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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 > Yorkshire and the Humber > Human resources > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire

Index of tables

  1. Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  4. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire clients in Yorkshire and the Humber 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


According to some clients, Addleshaw Goddard’s Leeds employment practice is ‘without doubt top tier in the region’. The practice is now headed by Sally Hulston following the departure of former practice head Emma Whiting, who established York-based employment boutique Torque Law LLP. Hulston, who was promoted to partner in May 2016, handles local and national employment law matters, with a particular focus on employment litigation. She leads a team of five other lawyers in Leeds, including associates Andy Graham, who joined in September 2016 from Nabarro LLP, and Emma Cousins, who joined in April 2016. Rounding out the team is managing associate Gerri Elliott, who is ‘an absolute joy to work with; her attention to client needs makes her extremely popular’. The practice has a track record advising key regional employers and – in keeping with its national and international footprint – FTSE100 and FTSE250 businesses on the full range of employment matters, from handling the employment aspects of corporate transactions, through to advising on redundancy exercises, assisting with executive terminations and recruitment, and acting in employment tribunals. In 2016, the firm was appointed to FTSE250 company Dixons Carphone Group’s first post-merger legal panel, advising on TUPE outsourcing and other HR matters. On the contentious employment front, the firm is acting for NHS Improvement in a multi-strand discrimination case brought by a senior employee concerning allegations of race, sex and disability discrimination. Other highlights included advising Castle Metals Europe on several rounds of redundancy exercises and on changes to the client’s bonus scheme in UK and Europe; and assisting the founders of ZyroFisher with its sale to Lloyds Development Capital, which involved the termination of the founders’ employment contracts and their entry into new fixed-term employment arrangements to enable them to continue to participate as board members.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s employment team in Leeds is regularly called upon to advise on complex and developing employment law issues, as illustrated by its track record of handling issues arising from the growth of the ‘gig’ economy. The firm also has notable strength in handling regulatory compliance issues arising from the growth of investigations into gender pay and Modern Slavery Act reporting. Jane Hannon heads the Leeds practice, which includes Christopher Baker, whose expertise covers both contentious and non-contentious issues, including defending clients in employment tribunals; and Louise Hendry, who is noted for her expertise in equality and diversity issues and change management. The firm’s network of offices worldwide makes it a natural choice for multi-jurisdictional mandates; in an illustration of the practice’s cross-border capability, Hannon is leading the advice to sports footwear manufacturer New Balance on the employment aspects of its recent expansion of retail stores across Europe, which involves extensive on-boarding, contracts and policy issues. Other multinational clients for which the Leeds office provides HR advice include Wyndham Hotel Group and De Beers. In addition to handling corporate employment matters arising from international outsourcings, large-scale change programmes and reorganisations, the practice also has considerable expertise in public sector outsourcing; highlights for 2016 included advising thebigword Group on its successful bid to provide linguist services to the Ministry of Justice. Other key mandates included advising the administrators of BHS on employment issues arising from its administration, which involved multi-site redundancies and the transfer of one group of staff to a purchaser.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s Leeds employment team was strengthened at partner level with the recruitment of Christopher Mordue from Pinsent Masons LLP; he brings his extensive higher education and industrial relations expertise to a team that already benefits from the further education and higher education expertise of partner Ben Wood; and the executive dismissal tribunal advocacy of joint practice heads Paul Cotton and Simon Rice-Birchall. The team handles a range of employment issues for household names including DHL, Thomas Cook, Morrisons plc and new client Hermes Parcelnet. In an illustration of Rice-Birchall’s track record handling highly complex and well-publicised tribunal cases, he is representing British Gas in Lock v British Gas, which has reached the Supreme Court and will have far-reaching implications concerning the calculation of holiday pay for workers throughout the UK. In another key matter highlighting the firm’s wider national coverage, Rice-Birchall acted alongside Birmingham-based pensions specialist Gary Delderfield on the TUPE aspects of the pooling of two local government pension scheme (LGPS) funds. Cotton’s highlights included leading the advice to Ecco Safety Group on the collective redundancy exercise and consultation process related to its closure of a site in Bridlington and the opening of a new site in Leeds; and advising Eggborough Power on a redundancy consultation involving discussions with trade unions and transition arrangements to be drafted following the UK government’s request to keep Eggborough power station open throughout 2016. Legal director Louise Lightfoot, who advised on the LGPS matter, has an extensive track record advising on the cross-border transfer of employees.

Pinsent Masons LLP has firmly established itself as a go-to firm for employment matters concerning the financial services, higher education and retail sectors, with a track record spanning advice on senior board exits, corporate reorganisations, equal pay and enforcement of restrictive covenants. Jon Fisher is the key figure for equal pay matters in the insurance and retail sectors, and leads the Leeds employment team, which includes Chris Booth, who acts on a range of employment matters for clients including William Hill and Grant Thornton. Booth acted for the former client on the restructuring of its retail business, involving a consultation process concerning its approximately 12,000 employees. Fisher has also assisted clients in senior executive departures, settlement agreements, the closure of defined-benefit pension schemes, and TUPE issues related to employee moves. Other clients include Direct Line, RBS and HSBC. Christopher Mordue joined Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in 2017.

For many, Squire Patton Boggs is considered a market leader in the retail sector and attracts praise for its ‘excellent service levels, practical advice and understanding of the client’s business’. The team provides employment law advice to a number of national retailer clients, including Pets at Home and Card Factory, new clients for 2016. Matthew Lewis (who is highly valued for his ‘practical and pragmatic advice’) leads the firm’s retail sector offering worldwide and handles the full range of employment issues, including precedent-setting holiday pay matters, advising on the TUPE aspects of pan-European restructuring projects, and assisting with collective consultation procedures. Andrew Stones (‘an expert in his field and trusted adviser’) has an extensive track record advising on industrial relations issues and has been heavily involved in holiday pay matters. Senior associate James Keogh attracts praise for his ‘enthusiastic and proactive approach and ability to find business-specific solutions to problems’. Other clients include Staples and Majestic Wines.

