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David Beswick leads the employment and pensions team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP and is noted for his track record advising domestic and international clients in the diversified industrial, consumer, and technology sectors on a range of matters including senior executive issues, outsourcing and complex restructurings. Hannah Wilkins advises major technology companies with regards to quotas for disabled employees and acted on the restructuring of a sales team in more than thirty countries. Beswick’s highlights included acting for Ophir on international restructuring and redundancy issues in the UK, Singapore and Thailand, and advising Cuadrilla on the relocation of its head office from Lichfield to Bamber Bridge, Lancashire. Consultant Nicholas Jew handles contentious matters such as boardroom disputes, tribunal work, and restrictive covenants; he recently defended a global IT outsourcing client against allegations of sex discrimination and sexual harassment. Audrey Elliott has extensive expertise in the energy and utilities sector, and leads the national immigration team. Beswick’s team is also acting on National Grid’s separation of its regional gas distribution business from its portfolio, which included a due diligence exercise for the hive out of the business, drafting employment entries, the impact of TUPE and advising on the retention of management post-transaction. Principal associate Amanda Smith led on this matter.

Gowling WLG’s ‘responsive, legally accurate and sensitive’ employment team is headed by Jane Fielding, who is ‘sensible, pragmatic, nice to deal with, incisive and incredibly responsive’. The practice’s expertise includes handling contentious matters relating to allegations of whistleblowing and discrimination, as well as providing corporate support and day-to-day advice on grievances and restructuring processes. Martin Chitty represents major UK housing associations, retailers and manufacturers, while Jonathan Chamberlain’s expertise extends to litigation and cross-border restructurings and outsourcing. The practice has maintained a stable undercurrent of high-value tribunal work, as demonstrated by Fielding’s representation of a global consumer food company facing a union-backed challenge to its labour force model, and Chitty’s work on a multi-jurisdictional case involving allegations of unfair dismissal and racial discrimination. On the non-contentious side, the firm has experienced an uptick in independent investigations work; recent highlights include handling the UK employment law aspects of the acquisition of two international technology groups in the recruitment sector. Other recent work includes advising clients on disciplinary and exit processes of senior executives, and data breach issues. Director Louise Clifford focuses on assisting clients with day-to-day and transactional employment matters. Principal associate Jemma O’Reilly also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s employment group is known for its ‘excellent level of service and quick response times’. Linda Jones heads the national practice, with Jonathan Coley (‘a good negotiator, very commercially-minded and has in-depth knowledge in strategic matters’) leading the team locally; both are based in the Birmingham office. The team advises clients in the financial services, higher education, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors on equal pay, outsourcing and immigration issues. Coley and Jones have particular expertise in acting for PLC clients on the enforcement of restrictive covenants and senior appointments and exits. They are ably assisted by ‘very professional and responsive’ legal director Helen Corden, who is recognised by clients for her strength in gender pay issues and her track record in complex pay and TUPE tribunal cases; and senior associate Rebecca Stephen, who handled several highly sensitive cases for global clients with regards to whistleblowing and disability discrimination claims. Corden and Coley assisted a plc client on the harmonisation of contracts following TUPE transfers, which involved potential equal pay liabilities. In a cross-border highlight, the firm acted for AMC Entertainment on the employment aspects of its acquisition of the Odeon cinema chain. It also acted for a global technology company on its European restructuring, which involved redundancies and industrial strike actions. Notable clients include Fujitsu, HSBC, Weetabix, and Centrica.

According to one client, Averta Employment Lawyers LLP is ‘without doubt the best niche firm for senior executive issues’, while another singles out its lawyers for being ‘proactive, experienced and streets ahead of their competition’. The firm regularly acts for senior executives, directors and other high-value professionals on the full range of employment law issues. Key figures include the ‘vastly experienced and invaluably calmAlan Jones and the ‘totally brilliant’ and ‘hugely practicalDavid Sykes. Recent highlights include complicated contentious matters related to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and injunctions filed against executives leaving their employment to join or set up a competing entity. Other notable cases revolved around allegations of gross misconduct in which clients were accused of misappropriating funds or unacceptable behaviour in the workplace; the ‘very helpful, professional and pragmaticRachel Broughton leads on these matters. The team also handles internal disciplinary procedures with regards to disability discrimination and bullying in the work place.

James Tait leads Browne Jacobson LLP’s four-partner Birmingham employment practice and regularly acts for tech, retail and manufacturing clients in high-profile discrimination and whistleblowing cases; cross-border transactions and TUPE compliance; and data protection. His recent highlights include advising a global medical device company on the TUPE implications of the merger of two entities; and representing a heavyweight global client in the context of sex and race discrimination allegations against a regional CEO. In the public sector, NHS employment team leader Helen Badger handled several contentious matters with regards to the whistleblowing policy on behalf of multi-academy trusts, and assisted an NHS trust with a complicated employment dispute with a consultant, which included a counter-fraud investigation and disciplinary proceedings under the national disciplinary framework for doctors; the employment tribunal dismissed all claims.

DLA Piper UK LLP advises heavyweight global and domestic clients such as FMC Corporation, Canon and Global Aerospace Corporation on all employment law issues. UK managing partner Sandra Wallace has vast experience in cross-border post-acquisition employment issues, policy and restructuring reviews, HMRC-related issues and discrimination claims. New clients include Quest and National Grid, for which the team handles strategic day-to-day work and the negotiation of employee exits on all levels. It also advised National Grid on a complex senior executive grievance investigation. In another highlight, Wallace acted alongside colleagues in the US on behalf of a global media company on a review regarding working time, pay, overtime and associated discrimination law issues covering thirteen countries; and assisted a major technology client with the implementation of a new annual leave policy in eight countries. Emma Phillips specialises in cross-border transactions and complex litigation, and assisted Clarks with the exit of 150 employees, including senior management, which had to be completed in less than six weeks. On the contentious side, the practice acted in injunctive relief proceedings concerning a senior ex-employee of a UK subsidiary who acted in breach of her post-termination restrictive covenant. Senior associates Robert Forsyth, Lisa Hodgson and the newly promoted Bethan Odey are also recommended.

