Birketts LLP is ‘a quality firm in this area with an excellent reputation and a professional, supportive and approachable practice‘. The firm-wide employment practice operates through all five of the firm’s offices, handling all aspects of contentious and non-contentious work for both domestic and international employer clients. Jeanette Wheeler in Norwich leads the practice, in which the ‘knowledgeable, supportive and pragmatic‘ Matthew Newnham and Cambridge-based Abigail Trencher are key figures. Catherine Johnson and newly promoted Sonya O’Reilly are the lead partners in Ipswich. Senior associate Laura Brown and associate Sam Greenhalgh are also key members of the Norwich office.
Employment in East Anglia
Other key lawyers:
Matthew Newnham; Abigail Trencher; Catherine Johnson; Sonya O’Reilly; Laura Brown; Sam Greenhalgh
‘I think the people are the biggest asset at Birketts, everyone I have worked with has been professional, helpful and knowledgeable. The Birketts team is very responsive and always ensure advice given is clear and practical. They always make themselves available when matters are urgent.’
‘The team are all just so helpful. Nothing is enough, they are efficient, prompt, supportive and are there with you from beginning to end. Over the last 12 months they have really helped with advice, webinars, training for our manager, however most importantly they have supported the business through some difficult times.’
‘Jeanette Wheeler – huge support in some complex situations, available all hours and highly professional whilst warm and personable. Laura Brown – dedicated, supportive and at the end of the phone with all the professional support I need. Sam Greenhalgh – over the last 12 months we have taken our Managers through Employment law training as well as watching Sam on many webinars. Highly experienced and supportive.’
‘A quality firm in this area with an excellent reputation and a professional, supportive and approachable practice.’
‘Matthew Newnham is a pleasure to work with. Knowledgeable, supportive and pragmatic. He is always our go to person and I have used him regularly on a wide range of employment law matters. Always provides great advice and delivers creative solutions.’
‘I have worked with Birketts now for almost 13 years for mainly employment law advice but also for civil matters. The employment team are fantastic and I cannot rate them highly enough. I recommend them to others when the opportunity arises. I have not had as much involvement with the civil team but when I have their standards are as high.’
‘Mat Newnham is the person with whom I have worked more regularly and he is very personable as well as professional. He gives me the legal side of a situation followed by alternatives when I have been willing to take a level of risk.’
‘We used them for redundancies and other staff issues and they were very responsive and offered practical solutions. They were also very good at getting information about other areas we had issues with. They responded very promptly and did a very thorough job. When the redundancy was challenged by another solicitor, there were no gaps and everything had been thoroughly covered.’
The AF Group
East Anglian Air Ambulance
Petrogas UK Ltd
Diamond Learning Partnership Trust
Anglia Crown Limited
Royston Town Council
Cambridge Employment Law LLP
Cambridge Employment Law LLP is a specialist boutique firm that 'has a genuine care for people, always provides an amazing service, and is honest, and open'. The firm acts for a large number of clients in the technology, biotech and pharmaceuticals sectors, as well as high-growth start-ups, Cambridge colleges and other education organisations, charities and senior executives. 'They are efficient and can balance our commercial needs with our culture', say clients of practice heads Oliver Pryke, Eleanor Freeman and Mandy Lyne.
Oliver Pryke; Eleanor Freeman; Mandy Lyne
‘A very practical approach and relevant, down to earth advice for business leaders for whom employment law seems a minefield of red tape.’
‘They use everyday terminology and have a practical approach. Very approachable.’
‘My work was handled by Oliver Pryke. I found Oliver proactive and resourceful with strong critical thinking skills. Oliver was accessible when I needed him most and demonstrated effective judgment throughout our interaction. Highly recommended.’
‘Cambridge Employment Law are lawyers with heart. They have a genuine care for people, always provide an amazing service, are honest, open and have a really realistic fee structure. Oliver Pryke is amazing and has been my go to lawyer for many years now.’
‘Oliver Pryke is really down to earth, explains things in plain English and is always available to help. I know I can always trust Oliver to give me sound advice and as a result I’ve used his services for the last 10 years throughout my career. Oliver is extremely helpful and provides a service which offers extremely good value for money. He always makes himself available, even out of hours and is a genuinely good person.’
‘Cambridge Employment Law have had a long association with us and therefore has an excellent appreciation of our ordinances and statutes, the work which is carried out, how it is carried out and the unique way in which we operate. The legal advice is therefore appropriate to our situation.’
‘Mandy Lyne has provided some excellent advice to us on a range of matters. Mandy has worked with us for a number of years and can therefore provide relevant and appropriate advice. Mandy is always available for both legal advice and also a sounding board when considering challenging decisions.’
‘They have an in-depth understanding of the industry and the challenges we face. They are efficient and can balance our commercial needs with our culture.’
Trinity College, Cambridge
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Cambridge Consultants Ltd
Adder Technology Limited
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
The Cambridge office of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is a key hub for the firm-wide employment practice, which frequently acts for large international corporates and is active in key sectors such as education, financial services, life sciences, technology and transport. The firm provides 'commercial advice that is not only legally sound but also has clients' particular business culture in mind'. Simon Tytherleigh leads the practice. Elizabeth Graves leads on life sciences and healthcare matters, Matthew Kelly focuses on the education sector, and Constanze Moorhouse, who is dual-qualified in England and Germany, leads on international matters. Principal associates Rachel Bennett (who provides 'no nonsense, pragmatic advice') and Sasha Willmott, and senior associate Sasha Lormant, are key members of the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Elizabeth Graves; Matthew Kelly; Constanze Moorhouse; Sasha Lormont; Rachel Bennett; Sasha Willmott
‘We have a number of international projects, where we need to obtain employment law advice in a number of jurisdictions. Eversheds has a unique position as they are used to working together on these international projects.’
