'It gets deals done by having a sensible balanced approach to issues and proactive solutions,' says a client of Birketts LLP, which has a single, integrated employment practice across its four offices. The firm handles all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law and has niche expertise in sectors including healthcare and digital technology. Practice head Jeanette Wheeler and 'gifted communicator' Matthew Newnham in Norwich, the 'knowledgable, efficient' Catherine Johnson in Ipswich and Abigail Trencher in Cambridge are all highly recommended partners who provide 'pragmatic and swift advice'. Trencher and legal director Tom Sharpe have a significant track record in High Court post-restrictive injunction work. Legal director Lorna Townsend leads the firm's HR investigations service.
Employment in East Anglia
‘Catherine Johnson has helped me on numerous occasions with a whole host of different HR issues. Catherine is knowledgable, efficient and I trust her advice and judgement implicitly. Catherine will always take the time to talk through her advice in a clear and concise way, and in doing so has enabled me to grow my own knowledge.‘
‘Catherine Johnson is the ultimate professional and will always make time to answer my queries and help where she can.‘
‘Catherine Johnson was recommended to me by a colleague whose judgement I trust. I was not disappointed.‘
‘The team is friendly and approachable and never makes me feel like I’m asking a silly question. If one of the team does not know the answer they will pass my query over to someone who does to ensure the correct answer is given. The HR update meetings that Birketts run, both the Early Breakfast meetings as well as the annual HR update, are second to none and always informative and relevant.‘
‘The firm is very proactive, covering all bases using other experts in the business to provide advice where needed. It gets deals done by having a sensible balanced approach to issues and proactive solutions.‘
‘The firm is able to turn around queries with pragmatic and swift advice.‘
‘Matt Newman is a gifted communicator and Jeanette Wheeler is outstanding at client relations and stakeholder engagement.‘
Procam CP Limited
Flagship Housing Limited
Sapientia Education Trust
Kettle Foods Limited
Trinity Hall (University of Cambridge)
Just Eat plc
Bernard Matthews Limited (now part of 2 Sisters Group)
CITB (Construction Industry Training Board)
The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundations
Petrogas Group UK Limited
East Anglian Air Ambulance
The Restaurant Group Plc
- Advised East Anglian Air Ambulance on a claim for unfair dismissal brought by one of its flying doctors.
- Advising Petrogas UK Ltd on day-to-day HR matters, most recently advising on the calculation of holiday pay and helping to review contracts and policies.
- Acting as sole adviser to The Restaurant Group Plc on contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including tribunal claims.
Cambridge Employment Law LLP
Cambridge Employment Law LLP is a partner-led specialist employment law firm with a diverse client base in East Anglia and beyond. It acts for a wide range of technology, biotech and pharmaceutical clients, as well as high-growth start-ups, Cambridge colleges and other educational organisations, charities and senior individuals. Oliver Pryke, Eleanor Freeman and Mandy Lyne lead the practice. The firm continues to attract new clients such as The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, as well as acting for longstanding clients, among which are Cambridge Consultants Ltd and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
‘Cambridge Employment Law has taken the time and trouble to get to know our business well over the years and is highly tuned to our specific needs. Most of our HR documents – company handbook, policies, employment contracts – have been written by Cambridge Employment Law and we feel safe in the knowledge that all bases are covered.‘
‘As a start-up, we do not have in-house legal expertise so have entirely relied upon Cambridge Employment Law when an employment issue arises. They get to the nub of the problem quickly even when the case starts off as less than straightforward.‘
‘The firm was recommended to me by a number of ex-colleagues who had all had great support through redundancy negotiations. It has a very strong reputation of excellence in all areas of employment law and a good awareness of Cambridge life science companies and best practice.‘
‘Eleanor Freeman was the standout lawyer. She was well informed and experienced, proactive and gave a very good balance of support, legal advice, but also advice on how to approach conversations to get the best outcomes. Having someone of this quality as a sounding board to understand my redundancy rights and position was hugely helpful. She looked at all aspects of my position – not just financial, but also considering how I ensured freedom to do what I wanted in terms of small company set up after leaving my employer. Very professional, friendly and confident. I would absolutely recommend her and have done so to other colleagues.‘
‘Eleanor Freeman stands out to us. She has been by our side during some difficult and tense redundancy and dismissal situations. Eleanor has always provided a guiding hand and we feel we are on firm ground when we follow her advice.‘
‘Eleanor Freeman is always accessible by telephone and answers our questions clearly and directly.‘
‘We have never been on the losing side whilst Eleanor Freeman has been working on our behalf.‘
Trinity College, Cambridge
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Cambridge Consultants Ltd
Adder Technology Limited
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
- Successfully defending claims of whistleblowing and institutional racism against a large institution resulting in all claims being dismissed by the Employment Tribunal.
- Defending a global IT company against a competitor seeking to enforce a non-compete provision against an employee hired from the competitor by our client.
- Advising a multinational company on a claim of unfair dismissal and sexual harassment brought by an employee in its Hungarian office.
The Cambridge office of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is part of a global network offering employment law services, which sees the practice handle high-value national and cross-border work. It handles the full range of advisory work, as well as complex Employment Tribunal litigation. Simon Tytherleigh leads the firm's human resources practice group in Cambridge, which comprises four partners. Elizabeth Graves acts predominantly for clients in the life sciences, technology and financial services sectors. Matthew Kelly is a leading adviser to clients in the education sector. Constanze Moorhouse, who is dual-qualified in England and Germany, leads the firm's international employment counsel team. Senior associate Rachel Bennett acts for the firm's key pharmaceutical, transport and water clients. Principal associate Sasha Willmott is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Eversheds are highly client-focused, constantly trying to understand the client’s perspective and to look at matters through the lense of the client. Service offer goes beyond typical legal advice which also positively impacts the way they legally counsel their client.’
‘Eversheds have a strong capability on employment law with a high level of expertise of their partners and associates at their offices across Europe.’
‘Constanze Moorhouse is a very experienced and capable employment law attorney who is able to provide excellent legal advice on sensitive employment matters, as well as to act as a key account partner for clients who need advice on cross-European matters which require a high level of organisation and collaboration. Very pleasant to work with.’