Gateley Plc’s clients ‘recommend the firm unhesitatingly’, singling out its ‘combination of top-drawer service levels and competitive rates’. Employment team head Benedict Gorner provides advice on a wide array of contentious and non-contentious issues, with particular emphasis on disputes involving restrictive covenants and senior executives. Victoria Garrad, whose ‘excellence in the employment field is complemented by a keen sense of the commercial context’, acted alongside Gorner on behalf of a client in the IT sector on the enforcement of restrictive covenants against a number of former employees. Senior associate Merran Sewell, who is described as ‘a first-rate employment lawyer with a sound tactical approach’, led the team acting for a trust in an investigation into allegations brought against a senior executive in a whistleblowing letter. Sewell also represented a new client in two employment tribunal cases relating to alleged unfair dismissal and non-compliance with the national living wage. In another highlight, ‘outstanding, very responsive and helpful’ senior associate Elaine Huttley acted for longstanding retail client The Works on two disability discrimination cases filed by employees suffering from type 2 diabetes who refused to transfer to alternative stores. On the non-contentious side, Huttley drafted bespoke policies for a new client in relation to their compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2016, and assisted with the global realignment and harmonisation of its internal employee grading system.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s clients rate the firm for providing ‘pragmatic, strategic, technically robust advice that is more efficient than its competitors’. The firm’s expanding client roster includes companies such as The University of Birmingham, Carlsberg (which is a new client of the firm) and Volkswagen, as well as a number of public-sector entities. David Mills leads the department from the Cambridge office, with the team in Birmingham headed by Richard Santy, who focuses on commercial disputes and disputes concerning the sports sector, and Jog Hundle, whose ‘sound, practical and timely advice inspires confidence in her clients’. Santy’s recent highlights include designing training programmes for Volkswagen Financial Services’ junior and senior HR teams for the purposes of handling whistleblowing and social media issues, and representing former Premier League footballer Jonás Gutiérrez in his successful disability discrimination claim against Newcastle United. Hundle and Martin Brewer act for a number of NHS trusts; Brewer recently acted for University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust in injunction proceedings brought by a consultant surgeon to prevent the trust from convening a capability hearing, while Hundle acted for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in several investigations concerning conduct and capability of its clinical staff. Clients also single out education-sector specialist Nick Abbott, who advised South & City College Birmingham on its merger with Bourneville College, and acted for a university on a complex Employment Tribunal dispute involving disability and sex discrimination, equal pay and unfair dismissal.

Squire Patton Boggs fields ‘a strong team of partners and associates’ led by Charles Frost, which attracts praise for providing ‘appropriately-tailored advice, excellent industry knowledge, sound commerciality and strong support’. It has particular strength in high-value, cross-border HR projects, large-scale collective redundancy matters and sensitive senior executive dismissals. Frost’s recent highlights include acting for Air Products and Chemicals on its spin-off of Electronic Material into a new entity named Versum Materials, which required the co-ordination of an HR strategy across seven European jurisdictions. The group acted for the same client on the employments aspects of the high-value sale of its performance materials division to Evonik. Clients singled out Ramez Moussa for his knowledge of TUPE matters; ‘he is excellent, honest in his assessment and has a solution-focused approach’. His clients include Veolia, West Bromwich Albion FC, and Bayer, the last of which he he assisted with the relocation of its head office from Newbury to Green Park in Reading. ‘Exceptionally good’ senior associate Helena Morrissey is rated by clients who are ‘always impressed by her excellent business acumen’. She acted on behalf of a major retail client on a nationwide commission scheme for all store-based staff, and acted alongside Moussa for a utility services provider on commercial contract negotiations and associated legal issues relating to the transfer of employees.

Matthew Gregson’s team at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP has a prominent public-sector profile, with particular emphasis in the social housing and healthcare sectors. Clients ‘rate the services very highly and feel confident in the advice they receive’. Senior associate Douglas Mullen, who also leads the firm’s pensions practice, is ‘very professional, really supportive and extremely knowledgeable about all areas of employment law’. He acted alongside associate Kate Watkins for First Ark in Employment Tribunal claims concerning allegations of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. In other work highlights, Matthew Wort (who has particular strength in the healthcare and housing sectors) led a multi-disciplinary team advising Dimensions on employment law aspects of the client’s tender with a local authority to provide learning disability services to adults. Newly promoted partner Anna Dabek acted for City and County HealthCare Group in relation to a challenge by some of its staff members to its arrangement for the payment of sleep-in care workers, which they alleged failed to comply with national minimum wage requirements. Wort acted for Thirteen Housing Group on changes to its terms and conditions in order to avoid industrial action ahead of a major restructuring.

DWF’s employment team is led by Hannah Robbins; she ‘clearly outlines options when providing advice and support’, and has a particular specialism in the retail, healthcare and public sectors. New clients for the group include Diamond Heaven, Purestaff and Chubb, and the firm was recently appointed to West Midlands Combined Authority’s legal panel, which Robbins assisted on the TUPE implications of the procurement of a new operator for the metro. In other highlights, Robbins and Sophie Doyle handled the employment aspects of Leviton’s acquisition of network infrastructure provider Brand-Rex, including drafting and negotiating post-completion settlement and consultancy agreements for the senior management. The Manchester-based Kate Meadowcroft acted for a healthcare-sector client in in a detailed review of employment documentation of its healthcare professionals, and led on a disciplinary investigation into the use of social media by a senior employee of the client. The practice is also representing a public-sector client in a long-running Employment Tribunal case concerning allegations of disability discrimination and issues concerning protected disclosure. Nikeeta Mahay joined Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP in London.

Fieldfisher LLP merged with Hill Hofstetter in 2016, bringing the legacy firm’s employment team into the fold. The practice handles employment matters in a range of sectors, including technology, energy and natural resources, financial services, rail and infrastructure, life sciences and healthcare, and retail. Practice head Ranjit Dhindsa led a team supported by associates David Lorimer and James Medhurst in a multi-jurisdictional, multi-party dispute concerning the client’s obligation to provide disclosure under German data protection law. Newly promoted partner Emma Capper specialises in international projects and negotiated a settlement agreement in three jurisdictions with regards to the exit of a senior executive; she also led the defence of a company in a constructive dismissal claim brought by a former senior manager. Other key matters included handling a sensitive whistleblowing case concerning allegations of bullying by senior management of a university; associate Felicity Fortune supported Dhindsa in this matter. Key work on the non-contentious side included advising on TUPE regulations, changes in terms and conditions and due diligence.

Clients ‘highly recommendHiggs & Sons’s employment team, citing its ‘advice and support, which are beyond compare’. From its Brierley Hill base, the practice focuses on advising SMEs and owner-managed businesses, with extensive experience in the manufacturing, transport and food and drinks sectors. The arrival of Amy Brokenshire from Pinsent Masons LLP strengthened the team at associate level; she brings corporate immigration expertise to the practice. Tim Jones is acting for new client Completelink in an Employment Tribunal claim concerning domiciliary care workers and the national minimum wage, while newly promoted partner Simon Bond represented a service provider in the education sector in complex disciplinary proceedings against a senior executive in a West Midlands school involving allegations of sexual and financial impropriety. On the non-contentious side, Damian Kelly acted for a high-street retailer on the restructuring of its HR department and acted for a group of independent financial advisers on the redrafting of employment contracts with a particular focus on restrictive covenants and the retention of confidential information. Bond also acted for an education service provider on a job evaluation and pay regrading exercise for teaching and non-teaching staff following multiple TUPE transfers.