Clarion’s ‘strong employment team’ attracts praise for its ‘excellent response times and commerciality’ and for its ‘insight and understanding of the client’s organisation and the constraints it works within’. Sarah Tahamtani heads a team that includes fellow partner John Robinson – who is ‘an excellent employment lawyer with particular strength in tribunal matters; his clients rate him highly’ – and four other lawyers, which collectively handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment matters. The firm’s client base comprises a mixture of national and multinational corporates, including Nobia, Allied Glass Containers and Arla Foods, which is a new client win for 2016, as well as a number of medium-sized and owner-managed businesses active throughout Yorkshire and the North of England. Tahamtani has an extensive track record advising employers on a range of issues, including high-value employment litigation, board level disputes and change management issues arising from business restructurings, reorganisations and redundancy processes. In addition to acting for employers, the firm also handles a large number of matters for senior employees, and has negotiated £1m-worth of severance packages for executives and board directors. Other recommended individuals include senior associates Deborah Warren and John Robinson.

DAC Beachcroft LLP fields a ‘responsive, knowledgeable’ team that provides ‘clear, commercially focused advice in a manner that suits the client’s business’. In keeping with the wider firm’s healthcare strength, the employment practice in Leeds acts for a range of public and private healthcare sector clients on contentious and non-contentious matters. James Rhodes jointly leads the practice and is the key figure on healthcare-related work; he brings 18 years of experience handling TUPE matters, senior exits and complex litigation, among other employment matters, for healthcare clients. The Leeds employment team is working in conjunction with the firm’s Manchester office for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in the defence of Employment Tribunal proceedings brought by a consultant surgeon concerning whistleblowing, race discrimination, unfair dismissal, unlawful deduction of wages and breach of contract claims; following a six-week hearing, all claims were dismissed or withdrawn, with the exception of a finding of procedural unfair dismissal. Beyond the healthcare sector, fellow joint head Louise Bloomfield leads the practice’s advice to corporate employers including McDonald’s, which the team advised on the implementation of minimum hours contracts for its restaurant employees, the outsourcing of its payroll function, the restructuring of pay and flexible working hours for all salaried staff, and a restructuring of its head office teams. Other corporate employer clients include a national logistics and mail distributor, which the firm advised on the restructuring of its national finance team, involving the exit of senior personnel and widespread redundancies at managerial level; and Transversal Corporation, a market leader in knowledge and search engine software, which the firm advised on the removal of its financial director. Recently promoted legal director Zoe Thomas is rated for her ‘willingness to tackle any issue, however bizarre it may be’. The team was joined in 2016 by Andrew Tomlinson from Weightmans.

DWF’s employment team in Leeds acts for a number of household names and particularly stands out for its expertise in the education, healthcare, real estate and retail sectors. On the education front, the practice acts on a range of day-to-day employment law issues, including settlement agreements, grievances and collective and trade union matters for a number of grammar and private schools. In an illustration of its contentious expertise, practice head Rob Riley and Philippa O’Brien acted for Charity People, a recruitment consultancy specialising in the non-profit sector, on the successful resolution of claims against the client’s former senior managers concerning breach of employment contracts and covenants through the managers’ setting up of a competing business.

Gordons LLP’s employment team stands out for its expertise in retail, transport and education. The practice has also leveraged its work for the Dioceses of Coventry, West Yorkshire and Durham, and Coventry Cathedral, to win a new appointment to provide employment law support to all of the Church of England’s institutions nationally. Other new clients for the team include insurer Allianz and Yorkshire Building Society. Philip Paget heads the team; he brings more than 26 years of experience in employment law matters and is regularly called on to handle large-scale strategic planning and restructuring exercises, with a particular emphasis on litigation. Other key members of the team include Tim Gooder, who has defended a range of claims before the Employment Tribunal, including unfair dismissal and discrimination; and Bryony Goldspink, whose expertise includes TUPE transfer matters and equal pay mass litigation. Simon Robinson and Paul Stokey joined Shoosmiths LLP in 2016.

Lupton Fawcett LLP’s employment practice operates across the firm’s offices in Leeds, York and Sheffield, making it uniquely placed to cover the Yorkshire and Humber region for its employer clients, which include a number of household names. Andrew Gilchrist heads the team and splits his time between the Leeds and York offices; his highlights included acting for KPMG in potential claims arising from an administration involving over 100 employees, in which the firm was able to secure a favourable and cost-effective outcome for the client. Gilchrist also leads the ongoing advice to national vehicle hire company Northgate in its employment and HR issues, including handling settlement agreements, disciplinary matters and data protection. Louise Connacher in Leeds is highlighted for her track record in restrictive covenant disputes, data protection, national minimum wage investigations, immigration matters, and HR issues governing charities and not-for-profits; her clients include UK-based retailer Mamas & Papas, for which she is handling a review of the client’s anti-bribery and corruption policy, drafting Modern Slavery Act policy, and advising on employment tribunal claims. Also based in Leeds, Angela Gorton handles a range of employment issues for businesses and senior executives, and is continuing to advise Seabrook Crisps on employment issues arising from its MBO, including handling minimum wage issues and changes to terms and conditions. Other key figures include York-based partner Brian Harrington, whose clients include Chaucer Foods Limited, which Harrington advises on multi-jurisdictional employment issues related to its sites in the US, France, Germany and China.

Walker Morris LLP’s employment team acts for national and international businesses as well as a number of leading Yorkshire-based companies; food manufacturer Symington’s, retailer Moss Bros, Starbucks, business process outsourcing company Capita and Toyota all call on the firm to handle business-critical UK employment issues. David Smedley heads the team, which includes food and drink expert Andrew Rayment; Rayment’s clients include Asda Stores, which he is advising on employment issues arising from the sale of the client’s photo business, and Ainscough Crane hire, which he is advising on a strike organised by Unite the Union involving over 500 employees across several of the client’s sites. In another highlight for the firm, Smedley led the team acting for Landis+Gyr, a global metering solutions provider, on several matters, including the UK aspects of a multi-jurisdictional restructuring; defending the client in a discrimination and victimisation claim; and handling a number of senior management exits. Shakeel Dad, who was also involved in that matter, has established a considerable reputation for his work advising Premier League and Football League clubs on a range of employment law issues, as well as for his work in the food and drink sector. Dad’s recent highlights include acting for Chipotle on the appointment of a new European managing director, advising the client on a misconduct dismissal, and assisting with the drafting of bespoke post-termination restrictions.