‘Constanze Moorhouse’s understanding of international employment law makes Eversheds a natural go-to on international employment law projects.’
‘The team work really hard to understand their client, including their approach and appetite to risk and therefore are able to tailor their advice accordingly.’
‘Rachel Bennett is fantastic to work with. I know I can rely on her to provide clear, no nonsense, pragmatic advice. She works collaboratively with us and always delivers as promised.’
‘Eversheds has a range of different level solicitors and chooses the most appropriate for the situation, ably supported by the partner. Where applicable, we can agree with them up front what level of advice we need and can thereby manage our costs.’
‘The practice has great HE sector knowledge. Matthew Kelly is responsive, proactive and goes the extra mile.’
‘Unlike other law firms you can really trust them to give you sound commercial advice that is not only legally sound but also with your particular business culture in mind. They never judge you and instantly make you feel comfortable, no matter how big, small or crazy the situation.’
‘I partner with Simon Tytherleigh and Sasha Lormont and have worked with them for a number of years now. Nothing is ever too much, even when we have been working against time or the odds; they always pull through for us. Working with them feels like you have your own in-house legal support because they never make you feel you’re not their top priority. The collaboration and relationships are so great, I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else.’
Queen Mary University of London
Roche Products Limited
Seadrill Management Limited
Owens & Minor
Oxford International Education Group
Bromley College t/a London South East Colleges Group
University of Portsmouth
Greenwoods GRM has 'an amazing friendly team that is always very willing to help'. The firm has one of the largest employment practices in East Anglia, which acts for household name employer clients across the region and further afield, both in contentious and non-contentious matters. John Macaulay, who is 'always on hand with good, honest practicable advice', leads the practice from Peterborough, where Robert Dillarstone and the 'pragmatic and realistic' Keith Williams are key partners. In Cambridge, Joanna Scally (who provides 'very clear, practical, concise advice') and senior associates Natalie Wiliams and Siobhan Thomson are the main contacts.
Other key lawyers:
Robert Dillarstone; Keith Williams; Joanna Scally; Natalie Williams; Siobhan Thomson
‘An amazing friendly team that is always very willing to help. Lockdown has not phased this team in the slightest, they just seamlessly picked up their laptops and started working from home with the same professionalism and ease of working with than if they were still in the office.’
‘John Macaulay heading up the employment team is always on hand with good, honest practicable advice. One of John’s real assets is he makes his customers feel valued with nothing being too much trouble, makes me feel like I have all of his undivided time, never saying he is too busy, even though he has lots of customers to deal with and probably with lots more complex issues than mine at the time. John has a very nice calming manner.’
‘Keith Williams is fantastic, extremely knowledgeable and experienced. He always looks at the people problem in a pragmatic and realistic way and considers the company’s needs as well as the legal aspects. Keith is prompt in his responses and has helped the business successfully manage a number of complex employee situations.’
‘Jo Scally and Siobhan Thompson are exceptional practitioners. They draw on a wealth of knowledge and experience to provide both the personnel services and the wider organisation balance and practical advice and support.’
‘The Greenwoods teams that we have worked with have taken the time to understand not only the organisation’s position but the very minute detail of each case they have supported us with. Without fail they have always provided well researched practical prompted advice. They have always been friendly, supportive and understanding, nothing is too onerous.’
‘Greenwoods works hard at developing close relationships with the sector and provide really helpful training and networking events. The depth of their understanding of the nature of clients’ organisations increases the value of the advice they give.’
‘The employment team at Greenwoods is exceptional – providing great events with up to the minute legal changes and guidance. The staff are very knowledgeable and always on hand to help. They are one of the easiest legal firms I have had to deal with and always one we can rely on to help us with a good result.’
‘We have worked on a range of complex employment law issues. Firstly, Greenwoods came on board at short notice to support with a complicated issue involving an internal investigation, external investigation and a statutory regulator. They were swift in the analysis of the key issues, how to deal with them pragmatically and how to mitigate the associated risk. We have also worked on a range of other employment related scenarios and I have been very impressed with the breadth of their knowledge and their ability to help provide practical solutions to difficult internal issues.’
Bedford Borough Council
Hollister Inc (and its UK subsidiaries)
Real VNC Limited
- Advising construction company Taylor Wimpey in connection with a major restructure which saw the firm’s central and east London business units merge and the removal of an operational tier of senior management in a series of changes expected to generate annualised savings in the region of £15m.
- Advising Bedford Borough Council on a significant employment status claim.
- Partnering with US-owned medical device company Hollister Inc (and its UK subsidiaries) in connection with its employment law requirements.
Mills & Reeve LLP in Cambridge is 'knowledgeable, responsive, pragmatic and provides clear advice which is simple to understand'. The firm handles complex contentious matters, as well as providing day-to-day advice on HR matters to large domestic and international corporates. David Mills is head of the firm's national employment practice and he also leads the private sector group. Nicola Brown, who is 'highly professional but firmly rooted in the real world', leads on employment matters for national higher education clients and charities, while Stuart Craig is the key partner for health sector clients in the East of England and London. Senior associate Lindsey Hill is recommended for contentious matters including discrimination and equality claims. In Norwich, James Kidd leads the employment, pensions and immigration team.
Other key lawyers:
Nicola Brown; Stuart Craig; James Kidd; Lindsey Hill; Patrick Gass
‘Our experience working with Mills & Reeve has been very positive. Team members are well informed and able to give advice which is tailored to our needs.’
‘Quick responses and / or updates are always appreciated and an in-depth knowledge of our organisation.’
‘The team at Mills and Reeve are knowledgeable, responsive, pragmatic and well-connected in the HE Sector. They are easy to talk to, don’t insult our intelligence and provide clear advice which is simple to understand and work with. They have a range of expertise and are good at pulling in a colleague with specialist knowledge to make sure we get the best advice.’