Irwin Mitchell’s practice in West Midlands is led by Fergal Dowling, who also leads the national employment team. Omer Simjee handles TUPE matters, large-scale redundancies and tribunal work on behalf of large corporates, and also handles immigration matters. Simjee acted alongside associate Helen Dyke for a German manufacturing client in a redundancy consultation at its Leeds site. The practice also handles defendant litigation work, as demonstrated by Dowling’s work for an international telecoms group on a complex whistleblowing and constructive dismissal case, and Simjee’s successful settlement of an overtime and holiday pay claim for an outsourcing company. The practice also handles senior executive contract matters; Simjee and Siobhan Mulrey advised a large construction business on the removal of a union representative, and assisted an international energy and infrastructure group with the transfer of several high-value engineers from mainland Europe to London.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP acts for clients such as Red Bull, LG, and Iceland and is rated for its ‘excellent understanding of the law governing the education’. David Browne and legal director Tom Long are praised for ‘taking the time to understand the organisation and culture and are particularly good at explaining complex solutions with astounding clarity’. Long and Browne are advising a Russell group university on the revision of its statutes governing academic staff and acted for a major university in a long-running and complicated litigation case involving claims of unfair dismissal, refusal to comply with court orders, and fifteen freedom of information requests. Michael Hibbs leads the practice and recently acted for a German client in connection with employment law issues arising from the transfer of assets from a UK subsidiary to a newly created UK subsidiary; the hiving off of commercial elements into the German parent company; and insolvency issues. The firm’s new clients include Commonwealth Games England, Games Workshop and Juratoys.

At Shoosmiths LLPcharismatic’ practice head Charles Rae continues to build upon his team’s successful track record in Employment Tribunal claims; clients ‘cannot fault its service in any way’, and rate the team for providing ‘an incredibly supportive, informative and quality service’. Adele Hayfield, who was promoted to partner in May 2016, advised one of the UK’s largest logistics businesses on the threat of strike action within one of their divisions in response to the client’s proposed changes to sick pay agreements. In another key mandate, Nick Vernon supported Rae in work for a local property consultancy client who required advice on the employment aspects of the sale of its shares to Savills, which involved the negotiation of the senior management’s service agreements. On the contentious side, associate Antonia Blackwell is representing a major accountancy firm in the defence of a multi-claimant case brought against a large UK business following the closure of numerous of its sites due to insolvency, while associate Michael Hardiman (who attracts praise for providing advice that is ‘always grounded in commercial reality’) acted for a service provider in the landscaping sector in relation to a whistleblowing claim brought by a former employee dismissed for underperformance; the case was eventually settled.

The employment team at VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) is led by higher and further education specialist Jane Byford and Kathy Halliday, who is described as ‘the first port of call for any TUPE advice’. The practice was recently strengthened by the arrival of senior associate and discrimination and disability claims expert Lorna Scully from DWF and has a strong presence in the education and charities sectors. Byford advised a large university on the dismissal of its HR director on the grounds of poor performance, and defended another university in a tribunal claim brought by a former in-house lawyer for sex and age discrimination and equal pay issues. Byford, Halliday and Scully advised a grammar school on strike action by three teachers’ unions following a dispute between the senior management team and a large portion of the teaching staff. Alice Reeve, who splits her time between the Birmingham and Bristol offices, provided TUPE advice and transactional support on the acquisition of a school by another school. The firm is handling a growing number of employment matters for commercial clients; Halliday and Scully acted for a German client in issues arising from financial impropriety by three senior UK-based executives with significant stakes in the company, which posed a serious threat of reputational damage to the client.

Clients of Weightmans LLP consider the ‘level of service provided by the team outstanding’. The ‘very personableJawaid Rehman specialises in advising local government on equal pay and gender pay gap regulations and leads the firm’s employment group with the support of Tim Lang, who has extensive experience acting for healthcare regulators. Other key figures include experienced tribunal advocates and CIPD fellows Andrew Forrest and Victoria Duddles, and associate Bhavesh Prajapati, who is ‘an excellent legal adviser’. Rehman’s highlights included representing the Nottinghamshire City Council in a mass equal pay claim following its implementation of a new pay and grading structure, and assisted Principal HR with regards to the TUPE implications of changes to statutory redundancy payments. The team also acted for a FTSE 100 client on the restructuring of its head office and support staff. The ‘approachable, practical and commercial’ associate David Summers is also recommended.

Bevan Brittan LLP provides ongoing employment law advice to NHS trusts and local, including advising on transactional support and training sessions. Headed by the ‘consistent and approachable’ Ashley Norman, the Birmingham team has recently won significant new clients in the higher education sector. Norman advised Bodycote on the implications of legislative changes on gender pay gap reporting, and provided training sessions to senior HR executives with regards to changes in the client’s remuneration policies. He also acted for a care home group in connection with a number of HR issues following a TUPE transfer requiring the settlement of historic liabilities relating to alleged underpayment of wages and the drafting of more cost-effective employment terms and conditions. On the contentious side, associate James Gutteridge acted for an NHS trust in a racial discrimination and whistleblowing claim brought by a former consultant, and another NHS trust in a claim involving allegations of unfair dismissal, race and sex discrimination and whistleblowing brought by a former trainee doctor. Also recommended are senior associate Sarah Bach, whio joined from Virgin Money, and senior assistant solicitor Jaspal Basra, who handles immigration matters.

