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United Kingdom > South East > Human resources > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

Index of tables

  1. Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Blake Morgan LLP provides ‘a first-class range of services which meet all client requirements’, demonstrating ‘an in-depth knowledge of all relevant areas of law’. Based in Oxford, practice head William Downing is ‘good at understanding complex technical issues in niche industries’, and is currently providing a range of employment advice to The Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust, including defending the client in an unfair dismissal suit. Other key figures in Oxford include James Simpson and Mike Wilson. Reading-based Rebecca Ireland is also recommended.

Boyes Turner’s ‘solid regional employment practice’ continues to be highly active in tribunal matters, as well as handling the full range of non-contentious work including redundancies, TUPE transfers and group reorganisations. Practice head Barry Stanton is ‘excellent for high-value cases’, and Michael Farrier has ‘a real knack for innovation’. Helen Goss is recommended for complex claims involving discrimination, breach of contract and whistleblowing.

Clarkslegal LLP is ‘an excellent firm in a class of its own’, advising clients on a wide range of issues including major restructurings, organisational change and outsourcing. Chairman Michael Sippitt has strong experience in the industrial relations field, and managing partner Monica Atwal is noted for her expertise in discrimination claims involving disability. Naureen Hussain has ‘an excellent grasp of complex legal issues’.

Doyle Clayton has ‘strong commercial acumen, drafting skills and market knowledge’, and maintains a solid client base within the financial services and insurance sectors. Tina Wisener advises on a range of issues including senior executive exits, outsourcing and TUPE transfers, Piers Leigh-Pollitt handles data protection issues, and James Anderson has strong contentious experience. Brit Insurance and Sage Group are key clients.

Olswang LLP is ‘a go-to adviser for complex employment law issues’. Gary Henderson is ‘technically brilliant, approachable and down-to-earth’, and Anita Wisby ‘is an expert in the field’. The firm’s multinational clients include Microsoft, Coca-Cola and BMW.

Penningtons Manches LLP is highly active in the technology, housing, hotel and education sectors, and recently acted for an employee in a grievance investigation before the Court of Appeal. Key figures include Daff Richardson, who advises on employee relations issues, Eugene Wojciechowski, who has handled a number of trade union disputes, and Sally Nesbitt, who is recommended for restructuring and redundancies.

Shoosmiths LLP provides ‘thorough, high-quality advice in a timely manner’. Practice head Kevin McCavish is ‘commercially astute, pragmatic and technically top flight’, and has ‘no difficulty whittling down to the core issue at hand’. Highlights for Paula Rome included assisting CTS (GB) with the drafting of TUPE provisions. Jonathan Naylor is also recommended.

Blandy & Blandy LLP is particularly strong within the hospitality, charity and pharmaceutical sectors, and has notable expertise in unlawful discrimination and TUPE disputes. Tim Clark advises on reorganisation, restructuring and redundancy, and is recommended alongside Sue Dowling, who is ‘an excellent negotiator with strong technical knowledge’.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP advised Whistl UK on the redundancy of a large number of employees, and acted for the shareholders of CLEAN Linen Services on the employment-related aspects of its management buyout. Practice head Ian Machray is ‘extremely pragmatic and level-headed’.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s ‘excellent employment practice’ is headed by Russell Brimelow, whose track record covers a wide range of employment-related cross-border matters. Also recommended are Carolyn Soakell, who advises on equal opportunities issues and partnership law matters, and Hannah Price.

Osborne Clarke is ‘excellent on all counts’, and is noted for its strength in the technology and digital business sector. Danielle Kingdon heads the team and is noted for her professionalism and ‘consistently clear and knowledgeable advice’. Highlights included advising Infracast on two long-running termination issues.

Pitmans LLP provides ‘high-quality’ advice to a client base ranging from start-ups to foreign corporates within the technology, automotive and retail sectors. Mark Symons and Angela Shields recently assisted White Knight Laundry Services with the sale of its business to Berendsen.

Employment specialist Cater Leydon Millard’s team is headed by Wendy Leydon and includes Lisa Harris and Stephen Conlan, who has notable experience in retail and outsourced public services. Highlights included acting for an NHS trust in High Court injunction proceedings.

At Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors, Alison Gair ‘maintains superb subject knowledge’, and ‘has a great ability to convey complex content into comprehensible information’. Robert Cherry advises on workplace policies, grievance procedures and redundancies.