‘Nicola Brown speaks with reliable, solid experience in the sector and is a pragmatic, credible person to deliver employment law advice and training to our senior team. She is highly professional, but firmly rooted in the real world, which we value greatly. Patrick Gass is experienced, thoughtful, calm and measured in his advice, often in the face of dealing with difficult and frustrating claimants. He is methodical, responsive, reliable and you feel you are in safe hands with his advice and support. You can speak honestly about your concerns with a case and as a consequence be reassured that nothing gets missed.’
Olympus Keymed UK Ltd
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
University of Bedfordshire
University of East Anglia
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust
North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
American International Group UK Ltd
Life Fitness UK Ltd
The practice at Taylor Vinters in Cambridge 'seeks to understand clients' business and risk areas, which enables it to better advise on matters of employment' and clients appreciate that the team 'understands the intersection of the law and business'. Lead partner Dominic Holmes is based in London, and the Cambridge office has significant expertise, particularly with emerging talent Kim Wedral-Rooke, who provides 'clear and effective legal advice and is pragmatic in her approach'. The firm handles high-value domestic matters for major corporates, as well as a growing flow of international work. Senior counsel Rachel Ashwood and senior associate Alix Beese also play key roles in the firm-wide practice.
Other key lawyers:
Kim Wedral-Rooke; Rachel Ashwood; Alix Beese
‘Lawyers at Taylor Vinters seek to understand our business and risk areas, which enables them to better advise us on matters of employment. They are quick studies and understand the intersection of the law and business.’
‘Our main point of contact is Kim Wedral-Rooke and she has been a trusted advisor to our company for many years. She is always available, provides clear and effective legal advice and is pragmatic in her approach to the issues we face in employment matters.’
‘The team at Taylor Vinters is always pragmatic and knowledgeable about other areas of practice and will make introductions accordingly. Their delivery is timely and cost effective with total transparency.’
‘The team at Taylor Vinters are more than just lawyers they are subject matter experts and have a conscience beyond law.’
‘The team have a strong understanding of business needs and are willing to adapt and refine advice to try to closely meet business objectives. The philosophy of this team seems well aligned with our own business philosophy. The team are forward looking and innovative. The team are very diverse, and this is noted by us and helpful.’
‘Kim Wedral-Rooke is our go-to partner for all Employment issues. She is responsive and easy to access. She understands our needs and finds pragmatic solutions to them. She is adaptable and excellent at suggesting tailored approaches to our specific needs.’
Carter Jonas LLP
Fujichem Sonneborn Limited
Heraeus Noblelight Ltd
u-Blox Cambridge Ltd
ECi Software Solutions Ltd
Ashtons Legal provides 'pragmatic, commercially-driven advice' on HR matters for employers, as well as handling discrimination, worker status and unfair dismissal claims. The firm is particularly active for clients in the education, manufacturing, professional services, care home, food and drink, and transport sectors. Ross Strowger in Norwich leads the practice and frequently handles employment issues arising from insolvencies. 'They are honest, direct and recognise the value of a long-term relationship', say clients of Colin Makin in Ipswich and education sector specialist Claire Sleep in Cambridge.
Other key lawyers:
Colin Makin; Claire Sleep; James Eden
‘Ashtons has been very helpful on HR issues during a major restructuring of our business. Ross Strowger has a wealth of experience and expertise in HR matters and is efficient in directing his team to meet our requirements.’
‘Pragmatic, commercially-driven advice. Colin Makin is always professional, easy to communicate with and works as a natural extension of our team as opposed to an external advisor.’
‘Their desire to understand our business and to adapt their offering to suit our needs. We see Ashtons as a business partner. In my experience, its approach with customers is as good as I have seen.’
‘They are honest, direct, protect our billing and recognise the value of a long-term relationship.’
‘Quick responses to queries, knowledgeable staff, regular correspondence, always relevant and of interest. ’
‘Clare Sleep and James Eden are very knowledgeable and always quick to help with any queries I present.’
Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries Ltd
Marshall Fleet Solutions
Haas Automation Limited
The London Cremation Company
Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School
Anglian Windows Limited (T/A Anglian Home Improvements)
- Advising on the employment aspects of the sale of Norfolk and Suffolk-based occupational health specialist firm Wrightway Health to specialist safety and regulatory compliance services group Marlowe plc.
- Providing ongoing employment advice to Anglian Windows Limited and particularly supporting it through the lockdown periods with furlough agreements and advice on collective consultation when making changes to terms and conditions.
- Advising Stow Healthcare Limited on the employment aspects of its purchase of The Cedars care home in Essex.
‘The team is brilliant, accessible and really user-friendly', say clients of Buckles Solicitors LLP. Following the acquisition of Miller Sands in 2020, the firm now has a Cambridge office, where practice head Giles Betts now resides. The firm advises businesses, public sector entities and senior executives on domestic and, through its Paris and Milan offices, cross-border employment matters. Betts provides 'clear and commercial advice within challenging timescales'. Associate Nicola Cockerill in Peterborough is 'exceptional - completely honest and thoroughly professional'.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is brilliant, accessible and really user-friendly. I think in a practice and in a field such as law, to have a team that talks to you in a manner we can understand is so important. I think Buckles goes above and beyond in their services to clients. During Covid, they have been readily accessible through different media and talked us through how to use the technology.’
‘Nicola Cockerill is an exceptional legal professional. My business trusts her advice and finds her to be completely honest and we find her thoroughly professional. I think Nicola has an excellent manner and we find her experience and wealth of knowledge an absolute “must have” for our business.’
‘The firm has other commercial options that have been relevant to to our business this year – Giles Betts ensured that our employment issue which has now become a litigation case had a smooth transition to the Dispute Team and ensured things have stayed on track. This shows great strengths and capabilities within the practice.’