Ward Hadaway’s three-partner employment team covers a broad spectrum of employment matters, including TUPE transfer matters, trade union issues, redundancy consultations, industrial actions and disciplinary hearings, for clients including FedEx and Turner & Townsend. Practice head Harmajinder Hayre is routinely called upon to advise board directors on HR and employment issues arising from corporate restructurings and reorganisations. Hayre’s highlights included providing ongoing support to Welcome Financial Services’ former employees, who have been exited as a result of the company’s winding-down process, and assisting Leeds United Football Club with its well-publicised issues regarding former employees, including one seeking more than £500,000 in damages following her successful Employment Tribunal claim. Hayre is ably assisted by Edward Nuttman, who joined from Gordons LLP and has a particular focus on transport and healthcare. Nuttman acted for London Sovereign in its successful appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal concerning an unfair dismissal claim. Other key figures in the team include Flora Mewies, who regularly handles business immigration matters and defends clients in Employment Tribunal claims. Richard Port left the firm in 2017 to establish his own practice.

3volution Limited’s two-partner team handles the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters for a mixed client base of local SMEs and large employers, including Cape Industrial Services and Kensington Power, a new client win for 2016. The firm’s track record covers TUPE matters, advising on whistleblowing and discrimination complaints, and representing clients in Employment Tribunal claims. In addition to acting for employers, the firm is also advising a growing number of senior executives on severance issues. Gearalt Fahy successfully defended Great Northern Envelope Company in a claim for race discrimination brought by a former employee, and represented Cleveland Potash Limited in a three-day hearing before the Newcastle Employment Tribunal arising from a claim for unfair dismissal related to the client’s restructuring of its business at Boulby mine. Paul Ball handles restructuring and redundancy processes and advises on TUPE transfers.

Blacks Solicitors LLP’s clients highlight the firm’s ‘excellent overall service’ and ‘common-sense and grounded approach’. The employment team assists employees and SME employers with contentious and non-contentious issues, and is particularly adept at handling executive settlement packages, restrictive covenants and employee shareholder status issues. Chris Allen heads the employment practice, which includes Tom Moyes, who impresses with his ‘communication skills and legal knowledge – he is able to communicate on both a lawyer level and personal level extremely well’; Richard Parr, who attracts praise for his ‘entrepreneurial style and approach’; and associate David Ward, who is singled out for his ‘ability to explain the legal process in simple terms’.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s employment practice spans the firm’s national office network, which it leverages to act for a national client base, as well as key Yorkshire-based employers. Ed Duffield has taken over as head of the practice in Leeds following Claire-Jane Nicol’s retirement, and was joined in 2016 by Alan Kennedy from Shulmans LLP. Duffield has a particular focus on advice to clients in the chemicals and manufacturing sectors, and recently provided employment support to an international manufacturing client related to the sale of its European surfactants business. Other highlights included assisting Dnata, which operates ground handling services at Heathrow and Manchester airports, with the TUPE transfers of a number of its employees, and advising Saint Catherine’s Hospice on compulsory redundancies arising from its restructuring and on the successful resolution of an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

Capsticks LLP has a market-leading reputation nationally for its healthcare-sector expertise and its employment team in Leeds is a key adviser to the NHS, for which it handles the full range of employment matters. Rachael Heenan heads the team and led the advice to NHS Employers, the national body responsible for producing policy and guidance to employers in the NHS, on issues arising from the proposed introduction of the new Junior Doctors contract, including successfully representing the client in Judicial Review proceedings brought by the British Medical Association, as well as undertaking an equality impact assessment, advising on proposed industrial action, and assisting with whistleblowing provisions entered into with Health Education England. Other highlights included advising Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust on the disciplinary process for a consultant following a serious patient complaint. The firm also provides employment advice to a number of GPs and acts for social housing provider Stonewater on safeguarding issues. Other key figures include Ron Simms, whose track record includes advising an NHS board on the employment aspects of a governance improvement action plan, which involved complex discrimination and whistleblowing issues; and Claire Reynolds, who acts for not-for-profit and third-sector organisations on a range of matters, including business reorganisations, TUPE matters and executive terminations.

Glenn Hayes leads Irwin Mitchell’s employment team in Leeds, which handles a mixture of day-to-day employment matters for its national employer client base, in addition to acting in complex and high-value tribunal matters. Hayes is ably assisted by seven associates, including business immigration specialist Padma Tadi and Jenny Arrowsmith, who leads the firm’s education offering in the North. Tadi’s highlights included advising Leeds Brewery Company on the employment aspects of the sale of its pubs to Camerons Brewery, which involved advising the owners on information and consultation obligations under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and negotiating employment warranties and indemnities contained within the corporate transaction documents. On the contentious side, Arrowsmith and Hayes are representing Capita Group in a dispute with an existing employee.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP has wide-ranging expertise in employment matters, from advising on executive employment issues to handling discrimination and equal pay claims to employment issues arising from large-scale restructurings and redundancies. The firm is especially well regarded for its TUPE expertise, and fields a leading authority in this space in the form of Dr John McMullen, whose highlights included acting for a multi-academy trust in a reorganisation programme involving the rationalisation of terms and conditions of employment, and acting for a charity in the North West on the TUPE implications of its merger with another charity. In addition to acting for charities and educational institutions, the firm also handles employment matters for national and multinational corporates, as well as senior executives; in an illustration of the latter, McMullen assisted the senior executive of a UK plc with negotiating severance arrangements, including share option rights bonuses and a six-figure compensation package. Chris Billington heads the practice, and handles whistleblowing claims and advises charities on post-transfer changes to terms and conditions of employment; his recent highlights include acting for an educational charity in allegations brought against a member of staff involving public indecency.