Crossland Employment Solicitors provides ‘factual and pragmatic advice, which allows the client to make informed decisions’. Beverley Sunderland is ‘a great listener with strong legal knowledge’. Clients include De La Rue, M&C Saatchi and Yellow Pages (Hibu).

Draper Lang LLP’s David Blomfield is ‘an outstanding lawyer – sharp, astute and fast-paced, but never at the expense of quality’. Nicholas Snowden is experienced in cross-border matters, and Melanie Slocombe is recommended for tribunal work. Clients include DX Group, British Arab Commercial Bank and Hitachi Data Systems.

Herrington Carmichael LLP’s Alistair McArthur is ‘an extremely professional and knowledgeable solicitor’ with ‘sound business acumen and a no-nonsense approach’. McArthur has notable expertise in post-termination enforcement obligations. Clients include Adtech Global and Elite Security Group.

Brethertons LLP has an extensive employment practice that provides ‘excellent advice in a timely manner’. It has recently seen increased demand for advice related to immigration, which is handled by business immigration specialist Debra Wetters. David Hodge is especially recommended for tribunal claims and ‘gets the job done’.

At Employment Law Plus, Jill Kelly advises a range of clients on employment matters arising from sales and restructurings. The firm has also been notably active in the technology and engineering sectors. Bronsens LLP is a key client.

Christopher Sing is the key figure at Freeths, and is supported by associate Michelle Morgan, who advises on the full range of non-contentious HR work and is assisting Adestra with service agreements and investment-related employment issues. Melanie Slocombe joined Draper Lang LLP in April 2015.

mpm legal solutions Limitedapplies the law in a pragmatic way, and offers swift and clear advice’. Key individuals include Peter Beisty, who ‘recognises the need to make decisions based on business considerations’, the ‘very commercially focused’ Adrienne Brown, and Mark Minns, who advises on change programmes and tribunal claims.

At Spratt Endicott, Philomena Priceinspires great confidence with her strong understanding of business imperatives’, and Carol Shaw is noted for her ‘strong rapport with clients and trustees’. The firm advises on all employment-related matters including tribunal claims, redundancies and whistleblowing.

Royds Withy King’s highlights included successfully representing an in-house solicitor in a disability discrimination and unfair dismissal claim against a former employer. Practice head Malcolm Gregory is recommended alongside tribunal and mediation expert Mark Emery.

Employment: Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Index of tables

  1. Employment: Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

asb law LLP’s Rebecca Thornley-Gibson took over as head of the employment practice from Gregory Burgess, who moved to DMH Stallard LLP. Highlights included acting for Lion Academy Trust in a whistleblowing case. Other clients include Arsenal Football Club and Amadeus.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is assisting Zenium Technology Partners with the employment aspects of International Finance Corporation’s investment into the client, which involved a restructuring of the existing equity. Nick Hurley heads the practice, which includes senior associate Ben Smith, whose ‘client skills are unparalleled’.

Cripps LLP advised Aston Scott Group on the employment arrangement for its management team, and acted for Expert Training Systems on several terminations. Managing associate Erica Dennett heads the practice following David Evans’ departure to Doyle Clayton.

Gregory Burgess joined DMH Stallard LLP from asb law LLP in 2016, offsetting Julie Jones’ departure to start an HR consultancy business. Clients include Grohe and Systra. The ‘knowledgeable and personableSimon Bellm is also recommended.

Mundays LLP is led by the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Andrew Knorpel and supported by the ‘unimpeachable’ Fiona McAllister. Associate Sofia Syed is also recommended.

Key figures at Penningtons Manches LLP include practice head Michael Cole, who ‘always takes a dynamic approach to cases’; and associate director Tim Randles, who ‘is a real tour de force’. The practice acts for clients in the charities, healthcare and education sectors, among others.

Stevens & Bolton LLP assisted a former employee of Air Products in an age discrimination claim. Recommended individuals include practice head Stephanie Dale, Kerry Garcia, who heads the immigration practice and is noted for her ‘depth of knowledge and commerciality’; and newly promoted partner Lloyd Davey.

At Barlow Robbins LLP practice head David Ludlow acted in a constructive unfair dismissal case against Hertfordshire County Council, and advised Contracts Consultancy on the dismissal of the company’s director.

Brachers’ 11-lawyer team is headed by Catherine Daw and acts for clients including Hadlow College and Magna Automotive Group.

Furley Page Solicitors handled the employment aspects of the merger between Medway Crossroads and Carers FIRST, which involved a TUPE transfer and a consultation process. Andrew Masters led on that matter and heads the practice.