‘The Eversheds European employment team provide practical business-orientated advice consistently across multiple countries, enabling an approach which is as consistent as possible, nuanced for local requirements; at reasonable rates.’
‘Constanze Moorhouse utilises her joint German and English law qualifications, combined with extensive experience of multi-jurisdictional projects, to get ahead of issues and design a cost-effective approach, as well as a fit-for-purpose solution.’
Owens & Minor, Inc (including local subsidiary Movianto)
Liberty Specialty Markets
URBN UK Limited
Queen Mary University of London
Kensington and Chelsea College
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Newcastle College Group
AVEVA Group PLC
Avis Budget Group
- Advising global technology business, ARM, on its employment needs across all countries including operating an international employment helpline.
- Advising Owens & Minor, Inc. on the intended sale of its Bedford headquartered European Movianto logistics healthcare business to leading pharmaceutical business, EHDH Holding Group.
- Appointed as the main employment law advisers to specialist insurer, Liberty Specialty Markets Limited, during 2019 following a competitive tender.
Greenwoods GRM provides 'outstanding service' and clients remark upon its 'strong competency and knowledge, provided in an absolutely friendly and supportive way'. From its home base in Peterborough and, increasingly, through its Cambridge office, the firm acts for high-profile employer clients including a major national housebuilder, household name travel and white goods manufacturing companies, a high-profile national children’s charity and a world-renowned independent school. John Macaulay in Peterborough leads the practice and, in the same office, managing partner Robert Dillarstone is 'brilliant - he has perfect client management a complete knowledge of legislation'. Up-and-coming partner Keith Williams is also recommended. In Cambridge, Joanna Scally leads the practice and senior associate Natalie Williams is a rising star.
‘Greenwoods is the best partner working with our function at the moment. The team is very diverse in capabilities, background and gender. We have different experts for each area of knowledge and practice, always available to support the team not only with a very strong competency and knowledge but also in an absolutely friendly and supportive way. They’ve been partnering with us for many years and I have no plans to change it for the next years.‘
‘My main contact point is Robert Dillarstone and he is brilliant. Perfect client management, being always available, with a complete knowledge of legislation, case and team management. He is always very prompt to respond or address matters to the right talents in his team. Having the history of our cases after years of partnership also allows a great outcome. We have had very successful cases with Greenwoods representing our company. And in comparison to other competitors they offer an outstanding service for a good price.‘
‘The firm is professional, competent and does what it says on the tin. It provides ready access to the appropriate resource, who have always gone the extra mile in terms of response. Extremely thorough with great attention to detail.‘
‘We appreciate their knowledge, pragmatism and availability. They always make us feel special.‘
‘Jo Scally is exceptional in the field of employment law and has always provided us with outstanding advice and support.’
‘The team at Greenwoods has taken time to understand and develop relationships with the particular sector of the market in which I operate and this distinguishes them from other players in the market.‘
‘Pragmatic advice delivered with a personal touch. I view the individuals I work with as trusted colleagues, with whom I feel confident in speaking candidly about my challenges and from whom I will receive helpful and timely advice.‘
‘They exemplify the values you would expect from a small family business, whilst having the resources, skills and acumen of a much larger business.‘
‘I have only worked with Jo Scally but I have been very impressed with her clear, practical advice and her knowledge of the sector.‘
‘We appreciate their ability to respond quickly, to want to really get to know your business and culture so that they can work with you to come up with solutions that are practical and balance risk appropriately. They are also a really nice group of people to work with.‘
‘John Macaulay is extremely professional and knowledgeable. He understands business and proactively helps us find pragmatic solutions. He communicates complex concepts in a simple clear way that aids problem solving. He always gives you the time that you need and makes sure you fully understand. He is happy to give an opinion but also very happy to listen to yours. It feels like a true partnership.‘
‘Natalie Williams is extremely professional and knowledgeable. She understands the business and is always quick to respond.‘
- Provided employment advice to one of the largest British homebuilding companies.
- Providing full employment law support across all services throughout the UK for a well-known global charity.
- Providing regular advice to a multinational manufacturer and marketer of home appliances.
Mills & Reeve LLP handles a broad portfolio of regional, national and cross-border employment matters in sectors such as technology, mid-market and owner-managed businesses, education, health, food and agribusiness, charities and life sciences. David Mills in Cambridge leads a six-partner team in East Anglia, which is part of the firm's broader national employment practice. Nicola Brown leads on matters for national higher education clients and charitable organisations. Stuart Craig, who works in both Cambridge and Leeds, is a key adviser to clients in the healthcare sector. Up-and-coming partner Andrew Secker and senior associate Lindsey Hill are also recommended. James Kidd leads the employment, pensions and immigration group in Norwich.
‘Client-focused; very professional; walks the walk in terms of good employment practice for its own staff; committed to equality, diversity and inclusivity; a firm that I would be happy (and proud) to work for.’
‘The team understand our organisation and therefore the advice we receive is relevant and not generalised. Also, there are very few staff changes, so for many years we have been dealing with the same individuals, which means that we can save time in explaining history and background. Even when our usual solicitor is unavailable, those covering are all people we have dealt with before and understand our needs and issues. Other firms we have dealt with before have a regular turnover of staff and we would spend a lot of time explaining our organisation or the background to issues.’
‘Andrew Secker is our primary partner for employment matters. He is very responsive and provides practical advice.’
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
- Represented the University of London in judicial review proceedings brought by the IWGB trade union seeking to challenge UK legislation relating to trade union recognition; the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was also a party.
- Represented the Trust at the Court of Appeal in a leading case which considered whether overtime pay needs to be included in the calculation of holiday pay; the case concerned both ECJ precedent and the interpretation of national NHS terms and conditions.
- Acted for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust in a case important to employers across the country because it led to a reported Court of Appeal decision and clarification about when employers should delay internal disciplinary proceedings to await the outcome of a parallel criminal investigation.
'The firm has a customer-centric approach,' notes a client of Ashtons Legal who remarks that its lawyers are 'genuine business partners rather than service providers'. The firm acts for both employees and employers on contentious matters including discrimination claims, employment/worker status claims and statutory protections such as unfair dismissal. It also handles practical tasks for employers without an in-house HR function such as disciplinary and grievance hearings, as well as developing culture change strategies. Ross Strowger in Norwich leads the practice. The 'hugely knowledgeable and very on the ball' Claire Sleep is the key partner in Cambridge and Colin Makin in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.