The employment practice at Berwins handles day-to-day employment issues, ranging from managing recruitment to handling settlement agreements and Employment Tribunal claims arising from dismissals. Mike Patterson’s highlights included advising California-based Impex Fitness, a supplier of home fitness equipment, on the employment aspects of a key acquisition forming part of the client’s international expansion strategy. He also acted for the managing director of Platinum Financial Planning in a review and update of the client’s existing employment contracts, policies and procedures to ensure compliance with current legislation and business needs, and advised Berwin & Berwin on the dismissal of a store manager on the grounds of misconduct and poor performance.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’s practice is headed by Mini Setty, a diversity and equality specialist who acts for clients from a range of sectors, including transport, retail, financial services and education. The firm handles a variety of contentious and non-contentious employment issues, and is focusing on strengthening its business immigration expertise. Tribunal work continues to be a key area of activity, as does assisting employers on issues arising from breaches of restrictive covenants.

Schofield Sweeney’s employment practice handles a range of contentious issues, including Employment Tribunal matters, as well as providing HR and employment law support to commercial and education sector clients. Advice to schools and academies has been a growing trend; in 2016, practice head Simon Shepherd successfully defended an independent school in two separate matters before the Employment Tribunal: the first claim involved proceedings for constructive dismissal and allegations of breach of contract; and the second claim involved proceedings for unfair dismissal and disability after the claimant was made redundant following the closure of a club operated commercially by the school. Shepherd is ably assisted by Alex Clements, whose expertise covers public sector employment matters as well as advice to corporates. Her highlights included defending Williams Lea in a claim brought by a former employee involving 22 separate allegations of race discrimination. Other clients include JD Sports Fashion and Horton Housing Association. Bradford-based associate Gemma Sherbourne is also recommended.

Shulmans LLP’s expanding employment practice is led by Ian Dawson and includes Jim Wright, who joined in August 2015 from DWF. The firm, which has particular strengths in the road transport, education and financial services fields, handles a range of day-to-day HR matters for its clients, as well as contentious employment issues. Clients include Brewster Pratap Recruitment Group, which the firm assists with high-level departures and restrictive covenant disputes; and Finance and Credit Corporation Limited, which the firm advised on employment issues arising from the restructuring of its business, involving the exit of previous managers. Associate Tom Watkins has extensive experience in employment issues concerning educational institutions. Other highlights included acting for Audio Technica on performance issues regarding one of its managers, which involved potential race and discrimination claims.

Ben Daniel leads the employment practice at Weightmans, which has a strong focus on handling employment issues for its transport-sector clients, including FirstGroup and National Express. Daniel brings 20 years of experience in the heavily unionised transportation sector, handling industrial disputes and Employment Tribunals. He also has expertise in employment matters concerning local authorities and NHS trusts. In a key highlight, Daniel led the team advising Hoyer Petrolog UK on the outsourcing of BP’s fuel distribution to the client, which involved TUPE transfer issues. Associates Nick Newman and Susan Matthews are also recommended.

Employment: Sheffield and South Yorkshire

Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Employment: Sheffield and South Yorkshire clients in Yorkshire and the Humber 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


DLA Piper UK LLP’s employment team in Sheffield is led by Clare Gregory; she has wide-ranging expertise in contentious and non-contentious employment matters for regional, national and international employers, and is particularly noted for her track record handling the employment aspects of multi-jurisdictional outsourcing projects. In 2016, Gregory led the team advising LloydsPharmacy on its acquisition of the in-store pharmacies of Sainsbury’s, involving the transfer of more than 2,500 Sainsbury’s employees to LloydsPharmacy. Beverley Ensor, who also acted on that matter, is regularly called upon to assist private and public sector clients on equal pay claims litigation, and regularly appears before the Employment Tribunal. Other key figures include Gurpreet Duhra, who led the team that successfully represented Verizon in a claim before the Reading Employment Tribunal involving allegations of discrimination brought by an individual with a serious degenerative condition. In addition to Verizon, the Sheffield office handles a number of other global HR relationships, including for clothing retailers Karen Millen and All Saints. In another contentious highlight, Duhra and Ensor successfully defended Paddy Power in an Employment Tribunal whistleblowing and race discrimination case brought by a former employee claiming that she was dismissed on the grounds of sex and race.

Tracey Marsden is the key employment figure in CMS’s Sheffield office; she can draw on more than 20 years of experience handling employment issues in the public and private sectors, including handling trade union and industrial relations issues, business transfers, redundancy and restructuring programmes, and TUPE transfer issues. The practice is noted for its strength in depth in the real estate sector; 2016 highlights included advising International Hotel Group Limited on its acquisition of hotels at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, which involved TUPE transfer issues and the negotiation of employment warranties and indemnities. In another key mandate, Marsden led the team advising on the employment aspects of the administration of Lowcosttravelgroup, which involved advising on the handling of potential redundancies across its sites in Europe. Marsden also defended UK Coal Production in a collective claim brought by the National Union of Mineworkers against UK Coal Kellingley Limited (in liquidation) arising from the closure of the last working mine in Kellingley.

HLW Keeble Hawson handles employment matters for owner-managed businesses across Yorkshire and the North Midlands, with notable strength in the engineering, transport and professional services industries. Barry Warne leads the team; his expertise encompasses TUPE transfer issues, executive severance matters, collective redundancy, and unfair dismissal and discrimination disputes. Highlights included advising Sheffcare Limited, which operates a number of care homes in Sheffield and employs 450 staff, on the GMB’s application to the Central Arbitration Committee seeking an order for compulsory recognition for collective bargaining by the GMB. Lauren Fulcher handles collective and individual redundancy matters, as well as providing corporate support. Other clients include Chesterfield Football Club and Newell & Wright Transport.

Irwin Mitchell’s employment team in Sheffield is headed by Kirsty Ayre, an experienced tribunal advocate that acts for a number of household names, including EasyJet and Henry Boot. She leads a team of three associates in Sheffield and can call on the wider firm’s resources in Leeds as well as nationally. The practice acts for a number of manufacturers, including medical devices and aerospace manufacturer Tecomet, as well as educational institutions and charities. Ayre acted alongside associate Jennifer Walton in a number of Employment Tribunal claims, and defended Capita in an equal pay claim involving local authority pay arrangements. Liesel Whitfield acted for Henry Boot to design and implement an employment law training programme for all managers up to board level.

