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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 > West Midlands > Human resources > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Employment
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP covers the spectrum of employment law, with a client roster that includes Severn Trent, National Grid and St Andrews Healthcare. David Beswick  leads the team and has extensive experience in handling outsourcing, restructuring and senior executive issues, with a heavy focus on the consumer and industrials sectors. His recent highlights include advising ReAssure on the legal aspects behind the closure of its Lytham site, where 160 employees were based. Beswick also defended Openwork Services against an approximately £1m claim from a senior executive alleging breach of contract and misrepresentation. Nicholas Jew   focuses on contentious matters and is 'personable', 'knowledgable', and'commercial'. He assisted London and Birmingham Railway with the TUPE transfer of 2,400 employees which arose from the franchise transferring to West Midlands Trains. He also acted for WIPRO against claims of disability and race discrimination from an employee. Other names of note include Hannah Wilkins , who represents international clients on cross-border employment issues; Audrey Elliott , who focuses on business immigration matters; and legal direction Amanda Smith , who advises on the employment elements of transactions.

The 'commercial' practice at Gowling WLG  works for clients such as Jacobs, Cathay Pacific and the London Borough of Croydon. Practice head Jane Fielding  provides 'thorough and thoughtful consideration of complex issues'.  Martin Chitty  predominantly acts for housing associations and retailers, and recently acted for Spire Production Services on a claim from a competitor that the client failed to comply with TUPE regulations. Also recommended are Jonathan Chamberlain, who focuses on the life sciences, technology, manufacturing and financial services sectors; director Louise Clifford, who is 'very strong at creating relationships' and provides 'concise and clear pragmatic advice'; and director Anna Fletcher, who specialises in working time and national minimum wage compliance issues.

Pinsent Masons LLP  is 'very professional', 'easy to do business with'  and has 'a high level of knowledge' on employment matters. Linda Jones  leads the practice and focuses primarily on non-contentious issues. She is supported by Jonathan Coley  who works on employment disputes and is 'quick to respond with good sound advice'. Senior associate Rebecca Stephen  is also a key figure, and has a similar focus on contentious work.

Averta Employment Lawyers LLP is a niche practice that represents senior employees on high value claims, and is 'commercial', 'pragmatic' and 'able to work to tight deadlines'. Alan Jones  is one of two founders who leads the team and is 'hugely experienced' and 'not afraid to give straight advice'.  Fellow founder David Sykes  has extensive experience handling restrictive covenant and corporate related employment issues. Also recommended is Rachel Broughton , who specialises in discrimination and diversity claims.

Browne Jacobson LLP 's Birmingham office is headed by James Tait who is noted for his 'fine analysis of situations', 'very good understanding' and 'tailored advice' to clients. He is an expert in advising on cross-border transactions, restrictive covenants and whistle-blowing claims. Helen Badger  has expertise in handling tribunal claims, with a strong emphasis on the healthcare and education sectors.

DLA Piper UK LLP  has a diverse skillset in employment, with a client roster that includes National Grid Plc, Merlin Entertainment and Hilton International Hotels (UK). Sandra Wallace  heads the employment practice nationally and has extensive experience in handling re-organisations, executive disputes and grievance issues.  Emma Phillips   is an expert in advising on high value contentious matters as well as the employment elements of cross-border transactions.  She recently advised Clarks on the employment aspects behind the restructuring of its business.

Gateley Plc handles the full range of employment work but is notably strong in confidentiality and post-termination restrictions.  Benedict Gorner  leads the team and is particularly proficient in restrictive covenant matters and senior executive disputes.Victoria Garrad  is highly skilled in handling policy drafting, redundancies and reorganisations.  Merran Sewell  was promoted to partner in 2017 and has a strong focus on restructuring initiatives and senior executive severances.

The 'excellent' and 'highly rated' practice at Mills & Reeve LLP  handles all aspects of employment for clients including Volkswagen Financial Services, Arcadia and the University of Birmingham . The 'very pragmatic' Richard Santy recently assisted Jaguar Land Rover with outsourcing its HR department and advised the footballer Eniola Aluko on a racial discrimination claim against her former England manager. Health sector specialist Jog Hundle  provides 'sound advice' and is 'an engaging individual'. He defended a large teaching hospital against claims of race discrimination and victimisation. Nick Abbott  handles employment matters in the higher education space.