‘The firm has a customer-centric approach – speed of response, quality of advice. Ashtons are genuine business partners rather than service providers.‘
‘They operate as an extension of our business. Ashtons understand our business and always seems to apply a commercial lens to its support.‘
‘The advice is always led by a named partner who draws on other expertise within Ashtons to address our issues.‘
‘Ross Strowger has been very helpful to my business in respect of three complex HR problems and helped me to achieve beneficial outcomes for the firm and its staff.‘
‘The firm has a wealth of knowledge and a personal touch, and it provides quick responses.’
‘Claire Sleep is hugely knowledgeable and very on the ball, and has been a particularly helpful member of the team.‘
‘Clear, pragmatic, commercially sound advice.‘
‘Colin Makin is easy to work with and collaborative.‘
Anglian Windows Limited (T/A Anglian Home Improvements)
Cosworth Electronics Limited
Pembroke College, Cambridge
Marshall Thermo King Limited t/a Marshall Fleet Solutions
Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries Ltd
Cambridge Building Society
The London Cremation Company
Moores Refrigeration Controlled Transport Limited (t/a MRCT)
Clare College, Cambridge
The Perse School
Clarkes of Walsham
McTear Williams & Wood
A C Leigh (Norwich) Limited
Hammond Road Garage Limited (t/a Hammond Cars)
Perenco (UK) Limited
The Payroll Service Company Limited
- Advised The Payroll Service Company Limited on employment aspects within the sale of its company to Access UK Limited; this was corporate support offered within the wider transaction to the client who was also supported by other departments.
The Peterborough office of Buckles Solicitors LLP is a key hub in the firm's network of four UK offices, which work closely with its offices in Paris and Milan. As a result, the firm has a growing roster of cross-border work. Lead partner Giles Betts has more than 20 years’ experience in advising businesses, the public sector and senior executives on employment law issues. He has a particular expertise in managing the terminations of senior executives and advising on complex TUPE transactions. Associate Nicola Cockerill also plays a key role in the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Ellisons Solicitors in Ipswich has a small team that is part of a broader employment practice across its offices in East Anglia and Essex. Alongside its diverse range of local work in these regions, the firm also handles some national and cross-border HR matters. Julian Outen, who is a trained mediator, is regarded as a leading practitioner in this area of law with 25 years' experience in contentious matters, TUPE and corporate support work. Associate Tina Maxey is also recommended, particularly for advising employers on exit strategies, terminations and employment tribunal claims.
Other key lawyers:
East of England Cooperative Society Limited
Gray Dawes Travel Group
The employment practice at Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich has 'excellent knowledge and advice and builds good working relationships'. Employment is one of the firm's core practice areas, for which it has a longstanding reputation in the region for partner-led service and cost-efficiency. Marie Allen leads the practice and she frequently assists the firm's business law team in corporate transactional and due diligence matters. Key partner Andrew West qualified as a mediator in 2019 and handles both civil and workplace disputes.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent knowledge and advice and builds good working relationships.‘
Jack Sealey Limited
St Nicholas Hospice
Seven Asset Management
- Provided employment law advice to Goldstar Transport Ltd for a number of years on a broad spectrum of issues, including large-scale reorganisation and defending the company in Employment Tribunal proceedings.
- Jack Sealey Ltd has been on a retainer for a number of years and the firm has provided day-to-day advice on a range of employment issues.
Greene & Greene is 'extremely knowledgeable and always provide accurate and informed advice'. Adept in the full range of employment matters, the firm has particular expertise in the insurance, technology, education, food, recruitment and manufacturing sectors. It supports corporate transactions, as well as handling TUPE, redundancy and restructuring matters. Practice head Selene Holden is 'able to see through the grey and provide practical advice'. 'Quick-witted' partner Greg Jones has ten years' experience in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Trained barrister Angharad Ellis Owen 'demonstrates exceptional attention to detail'.
‘I have been working with the Greene and Greene employment team for more than seven years and through this time the individuals within the team have remained stable and supportive. They fully understand the business areas in which we work and provide full end-to-end support. They have commercial acumen and understand the politics which exist within businesses.‘
‘Selene Holden has a wide-ranging level of experience, she is able to draw upon her knowledge and provide relevant advice. She takes also into consideration the thoughts and understanding of the individuals within the business with whom she is dealing with and adapts her style and influence depending on this. She is able to see through the grey and provide practical advice in an engaging and personable manner.‘
‘I have been to many events where Greg Jones has been host. He is knowledgeable and well versed as a presenter. He is supportive on a personal level and makes a very good mentor. He is quick-witted and is able to engage with audiences of all levels without missing a beat.’