Jacqui Atkinson leads Capsticks LLP’s health and social care-focused employment team, which is also handling matters for clients in the social housing, education and police sectors. Highlights included representing an NHS trust in internal disciplinary proceedings following a series of allegations of misconduct which raised concerns regarding a doctor’s probity, and representing the same client in an unfair dismissal claim brought by the doctor in the Employment Tribunal. Atkinson, who is noted for her experience as an in-house employment lawyer in the education sector, acted alongside associate Chloë Edwards for a university client in tribunal proceedings relating to discrimination claims. On the non-contentious front, associate Raj Basi and Atkinson assisted an NHS trust with the redrafting of its remuneration policy for workers in exchange for their opting out of the NHS pensions scheme, while associate Bridget Prosser advised on the TUPE implications concerning the merger of two healthcare trusts.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s ‘extremely professional and responsive’ employment lawyers ‘have a strong reputation as a team that can get the job done’; particular areas of focus include tribunal work, TUPE advice and senior contract management for manufacturing and private school clients. The ‘professional, knowledgeable, empathetic and timelyTracy Worthington and Julia Fitzsimmons, who joined from George Green LLP in July 2016, lead the team, which acted for a large manufacturing group in connection with a complex matter concerning a high-value employee taking a significant period of time off work due to extreme stress and being sectioned under the Mental Health Act – this matter was eventually resolved through a settlement agreement. The team also acted for a local manufacturer in a constructive dismissal claim by a longstanding employee. Non-contentious highlights included advising a company based in the Netherlands on the reorganisation of its UK operations, which involved redundancy proceedings and settlement agreements, especially with the senior executives.

Wright Hassall LLP’s team, led by Ian Besant, advises on a wide range of employment law issues, including senior executive removals on the grounds of underperformance or financial impropriety, and complex tribunal cases, often relating to allegations of discrimination and disciplinary proceedings. Clients include Orbit, Hilco, the Waterloo Housing Association and Geberit, as well as a growing number of not-for-profit entities, thanks in part to the arrival of Prisca Bradley from an Oxford-based firm, who acts for clients including The Ley Community and Abingdon School. Also recommended are TUPE expert Suki Harrar, who handles corporate support mandates and who works closely with the firm’s commercial, corporate and social housing groups; and associate Tina Chander, who joined the practice from Sydney Mitchell LLP.

Clients consider Aaron & Partners LLP’s employment team ‘a lot more personable than other providers’ and rate its ‘invaluable support’ highly. Experienced advocate and mediator Helen Watson leads the Shrewsbury office, which includes Paul Bennett and Claire Brook. Recent highlights include Ben Mason’s work for a large amusement arcades provider on senior exits and employment terminations involving allegations of discrimination, and Watson’s work for the same client on a breach of restrictive covenant case which evolved into an appeal process brought by two former employees claiming unfair dismissal. Other contentious matters included acting on the termination of a non-lawyer manager at a personal injury law firm who was discovered to be profiting from rejected claims and who then appealed against his dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. Bennett provided advice to a multinational client on TUPE matters and the drafting of an outsourcing agreement related to the client’s acquisition of a UK company, and acted for an international client on the purchase of a food company and the exit of its entire workforce. Clients also single out solicitor Katie Dyson, who ‘provides a high level of service’.

Since launching its employment practice in 2014, Askews Legal LLP’s dedicated team has developed a strong reputation among individuals and businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire businesses. The practice handles settlement agreements, Employment Tribunal work, employee relation issues, and also provides clients with an employment response retainer scheme. Team head Lianne Payne advised a manufacturing client on the exit of a senior executive, which involved the negotiation of an exit bonus as consideration for relinquishing share options; and represented a logistics company in a dispute concerning a breach of restrictive covenant and the ensuing injunctive relief and breach of contract claim. The team was joined by paralegal Sanina Sangha from Mills & Reeve LLP; she supports the team in unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing claims.

Brethertons LLP’s employment team is headed by newly-promoted associate Amy Edwards, who handles TUPE matters, provides corporate support, and handles restructurings and senior executive contract management for employers and individuals. Solicitor Hazel Robbins handles complex litigation and supported Edwards in her work for an FCA-regulated trading business on multi-jurisdictional TUPE transfers and redundancies, as well as in a race and disability discrimination claim. In an illustration of her immigration expertise, Robbins acted on behalf of a high-profile manufacturing client who needed to import valuable talent from Australia. Edwards’s other highlights included advising on significant redundancy proceedings reducing the client’s workforce by 75%. The team also provided support to the commercial practice on the sale of shares in a forestry company to a larger group, which involved a complicated arrangement of sub-contractors and employees, as well as a consultancy agreement for the seller to provide training and services two years after the sale. It also handled the employment aspects of the sale of a car franchise, which involved the negotiation of bonus and commission payments, calculation of holiday pay and pension contributions. David Hodge joined Slater and Gordon in January 2017.

Freeths LLP attracts praise for providing ‘a very professional and high standard of service coupled with great value for money’. The practice is led nationally by Julian Middleton in Leicester, while Rebecca Sawbridge heads the Birmingham team and Peter Gavin, whose advice ‘continues to prove invaluable’, heads the practice in Stoke. The team was joined by senior immigration manager John Craig in Birmingham, giving the firm additional strength in immigration. Gavin acted for an individual in a dispute before the Court of Appeal concerning allegations of misconduct and breach of confidentiality, while Sawbridge represented a fashion retailer in a complex unfair dismissal and age discrimination claim brought by a senior executive. In other highlights, the team provide advice to longstanding client Portmeirion on its acquisition of Wax Lyrical and the dismissal of a senior staff member; and acted for AP Racing in a dispute concerning breach of contract by one of its former employees who had joined a competitor. Other notable clients include Birmingham Metropolitan College, c2c and EH Smith.

George Green LLP’s employment law practice acts for employers and senior executives in disputes arising from unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract. The firm also has expertise in TUPE transfers. Practice head Tim Lang is a part-time employment judge and services clients in the manufacturing, care and recruitment sectors. He was recently joined by Michelle Wooding, who joined the team from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP. Recent mandates include advising on the removal of several family members as directors of a manufacturing company, and acting for a client in two complex restricted covenant disputes concerning the former employer of a new recruit filing for a High Court injunction, and a former employee joining a competitor. Lang also defended a healthcare client in a sex and disability discrimination claim, and represented a private client in an unfair dismissal claim against their former employer who had dismissed the client from a high-ranking executive position. Other clients include Kompan, AGCO Corporation, Handicare and Hadley Group. Julia Fitzsimmons joined FBC Manby Bowdler LLP.

The employment team at Hatchers Solicitors LLP comprises Nigel Harrison, who acts for a range of businesses, from sole traders to PLCs, and trainee solicitor Jack Latham, who has a background in the public sector having previously worked for Birmingham City Council. The charities and not-for-profit sectors are key areas of activity; Harrison has been advising on the TUPE aspects of academy conversions, and acted for an organisation who provides education to severely disabled and challenged children on a range of employment issues including night working, management training and disciplinary matters. The practice also acted for a Shropshire-based construction company on senior-level reorganisations, disciplinary issues and contractual matters. Harrison is also providing employment law support to a civil engineering firm.