Squire Patton Boggs is headed by Charles Frost, who has extensive experience in defending high value employment claims, with additional expertise in advising on TUPE regulations. He is supported by Ramez Moussa, who is an expert in non-contentious areas relating to corporate restructurings, outsourcing and  business recovery. Also recommended is senior associate Helena Morrissey , who has a particular focus on the retail, manufacturing and engineering sectors, and senior associate Beverley Smith , who is an expert in immigration issues.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is predominantly focused on the health and social care sector. The practice is led by Matthew Gregson, who specialises in contentious matters. Other key figures include health and social care expert Matthew Wort  and Anna Dabek , who has notable expertise in National Minimum Wage issues. Senior Associate Douglas Mullen  is also recommended and is highly experienced in TUPE regulations.

DWF  is very active in the retail, healthcare and public sectors, with a client roster that includes Bupa, Poundland and The AA. Hannah Robbins  heads the team and handles both contentious and non-contentious matters. She is supported by Manchester-based Kate Meadowcroft, who has  a similarly broad expertise in employment, but is particularly strong in handling change management projects.

The 'excellent' Fieldfisher LLP  possesses a 'clarity of thinking' and 'business mindedness'. The 'very knowledgable' Ranjit Dhindsa  leads the team and is 'decisive', 'clear' and 'easy to work with'. She is an expert in advising employers on equal pay, discrimination, TUPE and redundancy issues. Also recommended is Emma Capper , who is an expert in advising foreign entities on UK employment matters.

Higgs & Sons provides 'an excellent combination of commerciality and business acumen' with 'knowledgeable and thorough advice'. Tim Jones leads the team and is an expert in contentious matters and often acts as a mediator. Damian Kelly  has 'an extensive knowledge base' and 'wealth of experience', most notably in areas such as redundancies and senior management exits. Simon Bond is also a key figure, with particular strengths in handling employment tribunals and immigration issues.

Birmingham-based Fergal Dowling  heads Irwin Mitchell 's national employment practice and has a strong reputation for handling employment tribunal claims. He recently defended a national telecommunications group against a whistle-blowing and constructive dismissal claim. Senior associates Elaine Huttley  and Helen Dyke  are also key figures.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP is a 'customer focused', 'fully responsive' and 'well managed' practice, whose advice is 'succinct', 'understandable' and 'to the point'. Michael Hibbs  heads the team, and has a key focus on the education, logistics, manufacturing and insurance sectors.  He defended General Dynamics Information Technology against a £72,000 dismissal claim  and advised Liberty Wines on the employment elements of Sogrape's investment in the client. The education-sector focused David Browne  advises on TUPE regulations, restructurings and tribunal claims. Director Tom Long  works heavily in the public sector on contentious matters and provides 'sensible, pragmatic solutions to issues that are communicated effectively and with empathy'. Director Helen Hughes  has a broad experience of employment issues, with notable expertise in handling gender pay gap issues.

Shoosmiths LLP is a team of 'extremely knowledgeable and friendly professionals', who are 'able to provide legal advice in a timely and appropriate way'. The team is led by Charlie Rae  whose 'knowledge and experience of employment law is insurmountable'. He recently advised a leading accident management company on the departure of one of its executives. Senior associate Michael Hardiman  is an expert in contentious matters and recently advised East End Foods on an unfair dismissal and race discrimination claim. Senior associate Antonia Blackwell  is an expert in employment tribunal claims. Also recommended is associate Nick Vernon , who is 'easy to talk to', 'asks good questions' and 'helps break down the next steps required in an easy to understand way'.

VWV's employment practice has a notably strong focus on the education sector and provides 'very good response times' and 'management of cases'. The team is co-led by Kathy Halliday , who  is skilled in change management, TUPE, senior executive severances and tribunal claims. Also heading the practice is Jane Byford , who is particularly active in contentious matters in the education and charity sectors. She recently advised a charity on alleged bullying between two senior employees. Also recommended are Alice Reeve  and senior associate Lorna Scully , who are both experienced in employment issues relating to the education sector.

Weightmans LLP  employment team is led by Jawaid Rehman , who is notably strong in the public and hospitality sectors. Recent work highlights of his include advising AL- Mubarakia on the sale of its Bubba Gump franchise,  defending Charnwood Borough Council against a whistleblowing and discrimination claim, and assisting Pizza Express with the TUPE transfer of its staff to the group company.

