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DLA Piper UK LLP’s ‘strong practice’ is led by UK managing partner Sandra Wallace, who is ‘an exceptional lawyer’. The team undertakes high-profile litigation and advises on TUPE issues and has a focus on the manufacturing, retail and hospitality sectors. Nicholas Jew moved to Eversheds LLP.

Eversheds LLP provides ‘excellent work product and has a high degree of sophistication in addressing cross-border questions’. David Beswick leads the employment practice, which has a strong client base in the technology and energy sectors. A highlight was advising Goodyear Dunlop Tyres on redundancies, including overseeing negotiations with the trade union and advising on TUPE matters. Nicholas Jew joined as a consultant from DLA Piper UK LLP.

Gowling WLG’s employment team comprises 23 lawyers, including five partners, and is headed by Jane Fielding. A highlight from the past year was representing a client in thwarting an attempt by an employee to steal confidential information. Martin Chitty worked with healthcare providers, retailers and housing associations during 2015, and Jonathan Chamberlain is recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team is headed nationwide by Linda Jones, with Jonathan Coley heading the Birmingham team. The practice represents clients in education, retail and financial services, and has been working on cases involving the national minimum wage and the gender pay gap.

Averta Employment Lawyers LLP is a boutique specialising in senior executive work, particularly within the public sector, and is considered ‘very strong at acting for senior individuals’. The firm handled a number of cross-border cases during 2015, as well as a high-profile whistleblowing case involving a senior executive in the sports industry. Directors Alan Jones and David Sykes are key names.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s employment team has clients in both the public and private sectors, and has a focus on health and education and, to a lesser extent, the commercial sphere. Recent work includes advising various NHS trusts on whistleblowing matters. Peter Jones leads the team from the Nottingham office, and Helen Badger is recommended.

Victoria Garrad leads Gateley Plc’s employment practice in Birmingham, which was strengthened further with the arrival of Benedict Gorner from DLA Piper UK LLP. He brings his expertise in financial services, retail and professional services related employment issues to a practice that acts for a range of local and national companies, SMEs and senior executives. In a highlight matter, Garrad and senior associate Elaine Huttley defended MWUK Limited against claims brought by an employee for disability discrimination, victimisation, harassment and suffering a detriment for exercising a statutory right.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a strong public sector presence, and also continues to cultivate executive-level work in the private sector. In addition, the department has acted for a number of high-profile sports stars. Jog Hundle is noted for her work in the healthcare sector, and Richard Santy is known for his advocacy work. Nick Abbott is also recommended.

Charles Frost heads up the Birmingham team at Squire Patton Boggs, whose ‘service level is excellent’. Its clients span a broad range of industries and include Aston Villa FC, Veolia, Santander, Marston’s and Inditex. Ramez Moussa and associate Sophie Copson are both recommended.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP’s clients are drawn from the third sector, housing and health sectors. One of the most notable instructions in 2015 was helping Salford City Council with employment issues as they set up a new independent housing association, Salix Homes. Matthew Gregson heads the practice and Matthew Wort, Anna Dabek and Doug Mullen are all recommended.

DWF’s team is now headed by Hannah Robins, who was promoted following Kathy Halliday’s move to Veale Wasbrough Vizards. The department provides ‘very good, solid advice’ and focuses on the healthcare, retail, public and industrial sectors. The team has handled matters on behalf of West Midlands Police, Poundland Group and Housing Plus. Ashley Norman moved to Bevan Brittan LLP.

Higgs & Sons employment practice assists SMEs in the transport, manufacturing, and food and drink sectors. The ‘excellentTim Jones heads the six-strong team, which acted for Marston’s plc in 2015. Other clients include Warwickshire County Cricket Club, Associated Independent Stores and Diamond Box.

The ‘technically very strong’ team at Hill Hofstetter is headed by Ranjit Dhindsa, who has ‘exceptional knowledge coupled with a pragmatic approach’. The team continues to specialise in industrial relations disputes, and has recently become more involved in class actions and cases that involve TUPE issues. On the litigation side, the team has defended whistleblowing and discrimination cases. Emma Capper is also recommended.

