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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South West > Human resources > Employment: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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BPE Solicitors LLP advises on the full spectrum of employment law, both contentious and non-contentious, providing ‘strong advice’ that shows ‘a clear understanding’ of the needs of a business. It has experience in handling complex tribunal and High Court claims relating to restrictive covenants, has particular expertise in restructurings, including sensitive boardroom restructurings, outsourcing, as well as TUPE issues, and regularly advises high-level executives on severance issues. The practice acts for many clients from the manufacturing sector, leveraging its experience in handling trade union issues and collective agreements. It was reappointed to the Interserve panel. Equity partner Lisa Gettins, who heads the team, which also includes Tim Gofton, senior associate Sarah Lee and newly promoted partner Heyma Holmes, ‘has a wealth of technical experience and knowledge’ and provides ‘an excellent level of service’. Recent highlights include advising Interserve Defence on handling a sensitive issue following a redundancy exercise related to the client’s outsourced cleaners at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Omega Resource Group, PureGym, and Howard Tenens are other clients.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides employment advice ‘with the highest level of professionalism’, delivering an ‘outstanding service’ across the full range of employment law, from general HR advice to corporate reorganisations and business transfers. It is adept at representing clients before the Employment Tribunal and has experience in High Court litigation. A particular area of strength is advice to listed companies on complex board structure and corporate governance issues. The team is experienced in handling multijurisdictional matters, including global mobility, business protection, global severance negotiation, cross-border employment disputes and the employment aspects of cross-border transactions. Clients are drawn from the retail, leisure, charities, and agriculture sectors, with a particular focus on advising employers and high-net-worth individuals. ‘Very impressive’ and ‘outstanding’ practice head Sarah Jane Brostoff ‘combines a friendly manner with a razor sharp brain’. Legal director Sara Wilson, who is ‘compassionate, flexible and clear’ and is noted for having immense knowledge of relevant case law, has expertise in the healthcare sector. The practice’s recent caseload includes advising Sotheby’s on the closure of the final salary pension scheme and the transition of all employees into the defined contribution section of the scheme. Another highlight was assisting Cats Protection with several strategic issues, including the workforce structure and the terms and conditions for different staff levels. THB Group, Calcot Health and Leisure, RAF Benevolent Fund, and Immedia are other clients.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys advises on a broad range of employment law matters, with equal pay, discrimination and whistleblowing being particular areas of expertise. It acts for employers from the corporate, public and third sectors, with clients including large multi-nationals but also start-ups, SMEs and charities. The practice has experience in advising on employment matters related to senior executives, in particular on senior-level exit packages. It also has sector strength in education, with two partners focusing on employment advice for schools and academies. Jenny Jones is the head of the team which now includes consultant Mark Gray, who joined from Slater and Gordon. Recent highlights include defending Pertemps Recruitment Partnership in a claim brought by an employee for unfair dismissal, unlawful deduction of wages, as well as age, race and marital discrimination, successfully striking out all the claims at the preliminary hearing. British Airways, Network Pertemps Group and Spirax Sarco are clients. Emilie Darwin made partner in April 2017. Matt Jenkin joined Moorcrofts LLP.

Royds Withy King advises clients from a number of industries, including professional services, manufacturing, technology, electronics, transportation and retail. The ‘excellent’ practice has a particular focus on advising clients from the social care sector, reinforced with the recruitment of James Sage from Burroughs Day LLP. It acts mostly for employers, from large plcs to small owner-managed businesses, advising on large- scale redundancies including collective consultations, complex TUPE transfers and high-value restructuring processes involving a numerous employees. The team also has experience in advising on local authority tenders. Work for employees focusses on discrimination claims. The ‘fantastic’, ‘efficient and knowledgeable’ Malcom Gregory heads the practice. Solicitor Olivia Coles is ‘excellent’ and recommended alongside Richard White as ‘extremely helpful’. Senior associate Lauren Harkin is another key contact. Clients include Airsprung Group, Blue Marlin Brand Design, Churchill Investments, and Salters Hill Charity.