‘Greene & Greene has taken the time to understand our business so it can provide completely tailored and relevant advice taking into account our ethos and attitude towards business risk. They provide comprehensive guidance and strategies that we have been able to follow successfully. They are also willing to work late to turn documents around to tight timescales and keep us updated as to costs as projects progress. Their Employment Law Update seminars are exceptional, and they run other workshops which are always relevant and well run.‘
‘Partner Selene Holden and barrister Angharad Ellis Owen have demonstrated exceptional attention to detail, knowledge of their areas of expertise and have also been able to put us in touch with other experts as needed. They are able to explain complex issues simply yet comprehensively, and provide watertight contracts and agreements. They are also very warm and personable whilst remaining totally professional, making for a very positive working relationship.‘
‘The team at Greene & Greene, and Selene Holden in particular, has been instrumental in providing great advice at just the right moment when we have been navigating employment matters that went beyond the skillset of the company’s management team.‘
‘Selene Holden has an amazing skill for understanding a given situation quickly, understanding what the true objective of the business is at that moment, and providing advice and guidance to help the business make a pragmatic decision to achieve those objectives.‘
‘Selene Holden’s pragmatism is one of the outstanding reasons for working with her. There are many law practitioners that have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the text of the law, but Selene understands what we’re trying to achieve as a business and what our true goal is. When working with ACAS, she was always trying to a conclusion that was better for my overall goals.‘
‘Selene Holden was the standout partner that I worked with from Greene & Greene. She is personable, knowledgeable, guiding, and above all else pragmatic.‘
‘A very responsive team that is plugged into the East Anglian economy. Very knowledgeable and responsive.‘
‘Greg Jones provides strong and insightful advice. A great adviser for urgent matters – flexible both in the solutions he offers and the way he will provide advice. It is a pleasure to work with Greg.‘
‘All the lawyers have a calming demeanour that takes away the fear factor from what are quite often stressful situations. The solid knowledge and advice is second to none and I feel confident in the advice I am being given from any one of the employment law team members.‘
‘Selene Holden is always very calming and she evokes a level of strength and trust that I know I can depend on. We have worked together on many challenges and projects over the years and I know I can rely on her to get the desired outcome for all parties. Not only have I learned from her vast knowledge of employment law, but she has never let me down, which is something that not many of us can say when we find ourselves in challenging situations.‘
‘Greg Jones and Angharad Ellis Owen are very easy to work with and the advice given is always spot on. The whole team complement each other perfectly and I have been extremely lucky to have them supporting me on many occasions.‘
‘The team at Greene & Greene is exceptional! They are extremely knowledgeable and always provide accurate and informed advice to our employment matters. The team is always very quick to respond to queries, which is very useful when it is a time-sensitive matter.‘
‘Greg Jones is my main contact at Greene & Greene and he is an absolute professional. Greg’s advice is always considered and thoughtful, understanding the needs of the business as well as needing to meet the legal requirements. Greg also has a solid understanding of the software and gaming industry which helps him provide a more informed recommendation of us as a business. I cannot recommend him enough!‘
‘Selene Holden has provided excellent advice to the school on a range of employment law issues. She has provided a number of training and engagement sessions with middle managers and senior leaders on topics such as safe and fair recruitment and equality and diversity. Selene provided informative, specific and case study-based training which gave managers and leaders the opportunity to discuss scenarios to help them understand the importance of creating a professional environment in the workplace. The training helped staff understand the legal pitfalls of failing to set a professional example and how to manage colleagues effectively.‘
‘I was recommended Greene & Greene and am very pleased I was. They are responsive and provide practical, clear advice highlighting areas of potential risk. From my experience they are very business-focused.‘
‘My main dealings have been with Greg Jones who has been a great support with a number of changes and situations I’ve had to deal with. He is very clear with his advice, challenging in the right way as Devil’s Advocate, and focused on what is best for the business and how best to achieve the required or ideal outcome.‘
‘Greg Jones has enabled myself and colleagues with whom he has dealt to look at situations differently and provide practical guidance.‘
Nexus Underwriting Management Limited
The Vitec Group Plc
Taylor Made Joinery Interiors Ltd
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Cobb Europe Limited
Direct Table Foods Ltd
HBP Management Limited
- Continued to provide HR and legal support to longstanding client the Nexus Group, both in respect of day-to-day HR issues, the provision of training for managers and also from a corporate support perspective in relation to acquisitions.
- Continued to provide support to longstanding client the Vitec Group on a wide range of issues, including advice on restructures, disciplinary matters and equality matters.
- Continued to provide HR and legal support to Cobb Europe Limited, both in respect of day- to-day HR issues, the provision of training and also from a corporate support perspective in relation to TUPE.
Across its network of four offices HCR Hewitsons has four employment partners, two of whom are based in East Anglia. The practice is led from Northampton, but the 'exceptionally responsive and extremely helpful' Valerie Lambert and Elizabeth Swinburn are the key partners in Cambridge. 'The team is exceptionally responsive and very clear and practical in the advice offered,' remarks one client. The firm handles high-profile High Court litigation, including restrictive covenants, confidential information and breach of fiduciary duty disputes, as well as advising on business reorganisation, TUPE transfers, Employment Tribunals and a host of day-to-day matters.
‘The team is exceptionally responsive and very clear and practical in the advice offered. They have advised us on a wide range of employment issues and we are very satisfied with the advice and service provided.‘
‘Normally, I deal with Valerie Lambert who is a partner in the employment practice. I find her exceptionally responsive, extremely helpful and her advice is very clear and practical. She also manages our cases very well and provides excellent value for money.‘
‘Valerie Lambert has provided very pragmatic employment law advice on numerous occasions.‘
‘It is the team itself that makes the practice unique and in my experience they are extremely approachable and have detailed knowledge of their clients old and new. The strength of the practice in this area shines from Valerie Lambert, who consistently demonstrates up to the minute knowledge of employment law and a delightfully direct no fuss approach.‘
‘The team is very well resourced and extremely adaptable, able to act with great speed and precision when issues arise that require assistance from legal professionals in other areas, for instance in assessing the criminal liability of an employee, director or the corporate entity itself.‘
‘I have been extremely impressed with Valerie Lambert in particular but also all that I have come across in her team whilst working on the matter. I would not hesitate to recommend HCR Hewitsons to any company or individual seeking advice or representation in this field. More junior members of the team are exceptionally well trained and encouraged to play an active part in the work of their more senior colleagues.‘
‘Valerie Lambert’s presentation, both in writing and in person, is excellent. She inspires confidence in her clients and in other legal professionals and she is a joy to deal with. Her written instructions are superb: precise and include all relevant information. She responds instantly to communications and takes great care to include more junior members of her team in the work and discussions which results in a very cohesive team sharing a wide body of knowledge. I particularly value her ability to get to the point and have a frank discussion about the issues to be resolved. Clients are extremely well served by her.’
‘Always up-to-date with the changing climate of employment law, particularly with COVID-19 and getting a clear understanding of the mixed messages from the government.‘
‘We use the services of Valerie Lambert who is always clear and precise in the advice given, working to very tight deadlines to meet the demands of our business and is always available to deal with any employment issue we have in our companies.‘
Howes Percival LLP has employment law capability in both its Cambridge and Norwich offices. The practice focuses mainly on Employment Tribunal claims, in which it acts mainly for employers. 'Highly pragmatic and commercial' practice head Matthew Potter in Cambridge has 25 years' experience, with a particularly strong track record in Employment Tribunal work. He is supported by associates Jonathan Mumby, who frequently acts for senior executives, and Norwich-based Caroline Illing, who focuses predominantly on the automotive sector.
