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  1. Education: institutions
  2. Leading individuals

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An established name in the education sector, Eversheds LLP has a broad offering covering corporate, real estate, employment and disputes. Practice head Diane Gilhooley is known for her experience in employment tribunal claims, governance and ligation. Glynne Stanfield has notable experience in mergers, collaborations and international transactions. Recent highlights include advising Hult International Business School on its strategic alliance with Ashridge Business School; and assisting Global University Systems with its acquisition of the University of Law from Montagu Private Equity.

Farrer & Co has ‘a very strong team, with deep knowledge of both the charity and the education sectors’ and which is ‘excellent in terms of its technical legal knowledge and ability to offer practical advice’. It has a strong reputation for handling student disputes and contentious employment cases, as well as assisting educational institutions with establishing large-scale international collaborative projects and joint ventures with commercial organisations. Julian Smith has in-depth charity and trust law knowledge, and Sam MacDonald is recommended for constitutional and governance matters. Peter Wienand, David Copping and Kathleen Heycock attract praise for their ‘willingness to go beyond the call of duty’.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘solid’ team assisted Goldsmiths College, University of London with its transfer of student accommodation to Campus Living Villages (CLV), and advised the British Library on developments at its St Pancras site. Gary Attle, Richard Sykes and Christian Bull are the main contacts.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s broad education offering spans governance and digital transformation matters, as well as international joint venture work involving UK and Chinese universities. Student accommodation specialist Victoria Goddard advised the University of Gloucestershire on the procurement of student accommodation. Employment partner Helen Corden acted for a university in an unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing claim in the employment tribunal. Practice head Nicola Hart, Gayle Ditchburn, Martin Priestley and Chris Martin are also highly recommended.

Leveraging its higher education sector and immigration law expertise, Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s team advised a number of universities on Tier 4 licenses, including defending claims in judicial review proceedings. Practice head Smita Jamdar is a key name for governance and student-related disputes. Legal directors Geraldine Swanton and Joanna Forbes are also recommended.

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s longstanding clients include Trinity College London, University of the Arts London and Lambeth College. In 2015, Julian Blake and Caraline Johnson assisted with Bromley College and Greenwich College’s merger. Practice head Mary Groom has ‘a strong, principled approach’ and her ‘breadth of vision and attention to detail is remarkable’. Employment specialists William Garnett and Lucy McLynn are also recommended.

In an illustration of DAC Beachcroft LLP’s strength in higher education regulatory and funding issues, its practice assisted the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) with all aspects of the government’s new “prevent” duty, and advised on the government’s new funding and proposed regulatory regime. Other clients include the University of Law, Higher Education Statistics Agency and Office of Fair Access. The team also handles litigation pertaining to discrimination, challenges to exam marking and breaches of charitable duties. Stephen Hocking and Julian Gizzi are the key contacts.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards strengthened its education sector practice with the arrival in June 2015 of Jane Byford and Clive Read from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. The duo are advising Barnet and Southgate College on a new campus development and the disposal of the old site. Bettina Rigg and Emma-Jane Dalley head the firm’s higher education and further education practices, respectively. Charity law expert Con Alexander and public procurement specialist David Hansom are ‘very client focused’. David Hansom has joined Clyde & Co LLP.

Weightmans LLP is adept at advising on high-profile projects, including outsourcing and joint venture arrangements within the private sector. The team advised Queen Mary University of London on establishing a medical school in Malta, and assisted the University of East Anglia with the establishment of a £40m legacy fund related to low carbon funding. Martin Vincent has notable procurement expertise. Karen Stephenson is a key name for governance and university-student relationships.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s team focuses on non-contentious construction work for universities. Practice head Nancy McGuire advised Bruntwood on redeveloping the University of Manchester’s Business School.

BLM has notable strength handling student claims and complaints, including judicial reviews, claims in the High Court and county courts, and referrals to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. Richard Wilkins defended an academy against allegations of disability discrimination pertaining to its refusal to admit a student who had failed to meet its academic criteria for admission to post-sixteen education. Elliot Pound leads the team.

Kevin Robertson’s team at Bond Dickinson LLP advises higher education clients on site disposals, disciplinary procedures and on the student code of conduct in relation to examinations.

Blake Morgan LLP’s team is now led by ‘truly excellent employment lawyerMatthew Smith, following Alison Talbot’s move to Penningtons Manches LLP in February 2016. Recent instructions include advising on student accommodation projects, cross-border employment matters and procurement.

At Burges Salmon LLP, Matthew Ramus advised the Department for Education (DfE) on the establishment of an independent corporate vehicle to deliver children’s social care and education services. Roger Bull is the key contact for employment matters.

Penningtons Manches LLP has a particularly strong immigration and employment focus, and bolstered its charity practice with the arrival of Alison Talbot from Blake Morgan LLP in February 2016. Daff Richardson and Hilary Aldred handle disputes and governance matters for higher education clients.

Bircham Dyson Bell focuses on work-based learning, advising both providers and awarding bodies. Recent instructions for Caroline Yarrow include advising on a redundancy exercise, handling immigration matters and reviewing employment contracts. Paul Voller is recommended for his ‘depth and breadth of knowledge’.

Construction and energy specialists Fenwick Elliott LLP is experienced in handling contentious and non-contentious construction matters. The ‘highly competentVictoria Russell advises on campus and student accommodation redevelopments and refurbishments, as well as procurement, contractual and disputes issues.

Michelmores LLP is praised for its ‘well-informed, responsive service and good sector knowledge’. Antony Power is ‘a highly effective communicator’. Clients include Plymouth University, London Metropolitan University and Westminster Kingsway College.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s team advised Uliving on large-scale student accommodation projects for the University of Essex and the University of Hertfordshire. Sara Bailey and Assad Maqbool lead the team.

Withers LLP assisted a US educational institution with the UK aspects of establishing a dual-qualified charitable structure. Other areas of expertise include immigration, employment, data protection and governance. Alison Paines and special counsel Alana Petraske are key names to note.

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    I have been asked to cover the topic of Employment law within my half an hour speaking slot today. I have narrowed my subject down to Transfer of Undertakings and Discrimination, with the focus on providing an update on the recent spate of cases on service provision change and on the important developments in the law of age discrimination. Needless to say, in my presentation I shall not be able to cover the level of detail which is contained in my written paper, which I will leave you to read.
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