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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: The West Country > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Ashfords LLP Exeter advises local, national and international clients on issues related to TUPE, local government pension schemes, collective redundancy consultation processes, termination of senior executives, and settlement agreements. It also handles insolvency-related employment issues and tribunal litigation. Clients include The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, foe which it providing advice on contentious issues such as whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, discrimination, and representation at employment tribunals, as well as non-contentious matters. It also acts for Hello Fresh, a food and recipe box distributor, on TUPE issues, senior employee performance and exits, disciplinary action and service agreements. Recent work includes advising catering company Somerset Larder on a severance package for a managing director. The London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Richmond and The Roald Dahl Literary Estate are additional clients Stephen Moore heads the team, which includes Charles Pallot, who has expertise in TUPE, redundancy consultation processes and managing senior employee relationships; senior associate Kirsty Cooke, who specialises in complex tribunal litigation, staff management issues and insolvency matters; legal director Su Apps, who handles industrial relations matters; and  senior associate Chloe Ricciardi, (now no longer with Ashfords) who handled discrimination and whistleblowing litigation.

The ‘user-friendly and knowledgeable’ practice at Clarke Willmott LLP advises on unfair dismissals, redundancy, restructuring, discrimination claims, whistleblowing, grievance procedures and employment tribunal claims. It also handles general HR matters such as long-term sickness, contracts and employee handbooks. Recent highlights include defending a client in an Employment Tribunal claim and assisting with the restructuring of a farming business. Kate Gardner heads the team and provides ‘invaluable, down-to-earth practical employment advice for the real commercial world’. Senior associate Paula Squires' expertise includes providing corporate support, handling employment tribunal work, and advising on restructurings.

Foot Anstey advises on a broad range of employment matters including equal pay, discrimination, TUPE, redundancies, restructures, senior staff exits and restrictive covenants. The client base is predominantly drawn from the firm's core retail, leisure, food and drink, media, technology, financial services, property and construction sector strengths. The practice provides day-to-day employment advice to Screwfix, including disciplinary matters, grievances, long term sickness, and amendments to polices and procedures, as well as assisting it with Employment Tribunal claims. Other clients include the Met Office, which the practice advises on TUPE transfers, senior staff exits and the civil service voluntary termination programme; and new client Lucozade, for which it handles disciplinary matters, grievances and HR issues. Karen Bates heads the team and specialises in discrimination and equal pay litigation. She is supported by partners Patrick Howarth and James Collings; senior associate Kathryn Evens, who joined from Mills & Reeve LLP; and Penningtons Manches LLP. Matthew Huddleson joined OTB Eveling.

Michelmores LLP  Exeter provides advice on the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment law issues, including executive terminations, breach of covenants, TUPE, discrimination, whistleblowing and tribunal litigation. It also provides specialist HR support on issues such as recruitment, policies, dismissals, tribunals and restructuring. Recent highlights include defending Somerset County Council against claims of unfair dismissal, disability discrimination and whistleblowing, and acting for International Schools Theatre Association in relation to HR issues including employment and engagement contracts which bound staff, artists and external contractors. Andrew Tobey heads the team and is experienced in high-profile NHS disciplinary matters concerning professional misconduct. He is supported by partner James Baker, who is adept at high-profile discrimination and whistleblowing tribunal litigation, and Nikki Duncan, who specialises in discrimination and collective representation. Senior associate Tom Stenner-Evans is also recommended. Other clients include Carey Group, Haynes Publishing Group, Devon Doctors, Flybe, Metropolitan Police, Torbay & South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, The Met Office and Dorset County Council.

Stephens Scown LLP  Exeter's expertise covers whistleblowing, discrimination, regulatory issues, tribunal claims, corporate support work and disciplinary matters. It also has a dedicated HR support service that handles staffing and documentations, and includes three CIPD-qualified HR professionals. Terry Falcão advised Exeter City Footballl Club with regards to the transfer of two players and in relation to a disciplinary matter at the club which involved whistleblowing. Verity Slater, who is rated for her ‘clarity and precision’, advised Cornwall College Group on changes to terms and conditions following its acquisition of Bicton College. Laura McFadyen jointly led the team handling the share sale of Foxes Academy Limited, which involved advising on pension warranties and indemnities, liabilities, and drafting a settlement agreement relating to the termination of a senior member of staff. Jeremy Crook  handles employment litigation, restrictive covenants and issues arising from breach of contract.

Kitsons LLP advises on unfair dismissal claims, restructurings, reorganisations, redundancies, senior-level exits, whistleblowing and TUPE matters. It also provides HR support in the form of bespoke training, development and mentoring for HR managers. Recent highlights include advising a large national plc on self-employment arrangements and employment status, and assisting Duchy Group with the sale of a group of hotels valed at £12.5m, which involved TUPE issues. Rhodri Davey  heads the team and recently advised Outlook South West with the transfer of 50 employees from the local Primary Care trust for counselling services in Cornwall. He has also been handling a number of TUPE issues for various clients. Jayme Nicholson  ‘understands the world of employment’, is ‘incredibly knowledgeable’, and ‘always delivers’.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP advises on a broad range of employment matters including grievances, employment litigation, TUPE, reorganisations, senior level exits, disciplinary matters and discrimination issues. Tim Woodward, who heads the team from Bristol, advised the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) on senior exits, sickness, the gender pay gap and grievances. It also successfully defended AHDB before the Employment Appeal Tribunal against a termination of service supply arrangements. Other highlights included advising Plymouth Community Homes on general employment matters including litigation, strategic advice and grievances. Litigation expert Emma Doble is ‘sensible and personable’.