Lupton Fawcett LLP’s employment team in Sheffield works in conjunction with its offices in Leeds and York to provide comprehensive coverage across the Yorkshire and Humber region’s main business centres. Joan Pettingill is the key figure in Sheffield; her wide-ranging employment expertise encompasses trade union and industrial action issues, TUPE transfer matters and large-scale restructurings. Pettingill also heads the firm’s GP practice, for which she handles employment issues. In a cross-office highlight, the group provides ongoing employment advice to the Yorkshire branch of Arcelor Mittal, which has included advice on holiday pay, restrictive covenants, maternity matters, and performance and conduct issues. Pettingill is also advising a highly unionised employer in multiple holiday pay claims.

Taylor & Emmet LLP’s employment team is now headed by newly promoted partner Tom Draper following David Poddington’s departure to Keystone Law. Draper has particular expertise in Employment Tribunal litigation, executive severance work and discrimination issues. He has guided a number of employers through industrial relations issues, such as collective grievances and structural changes. Draper defended NG Bailey IT Services in a claim for constructive dismissal and race discrimination; prior to the commencement of the five-day hearing, the case was successfully settled. Kelly Gibson, who joined the firm in July 2016 from Elliot Mather LLP, acted for NG Bailey Facility Services in successfully persuading the tribunal to strike out a claim at an early stage of the litigation process.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited attracts praise for its combination of ‘friendly and prompt advice with first-class regulatory knowledge’. The practice acts for SME employers throughout Sheffield and the wider Yorkshire region, and also handles matters for employees. Mark Serby heads the practice, which includes Holly Dobson, who is highlighted by clients for her ‘exemplary support and advice’. Dobson has been providing ad-hoc data protection advice to clients including Westfield Contributory Health Scheme Limited, Sheffield Diocese and Birkdale School.

Clare Fowler heads the employment and discrimination group at Howells, which primarily handles work for employees. It is among a small group of firms nationally able to provide discrimination advice under the Legal Help scheme. Past work has included assisting an employee with its appeal before the Employment Appeal Tribunal against a decision that the dismissal of the employee for acts constituting a risk to health and safety was fair.

Barnsley-based MKB Solicitors LLP provides a ‘very responsive’ service and is noted for its ‘commercial approach’ on employment matters. Clients include businesses and individuals, which the team advises on a wide range of employment, HR and personnel issues. Recent work includes negotiating a settlement in an executive dispute; TUPE issues arising from a client’s organisational restructuring; advising on disciplinary proceedings related to investigations into historic sexual abuse; and advising on the employment implications of a company takeover. Simon Brian heads the team, which includes Ben McFeely, ‘a safe pair of hands and very knowledgeable in the field’.

Taylor Bracewell’s employment team acts for a mixed client base of individuals, charities and not-for-profit organisations, and a number of national and international companies. Sara Ellison heads the practice and has an extensive track record in Employment Tribunal matters; recent work includes representing a superintendent pharmacist in his claims against his former employer for constructive dismissal, whistleblowing and failure to follow ACAS’ Code of Practice. On the employer side, Ellison acted for Ed Lounge Limited in Employment Tribunal proceedings for unfair dismissal brought by a former employee.

Employment: Hull and East Yorkshire

Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Employment: Hull and East Yorkshire clients in Yorkshire and the Humber 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


Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP’s ‘reliable and efficient’ employment team attracts praise for its ‘excellent client care and thorough preparation’. In addition to handling the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, the firm also provides specialist business immigration advice. The ‘knowledgeable, even-handed and extremely commercialJonathan Dale heads the team, which includes Mary Walker, who is ‘assiduous in looking after her clients, and is not afraid to give unwelcome advice when it is in their interests’. The firm’s clients include a number of European companies with operations in the Humber region, which regularly call on it to advise on the TUPE aspects of business disposals and outsourcing matters, as well as Employment Tribunal disputes. Highlights included defending AAK UK in an unfair dismissal claim brought by a former employee dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct, and defending Wren Living Limited in an unfair dismissal claim based in part on the contention that a redundancy warning should have been given at the triggering of a leasehold break clause two years before closure.

Rollits LLP’s employment team is noted for its expertise in the education, food and charities sectors, and acts for a number of family-owned and owner-managed businesses. Donna Ingleby heads the team, which includes Edward Jenneson and associate Ed Heppel, and which acts for clients including Hull City Tigers, William Jackson Food Group and Hull College Group. Recent work includes advising several clients on senior exits; handling a complex Equality Act claim; disciplinary proceedings relating to allegations of gross misconduct by a CEO; and an Employment Tribunal concerning marital and disability discrimination.

Bridge McFarland’s employment practice covers the full spectrum of employment law matters, including handling team moves, restrictive covenants, and trade union and industrial action issues. TUPE transfer issues are a particular area of strength for the team, which is led by Lee Whiting, whose sector expertise covers transport and logistics, healthcare and construction. Other key figures include Nicola Barrass, who has a strong track record handling multi-party litigation involving TUPE issues.

Ted Flanagan heads the employment practice at Gosschalks, which includes associate Nathalie Stewart. Recent employment highlights include acting before the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a case concerning the dismissal of an employee after his 18th disciplinary offence and which established that expired warnings can be taken into account in dismissals for misconduct.

