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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 > Wales > Human resources > Employment: Cardiff > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Employment: Cardiff
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s four-partner employment team in Cardiff provides a β€˜market-leading’ service to local and international corporates. The firm’s track record in this space covers the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious matters, including labour relations, restructurings, and defending mass litigation claims. Tom Bray has significant experience advising aviation sector clients on employment matters; recent examples include acting for Heathrow Airport on its dismissal of two trade union representatives, and representing aircraft support services provider Alpha LSG in a number of employment issues, including matters relating to restructuring, holiday pay, TUPE/outsourcing, and collective agreements. Thomas Player has particular expertise in collective labour law and trade union recognition issues; he recently assisted Thermo Fisher with contractual and pay negotiations for a manufacturing business in the UK, which involved advising on the legalities of implementing contractual change in the face of trade union resistance. Team head Anthony Rees is noted for his national and international work, most notably within the education sector. Huw Rolant Jones is the employment lead on all public sector matters. Other clients include Cambridge University Press, Sony Europe and Selfridges Retail.

Led by Joanne Davies, Blake Morgan LLP’s four-partner practice advises public and private sector clients on a range of matters, including the developing area of equal pay claims and occupational pension schemes. In addition to her β€˜significant experience in corporate support work’, Davies is also noted for her advice on TUPE issues arising from public sector outsourcings. The firm has a β€˜very strong public sector health employment practice’, where the β€˜extremely knowledgeable’ Paula Kathrens stands out for internal disciplinary proceedings involving NHS Wales doctors. Matthew Smith handles contentious work within the private and public sectors, with an emphasis on the education sector; he recently secured a notable victory for Swansea University in a reported case which dealt with "unfair treatment" in discrimination cases. Other key figures on the public sector side include Michael Clarke.

Praised for its β€˜innovative and proactive approach’, Capital Law Limited provides β€˜commercial and focused advice’ to private sector clients from a broad range of industry sectors, including education, manufacturing, transport and retail. It also handles an increasing public sector workload, and was appointed in 2015 to the nascent National Procurement Services (NPS)’ All-Wales Solicitors’ panel for employment matters. The β€˜business-savvy and client-friendly’ Nia Cooper heads the 16-lawyer team and recently provided strategic advice to Smart Solutions on collective grievances raised by a number of agency workers regarding national minimum wage, working time and deductions from pay. The β€˜very accessible and knowledgeable’ Richard Thomas (Who β€˜knows the case law on industrial action like the back of his hand’) recently advised the British Medical Association (BMA) on the legal process and requirements for its decision to ballot members for industrial action. As part of his broad-ranging expertise, Iestyn Morris regularly handles high-profile employment litigation; he recently represented the Disabled People’s Employment Corporation in the defence of class actions brought by three trade unions and over 1,600 employees. Associates Esyllt Green and Sarah Austin are recommended for their tribunal and corporate support work, respectively.

Geldards LLP fields a β€˜responsive and professional’ four-partner team that is appreciated by clients for its β€˜up-to-date industry knowledge’, particularly when it comes to public sector employment issues. β€˜Attentive’ team head Stephen Jenkins attracts praise for his β€˜practical advice’ and wide-ranging knowledge of contentious and non-contentious matters, including TUPE issues, where he has an β€˜excellent reputation’. Kim Howell is recommended for public sector issues, particularly those affecting local authorities. Contentious employment specialist Rhian Brace and data protection expert Lowri Phillips round out the team at a partner level. Although less active in the private sector as in the public sector, it nonetheless handles employment work for some high-profile corporates, including Admiral Insurance, Target Group and Sofa Brands International.

Headed by the β€˜knowledgeable’ Emma Burns and recently enhanced by the arrival of several employment lawyers, including litigation expert Chris Mayers, following the merger in November 2016 with MLM Cartwright, the three-partner team at Hugh James has significant strength-in-depth across contentious and non-contentious matters, including complex areas such as collective labour law, equal pay, TUPE and pensions. As sole employment law provider to Natural Resources Wales, the team handles a range of diverse matter; recent work includes advising on job evaluation and moving to a new pay and grading structure. Non-contentious employment practitioner Louise Price is providing ongoing advice to Celtic Energy in relation to redundancies following the closure of its Nant Helen site. Other clients include Rockwool, The Walters Group and Voltcom Construction.

Clients of Lewis Silkin LLP’s eight-lawyer team in Cardiff rate its β€˜highly effective and value-for-money service’ and praise its ability to β€˜provide a balanced perspective, which takes into account the commercial aspects as well as the employee perspective’. The team, which is able to leverage the firm’s resource across its UK-wide network of offices, regularly acts for major UK-based and international corporates on the employment issues associated with M&A transactions, as well as across a range of other discrete contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Recent highlights include providing employment law advice to Canadian company Edyffi related to its acquisition of Swansea-based manufacturer Silverwing. The team has a growing reputation for its ability to project manage multi-jurisdictional matters, often working with law firms through the Ius Laboris network. The β€˜excellent’ Lucy Lewis heads the team, which includes managing associate Richard Moore, who is singled out for his combination of β€˜commercial advice with a personal touch’, and James Walters, an β€˜impressive litigator’ who β€˜ensures that cases are managed proactively and effectively’. Clients include Marks & Spencer, Publicis and Zara.