Battens Solicitors Limited advises employers on day-to-day HR issues, grievances, disciplinaries, restructures, redundancies, sickness, termination, contracts, handbooks and represents respondents and claimants in Employment Tribunals. The firm also acts for employees in relation to severance agreements, discrimination, dsiciplinaries and exit negotiations. Key sectors include agriculture, industry, engineering, education and tourism. Recent highlights include advising a client in the hospitality sector on the sale of their business, and acting for a business in relation to performance issues, redundancy, disciplinary matters and also negotiating the settlement of a Tribunal claim against the business. The ‘exceptional’ Dawn Gallie heads the team and provides an ‘excellent service’.

The ‘accessible and professional’ practice at Nash & Co provides advice on restrictive covenants and TUPE, and also handles Employment Tribunal claims arising from unfair dismissal, age discrimination, race discrimination, sex discrimination, whistleblowing, maternity discrimination and transgender discrimination. Recent highlights include advising Premiere Coffee across 50 of its Costa Coffee stores in relation to day-to-day HR matters. It also represented ARAG in Employment Tribunal claims arising from insurance matters. Ian Grimshaw heads the team and has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the law’. He is supported by partner Jon Loney who is ‘a very competent lawyer with superb judgement’. Partner Karen Bussell is ‘very professional and hardworking’ and provides ‘pragmatic advice with the ability to understand complex scenarios very quickly’.

OTB Eveling advises corporate and commercial clients on TUPE, restructuring, redundancies, reorganisations, changes to terms and conditions, staff transfers and corporate transactional support. Senior associate Nathalie Ingles acted for Spirent Communications on the sale of Epitiro Group to a US business, which involved cross-border TUPE issues. Other highlights included representing Stagecoach East Midlands in an an unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim, which was resolved in the client's favour. Team head Matthew Huddleson joined the firm from Foot Anstey.

Pardoes Solicitors LLP Taunton provides advice to employers and employees on contentious and non-contentious matters employment matters, including TUPE transfers, restructures, reorganisations, redundancies and high level exits. Client sectors include transport, insurance and aerospace engineering. The firm is part of the Hinkley Professional Services Group (PSG) which provides HR support to companies who supply to the Hinkley Point C construction project. It also advises Taylors Transport on general employment law and HR support. Other clients include Tods Aerospace, Somerset Skills and Learning, and Kings Square Dental Clinic. Maeve Vickery provides ‘good, clear and responsive communications’.

Porter Dodson LLP  provides advice to clients in aerospace, defence, charities, commercial and professional services, education, financial services and transportation sectors. It also provides niche advice to the care and medical sectors. It provides advice on HR issues, whistleblowing, discrimination litigation, unfair dismissal and represents clients in Employment Tribunals. The firm also represents employees with a particular focus on senior executives and GPs. The firm works with Somerset Local Medical Committee to keep practices up to date with employment law and is currently working on a tool to help with Care Quality Commission compliance. Adrian Poole who is ‘very down-to-earth and works with sound principles’ heads the team. The firm offers a service that is ‘uniformly good from the reception team to the senior partners’.

Tozers Solicitors LLP acts mainly for respondents, clients include commercial organisations in the retail, leisure, tourism, social housing and education sectors, and also public sector and charitable organisations. It advises on discrimination, dismissal, breach of contract, day-to-day employment matters and represents clients in Employment Tribunals and at EAT. It also provides advice to senior employees and directors for high-value claims. Recent highlights include successfully defending a claim of unfair dismissal and unequal pay against client Stonewater. Another highlight includes successfully appealing to the EAT with regards to a case of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination against client The Guinness Partnership. The team is ‘excellent in terms on alacrity of response, clarity of guidance and unparalleled industry knowledge’. Stephen Jennings heads the team and has the ‘ability to interpret and apply the theory to the practice within the industry’. Paul Kelly is also recommended.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP specialises in TUPE matters and also advises on disputes, senior staff exits, unfair dismissals, redundancies, discrimination, sexual harassment and due diligence. It also represents clients in Employment Tribunals and the EAT. Client sectors include healthcare, food and drink, leisure, manufacturing and charities. Recent highlights include representing ITS Asbestos in a breach of restrictive covenant claim, the claim was settled and monetary damages were recovered. Another highlight includes advising on a restructuring with provisions for pensions, governance, tax, redundancy, collective consultation, changes to terms and conditions and advising on the relocation and closure of offices. Key clients include Smiths (Gloucester), Otter Nurseries, FWS Carter & Sons, All Fleet Services, Grice Collins Long, London & Devonshire Trust and Inter-Line Building Supplies. John Turnbull heads the department and specialises in dismissal, redundancy and discrimination matters.

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