Goodyear Blackie Herrington Solicitors regularly acts for 40 independent schools on a range of employment matters, including discrimination cases and settlements. Andrea Tishler and Hamish Cameron Blackie are ‘knowledgeable and realistic lawyers’.

Rawlison Butler LLP’s Tony Hyams-Parish, who is noted for his ‘thorough advice and input’, handled Futurama Signs’ dismissal of four directors running a rival business.

At Sherrards Employment Law Solicitors, the ‘very knowledgeable’ Dan Soanes and solicitor Victoria Bevis, who provides ‘very pragmatic advice’, defended a client in an unfair dismissal tribunal.

Neill Thomas and Jonathan Mansfield head Thomas Mansfield LLP practice; both are experienced litigators and represent clients such as Stagecoach and BCM.

Recommended individuals at Thomson Snell & Passmore include practice head Nick Hobden and the ‘eminently practical’ Susanna Gilmartin.

Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Index of tables

  1. Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals

B P Collins LLP’s team ‘provides a bespoke service tailored to clients’ needs’. Practice head Jo Davis has a strong reputation for acting for senior executives, and the firm acts for a strong corporate clientele that includes Bestway Cash and Carry and Biffa Municipal. The group has experienced an uptick in corporate support matters and injunctive proceedings. Senior associate Kathryn Fielder is ‘diligent, responsive and commercial’. James Townsend joined Michelmores LLP in 2015.

The ‘outstandingSarah Beeby leads Dentons’ practice, which is noted for its ‘excellent level of service’ and for its ability to advise a global client base on multi-jurisdictional matters. Beeby’s highlights included advising KCI Medical and Systagenix Wound Management International on employment issues arising from KCI’s acquisition of the latter. Simon Whysall left the firm in 2015 to establish Altor Employment Solicitors.

EMW Law LLP’s practice regularly handles multi-day employment litigation. Its clients include Vax and Monarch Airlines. Jon Taylor (who ‘inspires great confidence’ and has ‘very good strategic judgement’) is recommended alongside Louise Holder.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)’s ‘exemplary’ practice is frequently called on to advise on redundancies and pan-European employment projects. Justin Govier and Jonathan Bruck are valued for their commercial approach.

Shoosmiths LLP has notable strength in the education and retail sectors, where it acts for clients including The Open University and H&M. The group recently acted for Playground Games on employment disputes and restrictive covenant issues. Gwynneth Tan heads the practice and is ably supported by senior associates Siobhan Atkin, Simon Fennell and Sarah Lovell.

Debenhams Ottaway’s ‘pragmatic and commercially focused’ team has a strong track record acting for clients in the recruitment sector and is defending Brook Street against a claim brought by a temporary worker. Louise Attrup and Kate Carroll are the key contacts.

Longmores Solicitors LLP’s ‘professional and knowledgeable’ team frequently handles redundancies, litigation and the employment aspects of commercial contracts. Key names include Richard Gvero, who is noted for his ‘excellent technical skills’, and Catrin Mills.

At Machins Solicitors LLP, Jackie Cuneen and Robert Bedford are noted for their expertise in TUPE.

Practice head Chris Cook at SA Law LLPunderstands the balance that needs to be struck between employment law and the commercial realities of business’. Vanessa James joined Ashfords LLP in 2016.

Sherrards Solicitors LLP’s practice is jointly headed by Joanne Perry (who is ‘a real asset’) and Mark Fellows. Clients include Berry Recruitment and Winkworth Franchising.

Turbervilles provides ‘timely’ responses to businesses and individuals. Recent highlights include advising on the employment aspects of establishing a UK branch office. Marc Jones and Robert Dixon jointly head the team.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards opened its Watford office in 2016 following the recruitment of a team from Matthew Arnold Baldwin LLP. Michael Delaney is the key contact.

Andrew Buckley’s team at Woodfines LLP advises clients including Meda Pharmaceuticals and Silverbug.

Employment: Hampshire

Index of tables

  1. Employment: Hampshire
  2. Leading individuals

Blake Morgan LLP defended HCL Insurance BPO Services against several age discrimination claims, and regularly assists RNLI and Costa Coffee on a range of employment matters. The ‘masterlyMax Craft heads the practice, which includes Sarah Peacock (who ‘provides sensible advice’) and the ‘helpful and commercialTim Forer.

Christina Tolvas-Vincent leads the practice at Bond Dickinson LLP and is noted for her ‘sound commercial legal advice’. She led the advice to Hill’s Pet Nutrition on its headquarters move, which involved relocation policy issues. Jon Hales and managing associate Dan Fawcett are also recommended.