‘The firm provides specialist employment law advice from routine matters such as HR policy formulation and staff handbook preparation right through to the most complex TUPE, IR and Senior Executive advice.‘
‘Matthew Potter is always alive to changing legalisation and regulations and offers highly pragmatic and commercial advice. He is easy to do business with and responsive at all times.‘
‘I get sound practical advice, with the various options and risks outlined. Advice is explained in easy to understand terms.‘
‘They are always available and go out of their way to help. When dealing with tricky or urgent situations they help to resolve the situation. They don’t over complicate advice or processes.‘
- Advised a City-based UK arm of an international financial services company on the restructure and reorganisation of employees; instructed to conduct a full review of their employment contracts, handbook and policies.
- Provided ongoing day-to-day employment law advice and Employment Tribunal support to large HR function of UK-based FM provider, with over 400 sites throughout the UK.
- Provided day-to-day employment law advice and Employment Tribunal assistance to multi-sited automotive retailer with 119 dealerships and 24 brands in the UK.
'The team stands out for its creativity in tackling legal problems, its organisation and its responsiveness,' says counsel of the practice at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP in Cambridge. The firm focuses on the technology, charities and education sectors. It advises both employers and employees in boardroom disputes, and counts multinational businesses among its clients. Practice head Hilary Aldred is the regional member of a 13-partner practice across the firm's office network. She has more than 20 years' experience in contentious matters and advisory work. Senior associate Sophie Whitbread is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Hilary Aldred gives excellent practical advice and always gives the impression she is on top of all the issues, both legal and practical, and is considering them all in her advice.‘
‘The team stands out for its creativity in tackling legal problems, its organisation and its responsiveness. The team is an absolute pleasure to work with, and it is one of the best firms to receive instructions from.‘
‘Sophie Whitbread is highly meticulous, a fantastic lawyer and a tenacious litigator. She goes the extra mile for her clients, and is a dream instructing solicitor.‘
‘Hilary Aldred is a brilliant lawyer, highly knowledgeable and someone you would want fighting your corner.‘
‘Partners are generally responsive to timelines and make the effort to be available at short notice.’
‘The firm provides really high-quality work. The witness statements, for example, are far more thorough and better drafted than many comparable firms.‘
‘They give very good advice. The firm’s solicitors understand the nuances of the law well.‘
‘Sophie Whitbread instructs me as counsel. If I were a client, she is the solicitor I would want representing me.‘
‘Sophie Whitbread is an excellent technical lawyer. She is very bright, which is important in Employment Tribunal cases. They often include a complicated matrix of facts. In order to give good advice you don’t just need to understand the law. You need to have mastery of what is often a very complicated chronology in order to properly assess the various variables and risk factors in any given case.‘
‘Sophie Whitbread’s work is of very high quality. Her pleadings are good. Her witness statements are excellent – clear and detailed. She really adds value for the client.‘
‘A highly professional business offering constructive advice and being able to deliver on service and outcome. Very focused on delivering a high level of client service.‘
‘Most of my dealings were with Sophie Whitbread. Sophie took time to understand my requirements and represented my interests in what was a challenging and time-sensitive negotiation. The opposing lawyers employed various bullying tactics but Sophie and her team stood their ground and refused to allow such tactics. Sophie responded efficiently and quickly on all matters and provided me with all-round strong sensible advice to achieve the best outcome.‘
‘Sophie Whitbread made herself available out of hours as well to enable negotiations to be concluded. Her documentation and advice were clear and easy to understand.‘
‘I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Sophie Whitbread and her team to others – she was outstanding.‘
‘They offer very practical, usable advice. Instead of just explaining the technical, legal position, which they do well, they provide the advice in context and apply it to the situation at hand and are not afraid to give definitive advice rather than just a range of options.‘
‘I like working with Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP because they are very pragmatic and find solutions that work best for both the employer and employee.‘
‘The employment team offers an exceptional level of personal service, recognising each other’s areas of strength and collaborating accordingly. They understand our business environment and it feels like they are an integral part of the management team, when called upon. Their communication with the client, speed of response and management of deadlines is excellent.‘
‘Hilary Aldred has an unrivalled understanding of the university and collegiate environment and the complex employment challenges this brings. She is able to advise in a flexible way and tailors her advice to the audience as needed.‘
‘Sophie Whitbread has the personal touch. Her style of working is truly a business partnership and she provides very clear, pragmatic advice on all matters of employment.‘
Ocado Central Services Limited trading as Ocado
Carl Zeiss Microscopy Limited
Vix Technology Limited
Lanson International UK Limited trading as Lanson Champagne
- Advising Christ Church, Oxford, on a very wide range of employment and related matters.
- Advised national company Ocado Central Services Limited t/a Ocado on a variety of employment queries and conducted employment tribunal litigation on its behalf.
- Advised Cambridge-based listed company Abcam plc on a wide variety of employment issues.
The six-lawyer practice at Steeles Law handles a diverse workload ranging from local matters for owner-managed businesses to large employment issues with an international element. It acts for leading brands in the food sector, among which are Premier Foods and Hovis. Among the firm's new clients are one of the world’s leading chocolate manufacturers and Fairhome Group, which is a large plc expanding into the care home industry. Practice head Oliver Brabbins and up-and-coming partner Robert Hickford, who advises multinational corporate entities and local SMEs on significant HR matters, are both recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is responsive and practical and always gives good advice, perspective and creativity when needed.‘
‘Oliver Brabbins, Robert Hickford and Richard Bailey are all very experienced and knowledgeable and don’t sit on the fence, which I appreciate. They will be bold and thoughtful about finding a balance which benefits the business as well as getting the right outcome that you need. They are honest and practical and helpful.‘
Premier Foods PLC
Pasta Foods Limited
Robinsons Motor Group
The Liberal Democrats
Association of Independent Music
Falcon Tower Crane Services Limited
Hire-A-Lite (UK) Limited
Praemium (UK) Limited
Fairhome Group PLC
Impact Food Group
Millwall Community Trust
- Advising Hovis on the industrial action implications relating to multi-union strike action in Belfast for a UK-wide client.
