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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Midlands > Human resources > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Leaders in its field’, the team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ‘takes a very strategic view’ and ‘will always offer a recommendation rather than sit on the fence’. The group, which is lauded for ‘having its finger on the pulse of industrial relations’, is particularly noted for its expertise in the financial services, education and technology sectors to the energy and retail sectors. It handles a wide array of employment work, from cross-border outsourcing and reorganisation matters, to senior executive issues, equality and diversity issues, and TUPE.  Mark Fletcher heads the team, which includes Nicola Bennison and principal associates Mark Pipkin, an expert in employment tribunal work, and industrial relations specialist Clare Ward, who ‘has an excellent eye for detail, is very approachable and sees the bigger picture’. On the contentious side Pipkin successfully defended Pendragon against a complex claim involving disability, sex and sexual orientation discrimination and whistleblowing. Other clients include Crown Manufacturing, Specsavers and new client United Closures and Plastics.

Freeths LLP 's ‘pragmatic’ department ‘provides an excellent service with fast response times’ and ‘offers concise advice’. Active for both private and public sector clients, the team is adept at handling employment litigation and has developed strong expertise in reorganisations, TUPE and senior employee exits, as well as handling mandates in relation to discrimination, equal pay, whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, and disciplinary and grievance issues. Julian Middleton heads the practice, which has a deep bench that includes the ‘versatile’ and ‘reliableRena Magdani, who ‘provides excellent analysis of issues’ as well as ‘practical commercial advice’. David Potter and Matt McBride are also recommended. Clients include DPD Group UK and Jones Bootmaker.

Gateley Plc’s ‘excellent’ team acts for large companies and senior executives on a broad range of issues, including TUPE, equal pay, trade union matters, and senior level exits. Litigation work before the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and the High Court is another core area of expertise, as is advising on the employment facets of corporate transactions, insolvency proceedings and restructurings. ‘Exceptional negotiatorAndrew Macmillan heads the team, which includes legal director Clive Day. In a recent example of its work at the intersection between employment and insolvency law, Macmillan and Day were part of a team representing Deloitte in employment tribunal claims arisen from the administration of Paperlinx, involving 400 individual claimants and claims by Unite the Union. The department also advised Endless on its acquisition of Jones the Bootmaker out of administration, providing advice on TUPE issues, warranties and indemnities and the transfer of head office staff. Other clients include Aurum Holdings Group, Redrow and DB Cargo.

Howes Percival LLP’s team handles a range of matters, from redundancy, restructuring and TUPE processes to multi-party claims and discrimination disputes. Restrictive covenant enforcement and the negotiation and management of senior executive exits are other areas of focus. The group's clients primarily consist of private sector companies, although it is also adept at advising public sector clients. Practice head Paula Bailey, Graham Irons and director Alex Payton form the heart of the practice, with associate Hannah Pryce providing key support. In recent work, the department assisted Marston’s with TUPE issues related to the client’s acquisition of Charles Wells’ brewery, beer brands, canning and bottling plant, and warehouse facilities. Another highlight was defending Integrated Doorset Solutions in tribunal proceedings regarding TUPE claims brought by over 150 claimants in the context of the acquisition of a number of assets from an administrator. The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Mercedes-Benz and Weatherbys are also clients.

Shoosmiths LLP has particular strength in employment tribunal litigation and also excels in mandates regarding outsourcings, large-scale reorganisations and collective processes. Disciplinary and grievance procedures are another key specialism for the practice, which acts for a mix of private, public and third sector clients, and which has a strong focus on the retail, higher education, technology and charity sectors. Helen Burgess heads the practice, which includes firm chairman Peter Duff, senior associate Michael Briggs and associate Charlotte Staples. Highlights included advising a financial services client on a number of substantial grievances, and two early conciliation processes regarding maternity pay, bonus payments and specialist equipment for a disabled employee, and acting alongside the firm’s corporate department to advise Autologic Diagnostics on the employment aspects of the sale of the entire issued share capital to Opus Group, in particular on multiple senior exits. The client list also features ATS Euromaster, Techtronic Industries and Ibstock Brick.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s team combines ‘excellent service’ with advice that is ‘commercially focused and calibrated to be challenging where it should be and supportive when required’. The education, retail, health and insurance sectors are all key areas of expertise for the group, which handles claims in relation to discrimination, redundancies, unfair and wrongful dismissal as well as issues regarding employee representative bodies. TUPE and whistleblowing claims, especially in the health and public sectors, are other core areas. Key figures include practice head Peter Jones, newly promoted partner Sarah Hooton, and associate Helen Taylor, who is noted for her ‘pragmatic’ advice. Recent highlights include advising Hiscox on an outsourced claims handling service relating to employment practices liability insurance claims covered by Hiscox on behalf of its policy holders. Other clients include Bureau Veritas, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Oclaro.

