on the financial services sector, and practice head Gareth Kervin has a substantial investment banker client base. The practice represents clients in the Employment Tribunal and High Court, and has experience in discrimination claims and reputation management issues. Senior associate Lucy Truscott is also recommended.

Payne Hicks Beach’s ‘speedy and client-driven team’ is experienced in advising on high-profile whistleblowing and discrimination claims. Peter McRoberts is the key name, and is ‘highly regarded by banking clients’. Associate Chris Weaver is ‘approachable, dynamic and pragmatic’.

The ‘superbRichard Woodman leads the department at Royds Withy King, which includes the ‘completely unflappableCaroline Doran who ‘genuinely cares about her clients’. The team has experience in misconduct matters, fraud cases and restrictive covenant issues. Helen Murphie, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable’, the ‘user-friendlyGemma Ospedale and Kevin James are also recommended.

DWFM Beckmanis set up to deal with the employment problems of senior executives’. Areas of expertise for the ‘extremely good’ practice include discrimination cases, whistleblowing and disciplinary procedures. Elizabeth Johnson leads the department and is praised for her ‘astute mind’. Also recommended are ‘polished professionalNaylah Hamour and Sharokh Koussari, who ‘thinks outside the box to find creative solutions’.

The 'highly commercial’ team at Gordon Dadds LLP is led by Laura Livingstone and includes the ‘measured and perceptive’ Rebecca Lynch, Martin Pratt and consultant Marie van der Zyl. Livingstone assisted London Evening Standard features editor Katie Law with issues arising from her potential redundancy, successfully negotiating for the removal of her at risk status and for the retention of the client's original position within the newspaper. The practice also has expertise representing financial sector clients.

Russells Solicitors remains prominent in the music industry, often representing music producers in employment issues. The practice has expanded its client base into the wider media and entertainment sectors and also the financial services sector. John Reid leads the team, which includes Gavin Maude, Chris Organ and Chris Gossage.

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