Lanyon Bowdler’s ‘knowledge of employment law is exceptional’. The team, led by the ‘excellent, pragmatic and knowledgeableJohn Merry in Telford, attracts praise for its ‘fantastic response to queries and invaluable advice’. Clients include Plastic Omnium, Dodd Group and Hoshizaki. The Hereford-based William Morse is known for his ‘excellent advice and confident approach’; he represented an individual in the Employment Tribunal and subsequently the Employment Appeals Tribunal in proceedings against Marks & Spencer on the grounds of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. Merry acted alongside Jennifer Gibson for Grange Fencing on a reorganisation involving the outsourcing of production to Poland, the closure of two UK sites, and the opening of a new distribution facility in Harwich. He also worked alongside the firm’s commercial and property teams advising Woodland Heritage Limited and its subsidiary WH Timber on the employment aspects of is acquisition of Whitney Sawmills. Associate Fabienne McAllister (who is ‘always on the ball and easy to talk to’) joined the Telford office from Emms Gilmore Liberson.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s diverse practice ‘punches above its weight’. The practice acts for employers and individuals in contentious and non-contentious matters, and Birmingham-based team head Dean Parnell attracts praise for his ability to ‘focus on solutions rather than conflict for the sake of it’. He represented an individual in a complex disability discrimination and victimisation claim against their employer, as well as a shareholder who was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct following a health and safety audit. Jade Linton is ‘a superstar and a joy to work with’; she acted for an individual in sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010, which was complicated by the fact the claimant and respondent had previously been in a relationship. She also handled a whistleblowing claim brought by a high-ranked executive whose employment was terminated due to suspicions of fraudulent activity. Associate Tina Chander left the firm to join Wright Hassall LLP.

Rebecca McGuirk is the key employment figure in Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s ‘brilliantly professional and excellent value for money’ Birmingham office. She has particular expertise in minimum wage regulations and complex disputes related to whistleblowing, discrimination and holiday pay claims. She also undertakes a substantial amount of TUPE work. The practice acted for the Swimming Teachers Association, a new client, in a complex tribunal case relating to allegations of unfair dismissal and whistleblowing by the former director and his father, as well as High Court proceedings filed against one of the claimants for fraud and conspiracy; the ‘simply superb’ Mark Kenkre handled the High Court proceedings. On the non-contentious side, Helen Cookson – whose ‘responses are prompt and to the point’ – assisted national employment head Emma Burrows with the employment aspects of the merger of two housing providers in Staffordshire and Shropshire, and acted alongside McGuirk on the TUPE and trade union implications of Wulvern’s merger with The Guinness Partnership. Other notable clients include Symphony Housing Group, Midland Heart, The Accord Group and Derwent Living.

Ansons’s ‘excellent’ employment team is led by Martin de Ridder and advises an array of clients on all aspects of employment law, including TUPE compliance, restrictive covenants and pension schemes. Solicitor Adam Pike is ‘a pragmatic lawyer who always tries to understand the whole picture’. He advised on the removal of a senior executive. On the contentious front, De Ridder defended a company in a claim for automatic unfair dismissal, and represented a recruitment agency in a case of breach of restrictive covenant and database infringement; both cases were successfully resolved out of trial.

Band Hatton Button LLP’s ‘extremely responsive and capable’ employment team includes ‘excellent attorney’ Mark Ridley, who represents employers and individuals in Coventry, Warwickshire and across the West Midlands in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Ridley successfully defended an automotive company against a tribunal claim and handled the subsequent appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal, and represented a client in a complex case involving constructive dismissal, breach of confidentiality and fiduciary duties. On the non-contentious side, the team advised on restrictive covenant arrangements and redundancies and assisted with the drafting of a commission and bonus agreement.

Beswicks Legal’s ‘service standards are excellent’, with clients singling out team head and managing partner Nick Phillips for his willingness to ‘take the time to understand the business’. The main bulk of the team’s work consists of senior executive employment agreement management, as well as corporate support matters, especially in the sports sector, where Tim Bailey has built a strong niche practice. The team recently acted for a well-known sports personality on their early release from contractual obligations and an employment agreement with his new employer. Phillips also acted for the recently-formed UK subsidiary of a Dutch company on the review of policy documents to ensure legal and regulatory compliance in the UK. The group also handles litigation; recent work includes handling a number of holiday pay claims brought by employees following a TUPE transfer. Solicitor Laura Franklin joined the practice from Staffordshire City Council in November and handles day-to-day HR advice for clients locally and nationwide.

Key figures in Harrison Clark Rickerbys’s employment team include Simon Gilmour, business immigration expert Claire Thompson and Cheltenham-based litigation specialist Jenny Jones. Past successes include handling a complicated restructuring which involved redundancies, senior executive terminations and issues surrounding work flexibility – all of which led to potential discrimination and unfair dismissal claims; and providing TUPE compliance advice for a large retail client. On the contentious side, Thompson advised a public-sector in connection with disagreements about holiday and guaranteed overtime pay. The team also previously advised a healthcare client on the implications of the national minimum wage regulations regarding the payment of ‘sleep-in’ shifts. Notable clients include Red Bull, Mizuno, GVA, and the Worcester Warriors rugby club.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s employment team comprises nine partners. Karl Bamford is the key figure in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

MFG Solicitors LLP’s dedicated employment team is headed by Sally Morris, who ‘goes above and beyond of what is necessary’, and is note for its ‘incredible speed and level of detail’. The practice recently hired ‘thoroughly honest’ associate Darryll Thomas from The Wilkes Partnership and promoted Kate Jones to associate. The ‘very sensible and pragmatic’ Chris Piggott (who ‘knows employment law inside out’) advised two individuals, one of whom was accused of facilitating a team move and breach of restrictive covenant by his former employer. Other notable work includes handling redundancies following a site closure, facilitating the exit of a senior executive, and TUPE advice. Newly promoted assistant solicitor Chris Amys is also recommended.

John Mehtam is the key employment figure at Martin Kaye, whose commercial litigation department handles High Court injunctions, restrictive covenants and partnership disputes. Recent work includes acting for a multinational professional supply chain and warehousing company with regards to the investigation, disciplinary process and dismissal of a senior sales consultant who was found to be poaching clients on behalf of a competitor; and advising a care home for elderly people with special needs on the treatment of sleep-in and live-in care workers following an HMRC enquiry into the national minimum wage. The team also defended a healthcare client in a tribunal claim for race, religion, disability and sex discrimination following the termination of an employee on the grounds of gross misconduct, and handled a case in relation to unauthorised absence, a denied flexible working hours request and potential associative discrimination due to a disabled child.