‘Giles Betts is an outstanding partner – his advice is clear and commercial. He is able to deliver advice within challenging timescales, providing options so any risk to the business is clearly understood. He takes the time to understand the business he is dealing with, the individuals that work within the business so is support is tailored and bespoke. He is a great sounding board for issues.’
‘Giles Betts is immensely practical and realistic. He makes easy what could otherwise be challenging.’
‘Buckles’ differentiator is its people. Not only do they offer a wide spread of expertise across the business, they are all able to explain processes and offer advice in a way which those of us without legal experience can easily understand. We have worked with Buckles throughout the COVID pandemic and due to this have been driven to work with them.’
‘We worked closely with Nicola Cockerill who was knowledgeable, provided advice and was very patient was us as we muddled through a challenging period in relation to our Human Resource strategy.’
'A willingness to explain with clarity and an empathy for each case makes the firm stand out', say clients of Ellisons Solicitors in Ipswich. The firm acts for clients across East Anglia and Essex, as well as advising London-based clients on Tribunal matters, TUPE issues and day-to-day HR matters. Practice head Julian Outen 'explains both the law and the pitfalls with a great understanding of how businesses need quick responses'. Partner Frances Barker, who joined following the merger with Blocks in 2020, and solicitor Tina Maxey also play pivotal roles in the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Frances Barker; Tina Maxey
‘Responsiveness and clarity of advice have been key features of working with Ellisons.’
‘A willingness to explain, clarity and an empathy for each case has meant Ellisons have stood out. Julian Outen takes the time to explain both the law and the pitfalls with a great understanding of how businesses need quick responses too.’
‘From the start the practice of all involved was exceptional. I do not believe they have to change anything.’
‘Speed of being so informative and support from all individuals involved was spectacular.’
‘We have a retainer with Ellisons which enables us to pick up the phone or email at any time for advice. The retainer is cost effective and can facilitate a proactive approach, as well as when we need the reactive advice.’
‘Julian Outen is our go to adviser. His advice is measured and always gives us options. He knows our business and understands what is important to us. We trust his judgement and his advice. He comes back to us in a timely way and provides us with an essential service for our firm.’
‘At Ellisons, we deal wholly with Tina Maxey. We have been working with Tina over many years, both through her previous and current employment. Tina has a wealth of knowledge and advice which we have needed to use over a long time. Through our relationship, Tina has built up a knowledge of our business, its people and its processes. She is therefore able to advise us on a pure legal basis or, with her understanding of the company, on a more pragmatic basis.’
East of England Cooperative Society
Gray Dawes Travel Group
Gotelee Solicitors has a strong local reputation and its 'straight-talking, honest, knowledgeable, friendly' employment practice is known for the fixed-fee service it provides and its HY Retainer subscription service, which provides real-time employment law advice. Marie Allen leads the practice and brings substantial experience to bear on HR and contentious matters. Managing partner Andrew West is a seasoned employment partner, while consultant Brian Morron, a former employment judge in the Employment Tribunal, has built a strong local standing in his time with the firm.
Other key lawyers:
Andrew West; Brian Morron
‘What a great team! From my experience, the whole team at Gotelee understands that they are a team and they work together well – something that a surprising number of businesses don’t get right. Gotelee nails this. I have dealt with 5 or 6 people in the business over the years and they all know their own strengths, they know each other’s strengths and they work together to deliver what I need.’
‘Everyone works in a modern way, embraces technology and most importantly for me, they are all very human. I have dealt with legal firms before where this is just not the case. Everyone at Gotelee seems to be aligned with the same set of values and they are straight-talking, honest, knowledgeable, friendly, and they all have a great sense of humour.’
‘I have worked with Andrew West several times over the last 4 years. He is incredibly knowledgeable and gets straight to the heart of things. He will talk straight, but kindly. I was referred to him when I needed a lawyer to do my own settlement from an employer I was amicably parting ways with and his skills and advice were far superior to the other sides’ to a point where he had to re-do their work. This was such a good experience for me- I felt safe and looked after and Andrew was a joy to work with. I have referred him personally to a friend, and since then I have only used Gotelee for my legal work.’
‘More recently I have worked with Marie Allen. After working with Andrew I was actually nervous about moving to someone else and I had perhaps the trickiest leaver that I have ever had to manage professionally. From the first conversation with Marie, I felt huge relief, and again I felt safe. My business chooses to operate in a certain way and she took the time to really get under the skin of that and understand the way we wanted to proceed. As a result, she was able to advise us specifically in the tone that we needed. She kept me laughing on the tough days by being very human and driving us forwards and when it came to the toughest bits, she moved incredibly quickly making the whole things easy for us.’
‘Gotelee offers practical and sensible advice at good value. The advice is on tap and very pragmatic.’
‘Andrew West offers advice that is sensible and pragmatic and always able to deal with an issue speed and efficiency. I feel in very safe hands with his advice.’
Jack Sealey Limited
St Nicholas Hospice
- Advising Sackers Limited on a range of employment law matters.
- Provided employment law advice to Jack Sealey Ltd under a retainer over the course of a number of years.
- Assisted St Nicholas Hospice for a number of years on a full range of employment issues.
Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds has an employment practice that is 'well resourced and able to match larger teams from London and top 50 practices'. From complex exits and TUPE matters to complex discrimination and whistleblowing claims, the firm provides a comprehensive range of services. Selene Holden, who has 'great clarity of thought and cuts straight to the chase' is the lead partner, ably supported by the 'extremely responsive, commercial and practical' Greg Jones. Employment barrister Angharad Ellis Owen handles work in a range of key sectors, including the public health, logistics, horse racing, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing industries.
Other key lawyers:
Greg Jones; Angharad Ellis Owen
‘My general impression of the team is that it is well resourced and I felt confident that it would be able to match larger teams from London and top 50 practices but with more affordable fees.’