Public sector work has been a cornerstone of Bevan Brittan LLP 's employment team. Ashley Norman  is a key figure from the Birmingham office and specialises in handling discrimination disputes. Associate James Gutteridge  focuses on the health sector, and recently defended Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust against a race discrimination claim from one of its employees.

The 'exceptional', 'always professional' and 'commercially focused' Capsticks LLP works on employment matters predominantly in the health and social care sector. Bridget Prosser  heads the team and is 'a deep thinker', 'diligent' and 'first class at playing the long game'. She advised an NHS Trust where one of its doctors faced allegations of misconduct and another NHS Trust on the removal of its acting CEO. Other key individuals include associate Chloe Edwards , who focuses on discrimination claims, and associate Raj Basi , who is an expert in TUPE regulations. Former head Jacqui Atkinson joined Browne Jacobson LLP.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP  is 'highly knowledgeable across all areas'  and 'highly responsive and supportive with their approach', with a particularly strong reputation in the manufacturing sector . Tracy Worthington   co-heads the practice is 'very professional and understanding', and 'always takes the time to listen'. Fellow practice head Julia Fitzsimmons  is experienced in reorganisations,  discrimination claims, contractual disputes and restructure covenant claims.

The 'very good' and 'proficient' Trowers & Hamlins LLP  is 'always highly responsive and professional', with a strong reputation for advising on TUPE regulations. Rebecca McQuirk leads the Birmingham team and is 'thorough' and provides 'sound professional advice'. She recently defended RDS Distribution against claims of employee exploitation and acted for The Swimming Teachers' Association on an employment tribunal claim from its former CEO who was dismissed for gross misconduct. McQuirk is supported by Solicitor Sinead Noonan , who recently joined form *Gowling WLG .

Wright Hassall LLP  has the ability to 'deliver on complex and sensitive cases' and represents clients such as British Showjumping, Tech Spray Fibreglass and Eastcote Wealth Management. Ian Besant  leads the team and has extensive experience in handling discrimination cases. He is supported by Suki Harrar  who specialises in contentious matters and recently advised a regional accountancy practice on negotiating a dismissal without a claim being brought. Also recommended is senior associate Tina Chandler , whose 'authority with clients is impressive' and is experienced in handling dismissals and TUPE transfers.

Aaron & Partners LLP is headed by Helen Watson, who is skilled in TUPE disputes, large scale redundancies and trade union disputes. Paul Bennet is similarly skilled in TUPE disputes and mass redundancies, and also focuses on outsourcing matters. Associate Ben Mason  is 'incredibly knowledgeable' and 'always keen to not only help in the first instance but also follow up each issue proactively'. He recently advised Tudor Griffiths on general employment matters and Bird Technologies Group on contracts and restrictive covenants.

Askews Legal LLP is led by solicitor Lianne Payne , who is an expert in handling TUPE transfers, redundancies, settlement agreements and exit strategies. Dai Dave  joined in 2017 from DAC Beachcroft LLP  and is experienced in settlement agreements.

Brethertons LLP  handles both contentious and non-contentious employment matters, and regularly advises on tribunal claims, TUPE regulations, redundancies and transactions. Amy Edwards  leads the team and is notably skilled in restructurings, compliance and transactions. Also recommended is solicitor Hazel Robbins , who is an expert in tribunal proceedings.

Freeths LLP  has employment experts in its Birmingham and Stoke offices, representing clients such as ALDI Stores ,National Express and Birmingham Metropolitan College. Rebecca Sawbridge  leads the Birmingham office and recently advised Paul Smith on employee grievances and exits.  Peter Gavin  heads the Stoke team and defended Goodlife Foods against a complex unfair dismissal claim from a former employee.  He also assisted Preston Innovations with the dismissal of several employees on the grounds of suspected theft.

George Green LLP  is headed by Tim Lang ,  who acts for employers and senior employees unfair dismissals, discrimination cases and  restrictive covenants.

The 'excellent' Hatchers Solicitors LLP  'always does its utmost to turn work around promptly and efficiently', with 'clear advice and responses'. Nigel Harrison  leads the team and is 'very professional' and provides 'plain speaking, helpful advice'. He is an expert in redundancies, re-organisations and  contracts, as well as disciplinary and grievance matters. He is supported by solicitor Jack Latham , who has strong background in the public sector.