Simon King, who is experienced in both mediation and litigation, heads the litigation and employment team at Pickerings Solicitors LLP. Solicitor advocate Jonathon Forrester is another key figure; he advised an IT client in criminal and civil proceedings concerning the theft of more than £600,000 by an employee, and handled an unfair dismissal claim on behalf of an individual which was complicated by the fact that the respondent was based overseas. Forrester acted in a dispute before the Employment Appeal Tribunal against a local authority for non-payment of voluntary redundancy payment. HR Consultant Sue Hatton assisted a household name client with the removal of a senior manager following a whistleblowing complaint against him.

Thomas Guise Solicitors’s Amanda Pillinger has substantial experience in tribunal work and provides day-to-day HR advice to employers. She is supported by director Geoffrey Ellis, who handles discrimination and whistleblowing cases and TUPE matters. Recent work includes advising a new client on a complex internal dispute between an employee and their line manager, and acting for a charity with regards to the termination of a CEO following the irreversible breakdown of their relationship with the trustees. The practice also represents individuals; recent work includes representing an individual in a case relating to his former employer’s refusal to make pay redundancy fees, and defending of an individual in an appeal against his dismissal on the grounds of misconduct.

Thursfields Solicitors provides clients with HR advice and has recently expanded its presence in the food manufacturing and distribution, and transport and logistics sectors. ‘Professional and knowledgeable’ department head Michelle Chamberlain is supported by associate and tribunal litigation specialist Jayne Holliday and Lisa Kemp, who joined the firm from MFG Solicitors LLP. Chamberlain’s highlights included advising on the implementation of an EMI scheme, while Holliday acted for an international client on the restructuring of its UK operation. Kemp handled an unfair dismissal case brought by a senior executive and provided advice on redundancies in anticipation of a corporate takeover.


Health and safety

Index of tables

  1. Health and safety
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a national health and safety practice led by Birmingham-based Kevin Elliott, who advises clients such as Siemens, Nestlé, and Centrico. Elliott represented a major corporate client in the successful appeal of a prohibition order by the HSE demanding the closure of an offshore wind farm, and is defending a manufacturing company regarding an explosion on a customer’s premises. The team also handles non-contentious matters including reviewing health and safety measures for an energy client following its conversion from coal power to biomass, and providing training to corporate boards and responsible executives. Other notable clients include FMC Technologies, shipping and logistics company DFDS, and Mitchells and Butlers.

The health and safety practice at Gowling WLG is known for its ‘high level of professionalism’, with clients singling out ‘thorough’ practice head Andrew Litchfield, who represents corporate clients such as Starbucks, Toyota and Bakkavor in the aftermath of incidents, during investigations and throughout criminal proceedings. Recent work includes acting for a local distribution client in a fatal accident which required the solicitation of an independent expert to determine whether the victim’s cannabis consumption was a significant factor. In another key matter, Susan Dearden acted for a multinational defence company in connection with internal and HSE investigations. Principal associate Michael Hafen regularly acts for a not-for-profit housing and care provider in inquests and CQC and police investigations. The team also acted for two clients in HSE prosecutions for breach of HSWA regulations.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, the ‘first-rate’ Sean Elson is ‘a real strategist; hardworking and great with clients’. He leads the ‘impressive’ health and safety team in Birmingham and is supported by Louise Mansfield, who is ‘one to watch’. The practice regularly acts for large corporate clients, particularly in the infrastructure and energy sectors, and Elson recently acted in the successful settlement of an HSE prosecution. The firm also acted for a leading UK construction client in a fatal incident involving a potentially fraudulent training record, and acted for a well-known holiday comparison website in relation to a number of consumer protection issues.

Shoosmiths LLPprovides a service that often seems to be designed specifically to meet clients’ needs in a pragmatic way, considering the risks and never losing sight of the commercial realities’. The firm recently recruited the ‘intelligent and pragmaticRoy Tozer and Charles Arrand from DLA Piper UK LLP; Arrand recently represented a major car manufacturer in a serious injury case. Newly promoted partner Hayley Saunders and associate Hannah Price defended an individual in a police investigation into to the accidental death of a pedestrian. Tozer acted for clients in the natural resources sector in connection with the accidental release of butane gas at an oil refinery, and several procedural mistakes which led to potentially catastrophic incidents. The team’s other key matters included assisting a public-sector client with an investigation into the sinking of a tug boat following a collision with a buoy.

According to clients, the level of service at BLM is ‘10 out of 10’. The ‘highly skilled, calm and confident’ Bob Davies is rated for defending clients facing HSE prosecutions and fatal accident investigations. Notable clients include Allianz, AXA, Lindum, and Great Bear. The practice acted for Essential Supply Products, in a HSE prosecution which came during a period of severe Brexit-related disruption to the client’s business. On the environmental side, Jill Crawford defends clients in Environment Agency investigations and prosecutions; she also supported Davies in his successful representation of a client facing prosecution for the death of an employee who acted unpredictably and was eventually judged not to have been a victim of corporate manslaughter.

Bevan Brittan LLP’s Adam Kendall has strong expertise advising public-sector clients – especially NHS trusts – on the ramifications of health and safety incidents, as well as defending them against CQC and HSE prosecutions. Associate Melissa Stanford, who is strong on the non-contentious side of environmental regulatory work, acted alongside Kendall in a fatality case connected with legionella in a care home operated by Reading Borough Council. In another notable matter, Stuart Merchant and associate Debbie Rookes acted for an NHS trust in lengthy HSE and police investigations, and a ten-day inquest in connection with the death of a service user following restraint by the police on hospital premises. Merchant also represented another trust in a staff whistleblowing case concerning ward practices which led to an internal and police investigation.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s practice is headed by experienced litigator Andy Hopkin and ‘conscientious solicitor and skilled advocateRachel Lyne, who ‘combines a razor-sharp legal mind with a wealth of experience to deliver a highly specialist service’. The group acts predominantly for clients in the public sector, but also acts for insurers and assists fire and rescue services with inquests. Recent work includes representing the driver of a heritage steam locomotive involved in a ‘signal passed at danger’ incident and who was facing the real risk of a prison sentence. Lyne advised a clothes recycling company on its compliance with an improvement notice filed by the HSE following the death of an 89-year old employee. In other highlights, the department defended a manufacturing client and one of its directors in connection with breaches of height rules and asbestos regulations, and an automotive manufacturer with regards to a legionnaire’s disease outbreak on its production site, which resulted in an improvement programme closely monitored by the HSE.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s health and safety team in Birmingham is led by consultant Andrew Roach, who represents individuals and corporate clients facing manslaughter and health and safety prosecutions, and includes associate Steven Harrison, who has substantial experience in defendant personal injury work and specialises in defending clients in the construction and manufacturing sectors. The team advised Watling Tyres and one of its directors following the on-site death of an employee, and represented Hi Fold and its director with regards to a double fatality caused by its product which led to a gross negligence manslaughter charge. National practice head Sally Roff led the appeal against an improvement notice filed following a fatal accident in a distribution site, and acted for Milford Care Group concerning a local authority prosecution after a vulnerable patient was fatally injured by a falling wardrobe.