- Representation and assistance of a claimant in a successful discrimination and unfair dismissal complaint against a public authority.
- Advising a large national food manufacturer on the closure of a milling business, including site closure, collective redundancies, and TUPE involvement.
'They provide a very personal service and the whole team are very accessible and easy to work with,' says a client of Taylor Vinters in Cambridge. The firm handles high-value work for innovative and entrepreneurial companies and has a growing roster of international work, partly thanks to its Singapore office. The practice is led from London by Dominic Holmes and Jo Edley but the firm retains significant expertise in the Cambridge office, with Christine Berry a key adviser to the firm's employment, charities and higher-education clients. Berry is due to retire in 2020, but up-and-coming partner Kim Wedral-Brooke leads the firm's emerging and fast-growth company employment law offering. Senior counsel Rachel Ashwood is also recommended.
‘They provide a very personal service and the whole team are very accessible and easy to work with. Advice is well tailored to our businesses needs, and they listen to our needs well.‘
‘Overall, I like the lack of formality. For me, they deliver the perfect combination. You are dealing with outsourced specialists, but it feels like having an in-house legal team.‘
‘Kim Wedral-Rooke is excellent. She stands out by having an intuitive understanding of our business needs and the objectives we are trying to achieve. She is responsive, concise yet informative and provides excellent advice.‘
‘They not only have strong in-depth legal knowledge, but this is allied to in-depth understanding of our company. They provide incisive clearly thought through and innovative advice. They are forward-looking in regards to the modern workforce and actively take part in government initiatives and lead the way in how to move and adapt to ever-changing needs.‘
‘Both Dominic Holmes and Rachel Ashwood are exemplary. They listen and don’t lecture; they are extremely adaptable and quick when there is urgency and considered when that is required. They can explain complex legal situations in clear terms and adapt to their audience, whether for managers and leaders or HR teams. We always feel confident in their advice and they are true partners to our business. They have a unique understanding of the media industry which means their advice is based on a real understanding of the situations we deal with. They do not give a one-size-fits-all approach which is refreshing.‘
‘The Taylor Vinters team get the world of work and how it is a moving feast. They are responsive to this and their advice is clear and practical and it works! Their initiatives beyond legal counsel and the purpose behind it, makes Taylor Vinters standout from the rest.‘
‘Honesty, clear advice, great relationship builders, the list could go on.‘
‘Always able to provide practical solutions to complex matters, also in international or cross-country situations.‘
‘Dominic Holmes provides outstanding communication and business insight.‘
St Edmund’s College, Cambridge
NEC Europe Limited
- Advised several fast-growth tech companies on a variety of: complex senior exits (UK and overseas); sensitive shareholder/founder dispute issues; HR compliance and strategy matters; flexible engagement structures for emerging companies and entry support to new markets.
- Advised a global professional services firm on the negotiated exit of a senior executive, following highly sensitive grievances (raised both by and against the individual concerned) relating to alleged bullying at work and an external disciplinary investigation into alleged expenses fraud.
- Advised a global provider of ’employer of record’ and payroll solutions, on a variety of international HR and market entry matters, using the firm’s ONE model.
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors
'Each team member showed compassion for our case,' remarks a client of Clapham & Collinge Solicitors. 'They put the needs of the client at the forefront of everything they do,' remarks another. The firm acts predominantly for claimants in contentious matters, though it is steadily growing its roster of advisory work for employers. The 'compassionate, professional and exceptionally approachable' Nicola Strefford in Norwich leads the practice, which includes one newly-qualified solicitor and a trainee.
‘The lawyers are very knowledgeable and have worked as a team to make sure there has been advice and support all the way through my current case. It is a complex case but all in the team seem to be fully briefed to any changes.‘
‘I appreciate their commitment to the case and supporting me through it. They are both available over the phone, in fact they encourage it rather than just dealing with email correspondence.‘
‘Nicola Strefford and Ben Lewins are the key lawyers. During my employment in finance I have dealt with many legal firms. What sets this firm apart from the rest is the team’s ability to communicate with my family as clients. Each team member showed compassion for our family’s case; a case that was dropped due to the professional dedication of the legal staff at this law firm. A second legal matter for our family came about earlier this year and we did not hesitate to contact Clapham & Collinge.‘
‘Nicola Strefford is compassionate, professional in every sense and provides quick turnaround of correspondence when approached by email or phone. She liaised with colleagues and other professionals to ensure a successful result. She is exceptionally approachable.‘
‘I researched who I felt would be able to assist me in my particular field of employment and determined this firm had the most experience and a good reputation. This has proven to be true. I have found the team to be approachable, courteous and professional. What I have experienced, in all my dealings with colleagues at Clapham and Collinge LLP, is that they are a team and not individuals who pass your details on with no further involvement. Enquiries I have made have always been followed up with various team members contacting me to update me whenever needed.‘
‘This employment team clearly works well together and I feel confident that whoever I speak to, or have dealings with regarding my particular case, will put the needs of the client at the forefront of everything they do.‘
‘Since engaging with this firm, I have come to respect and trust implicitly Nicola Strefford. With regard to all the issues that have arisen during my particular case, she has always responded in a timely and professional manner, providing advice that I trust, understand, and am able to fully consider when making decisions about my and my family’s personal circumstances.‘
‘When going through any employment issue, you need to have someone advising you, honestly and truthfully, what is and is not possible and the potential repercussions of any decisions that you make. Nicola Strefford I feel has given me this. Whilst in the middle of a very stressful situation the support and advice provided to me has helped me make some very difficult decisions. I have never felt obliged by Nicola to take any particular route through my issues, but I have felt that whatever my decision, she will continue to support and provide carefully considered, professional guidance to me through the process.‘
‘They are all really friendly and professional, providing excellent customer service and knowledge.’