Health and safety

Index of tables

  1. Health and safety
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Health and safety clients in Yorkshire and the Humber 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


According to some, CMS (which merged with Nabarro LLP in 2017) fields a health and safety team that is ‘as good as any major firm in this practice area, and better than the vast majority’. Practice head Lukas Rootman attracts praise for his ‘gift for understanding the client’s needs and for his keen grasp of the commercial realities; he will never over-lawyer a case and will find a sensible solution where possible, and is tough as nails and not prepared to tolerate any nonsense from the other side’. The Sheffield-based team works on a national and international basis, handling high-profile HSE investigations and prosecutions, inquests and health and safety compliance advice, with particular capability in the chemicals, construction, energy waste and manufacturing sectors. Carl Dray is the other key partner; he handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, with a key strength in defendant insurance work.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team in Leeds is led by Chris Baranowski and Tracey Longfield and was further strengthened by the arrival of Kirsty Gomersal from Clyde & Co LLP. She brings her rail and construction industry expertise to a team with an extensive insurer client base and key strengths in the manufacturing, retail and healthcare sectors. Baranowski is singled out for this track record in corporate manslaughter and health and safety investigations, and Longfield regularly handles healthcare regulatory issues. Key mandates included representing an agricultural services company in police investigations following the death of a driver, which resulted in a prosecution under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The Sheffield-based Teresa Hitchcock leads DLA Piper UK LLP’s UK health and safety practice; her extensive experience in local government makes her a natural choice for public sector health and safety matters. The practice has a pre-eminent reputation for assisting its corporate clients at senior management and board levels with health and safety compliance, from handling internal and regulatory investigations and resulting prosecutions, to defending clients in disputes arising from major incidents. In 2016, Hitchcock led the team acting for Ardagh Group, a Luxembourg-based glass and metal producer, in a HSE investigation into a serious accident involving one of the client’s employees on a third-party site, which involved working closely with the client to prepare written submissions to the regulator as well as handling the plea following the HSE’s decision to prosecute. In other highlights, the practice assisted Unilever with conducting a risk analysis of the client’s European business with a view to identifying key health and safety and environmental risks, and advised Keller Group on the production of a guide to key health and safety issues and obligations to be used by the client’s management teams.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides a ‘consistent, high-quality, client-centred service’ across the firm’s UK-wide network of offices, with clients singling out several key figures in Leeds, including Kevin Elliott, who heads the firm’s national health and safety practice; David Young, who is ‘sound, responsive, measured, effective and authoritative – a first-class adviser’; and the ‘client-focusedPaul Verrico, who is noted for his ‘excellent strategic advice’. The firm acts for a number of UK-based and global clients, including Tarmac Trading, which the firm defended in a prosecution following a fatality during some roadworks, and Parker Hannifin, which the firm defended in an HSE prosecution concerning a fatality arising from equipment falling on to a maintenance fitter.

Sarah Taylor heads the Leeds team at Pinsent Masons LLP and ‘leads by example; she has vast experience in the field and her attention to detail is unrivalled’. The team handles high-profile investigations and prosecutions, as well as non-contentious health and safety and regulatory issues for a number of national and multinational businesses, with particular strengths in the retail and food sectors. Taylor’s team works in conjunction with the firm’s national health and safety offering, which enables its clients to draw on UK-wide resources where necessary. Clients include Asda Stores, William Hill and DONG Energy.

Erin Shoesmith leads the team at Addleshaw Goddard, which attracts praise for its ‘excellent technical knowledge, pragmatic advice and ability to maintain a high level of service while dealing with fast-moving matters’. According to some, Shoesmith is ‘in the very front rank; her legal skill ensures she has the best possible understanding of the case, enabling her to devise practical solutions’. The firm is regularly called on by international clients to handle HSE investigations and prosecutions; key mandates included defending Advanced Metallurgical Group in an HSE prosecution concerning serious injuries sustained by an employee of the client in a crushing plant, and acting for Asset International in an HSE prosecution arising from a series of reports of employees suffering from hand-arm vibration syndrome, which was one of the first prosecutions under new sentencing guidelines introduced on 1 February 2016.

Paul Matthews leads the practice at DWF, which was joined in January 2016 by experienced criminal solicitor Mark Thompson. The team in Leeds is regularly called upon to handle HSE investigations and criminal and civil prosecutions arising from major incidents, often involving corporate manslaughter. The firm’s insurance credentials makes it a natural choice for insurers seeking advice on health and safety matters. Other sectors in which the practice is experienced include education, healthcare and construction.

At Kennedys, the ‘responses, quality of work and advice given has proven to be excellent over the years; the team strength and knowledge is also excellent’. Daniel McShee leads the practice in Sheffield, which works in concert with the firm’s national regulatory defence practice, giving it the strength in depth to handle high-profile disaster incidents across a range of industries, including healthcare, construction and manufacturing. In a key matter, senior associate Anna Naylor led the team representing Mid UK Recycling in an HSE prosecution concerning a fatality; she is also leading the team representing a refuse collector in a police investigation following the death of a homeless man in a fire within a truck in Manchester.

Weightmans’ health and safety practice is ‘much sought after, and justifiably so; the firm rapidly gets to the heart of the problem in hand, and identifies the right way forward’. David Lewis heads the firm’s national regulatory practice from the Leeds office and is singled out for providing ‘client care and a commitment to careful analysis that is second to none; he is further distinguished by his ability to resolve cases in a practical manner, thus freeing clients to pursue their commercial strategies’. The practice handles the full range of health and safety matters for public, commercial, charitable and insurance clients, which can also draw on the firm’s niche environmental and business crime teams where necessary. In a key matter, Lewis represented East Riding District Council at an inquest following the death of a motorcyclist whose family alleged that the accident occurred as a result of poor street lighting and an inappropriate approach to parking restrictions in the area.

In keeping with the firm’s wider transportation expertise, Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP’s health and safety practice acts for a number of transport clients in investigations and prosecutions by agencies including the HSE and Environment Agency. Highlights included acting for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the prosecution of a shipmaster concerning the loss of a crewman overboard, and acting for a river pilot in a rare prosecution under the Pilotage Act 1997 concerning a collision between two vessels. Jeff Swales has an extensive track record in fatal accident cases, and Andrew Oliver is singled out for his expertise in shipping and transport health and safety issues.

BLM’s health and safety practice handles serious and high-profile cases including corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter for private and public sector clients, with particular expertise in care home-related cases involving the elderly and vulnerable children. Henry Kirkup heads the team and is ‘good at cutting to the issues’; he defended Chatsworth House Trust in a case involving fatal injuries sustained by a volunteer who rode his motorcycle over the retaining wall of an unusual feature of the park. Consultant Richard Clarke is ‘hugely experienced and a pleasure to work with’.