Ruth Armstrong heads Gateley Plc’s regulatory department, which includes commercial expert Pauline Munro and experienced criminal lawyer Kate Oliver. The practice handles a vast array of health and safety issues for clients in the manufacturing, retail, waste management, construction and transport sectors. Armstrong acted for a leading broadcaster with regards to the health and safety implications of several high-profile reality television shows. The team also advised a demolition company and its managing director issues arising from a building collapse in which four men died. Other notable work included representing Drawn Metal in a corporate and gross negligence manslaughter investigation by the HSE following the death of a lawyer at a construction site in London, and assisted a commercial client with regards to concerns of asbestos exposure to maintenance and non-employees. Other notable clients include Taylor Wimpey, ACE, HTI and Bilfinger.

Kennedys is ‘a nationally renowned force’ in health and safety and its lawyers ‘know exactly where and when to apply pressure to produce the ideal result’. James Shrimpton and solicitor Ruth Sheret ‘are shrewd, highly effective and a formidable team’. Shrimpton worked alongside the firm’s London office on the high-profile HSE investigation into the crash of the Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers, and is acting for a major hotel chain on its internal review and local authority investigation following a serious accident on its premises. Sheret acted in an inquest for a contractor client who had gone into voluntary insolvency following a fatal accident – the case was resolved without further action from the HSE.

Weightmans LLP attracts praise for its ‘very timely responses and intimate knowledge of sector issues’. The Midlands arm of its regulatory practice is led the ‘thoughtful’ Chris Green, who has expertise in cases involving gas explosions, asbestos, rail, construction and manslaughter. The team is acting in the high-profile case surrounding the accidental death of a bystander due to the fall of a window frame, and acted for Mansfield District Council in the prosecution of the owner of a care home in relation to the death of a dementia patient. Green defended a housing association with regards to a fire incident which prompted an investigation and prosecution, and appeared at an inquest before the Royal Courts of Justice on behalf of a contractor client.

DWF’s David Egan jointly heads the practice and takes the lead on contentious environmental matters, with particular emphasis on defending corporate clients prosecuted by local authorities or regulatory bodies such as the Environment Agency. The team provides ongoing advice to clients such as Persimmon, and recently acted for a recycling client with regards to an appeal against a permit revocation issued by the Environment Agency and prosecutions associated with non-compliance with environmental regulations. Other highlights include acting for a biogas facility operator in a major air pollution incident. Other Notable clients include North West Recycling, Horizon Nuclear Power, and Cannington Enterprises. Fellow joint head Caroline Coates is also recommended.

For some Harrison Clark Rickerbys’s regulatory practice is ‘among the true health and safety specialists’ in the West Midlands. Led by Heath Thomas, the team includes new recruit Aled Owen, who specialises in the agricultural food sector. Solicitor Laura Shirley is also recommended. James Lowe joined George Green LLP in May 2017.

The ‘knowledge and professional nature of the staff is excellent’ at Mills & Reeve LLP. Jamie Wheatley leads the national regulatory, public and commercial disputes department from Cambridge, while Duncan Astill heads the practice in Birmingham. Recent work includes handling several fatal accidents, one of which involved the death of a mental health patient, and acting for a leading university with regards to the discovery of asbestos debris on the premises. Astill and associate Amanda Narkiewicz acted on a carbon monoxide poisoning case on behalf of a German construction company, and acted for an urgent care provider in a police-led corporate manslaughter investigation regarding the alleged delayed provision of an ambulance. Consultant Chris Gough, who leads the firm’s insurance dispute work, is also recommended.

Plexus Law’s health and safety team, led by Anthony Bushell, is known for its ‘low costs, great character, professional services, high knowledge base, and active involvement in claims’. The lion’s share of the practice’s work revolves around representing insurers and policyholders in regulatory prosecutions. Recent mandates include acting for a hotel in connection with the drowning of two guests, representing a chain of night clubs in a local authority investigation, and defending Alcohols Limited and its insurer QBE in relation to a substantial fire in one of its distilleries, which resulted in residential property damage, the closure of a railway line and the evacuation of local inhabitants. Jennifer Bates has strong experience in the defence of clients in the commercial and care sectors.

According to clients, Squire Patton Boggs is ‘excellent in all respects’ and ‘the best they have used’, according to one. Led from the Manchester office by Rob Elvin. The the practice acts for Renewables UK and the Engineering Employer’s Federation, and maintains a strong relationship with the British Printing Industries Federation. In Birmingham, Dave Gordon specialises in the chemical sector, while senior associate Robert Biddlecombe focuses on the health and safety issues associated with facilities management and property, including asbestos, fire safety, COMAH regulations and legionella. Notable new clients include Acenta Steel, Fiberweb, Cream Liverpool and BlackRock.


Immigration

Index of tables

  1. Immigration
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Immigration clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Cartwright King has a specialist immigration team that provides an ‘absolutely superb’ service to business and individuals, covering sponsorship licences, civil penalties, and human rights and asylum cases. The Nottingham-based Anna Thurston leads the practice, with Melissa Southall and Andre Minnaar the key figures in the Birmingham office. Southall is ‘an incredibly meticulous lawyer’ who ‘doesn’t give anything other than straight advice’ and has specialist expertise in asylum and child rights cases. Recent highlights include successful spousal visa applications and representing an individual arrested for fraudulent immigration documents.

Wright Hassall LLP provides an ‘excellent’ service to clients seeking commercial immigration advice. Matthew Davies, who joined the firm from Fox Williams LLP, leads the practice following the retirement of former practice head Marian Dixon. Davies, supported by senior associate Tracie Udall (who ‘always provides timely and professional advice’) advised a global food company on their Tier 2 applications and on data capture to prevent illegal working. The team also assisted a healthcare provider with an internal immigration compliance audit. Other highlights included acting for individuals with regards to spousal visas and a Tier 1 investor visa extension application, and representing an individual with an adverse immigration history. Associate Kelly Tomkinson primarily handles corporate immigration work.