‘They function like a well-oiled machine. Every person there acts with compassion and understanding with regards to the case in hand. Communication between the team members is second to none. When facts are not known, they are diligently researched and provided. I used this firm because of the support they provide to the community law service, the fact that they engage in charitable donations for worthwhile causes and that they were recommended on a personal level.‘
‘I have found in particular Nicola Strefford and Natalie Smith to be extremely compassionate yet realistic in expectations, which is a very hard line to walk. You just feel safer knowing that they have your back. They are always diligent in what they put together in the form of communications and strategies. In my own instance, I would have failed a long time ago if it was not for them.‘
‘The employment team at Clapham & Collinge is expertly led by Nicola Strefford, whose unmatched ability to keep her cool under pressure sets the confident “can-do” tone throughout her peers. Contentious employment matters are stressful as a client and this team ensures that there is always someone covering your matter in the case that your regular lawyer is out of the office. This is tremendously reassuring and contributes to all-round excellent client care.‘
‘This team really thinks about the points that are important to the client, and a key strength of theirs is communication; you always know where you are with your case, and if there are any unforeseen delays, you will always get a phone call with an update. In working with this team, the greatest value is being able to provide the required information and leave your matter in their hands and not worry about it. You know it’s always in safe hands and this is invaluable.‘
‘I would like to mention Nicola Strefford as an outstanding individual lawyer. I have worked with Nicola twice myself and have also recently referred a colleague to her. I have always been delighted with her work and would not hesitate to recommend her to anybody seeking employment advice. She is not only an excellent lawyer but a truly remarkable individual with a unique ability to build rapport and relationships with others. You only have to spend an hour with Nicola to know that you are in good hands. Her excellent interpersonal skills are reassuring, and yet she can always be relied upon to be honest and realistic in her advice. This is exactly what I look for when seeking employment advice, which, after all, can be emotive, but needs to keep its feet on the ground.‘
‘I have always found Nicola Strefford’s availability to be excellent and her patience to be unwavering, no matter how many queries arise or twists and turns a matter takes. On occasions where she has been out of the office, she has fully briefed a team member, and I have always felt taken-care of as a client.‘
‘I have valued Nicola Strefford’s collaborative approach to drafting. She has enough confidence in herself as a professional that she is not too proud to allow the client to suggest changes to documents, and this really sees that value is maximised in the end. Employment issues are rarely straightforward and I have been impressed by Nicola’s ability to absorb a huge amount of information quickly and pull out the relevant strands. This goes to her ability to put together a case as a whole and to drafting it initially, which really shapes the argument for the matter going forward.‘
‘Nicola Strefford’s commercial acumen is very sharp. She was able to advise me very well on the likely commercial position of my employer in the current commercial arena. On both occasions she was correct in her estimation. Her case law and knowledge of the Equality Act, in my case, was on the tip of her tongue at all times. Nicola seems to balance being effortlessly capable with equally experienced, which makes her completely reliable, and this makes her an outstanding professional.‘
‘Clapham & Collinge is a first-class firm with excellent employees and professionalism. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone who needed help with an employment-related case, as I have every confidence they will deliver another great piece of work, having already helped myself and my sister and a friend of mine. Nicola Strefford in particular is fantastic and I would be delighted to get to work with her again.‘
‘My solicitor Nicola Strefford is truly excellent. She went the extra mile for me, and for my sister who I recommended her to. She billed in a very fair way. Most importantly, she won my case with minimal stress on my part which was fantastic.‘
‘Although based in London, I prefer the personal attention you get from a regional firm. This year, I needed an employment specialist, so this firm was my first port of call. They immediately gained my trust that they could deliver the service I needed in a cost-effective manner. They were very responsive to my assignment and were proactive from Day 1. I recommended the firm to a number of my colleagues who were in a similar situation requiring advice in areas of employment law.‘
‘All of the individuals I dealt with were responsive and flexible in dealing with my requirements. They were knowledgeable and explained the law to me in terms I could understand. They were also extremely helpful in setting out for me the opportunities and risks from various courses of action. The stand out quality I valued was empathy – understanding my difficult situation and helping me to risk assess my options through an analytical rather than an emotional lens. I also valued their ability to explain difficult law in terms I could understand. I also valued the flexibility and agile way of working offered to me. Response times were excellent, calls offered and held outside of core hours , and weekends were not a barrier to deliverables or contact.‘
- Advised on a six-figure settlement agreement for an employee.
- Advises a charity on a large number of matters, being its principal legal adviser for employment law.
- Assisted an employee with claims against his employer in the Employment Tribunal for race discrimination, constructive unfair dismissal and breach of contract, which resulted in a £50,000 settlement for the client.