Stone King LLP acts mostly for clients from the education, charity and social enterprise sectors, advising state-funded and independent schools as well as commercial clients and high-net-worth individuals. It has in-depth knowledge of transforming schools into academies and assists a very large number of these academies, including multi-academy trusts and large academy chains, with ongoing legal HR advice. The team’s expertise in the education sector includes assisting with teacher’s terms and conditions, with a particular focus on pay awards and appeals, acting in trade union disputes including strike action as well as actions short of strike, and advising on matters relating to Teachers’ Pension Scheme, child protection, safeguarding and capability processes. Its work for clients from the charity and social enterprise sector focuses mostly on issues relating to senior management, while advice to commercial clients consists of supporting businesses with the employment-related issues in business transactions, such as employee contract drafting issues and TUPE consultation. The group also acts for directors and shareholders who are in conflict with their employers. Practice head Nick Watson has represented several schools and academies in claims brought by employees seeking to extend the sick pay afforded by the Sick Pay Scheme to absences caused by work-related stress. The team also advised several multi-academy trusts on CEO contract matters.

Willans LLP provides ‘appropriate, sensible’ advice on a broad range of employment issues. The practice has a particular focus on acting for technology and high-end engineering companies, but also advises charities, especially on sensitive matters such as senior-level exits. The practice is adept at advising employers on complex redundancy and restructuring exercises, and also has experience in advising on TUPE transfers, non-compete restrictions and the protection of confidential business information. Practice head Matthew Clayton, who ‘provides calm, measured and commercial advice’, defended Warner’s Retail Group in an employee claim regarding the relation of the increase of the basic rate of pay and the payment of weekend supplements. Other highlights included assisting IRESS FS with a complex transfer of staff between IRESS and one of its customers under TUPE. The team demonstrates strength in whistleblowing claims, for example when it advised Lilian Faithfull Homes on a claim made by a former employee who alleged that she had been dismissed for whistleblowing. Moog Controls instructed the practice to assist with the legal terms of a golden parachute agreement for a member of staff taking up a post in the USA, taking into consideration similar agreements in US law.

Lodders Solicitors LLP advises employers and employees on the full gamut of employment law, providing contentious and non-contentious services. It is particularly adept at acting for senior directors, high-net-worth individuals and former sportsmen. The team has in-depth knowledge of termination issues, in particular exit packages, in relation to senior employees, directors and stakeholders. The employment aspects of complex reorganisations and multi-party TUPE matters, in particular during transactions and redundancies, are another area of strength. The practice is also regularly instructed by the owners of privately owned as well as family-owned businesses. Practice head Nick Rowe assisted Bamboo Technology Group with the departure of an employee and successfully defended it against claims for unfair dismissal, breach of contract, as well as sex and disability discrimination. Other highlights included advising Athlete Career Transition, a business supporting elite athletes with their transition from sport to business, on general contractual matters, such as the terms of engagement with the client’s athletes and business partners, and acting for it in negotiations with the Welsh Rugby Union regarding the terms of engagement of a partnership with the Union. The team’s recent caseload also includes advising a mid-sized telecoms company on the dismissal of a senior sales person because of gross misconduct, and assisting a large sporting and entertainment provider with discrimination policies and procedures.

Mogers Drewett LLP advises employers and employees on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious employment law issues. The practice’s work for employees focusses on pre-contentious work for senior level employees. It provides HR support for employers and areas of expertise range from Employment Tribunal disputes to drafting contracts and HR policies. The team advises on dismissals, exit packages, but is also experienced in handling collective issues, restructurings and redundancies, restrictive covenant disputes and the employment aspects of commercial transactions. Practice head Sean McDonough advised a chemical engineering firm on organisational changes, including redesigning the management and shop floor organisational structures and drafting new contracts and procedures. Another highlight was assisting a software company with the restructuring of its UK management team, including implementing three agreed senior level exits.

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