Headed by Ruth Armstrong, Gateley Plc’s regulatory practice also features Pauline Munro, ‘a talented regulatory lawyer who readily commits to clients at short notice, working to come up with the best outcome possible’. The firm handles the full range of fatality and incident services to a national client base covering the housebuilding, construction, transport, waste management, manufacturing and retail sectors. In an illustration of the practice’s track record in high-profile HSE investigations, Munro was instructed by nylon manufacturer Nylacast following the death of an employee at its site, which involved providing support in the aftermath of the incident and advising on the inquest and HSE investigation. Armstrong’s mandates included representing Bilfinger Industrial Services in a coroner’s inquest into the death of a pylon rigger during planned maintenance works to an electricity pylon.

Plexus Law’s health and safety practice handles the full range of regulatory and enforcement matters, including acting in corporate manslaughter prosecutions and criminal health and safety prosecutions. The firm also acts for a number of insurers, including Chubb and Swiss Re. Anthony Baker leads the team, which acted for Interserve Facility Management in an HSE investigation into injuries sustained by an employee of the client while on a third-party site. Other key mandates included acting for Kineton Manor in an HSE investigation into the death of a resident who contracted cryptosporidium following an event held at the home owned and operated by the client.

Walker Morris LLP’s ‘responsive, practical and commercial’ two-partner team ‘always keeps an eye on the bigger picture for the client’. Jeanette Burgess heads the practice, which includes Andrew Northage, who is ‘charming, inspires confidence and is easy to work with for clients and counsel alike; he fights his client’s corner but doesn’t take bad points’. The firm has experienced a notable uptick in food and retail mandates; in an illustration of the latter, Robert Starr acted for JFT Wholesale Limited, a UK-based discount retail chain, in a prosecution brought by Staffordshire County Council concerning the sale and storage of fireworks.


Who Represents Who

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For many, Bankfield Heath Solicitors is ‘at the forefront of asylum and immigration work in the North of England; the firm is a cut above and consistently delivers outstanding results for clients’. From its Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield offices, the firm covers the full range of immigration law matters regionally as well as nationally. Key figures include the Sheffield-based Arnie Higgins, who is ‘a dynamic innovator with a sharp intellect’ and is singled out for her work in asylum and human rights cases, as well as representing victims of human trafficking; and the ‘formidable’ Ish Ahmed in Leeds, who is noted for his ‘deep understanding’ of business immigration matters. Laxmi Limbani in the Wakefield office has a particular focus advising Iranian nationals on asylum claims.

Carter Thomas Solicitors is singled out as providing ‘that extra bit of listening, care and explanation that engenders the client’s trust and makes them feel comfortable’. Nichola Carter provides ‘extremely well-considered guidance; she pitches her guidance perfectly and clearly, and is always probing in her question to our members’. The boutique immigration firm handles matters for a wide-ranging client base that includes an education provider with Tier 4 licences; high-net-worth individuals seeking to enter the UK as investors; and investors, entrepreneurs and businesses holding or applying for Tier 2 sponsor licences. Key work in 2016 included assisting a UK university with retaining its sponsor licence, obtaining a sponsor licence in a short timeframe for a US tech company, and advising a number of EEA nationals and their families on applications for UK permanent residence status following the Brexit vote.

The team at Howells handles an array of immigration matters, including asylum claims, human rights cases, family migration, and European and points-based system cases. Nadeem Ahmed heads the practice, which has a strong track record in human trafficking and domestic violence cases. Key matters included acting for the claimants in a Judicial Review of a decision by the Upper Tribunal to refuse permission to appeal against an immigration claim, and representing a client sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment under threat of deportation.

The immigration practice at Kingswell Watts Solicitors is ‘very knowledgeable, approachable, accommodating, always provides the most appropriate advice, and is great value for money’. Corporate immigration has been a key area of growth for the practice, which has been handling an increasing amount of Tier 2 sponsorship applications and Tier 1 entrepreneur applications. The firm also handles immigration matters for individuals, including EEA dependent applications, spousal applications and nationality applications. Ilyas Bulbulia heads the team and is praised for his ‘approachability, knowledge and willingness to take the time to research the correct guidance’.

Christopher Cole is the key figure at Parker Rhodes Hickmotts; he is highly regarded for his expertise in human rights and asylum cases.

Simpson Millar LLP is noted for its track record handling legal challenges on human rights matters, including detention and deportation cases, as well as handling Judicial Review matters concerning naturalisation refusals and human rights-related decisions. Emma Brooksbank heads the immigration practice; her clients include the University of Leeds, which she has been advising on Tier 2 and Tier 5 applications, including an application for leave to remain under Tier 2 for a Syrian national employed by the university. Other key work included acting for care home operator Villa Care Limited in Judicial Review proceedings challenging the Home Office’s decision to revoke the client’s sponsor’s licence and seeking the reinstatement of the licence and Tier 2 visas for three employees.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP handles a range of business immigration matters for national and multinational clients. Louise Lightfoot is the key figure in Leeds; her expertise covers visa applications and extensions, intra-group transfers, and business visitor rules, among other contentious and non-contentious immigration matters. Additional areas of expertise for the practice include Tier 2 applications, applications for indefinite leave to remain, and advice on the requirements of resident labour market tests.


Index of tables

  1. Pensions
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Pensions clients in Yorkshire and the Humber 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


Addleshaw Goddard fields a pensions team that is ‘technically very strong, whose detailed knowledge of a very tricky area is extremely reassuring; advice is technically detailed but also business focused and delivered speedily’. Under the leadership of Rachel Rawnsley, who is ‘clearly an industry expert; she handles complex issues very well and helps clients work through often tricky matters expertly’, the practice is particularly noted for its sector expertise in relation to education, retail and consumer, manufacturing, financial services, and energy and utilities, as well as for its ability to handle a wide range of pension scheme matters, including advice on SIPPs and SSAS products, pensions litigation, independent trustee matters and professional services partnerships. Rawnsley and Jonathan Stewart acted for a pension scheme in relation to its parent company’s takeover by a Chinese investment company, which involved assessing the company covenants. In other highlights, Jade Murray advised the trustees of the £2bn Asda Group pension scheme on funding negotiations with Walmart following a change in capital allocation policy by Asda Stores; and Rachel Uttley advised the trustees of the Ibstock pension scheme on the proposed closure of the scheme to future accrual. Susan Garrett leads on pensions disputes.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘excellent’ pensions practice attracts praise for providing ‘very professional, helpful and knowledgeable’ advice on a wide range of pensions schemes, from several million pounds to more than a billion pounds in value. Pensions insurance schemes are a key area of activity; Simon Evans acts for insurance companies such as Just Retirement as well as trustees of pensions schemes on all aspects of buy-in and buyout insurance policies. Highlights in 2016 included advising the trustees of Greggs Plc’s money purchase pension schemes on a merger of the three schemes and the winding up of the two transferring schemes, as well as advising the trustees of the Greggs employee retirement scheme on new scheme rules. Shelton heads the practice alongside pensions litigator Claire Carroll. Other key figures include Gemma Hanley, who ‘understands business requirements and gives comprehensive advice which is well explained and thorough’, and Andy Wright, who joined from Ashurst in London.