Well tapped into the local business community as a result of its β€˜very accessible and personable approach’, Berry Smith’s five-strong team provides β€˜prompt and sensible advice’, primarily to owner-managed businesses and SMEs across the gamut of employment issues affecting their businesses. Team head Fabio Grech provides β€˜clear and sound advice’ across a β€˜broad range of employment issues’; he has particular expertise advising on the employment issues associated with mergers, outsourcings and reorganisations; he is advising the BBI Group on its consolidation of UK manufacturing operations to a single site in Caerphilly, following an Β£8.5m investment supported by the Welsh government. β€˜Efficient and professional’ senior associate Jennifer Pinder has β€˜exceptional knowledge’ across a range of employment issues, including those relating to corporate restructurings, TUPE transfers and trade union matters. Associate Sarah Alford has contentious and non-contentious expertise within the construction, agricultural and manufacturing industries. Other clients include The Life Sciences Hub Wales, Gwent Nursing Homes and Neath Coachbuilders.

Praised for its β€˜outstanding level of service’, Darwin Gray LLP’s seven-strong team provides a β€˜professional and very supportive service’ to a growing number of local and national corporates, who value its β€˜in-depth knowledge of human resources matters’. Team head Fflur Jones (who attracts praise for her β€˜commercial and common-sense approach’) is particularly well known for her work in complex discrimination cases; she recently successfully represented a teacher in an unfair dismissal and disability discrimination case brought against the client’s former employers. β€˜One of the most knowledgeable employment lawyers in south Wales’, Damian Phillips is β€˜superb at providing clear, straightforward guidance throughout the TUPE process’. β€˜Pragmatic’ senior associate Owen John successfully defended Guarding UK in an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and breach of contract brought by a former employee.

The β€˜formidable’ eight-lawyer team at Slater and Gordon provides β€˜an outstanding service’ to an exclusively claimant client base, which includes private clients and trade unions. Police Federation work still accounts for a significant amount of the team’s trade union work: the β€˜hardworking and committed’ Rachel Harfield, β€˜calm and reassuring’ Mohini Bharania, and Juliette Franklin, who β€˜excels at handling cases involving complex points of law’, regularly act for police officers in discrimination cases. The β€˜very knowledgeable’ Bharania recently represented a police officer who was passed over for promotion in a successful claim for race discrimination and victimisation. On the private client front, the β€˜incredibly bright and dedicated’ James Watkins is praised for his β€˜tenacious attitude, which helps in achieving good results for the client’.

Acuity Legal Limited’s four-lawyer team provides β€˜sound legal and commercially driven advice’ across a range of employment matters including those associated with corporate transactions such as TUPE issues. The team provides day-to-day employment and HR support for a growing number of corporate clients that have signed up to the firm’s Acuity Counsel service; Alamo Group, Trinity Brands UK and Progressive Technology Solutions have all utilised the service. β€˜Very knowledgeable and responsive’ team head Claire Knowles was recently promoted to partner and β€˜will always advise on the legal position but do so in a way that is cognisant on how best to approach a situation in practical terms’.

β€˜A superb example of what a specialist boutique firm should be’, Morgan Denton Jones provides β€˜high-level employment law expertise’ and is β€˜truly committed to achieving the best results for the client’. Headed by the β€˜outstanding’ Jenny Jones, the firm β€˜attracts a high calibre of client’ thanks in part to its willingness to β€˜go the extra mile’. The β€˜fiercely bright’ Jones β€˜brings a Magic Circle touch to her work but with all the friendliness and gregariousness that comes with a small boutique practice’. Such is the quality of her work and reputation that as well as receiving local instructions, she is also regularly instructed by clients outside the region, including London-based senior executives who have sought out her advice on the negotiation of exit terms. Praised for his β€˜methodical and tactful approach’, Mark Morgan (who is β€˜very well-versed in employment law matters’) handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, with emphasis on the education and healthcare sectors. β€˜Very supportive and hardworking’ associate Elizabeth Evans is also recommended.

Howells Solicitors’ employment group includes associate David Lewis, who joined from Harding Evans LLP and brings experience advising local businesses across a range of HR issues, employment disputes and contract and policies drafting. Lewis also has niche expertise in sports issues and has handled exit and contract negotiations for numerous well-known sporting individuals.

At boutique employment law firm Refreshing Law, β€˜very approachable and knowledgeable’ founding partner Anna Denton-Jones provides β€˜responsive, clear and practical advice’ to employers and employees, covering a range of non-contentious and contentious matters including negotiating exit terms for senior executives. Denton-Jones also provides hotline advice to HR consultants, and is handling an increased number of training sessions for large employers including Go Compare.

At Thompson Darwin Limited, the β€˜excellent’ Bethan Darwin has a particularly strong reputation acting for directors and senior executives on non-executive director contracts and share options, among other employment issues. The firm also handles a varied workload for employers, including on matters relating to TUPE and redundancies.

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