‘Selene Holden advised me concerning a difficult and complex separation from the firm of solicitors where I had been a partner for a considerable period. She had great clarity of thought from the first telephone call and quickly identified a wide range of powerful arguments some of which had never occurred to me. She is forthright in her communications with opponents and cuts straight to the chase. She is definitely someone to have on your side in a fight and provides sound guidance on when to settle and when to push on.’
‘Selene Holden was friendly and helpful. She understood my situation and explained my options clearly. She was kind when I was upset. Other solicitors I have dealt with the the past at other firms have not been very approachable and full of jargon when speaking.’
‘For a small regional firm, they punch above their weight. I would be happy to have Greene and Greene on my side against larger big City firms.’ Selene Holden has given me wise employment advice on a number of occasions. She adopts a very practical approach and, in my case, certainly appreciated what her client needed.’
‘Greene & Greene provide an excellent service. They have a practical approach while fully understanding all the legal nuances. A great depth of experience provides very useful comparisons for clients.’
‘I work with Greg Jones. Greg is extremely responsive and had helped with a number of difficult issues. I appreciate his experience greatly – a great balance between what is commercial, what is practical and always with an eye to the longer term.’
‘Greene & Greene take the time to really understand their clients’ business and needs. They provide sound, knowledgeable and trustworthy advice. The firm is extremely proactive and routinely provide advice and updates on general current and forthcoming topics that are beneficial to their clients.’
‘In the recent employment Law aspect I dealt with Angharad Ellis Owen throughout and everything that she did was conducted under the usual ethos and she was also striking the right balance of empathy and objectivity. All information requests and responses to our company were full, comprehensive and punctual. We can’t fault this service in any way.’
Nexus Underwriting Management Limited
The Vitec Group Plc
AJN Steelstock Ltd
Cobb Europe Limited
Besins Healthcare (UK) Limited
Smith’s Environmental Products | The Swan Group
- Worked with the Nexus Group since its inception to provide HR and employment law support on a range of issues across the group.
- Worked with Vitec plc, a leading global business, over a significant number of years to provide the business with HR and employment law support in the UK on a range of issues across the group.
- Worked with Cobb Europe Limited, a leading global business, over a number of years to provide HR and employment law support on a range of issues.
At HCR Hewitsons, the employment practice is led from Northampton and the Cambridge office is home to experienced partners including Valerie Lambert, who focuses on complex disputes in the High Court and Employment Tribunals and is 'phenomenally conscientious and hardworking, a match for any City firm’; and Elizabeth Swinburn, who deals with the employment aspects of business restructurings. According to one client, 'the team is deeply knowledgeable but also able to apply that knowledge to a commercial setting'. The group frequently advises large local employers on litigation, commercial transactions and TUPE transfers.
Other key lawyers:
Valerie Lambert; Elizabeth Swinburn
‘I have worked with HCR Hewitsons both professionally in my capacity as an HR Director and personally. I have unfailingly found the team members not just deeply knowledgeable but also able to understand and apply that knowledge to a commercial/real-life setting. Their employment team in particular is excellent in this regard.’
‘Elizabeth Swinburn is without doubt the best employment attorney I have worked with in 40 years in HR. Liz is the only attorney I have partnered with who cared about the issue in hand every bit as much as I did, her level of commitment to her client is truly exceptional. She will worry at a problem, however intransigent it may appear, until she can tease out a solution. It is a genuine pleasure to work with Liz.’
‘Valarie Lambert is a credit to the organisation. I have worked with her on many occasions over the last 7 years and she is sharp, intelligent on many aspects of law. She understands the problems and finds the best and quickest solution which ultimately reduces costs. This has led to a 100% confidence level by me and all of my company personnel that have dealt with her. In fact our reliance on her advice finds me hearing from most senior personnel with regard to a potential problem say “lets call Val first”. I can’t recommend her and thank her highly enough.’
‘The firm is extremely responsive to any requests or issues that arise mainly because of the partner that we deal with and they adopt an extremely practical and common sense approach.’
‘We deal primarily with Valerie Lambert. Her responsiveness and availability is first class. She is very practical and adopts a common sense approach and provides excellent value for money in terms of approach adopted and outcomes achieved.’
‘Valerie Lambert is without doubt the leading High Court employment litigation solicitor in the East of England. She brings commercial dispute expertise, and significant experience of “big ticket” High Court litigation, to the employment arena, making her the ideal solicitor for contentious commercial/employment crossover disputes. Phenomenally conscientious and hardworking, will go the extra mile for her clients, leaves no stone unturned, and is a match for any City firm.’
‘The personal support given throughout the practice is fantastic. The work and dedication given was superb.’
‘The team work very hard on behalf my companies always putting our interests first over and above their own, collectively working as a team to ensure the best person is placed to assist my companies in resolving the issues we have.’
Howes Percival LLP is highly regarded for its advice to employer clients in key sectors such as the manufacturing, technology, financial services and food industries. It has a substantial respondent-based Employment Tribunal practice that handles more than 50 claims each year. Matthew Potter who is 'extremely knowledgeable, very practical and pragmatic in how knowledge and law translates into practical actions', leads the practice from Cambridge. He brings more than 25 years' experience to board-level disputes and exits. Associates Jonathan Mumby and, in Norwich, Kate Melton are increasingly involved in HR matters and dismissal claims.
Other key lawyers:
Jonathan Mumby; Kate Melton
‘A very attentive partner and excellent advice.’
‘Matthew Potter is an absolutely fantastic solicitor. He is extremely knowledgeable and very practical and pragmatic in how knowledge and law translates into practical actions.’
‘Matt Potter is superb. A knowledgeable and commercial professional.’