At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, ‘the responses are always prompt and the cost for the high quality of service is reasonable’. Business immigration expert Audrey Elliott leads the practice and combines ‘excellent technical knowledge with a practical, commercial understanding of client requirements’. Elliott provides ongoing advice to longstanding clients on recruitment audits, visa tracking, and compliance with regulations and sponsor duties under Tier 2 of the points-based system. She also assisted a leading UK university with its preparations for a UKVI inspection regarding Tier 2, 4 and 5 compliance. Other recent highlights include acting for a multinational company with regards to an international right to work project to ensure that the client was operating lawfully in all of its offices, and supporting a US client with its European business expansion.

The practice at Freeths LLP was recently joined by John Craig from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. He brings ‘excellent knowledge, attentiveness and a very good interpersonal style’ and has experience in point-based, EEA and family migration. Craig’s recent highlights include advising a retail client the proposed dismissal of a director based on allegations of illegal working, and acting for a high-profile individual with regards to their relocation to the US. The practice also has expertise in the education sector, where it is handling training seminars for Oxford Brookes University’s EEA staff on options in connection with the implications of Article 50, and assisted an academic with their settlement in the UK, which involved referring the case to the UKVI.

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Alan Dark (who splits his time between Stratford Upon Avon and Birmingham) assisted a consulting company with the recruitment of a senior executive from Australia, and acted for a recruitment client on the appeal to a fine issued by UKVI for illegal working. The practice also handles training sessions, advises on spousal visa applications for businesses and individuals, and assists with permanent residency matters under EEA regulations.


Pensions

Index of tables

  1. Pensions
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Pensions clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s pensions team attracts praise for combining ‘seasoned industry veterans with young talent’. International pensions team head Liz Fallon specialises in handling pensions aspects for cross-border M&A transactions. She is supported by Gary Delderfield, who heads the firm’s public sector pensions team, and Sarah Franklin, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’. Franklin recently acted for a multinational client on a $3.4bn scheme merger, and is providing ongoing advice to another international client on the buyout of deferred liabilities of one of its divisions and the creation of a new defined contribution section. Emma King, who heads the pensions team in Birmingham, provides ‘firm advice tempered by pragmatism’; she acted for the trustees of the Safeway Pension Scheme in a High Court application for the normalisation of retirement age. In an illustration of the firm’s public-sector expertise, principal associate Gavin Paul (who attracts praise for his ‘high level of technical knowledge and dedication to meeting deadlines’) is acting with Delderfield for the West Midlands pension fund. Clients also recommend associate Fiona Goodman.

Gowling WLG’s pension team comprises ‘talented, technically strong, commercially savvy and solution-driven lawyers’ led by the ‘experienced, calm and personableGlyn Ryland, who specialises in pensions investment law and funding negotiations. Highlights included acting for Pirelli on longevity swaps for two of its UK pension funds; Paul Carberry and director Christopher Stiles acted on that matter, while Richard Lee and ‘very reliable and knowledgeable’ director Joanne Tibbott advised a multinational group on follow-on issues concerning salary linkage, salary sacrifice matters and health benefits following the client’s switch to a career average hybrid scheme. Aided by the London office, Richard Black undertook a pensions increase exchange exercise for the trustee of the client’s defined benefits scheme, which resulted in a significant fund liability reduction. Black also assisted the same trustee with a complete review of governance documentation. Other notable clients include new client Weetabix, the ICL Group Pension Plan and Rothesay Life.

The pensions team at Pinsent Masons LLP is jointly led Simon Laight, who leads the national insured pensions practice, and public sector pensions expert and Nick Stones. Clients also single out Daniel Shelley, who specialises in providing ongoing advice to large schemes. Stones led the advice to Teva on the treatment of pension liabilities as a result of its sale of Actavis Generics, while Laight advised the Association of Member Directed Pension Schemes on its challenge to HMRC withholding tax relief on in-specie contributions. Shelley advised a major corporate client on a scheme merger and acted for a household name in the food industry regarding the merger of two of its three pension arrangements, which required a balance of powers review and the rectification of a provision missed by the client in its feasibility study. Other notable clients include L&G, AEGON, Aviva and Covea.

According to some, the pensions team at Squire Patton Boggs, led by Matthew Giles, is ‘the number one choice in Birmingham’ and ‘cannot be faulted in terms of quality, timeliness and value for money’. Philip Suttonis an incredibly strong legal operator’ and ‘the ideal person to fight your corner in a complex matter’. He acted for the trustees of the Database Group scheme on a clearance application and securing full buyout funding from shareholders to facilitate the sale of the business to a US buyer. Giles acted alongside Helen Miles and senior associate Victoria Jeacock for the trustees of Jaguar Land Rover’s three pension plans on rule changes, benefits issues, litigation and investment activity in overseas jurisdictions. Clients also single out director and ‘deep thinker’ Kevin Burge. Georgina Rankin joined Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

Michael Collins heads Gateley Plc’s pensions department in Birmingham and is ‘an excellent ambassador’ on pensions matters. He is supported by Kate Lloyd, who advised a client with regards to an application for rectification by summary judgement of a rule amendment which had made a member’s period of pensionable service subject to the LPI rate of increase. Other highlights included acting for the trustees of Hill & Smith’s two defined benefit schemes on their merger; Collins and solicitor Paul Wild acted on that matter, while Collins and associate Jill Walters acted for the trustees of Chamberlin’s pension scheme on contingency assets to be put in place as additional protection and to reduce its PPF levy, which involved close co-operation with the firm’s property and banking practices. The University of Leicester, Nufarm and AS Watson are also clients.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is singled out for its public sector expertise, especially in the social housing and local government sectors, where practice head and senior associate Douglas Mullen is particularly well regarded. The firm also draws on the expertise of Matthew Wort, who leads on health and social care matters. The team recently assisted Midland Heart with regards to a contributions underpayment issue in an NHS scheme, and advised McIntyre Care on a pension de-risking strategy with Derbyshire Council. The practice also acted for Salford city council on the launch of a new independent housing association.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a ‘knowledgeable’ pensions practice headed by Clare Grice, who is considered a ‘personable expert in her field’ with particularly strong expertise in the charities and not-for-profit sectors. Recent highlights include assisting LG Harris with the pensions aspects of its acquisition by the Norway-based Okra, and advising PageOne on the merger of its scheme with Capita Group’s scheme. Grice also acted on behalf of a financial institution with an international parent with regards to pension liabilities arising from the dissolution of a UK subsidiary, and acted for the trustees of a defined benefit pension scheme on the release of a number of properties from a complex contingent asset agreement.


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