Irwin Mitchell counts AXA Assistance, ThyssenKrupp Group UK and National Grid among its clients. Fergal Dowling heads the practice, and Omer Sinjee is recommended.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice has a strong focus on the Higher Education sector and also represents clients from the logistics, food and drink, and voluntary sectors. Michael Hibbs heads the team locally and nationally, and Helen Hughes and Tom Long joined the department as legal directors from Askews Legal LLP and Capsticks LLP respectively. Jane Byford moved to Veale Wasbrough Vizards, David Faulkner joined Mills & Reeve LLP, and Simon Gilmour joined Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards’ employment team was formed through the additions of joint practice leaders Kathy Halliday and Jane Byford from DWF and Shakespeare Martineau LLP respectively. The new group works with private and third sector clients and has a particular focus on higher and further education.

Weightmans LLP demonstrates ‘very good business acumen and client care’. It acts for local authorities and hospitality clients and specialises in equal pay claims. Liverpool-based Stuart Jones heads the team, and Jawaid Rehman is recommended.

Askews Legal LLP’s employment team is headed by Lianne Payne. It handles all manner of contentious and non-contentious work for SMEs and private clients.

Bevan Brittan LLP’s traditional areas of strength are the public and healthcare sectors, but with the arrival of Ashley Norman, former practice head at DWF, the team has expanded into the private sector and education.

Capsticks LLP’ specialist health and social care team, headed by Jacqui Atkinson, handled numerous matters for NHS foundation trusts in 2015, including an investigation following a whistleblowing claim related to the Fit and Proper Persons test for NHS executives.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP has acted for local private schools and continues to grow its client base in manufacturing. A recent highlight was assisting a new start-up in the care industry with employee matters and zero-hour contracts. Tracy Worthington is ‘very professional and personable in her approach’.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys recruited Simon Gilmour from Shakespeare Martineau LLP, and he now heads the department jointly with Claire Thompson and Jenny Jones. The team has acted for Red Bull, Worcester Warriors Rugby Club, Mizuno Corporation and Morgan Motor Company.

Knights Professional Services Limited has 15 fee-earners in its employment team, which is led by Mark Whitehouse. A recent highlight was assisting a bookmaker with the employment aspects of the acquisition of 14 betting shops.

Shoosmiths LLP’s clients include Debenhams Retail, The Law Society, the National Exhibition Centre and Peugeot Citroën. Charles Rae heads the team in the Birmingham office, which is praised by one client for being ‘a trusted source of information and providing options and solutions’.

Wright Hassall LLP specialises in tribunal work, TUPE matters and discrimination claims. Ian Beasant defends medium to large businesses and also conducts his own advocacy at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Suki Harrar specialises in the TUPE aspects of commercial, corporate and social housing transactions, as well as handling whistleblowing cases and senior executive dismissals.

David Hodge, head of department at Brethertons LLP, specialises in TUPE law and pensions advice, and also acts for corporates in high-profile tribunal cases. A client describes him as ‘committed, professional and pragmatic’. Debra Wetters focuses on business immigration matters.

National Express, Paul Smith, and Eurolines UK are among Freeths’ impressive list of clients. Practice head Rebecca Sawbridge has a particular focus on representing retailers, logistics companies and manufacturers and provides ‘concise and relevant advice at all times’.

Tim Lang heads the department at George Green LLP, which acts for clients across a range of industries, including real estate, technology and construction. Julia Fitzsimmon deals with all aspects of employment law and has expertise in defending employers in disability discrimination claims.

Hatchers Solicitors LLP has a focus on the charity and non-profit sector, but also acts for clients involved in automotives, construction and manufacturing. The team is headed by Nigel Harrison, who ‘makes difficult things seem straightforward’.

The lawyers in Lanyon Bowdler’s team are ‘incredibly knowledgeable and give quick, concise advice’. Led by John Merry, the department expanded its client base in 2015 with panel wins for clients in the leisure, sport and manufacturing sectors.

Sydney Mitchell LLP added associate Tina Chander and solicitor Jade Linton to the team, which is headed by Dean Parnell. The team acted on behalf of senior employees and executives in employment tribunals.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP focuses on acting for housing associations and trusts, and Rebecca McGuirk is considered ‘very knowledgeable in the field and the sector’. Emma Burrows heads the department.

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Legal Developments in West Midlands for Employment


    I have been asked to cover the topic of Employment law within my half an hour speaking slot today. I have narrowed my subject down to Transfer of Undertakings and Discrimination, with the focus on providing an update on the recent spate of cases on service provision change and on the important developments in the law of age discrimination. Needless to say, in my presentation I shall not be able to cover the level of detail which is contained in my written paper, which I will leave you to read.
    - 11KBW

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