The Cambridge office of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP plays a key role in the firm-wide employment practice, which provides 'practical and usable advice while always being clear of the risks and benefits'. Practice head Hilary Aldred frequently advises clients in the technology and education sectors, though the firm also handles substantial matters in the life sciences industry and charity sector. Its work encompasses boardroom disputes, multinational reorganisations and redundancy programmes. Senior associates Sophie Whitbread, who is 'very commercial and focused with excellent case management', and Charissa Upton are also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Sophie Whitbread; Charissa Upton
‘The firm offers practical and usable advice while always being clear of the risks and benefits of the various possible approaches to an issue. Their starting position is always what do we want to achieve as a client and helping us to achieve that rather than taking a strict legalistic approach.’
‘Hilary Aldred has unrivalled understanding of the higher education sector which enables her to understand the underlying issues and give realistic, pragmatic advice and options.’
‘Sophie Whitbread is a standout lawyer who managed the settlement agreement process admirably. Very commercial and focused. Excellent case management. She inspired confidence.’
‘Charissa Upton is organised, efficient, and commercial, while also being strong on the technical legal issues in the case.’
‘Sophie Whitbread’s business partnering approach is both highly effective and highly valued. She works with you as part of your team and is highly responsive.’
‘I mostly work with Hilary Aldred, Charissa Upton and Sophie Whitbread. They are uniformly excellent, responsive and considered in their approach.’
‘The employment team at Penningtons Manches Cooper is extremely competent and well led by Hilary Aldred. Always approachable and friendly, with quick turnaround on work when it is needed. They are a pleasure to work with.’
‘We work closely with Sophie Whitbread and have done for several years now. Her knowledge base is second to none and the advice given always based in reality which really helps when you are trying to run a business. Sophie is an excellent lawyer and a pleasure to work with.’
Ocado Central Services Ltd trading as Ocado
Christ Church Oxford
UCL Buisness Ltd
Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd
King’s College, London
Whiting & Partners
Vix Technology Ltd
The Company of Biologists
Lanson International UK Limited trading as Lanson Champagne
- Advising Christ Church, Oxford on a very wide range of employment and related matters, many of which receive publicity in the national press.
- Advising Ocado Central Services on a variety of employment queries and conducted employment tribunal litigation on its behalf.
- Advising Cambridge-based listed company Abcam on a wide variety of employment issues, including on the HR aspects of acquisitions and on sensitive and high-profile employment disputes.
At Steeles Law in Norwich, 'the organisation of the team is exemplary and it clearly works collaboratively to ensure a seamless service to the client'. The firm advises large employer clients across East Anglia, but its work also has national and international scope through large clients including Hovis and Premier Foods. Lead partner and former HR manager Oliver Brabbins 'uses his experience and expertise to provide balanced, risk assessed and strategic advice'. Robert Hickford advises multinational corporations and local SMEs on restructurings, TUPE matters and the defence of Employment Tribunal claims.
Other key lawyers:
‘As a client working on a complex change project, Steeles made the senior lawyers accessible at all times to all members of the HR team. The complex queries were distilled into easy to understand advice to assist the HR and management teams to progress the project.’
‘Despite being a firm that is smaller than we would typically work with, the capability and organisation of the Steeles team was exemplary, clearly working collaboratively to ensure a seamless service to the client.’
‘The fee structure was clear, competitive and the billing was supported with transparent narratives to support it.’
‘Oliver Brabbins is a leader in his field who takes full accountability for the services contracted to Steeles. He uses his experience and expertise to provide balanced, risk assessed and strategic advice.’
‘The level of engagement from Robert Hickford is high on all matters. He demonstrates an ability to understand the objective or issue that he is presented with and follows this up with fact based, pragmatic and timely advice.’
Premier Foods PLC
Pasta Foods Limited
Robinsons Motor Group
The Liberal Democrats
Association of Independent Music
Falcon Tower Crane Services Limited
Praemium (UK) Limited
Fairhome Group PLC
Considerate Constructors scheme
- Advising Thorntons Limited on all employment law aspects of the fundamental restructure of its entire UK production facility of one of UK’s leading chocolate producers.
- Delivering a nationwide programme of equality and diversity training for all management grades throughout Hovis Limited.
- Successfully defending a multi-party, multi-day TUPE claim involving local authority contracts for Broadland Guarding Services Limited.
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors in Norwich has a small team handling a broad range of matters, from contentious cases for claimants to advisory work for employers across Norfolk. 'Determined, calm and totally professional' associate Nicola Strefford is head of the employment group, which is 'very understanding and devoted to sorting things out in everyone's best interests'. Strefford and 'clear, succinct, direct' solicitor Natalie Smith work closely with the commercial team on TUPE matters and the employment aspects of M&A deals.
Other key lawyers:
‘Nicola Strefford and Natalie Smith have kept me updated on all the twists and turns of my employment case. They have explained to me in layman’s terms the reasons behind what could be a very complex situation. This has been particularly helpful as Covid has caused so many delays in an already complex case.’
‘Natalie Smith was amazing. She listened to me and gave me advice on everything. An extremely stressful time and was made manageable by Natalie. Her professionalism and help in this matter is something I will always remember.’
‘The team have good clear communication and are supportive of one another. The ease with which my concern was dealt with initially and subsequently made for a less stressful journey.’
‘Our solicitor Natalie Smith went above and beyond to understand the nature of the complaint and to respond appropriately. She put in many hours and changed the initial responses based on feedback from us – to make it more specific and relevant. Her responses were clear, succinct, direct and relevant and very professional. We are incredibly grateful for her skill and professionalism.’
‘For me it is the solid reliability factor, that this team represents in all areas. Any contact is responded to effectively and efficiently, with no doubts in my mind of their genuine desire to assist me as fully as possible. What they say they will do, they deliver on. I have been in association with this team for over 3 years and in all that time, I have never had an issue that has not been dealt with or felt the need to wonder whether my case is with the best team available.’