The 'excellent' Lanyon Bowdler provides 'timely', 'concise', 'clear' and 'pragmatic' advice on employment matters. John Merry leads the team and is 'extremely personable' and 'knowledgeable', and 'translates employment law into easily understandable, pragmatic advice'. He assisted Dyke Yakley with the employment aspects of its acquisition of Gorman Evans.

Sydney Mitchell LLP  is 'a solid, well respected team' that is 'a very popular locally' with 'a reputation that is growing nationally'. Dean Parnell  leads the team and is 'very popular with clients', and has 'a "can-do" attitude'.  He has a broad expertise in employment, and acts on behalf of employers and very senior employees. Also recommended is solicitor Samantha Glynn , who specialises in contentious issues.

Ansons ' employment team is highly active in sectors such as manufacturing, construction and  healthcare, with expertise in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Martin de Ridder  leads the team and is particularly experienced in advising on TUPE, re-organisations and outsourcings. Other notable names include: associate solicitor Jason Alcock  who is an expert in post termination restrictions; and associate solicitor Adam Pike , who focuses on tribunal claims.

Mark Ridley  is the key contact at Band Hatton Button LLP . He handles both contentious and non-contentious employment issues, but is particularly prevalent in acting unfair dismissal, redundancy, breach of contract and discrimination claims.

Beswicks Legal provides 'straight-forward advice', 'good response times' and 'peace of mind' to its clients. Managing partner Nick Philips  leads the team and is 'extremely knowledgeable' and 'proactive' in his work. He advises on re-organisations, disciplinary actions and restrictive covenants. Also recommended is solicitor Laura Franklin , who possesses 'the soft skills necessary to deliver a sometimes difficult message to staff with both clarity and empathy'. She is an expert in tribunal claims and TUPE regulations.

Cheltenham based Jenny Okafor-Jones  heads the employment team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys , and is notably skilled in advising on equal pay, discrimination and whistleblowing issues. She is supported by Michael Stokes , who is based in Hereford, and is an expert in advising local authorities. He recently advised Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council on an employee challenging its new pay scheme. Also recommended is Kristine Scott, who focuses on the education sector.

John Mehtam  leads the team at Martin-Kaye LLP Solicitors  and is particularly skilled in handling high value terminations, executive service agreements and post termination restrictions.

For some, mfg Solicitors LLP  is 'probably the best employment offering in Worcester and surrounding area', with a strong focus on the financial services, education, manufacturing and construction sectors. Sally Morris  heads the team and is known for her 'good sense', 'client awareness' and 'willingness to discuss difficult issues'. Chris Piggot  is also a key figure, and regularly works on matters relating to the professional services, manufacturing and retail sectors.

Pickerings Solicitors ' employment team 'takes the trouble to get to know the business that it is dealing with' and works on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Practice head Jonathon Forrester  is 'supportive' and 'pro-active' and advises employees on contentious matters for both employers and employees. Simon King  is 'very good' and 'explains things simply' and 'has always given good advice whenever sought'.  He also advises on disputes, with additional expertise in TUPE transfers. Human resources consultant Sue Hatton  has the 'upmost level of professionalism', 'always looks at an issue objectively' and 'takes away any emotional baggage that may have crept in'.

Slater and Gordon  is currently growing its presence in the Midlands and specialises in acting for employees in disputes. Senior associate David McBride  heads the team and regularly represents employees on tribunal claims. David Hodge is particularly strong in acting for senior executives in exit negotiations and has 'a keen analytical mind' and 'a fierce tenacity and determination to get the best result for his clients'.

The 'trustworthy' Thomas Guise Solicitors  has some 'very good lawyers' with 'a large amount of experience'. Geoffrey Ellis  leads the team and 'is very capable in analyzing cases in depth', 'considers all sorts of possibilities', and 'gives the most beneficial advice'.  He is experienced in advising on discrimination cases and TUPE transfers. Consultant Amanda Pillinger  is an expert in handling unfair dismissal, and discrimination cases.

Thursfields Solicitors is 'an effective unit' that 'handles myriad employment matters at all levels for a range of commercial clients'. Director Michelle O’Hara  leads the team and is an 'excellent communicator', who provides 'clear and concise advice'. She is highly skilled in restructuring and TUPE-related issues. Associate Lisa Kemp  is an expert in tribunal proceedings and reorganisations. She is 'very effective' and provides 'savvy advice' that is 'strategically sound'.

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