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United Kingdom > North > Human resources > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Employment
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Glenn Calvert - Bond Dickinson LLP
    • Christopher Graham - Watson Burton LLP
    • Paul Johnstone - Collingwood Legal
    • Paul McGowan - Collingwood Legal
    • Tony McPhillips - Muckle LLP
    • John Morris - Burnetts

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Bond Dickinson LLP’s three-partner practice consists of Glenn Calvert who has strengths in redundancies, high-value claims, and executive terminations; Claire-Jane Nicol, who acts for clients in the social housing, chemical and education sectors; and James Wilders, who specialises in TUPE, discrimination law and employment tribunal claims. The team has been defending Darlington Borough Council in equal pay litigation brought by multiple claimants.

Collingwood Legal is led by Paul McGowan; clients value his expertise in whistleblowing cases and TUPE matters. Other key figures include Paul Johnstone, whose ‘knowledge, personable nature and practicality puts clients at ease’; and the ‘outstanding’ Sarah Fitzpatrick, who stands out for her ‘excellent guidance and advice’. The team recently defended a local charity in a complicated multi-party TUPE action.

Highlights for the six-partner team at Ward Hadaway included acting for Specialist Recruitment Partners in a High Court without notice injunction to prevent four resigning employees from competing with the client. New clients include Newcastle College Group, Innovia Security, Leica and Nifco. Bernard Hodgson, Paul Scope and Jamie Gamble are recommended.

Chris Maddock leads Muckle LLP’s practice; his recent experience includes acting in redundancies, cross-border reorganisation issues involving India, Greece and Germany, and equal pay claims. Tony McPhillips is involved in ongoing mediation arising from an enforcement action concerning post-termination restrictive covenants, which became a contested breach of contract claim in the High Court.

At Watson Burton LLP, Christopher Graham acted as advocate for Atkins before the Croyden Employment Tribunal in its defence against whistleblowing and disability discrimination allegations. Graham, who heads the employment practice, has extensive experience representing employers before employment appeal tribunals and the High Court. Other key figures include David Jenkins, who is valued by clients for his knowledge of TUPE transfers, redundancy programmes, discrimination and unfair dismissals claims, and Jacqueline Turner, who has significant experience handling employment tribunals.

Baines Wilson LLP’s practice ‘always goes above and beyond clients’ expectations’, with team head Joanne Holborn and associate Tom Scaife singled out for providing ‘superb levels of service’. Holborn advised an accountancy client on restrictive covenant issues concerning a senior employee’s departure to set up their own partnership with another former employee.

Burnetts fields a ‘highly competent’ employment team led by Kuba Strycharczyk who, along with consultant John Morris, attract praise for their ‘very professional yet personable approach’. Also recommended are Joanne Stronach, who has particular expertise in disciplinary issues arising from discrimination or bullying claims, and Natalie Ruane, who regularly advises head teachers and governing bodies of schools and academies.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s practice is led by Guy Bredenkamp, who is experienced in advising NHS clients on industrial action and equal pay claims. The team also includes associate Sarah George, who attracts praise for her expertise in TUPE matters and complex, high-value employment litigation.

Eversheds LLP’s practice is led by Shirley Hall, whose experience in employment tribunal matters concerning equal pay and complex discrimination matters makes it a go-to team for issues such as holiday pay disputes and cases involving allegations of harassment and bullying. Northumberland County Council, Homes for Northumberland, South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Trust and Seaton Valley Community Council are all new clients.

Hay & Kilner’s team acts for clients such as Park Lane Healthcare, Centre for Life and SABIC UK Petrochemicals. Sarah Furness is acting for new client Brannen & Partners LLP on disability discrimination and reasonable adjustments, disciplinary matters and terminations of apprentices’ employment. Team head Neil Dwyer is also recommended.

Max Winthrop leads Short Richardson & Forth LLP’s practice, which recently welcomed David Gibson from DWF. Highlights included advising a senior executive on an exit strategy from a global media organisation, advising a charity on performance management issues, and defending a client from the maritime transport sector against claims for unfair dismissal across multiple jurisdictions.

Sintons LLP’s practice is led by Keith Land, who stands out for his ‘pragmatic aproach’. Longstanding clients include Auckland Castle Trust, which the firm has advised on employment law issues since its inception in 2011; recently it acted on the establishment of a new executive team to work on the Trust’s daily operations. New clients include Eldon Insurance and North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

Elizabeth Casey’s team at Archers Law LLP is praised for its combination of ‘a personable touch with a level of professionalism that is second to none’. Recent highlights include preparing and negotiating settlement agreements worth £1.1m for two outgoing shareholders. Lauren Mills is praised for her ‘excellent understanding of clients’ needs’.

DWF’s team advised the Learning Curve Group on the employment aspects of two business acquisitions, which included complex TUPE issues, senior executive terminations, and drafting service agreements. Senior associate Stephen Cairns leads the team following the departure of former team head David Gibson to Short Richardson & Forth LLP.

Stephen Elliott re-joined Endeavour Partnership LLP in December 2015 following Julie Brice’s retirement. He now leads the employment team, which successfully settled a claim of unfair dismissal and unlawful deduction of wages from a director of a financial management company.

Mark Foster heads the team at Jacksons Law, which is defending a client in multiple claims including unfair dismissal, detriment, age discrimination, holiday pay and notice pay. Stacey West is leading on that matter.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s practice is led by Nick Smith, who is ‘knowledgeable, articulate and easy to get along with’. Recent mandates include acting for 120 employees on the terms of their settlement agreements with a large company following a large-scale reorganisation.

At BHP Law, Andrew Lightburn advises senior executives on exit strategies and tribunals. Paul Hargreaves has left the firm, and Alistair Smith joined Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP.

Sara Devennie is the key contact at Beecham Peacock. The team has experience acting for claimants in holiday pay claims and trade union matters.

David Gray Solicitors LLP specialises in immigration matters for clients who value its ‘knowledgeable and friendly service’. Bryony Rest leads the practice and attracts praise for her ‘superior level of reasoning and appropriateness of advice’.

Durham-based Swinburne Maddison is noted for providing ‘a high quality of advice at a competitive rate’. Jonathan Moreland stands out for his ability to ‘convey complicated aspects of employment law to laypeople’.

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