‘I cannot praise Nicola Strefford highly enough. I am forever grateful for her continued solid support and advice throughout a wholly distressing event in my working life, which had a huge impact on me and my family. Due to Nicola’s determined, calm and totally professional handling of my case, the outcome for me was extraordinarily positive. Nicola was always truthful and considered in providing her advice and explaining clearly options that were available to me. She listened to me. She took time to research information further in areas that were not always familiar to her and that became relevant to my case.’
‘The team is great. They are polite and always pass on messages when needed. Communication is good. They are personal and make you feel like you are the only person they are working for and Nicola Strefford is wonderful at her job.’
‘Every aspect of my dealing with the practice has been excellent to date. The service has been personable and extremely efficient. I found Nicola Strefford to be extremely helpful during a difficult and stressful time for myself. The level of service has been exceptional and everything has been clearly explained to me.’
- Advising a local charity on a large number of matters, being its go to Legal advisor for Employment Law, including advising on day-to-day issues supporting head managers within the Charity, whilst also offering extensive support on contentious issues.
- Advising on an unfair dismissal claim, which involved issuing a harassment and unlawful means conspiracy claim in the High Court against a local authority.
- Advised on a class action TUPE claim, which settled for circa £50,000.
Fosters in Norwich 'always portrays a friendly yet extremely professional attitude with 100% commitment to do the best for its clients'. The firm assists local, national and international businesses with the defence of employment claims and day-to-day HR issues. Head of employment Doug Frame 'provides very knowledgeable and sound advice together with clear guidance'. He leads the Employment In-house service, which enables clients to outsource their HR function to the firm.
‘Fosters always portrays a friendly yet extremely professional attitude with 100% commitment to do the best for its clients.’
‘Doug Frame has and continues to provide very knowledgeable and sound advice together with clear guidance on any Employment issues that the company requires assistance with. Doug is prompt and concise with the information he provides and always makes himself readily available.’
‘We commenced using Fosters because Doug Frame joined them. Doug Frame is always on hand for employment advice. We have used him for many years including the previous firm he worked for. We didn’t want to lose Doug when he jumped ship and so thankfully he was able to set up the same scheme as we previously had. Doug is very approachable, always on hand when we need him, has a great sense of humour and he fits in with our company perfectly. We couldn’t do it without him.’
‘Doug Frame always deals with employment matters and disputes in a straightforward manner and has an obvious wealth of experience in helping employers defend themselves. We followed him from his previous firm as we have always found his services to be A grade.’
ebm-papst (UK) Limited
Country Grounds Maintenance Limited
Channels Food and Beverage Limited
Direct Dialog Visual Limited
Burslem Cricket Club
Kennedys launched a dedicated healthcare employment service in late 2019 to meet demand from its clients for HR and employment law support. Associate Oonagh Sharma is the key contact for the service in Cambridge, working with support from the team in Manchester. The firm has 'an excellent, collaborative and flexible approach' and clients praise Sharma as 'a hugely knowledgeable and strategically astute employment specialist'. She advised Barts Health NHS Trust on all workforce matters relating to setting up the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in London.
‘Excellent, collaborative and flexible approach. It feels as though they are an extension of our in-house team, such is their understanding of our business.’
‘Oonagh Sharma is a hugely knowledgeable and strategically astute employment specialist. She is very approachable and tailors her advice to the context brilliantly. I definitely feel in safe hands with her.’
‘Oonagh Sharma has fantastic in-depth knowledge of the healthcare private sector and how the various stakeholders interrelate. She is on top of emerging legal developments and offers useful insight into the potential practical implications of such developments. Her advice is helpful and she offers credible solutions to unique circumstances.’
Spire Healthcare Limited
Barts Health NHS Trust
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Healthcare Service Investigation Branch
- Instructed by Barts Health NHS Trust to advise in relation to all aspects of setting up the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in London in April 2020, as part of the NHS’ response to the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK.
Based in Ipswich, Quantrills Solicitors is an specialist employment and HR boutique that has acted for both employees and employers in complex and high-value matters for the last 20 years. The 'efficient and insightful' Simon Quantrill founded the firm, bringing to bear his expertise in both litigation and day-to-day HR matters. Associate Katherine Sheerin is 'an excellent lawyer who is extremely knowledgeable in her specialist areas and is very pleasant to deal with'; her expertise encompasses data protection and remuneration issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘We use Quantrills on an ongoing engagement on employment and data protection matters. We use them because of the depth of their expertise and responsiveness in these specialist areas.’
‘From the outset it was clear that Katherine Sheerin really knew her stuff.’
‘Katherine Sheerin is an excellent lawyer who is extremely knowledgeable in her specialist areas and is very pleasant to deal with.’
‘We work with Katherine Sheerin, who is extremely responsive, has an excellent attention to detail and can explain complex legal issues in simple terms.’
‘Simon Quantrill is efficient and insightful with his legal knowledge and sharing of best practice. The information provided is detailed and tailored to not only the questions posed but also the style of business that we run. The documentation provided in support of our different employment law initiatives is first rate. Quantrills was key when we were looking at updating our contractual terms, they also supported with our move to home working during the initial pandemic situation as well as legal advise regarding building a casual work force. Quantrills has also helped with forming our fleet of company vehicles from a policy perspective as well as contributing to our flexible working policies.’
‘Simon Quantrill at the firm of solicitors has a genuine interest in the business and will often call for a catch up to see what challenges we face. This is not to simply offer unwanted help but out of a good sense of maintaining client relationships. I find the advice given is succinct and relevant and with a good sense of our working culture.’
‘The team is user-friendly, quick to respond with advice and extremely helpful, appreciating the urgent need for advice when employment issues arise.’
‘It is a small company which makes the advice and service feel very personal. They all take the time to listen, get a full understanding of the problems you are facing and provide timely expert advice.’