Paris Smith LLP acted for several senior executive clients in management restructuring issues, and acted in a case before the Employment Tribunal concerning whether TUPE applied to the transfer of an MoD contract. Clive Dobbin leads the team, which includes the ‘pragmatic’ David Roath.

Dorlee Monschau leads the six-lawyer team at Coffin Mew LLP, which reviewed Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare’s employment handbook.Associate Holly Cudbill ‘understands clients’ needs’. Darren Tibble left to join DC Employment Solicitors.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s team regularly handles discrimination claims and director exits. Clients include BBC Worldwide and Wellington College. David Bickford heads the practice, which includes newly promoted partner Gemma Woodhouse.

At Shoosmiths LLP practice head Stuart Lawrenson advises on Employment Tribunal matters for clients including Phase Eight and Brightside Group.

The ‘very good’ team at Trethowans LLP is led by the ‘concise and risk-focusedSimon Rhodes, who was joined by Kathryn Casey-Evans from Paris Smith LLP, offsetting the departure of Jon Loney to Nash & Co. Clients include Bacardi-Martini and Autism Hampshire.

Marc Long leads the practice at Clarke Willmott LLP and ‘provides exceptional service’ to clients including Orvis Company and Organix Brands. Associate Zena Westerman is also recommended.

DC Employment Solicitors is noted for its ‘superb advice’ on cross-border employment issues, including TUPE transfers. Darren Tibble is recommended along with ‘sound, experienced lawyers’ Daryl Cowan and Laurence Dunn.

Simon Fenton is the key figure at Irwin Mitchell following its merger with Thomas Eggar LLP. Clients have included Kenwood and Sightsavers.

Katherine Maxwell leads the team at Moore Blatch LLP and provides ‘commercial, pragmatic advice delivered on a timely basis’. Naomi Greenwood is also recommended.

At Pitmans LLP, practice head Jonathan Gray defended Ideal Leisure in an unfair dismissal and discrimination claim. Other clients include Frazer Nash Research.

Phillips Solicitors recently handled unfair dismissal claims, contractual agreements and outsourcing work for private and commercial clients. Gillian Brown is a key contact.

Employment: Essex

Index of tables

  1. Employment: Essex
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Birkett Long LLP’s full-service practice regularly acts for senior executives and employers. Martin Hopkins is well versed in the Employment Tribunal litigation and successfully defended Pinnacle Housing Limited against an alleged unfair dismissal and discrimination claim.

Kevin Palmer at Birketts LLP is adept at restructuring and TUPE issues as well as contentious work such as enforcement of restrictive covenants. The team has been assisting Milsom Hotels with collective redundancies at The Pier and Harbourside Restaurant and Hotel in Harwich.

At Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP, Beth Baird specialises in complex whistleblowing, discrimination and TUPE claims, with a particular focus on acting for senior executives in the investment banking sector. The team also assists employers with devising and implementing large-scale redundancy and restructuring programs.

Thompson Smith and Puxon’s practice assists employees as well as employers on a retainer and ad hoc basis. Richard Porter specialises in discrimination claims.

Palmers is led by associate Lara Murray and acts for employees on a range of unfair dismissal and discrimination claims.

Polly Plant heads the team at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP, which acts for employers and employees.

Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors’ ‘team of specialists’ includes the ‘efficient and knowledgeable’ Alex Pearce. It is noted for its ‘sound and practical advice’.

Robert Whitaker heads the team at Tees Law, which is well versed in managing TUPE actions as well as disability and dismissal claims for employers and employees.

At Wortley Byers LLPNick Hatchett, Wendy Beach and associate Sarah Stanyer assist predominantly employers on matters ranging from restructuring through to disciplinary proceedings.

Health and safety

A star performer’ in health and safety, Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘approachable’ group defends a varied client base ranging from multinational corporates to individuals. Practice head John Mitchellmeticulously prepares defences’ and stands out for his ‘loyalty, integrity, diplomacy, devotion to duty and expert technical knowledge’. Nikki Hutchins left the firm in 2015.

A top-tier firm’, Shoosmiths LLP fields ‘a very strong team’ that handles a mix of defendant and prosecution matters. The firm is frequently called on to handle high-profile cases for major corporate clients. Key figures on the defence side include Philip Ryan and Ron Reid, who has ‘amassed a great deal of knowledge and experience’. On the prosecution side, associate Rubina Zaidi acted for the HSE in proceedings against a care home and company director following the death of an elderly resident.