Quantrills Solicitors is a long-established specialist boutique firm of employment law and HR solicitors that acts for both employers and employees. It focuses on complex and high-value cases for clients in Suffolk and the surrounding counties. The 'friendly, knowledgeable and eminently practical' Simon Quantrill remains the lead partner at the firm he founded 20 years ago. 'He always responds quickly with practical advice,' remarks a client. Associate Katherine Sheerin is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘This is a specialist employment practice. Simon Quantrill is a well-established local solicitor who has many years of experience under his belt. The firm is proactive in providing seminars and circulars regarding updates in their area of law. They are practical in their advice, appreciating the demands of running a business when acting for business owners.‘
‘I believe the standout partner is Simon Quantrill who is friendly, knowledgeable and eminently practical which is vital in the area of work in which he specialises as the solutions are often not purely legal but have a very human element which must be considered.‘
‘I received personal and quick service from Simon Quantrill.‘
‘Simon Quantrill always responds quickly with practical advice.‘
‘The practice offers a strong service structured to client’s individual needs. The staff, at all levels within the practice, provide a friendly yet highly professional service that supports their clients in achieving their aims and objectives. The team’s in-depth knowledge and experience both from a legal and practical application of any deed/agreement has been invaluable, which has resulted in me recommending the practice to colleagues and associates.‘
‘Katherine Sheerin, supported by partner Simon Quantrill, provided a friendly yet highly professional service that supported my needs in achieving my aims and objectives. Katherine’s in-depth knowledge and experience both from a legal and practical application of my settlement agreement has been invaluable.‘
‘Quantrills Solicitors offers an exceptional level of professionalism and support for all types of HR & employment law queries. As a young start-up, we frequently run into situations where we need external support and the team at Quantrills has always offered practical, appropriate guidance. They also take time to gain a holistic understanding of the business and then tailor their approach accordingly. We have hugely appreciated their expertise over the past couple of years, and they have certainly helped us out with a few sticky situations! We would not hesitate in recommending them as a trusted adviser to any other firm.‘
‘The team is unique in two respects. Firstly, It is small, meaning there is a high degree of partner involvement in each case. This means that all clients, no matter the size of their case, receive the benefit of input and direction from a very experienced solicitor. Secondly, the firm does both claimant and respondent work. This means it knows the tactics employed on both sides and is good at predicting the opponent’s next move. It also means that it maintains balanced judgement and is able to advise its clients realistically and manage their expectations well.‘
‘Simon Quantrill consistently stands head and shoulders above all other employment solicitors I have worked with. Two qualities stand out. Firstly, he works extremely hard and his preparation of documents for clients and for court is meticulous. They are polished and produced to the same exacting standard one would usually see from City lawyers charging a much higher hourly rate. Simon knows what to focus on in witness statements in order to win a case and that has made the difference at trials. Secondly, Simon has excellent judgement and a knack for spotting strengths, weaknesses and pressure points in a case in order to achieve a good settlement for his client. His long-range predictions of how a case will ultimately play out tend to be accurate!‘
‘We have always received strong support and as they know our business very well, it is always personal to our situation.‘
‘Simon Quantrill is always pragmatic and gives us valuable advice for all our situations including the tools for explaining clearly to our parent Japanese company.‘
‘This is a small firm and you always deal with one (sometimes two) legal professionals which means you don’t have to repeat the situation over and over again to different individuals. The team’s strengths are that it provides pragmatic advice and is not averse to being challenged by HR professionals! In our increasingly challenging employee relations environment, Quantrills Solicitors continues to provide a professional service in a way which means you can have a meaningful conversation without the legal speak and whilst maintaining an appropriate level of down-to-earth communication.‘
‘I have worked with Simon Quantrill for over 20 years. The advice provided has always been excellent and he often goes above and beyond to meet our sometimes unrealistic deadlines.‘
‘The Quantrills team understands our organisation well. They take the time to get to know the key contacts and always make sure that advice is tailored to our needs.‘
‘We have had a longstanding relationship with Simon. We trust his judgement and recognise that he acts as a trusted adviser when we need legal advice.‘
‘As a niche firm of employment lawyers, the practice is able to concentrate fully on one area of law. Advice is therefore well researched and specific and provided by highly skilled and vastly experienced team members who know their customers’ businesses well but have seen similar issues many times and know how to address them fully.‘
‘Simon Quantrill is well known for his exacting standards, vast experience and extensive skill at being able to apply the legal principles in a practical and down-to-earth way. As a client you are never disappointed with his advice which is always clear and helpful.‘
‘Fantastic attention to detail from genuine experts in their field.‘
‘We work with Katherine Sheerin, who can relay complex issues in a simple to understand manner. Katherine’s attention to detail is second to none.‘
- Advised a university client on how best to investigate and resolve a grievance of more than 150 pages involving serious allegations of workplace bullying and harassment.
- Successfully represented a UK sales and service employer client at an employment tribunal, defending a disability discrimination case in which the firm secured a dismissal of all claims at a preliminary hearing.
- Completed a two-day on-site audit of data information compliance for a firm of solicitors from the Isle of Man.
Spire Solicitors LLP joins the ranking this year having hired senior associate Lucy Churchill from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in 2019 to lead the employment practice. Clients remark that she is 'always friendly, knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile'. The firm handles both contentious and advisory work for throughout Norfolk, including severances and settlement agreements, drafting contracts and policies, business reorganisations and collective redundancy programmes.
‘The firm always responds quickly either via email or phone, gives a time frame for works to be completed and has never not delivered on time. It has knowledgeable staff in all aspects of employment law even for trickier questions involving non-European countries and contracts.‘
‘Lucy Churchill is always friendly, knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile to ensure that all aspects of what we are discussing is understood. She has been professional, knowledgeable and has a perfect friendly personality. Nothing is ever too much work for her.‘
‘The team engaged superbly and was incredibly responsive to the demands of our case. They immediately sprung into action and provided expert legal advice with absolute clarity and in a manner which was easily absorbable for laymen. The key strength they demonstrated was their response timeframe, their capability to distill the critical information leading to logical, concise advice and guidance pertinent to our case.‘
‘Their response was incredibly bespoke. We felt like their only client.‘
Flagship Housing Group
Wrights of Brettenham
- Advised social housing group on employment tribunal claims.
- Advised a retail technology company on the employment law implications of engaging IT consultants in India.
- Advising a large design and technology business on the employment law implications arising in the UK from a global acquisition worth $1.4bn.
Woodfines LLP acts for both employers and employees on the full spectrum of employment issues, both contentious and non-contentious. Partner Nick Sayer is the only employment lawyer in the Cambridge office but he is supported by an extended team at the firm's other offices, notably Bedford and Milton Keynes. Sayer has more than 30 years' experience and has a national client base. He acts for clients in a wide range of sectors including recruitment, manufacturing, software solutions and road transport. His recent work includes substantial business protection matters, including restrictive covenant, confidentiality and data theft cases.
Saffron Building Society
Murfitts Industries Ltd
Tyre Recovery Systems Limited
Hayes + Storr Solicitors and Notaries
Hayes + Storr Solicitors and Notaries in Fakenham has an experienced practice head in Anissa Hallworth, who also leads the firm's dispute resolution group. She frequently conducts her own advocacy in Employment Tribunals. She has a strong track record of success for both companies and high-profile individuals in contentious matters.
Kerseys Solicitors LLP
The Ipswich office of Kerseys Solicitors LLP handles both contentious and non-contentious work for both employers and individuals, including the drafting of employment documentation, advising on employee relations issues, managing restructures and redundancies, advising on business transfers, bringing and defending Employment Tribunal claims and acting in cases involving the enforcement of post-termination restrictions. Solicitor Adrian Green is the lead lawyer and he was joined at the end of 2019 by senior solicitor Adrian Chaffey from the London office of Cripps Pemberton Greenish. Partner and head of dispute resolution Kate Barnes handles employment litigation.