- Represented a headteacher at the Employment Tribunal and EAT and secured a compensation award of £93,000. The tribunal held he had been unfairly dismissed after he had removed a misbehaving child from the classroom by force.
- In 2020, as a response to the Coronavirus, represented a leading UK waste management company in more than 25 settlement agreement negotiations at the same time.
- Updated a food manufacturer’s contracts of employment, advised on the enforcement of restrictive covenants and provided detailed advice on furlough related issues.
Spire Solicitors LLP has seven offices throughout Norfolk, through which it provides a growing array of employment law services. Senior associate Lucy Churchill in Norwich is the lead lawyer and she has notable experience advising large employers on non-contentious matters including severances and settlement agreements, contracts and policies, business reorganisations and collective redundancy programmes. The firm also has substantial experience in Employment Tribunal litigation, including unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims.
‘Our direct point of contact is Lucy Churchill who is incredibly responsive and supportive. Always enormously helpful and provides superb professional advice very quickly and understands the pressure and importance of a rapid response.’
‘Lucy Churchill is wonderfully professional, demonstrates immense empathy and understands the economic challenges our industry operates within and consequently has our full confidence. Personally, Lucy is utterly charming, engaging and has an inquisitive and agile mind. She thinks laterally and is a genuine problem solver. I would and do thoroughly recommend Lucy Churchill, she is a force multiplier and we are fortunate to have her advice and counsel.’
‘The team were both professional and friendly, at the same time as being super-efficient and on the ball from the outset. I instantly felt confident in that I had selected the right team to support me at what was an extremely stressful and emotional time for me. The speed at which the team responded to my initial query, to the first phone consultation and their ongoing support throughout my case, gave me absolute faith that I would get the support I needed and when I needed it.’
‘Lucy Churchill was fantastic from the start. She really put me at ease and explained everything in a way that was easily understandable for me, all be it ensuring I had the detail to make informed opinions and decisions. She pointed me to additional sources of information that were extremely helpful to me, as the information was not always easily at hand or easy to find. Lucy ran what I considered to be a very efficient and professional process, whilst remaining friendly – I always felt I had someone on myself side, watching my back.’
Food for Thought Solutions t/a Toolbox Group
Flagship Housing Group
Wrights of Brettenham
Signify Commercial UK Limited
- Continuing to advise a social housing group on employment tribunal claims, including unfair dismissal and discrimination issues.
- Advising retail technology company on the employment law implications of engaging consultants in various jurisdictions including Poland, France, Sweden, Spain and South Africa.
- Advising a world leading design and technology business on the employment law implications arising from a post-acquisition integration process.
The Cambridge office of Stone King LLP plays a key role in the firm's national employment practice, which acts for employers and individuals, working with the firm's four core sector teams focusing on business, charity, education and private client matters. The firm also provides an HR consultancy service, which has nine consultants across its five offices. Tim Tyndall is the lead partner in Cambridge and has ' excellent advocacy skills, knowledge and experience and is a very calm and reassuring presence'.
Other key lawyers:
‘Clear support and advice when needed. Very approachable team with a huge amount of expertise in different fields. Lots of reassurance provided when dealing with difficult or challenging issues. Always made to feel that every question raised is valid.’
‘Tim Tyndall has excellent advocacy skills, knowledge and experience and is a very calm and reassuring presence.’
‘Julianna Barker has fantastic administration skills and is incredibly patient when dealing with queries.’
'The advice and guidance received is second to none', remarks a client of Woodfines LLP in Cambridge, praising the firm's advice as 'personal, helpful and relevant'. Veteran partner and practice head Nick Sayer 'always gives a prompt response and thorough advice and was great at keeping clients updated of the latest legal news throughout the Covid pandemic'. He advises both employees and employers, ranging from local SMES to national and international businesses, on HR issues and contentious matters in the High Court and Employment Tribunal.
‘The Woodfines team has a good engagement model, is readily available and quick to respond to queries on HR / employment. Getting a quick response is critical in some HR situations where you don’t have your own in-house team and it feels like Woodfines is our own in-house team.’
‘At Woodfines we deal specifically with Nick Sayer. He has knowledge of our industry, which is often pertinent, as well as deep competency in HR and employment law. Whenever we have called on Nick he has responded with timely and solid advice which on a number of occasions has helped us successfully manage employment situations to positive outcomes for both ourselves and our employees.’
‘We have a solicitor on a retained basis for support with employment matters. The contact at Woodfines is excellent, the advice and guidance we receive is second to none. Used other firms in the past but this is more personal, helpful and relevant.’
‘My contact is Nick Sayer – I must say nothing is ever too much trouble, the guidance we receive is balanced and easy to understand. Nick is always happy to support with communication to more senior managers within our business.’
‘Nick Sayer always gives a prompt response and thorough advice and was great at keeping us updated of the latest legal news throughout the COVID pandemic, with regular emails of updates/guidance. He was very thorough and most often, seemed ahead of the latest details, interpreting very clearly and accurately the COVID rules and guidance relating to HR issues, before the Government had even been clear and elaborated on them. This was very helpful to us and kept us from making choices or taking certain courses of action, that may later have been questioned.’
‘Most solicitors I have come across are professional. Some are more accessible than others. Some are friendly, clearly knowledgeable and give you the feeling that it is you and not the billing hours that are the most important. The only firm I have come across that have all of these qualities is Woodfines. The moment my wife and I met Nick we knew we were in good hands. We have now expanded our relationship with them into other parts of their business expertise and continue to be impressed with everybody we we deal with.’
‘We engaged Nick Sayer’s services just before the lockdown. He continually kept us up to date with the legislation, advised us on Furlough and many other things. The guy was magnificent and an invaluable asset to the running of our SME. If I email him and get a reply that he is on annual leave he still calls me. How many lawyers would do that?’
Saffron Building Society
Murfitts Industries Ltd
Tyre Recovery Systems Limited