BLM’s team is noted for its ‘substantial knowledge and experience in this field’, which encompasses inquests and work for insurers including the Direct Line Group and QBE. Practice head David Tye-Reeve is ‘very analytical’.

Gardner Leader LLP has noted an increase in instructions to advise on risk and compliance assessments, while simultaneously handling high-profile defences. Practice head Michelle Di Gioia defended Natures Way Foods in proceedings from the death of a sub-contractor while working on the client’s site.

Taylor Haldane Barlex Solicitors LLP is ‘a professional outfit’ that undertakes prosecutions on behalf of the HSE. Key names include Matthew Taylor (who is ‘a class act’) and the ‘exceptional’ Briony Clarke.

Brachers’ team has been advising on health and safety matters for clients in the healthcare sector. John Sheath and Lee May are the key names.


Index of tables

  1. Immigration
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Ravinder Kaur leads Aston Bond’s team, which has been notably active in handling appeals for its clients. Recent work includes representing an individual in judicial review proceedings related to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) leave to remain visa application.

Birketts LLP focuses on business immigration while also attracting a swathe of instructions from individuals. Highlights included acting for Partizan Films in a successful appeal against the suspension of its licence. The ‘excellentJanice Leggett is the key contact.

Jenny Harvey’s* team at Knights Professional Services Limited regularly handles visa applications, appeals against refusals of visas and applications under EU law. Since publication, Jenny Harvey has established her own immigration practice.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s team acts for clients including PRP Architects and Oxera Consulting. Senior associate Duncan Bain handled several matters for the latter, including advising on entry clearance and leave to remain applications.

The ‘extremely thoroughKerry Garcia leads Stevens & Bolton LLP’s practice, which advises clients including 2HOffshore Engineering and Aasonn on entry clearance applications and sponsorship compliance. Senior associates Adam Landy and Jackie Penlington are also recommended.

B P Collins LLP’s practice is led by associate Chris Brazier following the departure of James Townsend to Michelmores LLP. Clients include Bestway Cash & Carry and Ideal Industries.

Clarkslegal LLP handles the full range of immigration matters for clients including Jardine Motors Group and Carillion. Monica Atwal and ‘very responsive’ associate Liz Timmins are the key contacts.

At Dentons, senior associate Verity Buckingham is noted for her ‘impeccable attention to detail’ and led advice to ElectroCore on its establishment in the UK, which involved the relocation of a US employee.

Associate Victoria Burnip is the key contact in Doyle Clayton’s Reading office; she handles the full range of business immigration issues, including assisting with sponsor licence applications.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP’s team is led by associate Ashlee Campbell, who has notable experience handling asylum claims. The firm frequently receives referrals from charities and local authorities.

At JSK Law, Rita Shah and consultant Sunita Shah have noted an increase in instructions from high-net-worth clients concerning applications for Investor and Entrepreneur visas.

Director Andrew Souter is the key name at Pitmans LLP, which has a strong focus on the technology sector. Areas of expertise include sponsorship compliance and assistance with acquiring Schengen visas. Richard Devall joined IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) in April 2016.


Clients single out Blake Morgan LLP for its ‘extremely knowledgeable, helpful and supportive’ advice. Practice head John Hamiltontakes the time to help the client understand every aspect of the matter’. Michael Prior and legal director Adrian Lamb are also recommended. Notable clients include Welplan, Wiley Europe and a significant number of trustees.

At Pitmans LLP, David Hosford is praised for his ‘clear and succinct advice on difficult matters’. Director Symon Rowley specialises in pension scheme documentation and is also recommended. Clients include Ryanair UK Pension Plan and The Jockey Club Racehorses Pension Scheme.

Shoosmiths LLP’s six-partner team is ‘highly creative and able to see the bigger picture’. Suzanne Burrell is the key figure in Reading, and retains a strong client base in the not-for-profit sector. National head David Thompson has notable experience in contentious matters.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides ‘responsive and pragmatic advice’ to a client base that includes Ericsson, Lambert Smith Hampton and Leatherhead Food Research. The ‘excellent’ Michael Jones heads the practice.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s team ‘punches above its weight in the market’, and practice head Maria Riccio is ‘a safe pair of hands for any case, large or small’. The firm advised Sun Life of Canada on the operation of its historic pension products.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s Gabrielle Holgate is ‘extremely thorough in her research, exploring all available options and ensuring compliant documentation’. Areas of focus include funding issues, governance and automatic enrolment.

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