Pinsent Masons LLP fields an ‘outstanding’ pensions team in Leeds, which is singled out for its ‘professional, practical and timely service’, its knowledge of defined-contribution and money-purchase pensions issues, and its strength in contract schemes and independent governance committee issues. Jacqui Timmins heads the department, which includes Tom Barton, who is ‘a thought leader’ in the field of defined contribution. The practice acts for a number of the region’s largest employers and schemes, as well as pension providers such as Legal & General and Scottish Widows. In an illustration of its handling of buy-in/buyout transactions, Barton acted for Legal & General in the buyout of the Covidien UK pension plan and the IMI 2014 pension fund. Barton also acted for a national financial institution in an analysis of financial instruments for charge cap purposes. On the pensions disputes front, the firm acted for Royal London in a High Court case concerning pensions liberation scams, which settled a point of law regarding a key barrier to enabling trustees and pension providers to decline transfer requests to schemes suspected of pensions liberation scams. Timmins’ highlights included advising the trustees of the £1bn Croda pension scheme on benefit changes to the scheme, including the introduction of a life expectancy adjustment factor for members joining the scheme after 6 April 2016.

The Leeds-based Catherine McKenna leads the global pensions team at Squire Patton Boggs, which handles the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters for employers, trustees and pensions administrators. The firm’s trustee clients include the trustees of the Kelda Group pension plan, which it has been advising on the design and implementation of liability-driven investment arrangements; the trustees of the Norther Powergrid Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme, which the firm assisted with changes to address the abolition of contracting out, including proposed benefit changes; and the trustees of the Network Rail CARE and defined-contribution schemes, which the firm advised on governance and compliance issues in relation to data protection and exercise of discretions, as well as on the impact of the cessation of contracting out. Anthea Whitton has left the firm.

Irwin Mitchell’s pensions practice in Leeds is headed by Nigel Bolton; his expertise covers de-risking matters such as pension increase exchange and enhanced transfer value exercises, as well as negotiating and drafting pension adviser agreements. Clients include trustees, for which the practice has acted on equalisation issues, and corporates, for which the firm has acted on pension obligations arising from TUPE transfers.

Jo Ratcliffe heads the pensions practice at Walker Morris LLP, which includes nine other pensions specialists and acts for the independent trustees of major regional and UK-wide pension schemes, including Capital Group’s Pension and Life Assurance scheme and Manchester University’s superannuation scheme. Ratcliffe is ably assisted by senior associate Craig Looker, whose expertise covers public and private sector pensions issues, and Ruth Bamforth, who has extensive experience handling scheme reorganisations, amendments and windings-up. Gwendoline Davies leads the firm’s pensions litigation practice. Highlights included advising Banco do Brasil, which had a defined benefit and defined contribution in a hybrid master trust for banks, on its withdrawal from the master trust, which involved the abolition of contracting-out and winding-up issues; and advising the trustees of the Rockware 1999 pension scheme and Redfearn 2005 pension scheme on a three-way merger, which involved the sectionalisation of the Rockware scheme post merger.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP’s ‘very experienced and knowledgeable’ pensions practice provides advice that is ‘comprehensive yet understandable’. Leigh Holmes heads the department and specialises in scheme wind-ups as well as buy-ins and buyouts. Other key figures include consultant Raymond Ainscoe, whose wide-ranging expertise covers equalisation issues among other matters; Rebecca Cooke, who regularly handles third sector and public sector pensions issues, including outsourcing; and Victoria Acomb, who attracts praise for her ability to ‘explain issues at the appropriate level, considers the options and provides the best advice based on her substantial knowledge and experience’. Highlights included advising the trustees of the Friends Life master trust on governance issues, including adapting its new governance requirements to an insurance industry model; and advising the trustees of a UK pension plan on defined-contribution issues.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s ‘very proactive and responsive’ pensions practice acts for household names including Procter & Gamble and IBM. The Leeds-based team works closely with the firm’s Newcastle office, as well as the wider firm’s national office network, enabling the firm to cover a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Highlights included advising Procter & Gamble on the pension implications of the sale of its beauty brands to Coty, which involved the internal TUPE transfer of staff and the negotiation of the terms of the apportionment of employer debt with the pension scheme trustees; and on the pensions aspects of the procurement of new rolling stock for the Abellio East Anglia franchise. Alex Rodger’s expertise encompasses buy-in/buyout programmes and advice to transport and manufacturing sector clients.

CMS (which merged with Nabarro LLP in 2017) established a firm foothold in the pensions arena with the arrivals in 2015 of John Hanratty and senior associate Jayne Firth from DWF. Hanratty is a leading figure in public sector pension matters and acts for government departments, local authorities and not-for-profit organisations on trust-based and public sector schemes. Firth is noted for her expertise in public outsourcing projects, as well as acting for insurers, SIPP sponsors and public entities in a variety of pension arrangements. Highlights included advising the trustees of the Schindler Group 1988 pension scheme on the buyout of pensioner liabilities entered into in 2014.

Craig Engleman leads Rollits LLP’s pensions team, which has been advising education and charities sector clients on issues arising from transfers of employees into public sector pension schemes and on the automatic enrolment regime. Engleman is also acting on the pensions aspects of corporate transactions, and acts for trustees in a number of issues, from drafting amendments to scheme rules to scheme mergers and winding-up

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