Excellent’ employment boutique Cummins Solicitors’ sector focus lies on the retail, banking and public sectors, including charities, with an increasing share of instructions from the education sector. Firm founder and director Michael Cummins heads the team. ‘Outstanding’ associate director Kimbra Welch and ‘calm and competent’ senior associate Jo Cosgrove are also noted. Children Today Charitable Trust, Clarke Rubicon and Fullhurst Community College are also clients.

Hewitsons is ‘an outstanding’ practice that provides ‘an excellent service’. It has a particular focus on providing employment support for corporate transactions, with TUPE procedures an area of particular strength, and also has strong expertise in trade union issues, discrimination and whistleblowing claims, and post-termination restrictions. The team demonstrates particular strength in the construction sector. ‘Incisive’ and ‘accessible’ practice head Nick Hall is a ‘knowledgeable and shrewd, yet practical’ adviser. He is recommended alongside Clare Waller. Recent highlights include advising Medigold Health Consultancy on the employment warranties and indemnities contained in the investment agreement for a £9.5m investment by BGF as well as conducting employment due diligence and assisting with the good leaver/bad leaver provisions. The client list also features Travis Perkins, VolkerWessels and Telford Homes.

Lauded for its ‘excellent client-focused service’, Spearing Waite LLP’s ‘professional and responsive’ department offers the full spectrum of employment law services, acting mainly for employers in the public and private sectors, including international corporations, local small and medium enterprises, and schools and third sector clients. Corporate support is a key pillar of work, as is litigation. The ‘proficient’ and ‘pragmaticAndrew Rowell heads the team, which includes CIPD-qualified Amanda Badley and associate Katherine Cooke. Recent highlights include providing employment law advice and training to Freudenberg Oil & Gas Technologies in relation to equal opportunities and bribery and corruption prevention. Other clients include Leicestershire County Cricket Club, Provisional Marmalade and Clifton Packaging Group.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP delivers ‘excellent service in a timely manner’ to both employers and employees, with high-value and complex claims and advice on the employment aspects of corporate transactions key areas of activity. While the group is active across various sectors, practice head Philip Pepper has developed a specialism in the food and drinks sector and Chris Kisby exhibits particular expertise in the sports sector. A team consisting of Pepper, legal director Sandeep Leighs and associate Pav Clair successfully defended longstanding client Iceland Foods against a discrimination claim involving 25 separate allegations of discriminatory conduct. In other work, Kisby led advice to Pall-Ex Group on the successful exit of a senior management member. Commonwealth Games England, Tangerine Confectionary and Hook Norton Breweries are also clients.

Wilkin Chapman LLP’s ‘advice always hits the nail on the head, and is timely and of the highest quality’. The practice continues to grow its public sector client list, which includes local authorities, educational institutions and clients from the public health sector, but also undertakes a considerable amount of work for private sector clients, in particular in the food, logistics, warehousing and packaging industries. Headed by the ‘responsive’ Teresa Thomas, the team includes the ‘extremely personable and knowledgeable’ Jane Eatock, the ‘pragmatic’ Katie Davies and David Buckle. In addition to advising Craven District Council on a major review and restructuring of the senior management team, ultimately involving a redundancy process and a potential subsequent claim from a displaced employee, the group also assisted John Leggott College with a major senior level restructuring process. Other clients include Branston Pickle, Cherry Valley Farms and a number of multi-academy trusts.

Actons attracts praise for its ‘personal service’ and ‘business-savvy’ advice. The team handles the full range of employment law matters, and provides a specialist multiple settlement agreement service for private and public sector employers, in addition to having niche expertise acting for employees of NHS trusts on mutually agreed resignation schemes. ‘Very personable’ practice head Nic Elliott, who took over the role from the now retired Claire Bell, also leads the employee investigation team which handles large-scale investigations, in particular regarding fraud, whistleblowing and harassment. Elliott recently acted for an online retailer in a complex discrimination claim brought by a senior employee, and assisted Checkpoint Systems with various employee relations issues. The client list features Lookers, Leicester College and Nottingham Greyhound Stadium.

The growing team at Flint Bishop LLP enthuses clients with its ‘excellent service’. Supporting education clients such as multi-academy trusts and colleges with their employment law issues is an area of particular strength, but the group also advises an impressive list of regional and national businesses on contentious and non-contentious employment matters. The team’s main contacts are practice head Robert Tice and Emma Tice. Associates Beth Bearder and Andrew Nicklin provide key support. Recent highlight instructions range from defending a client against a gender discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal to whistleblowing claims and an unfair dismissal claim. Loomis UK, HM Land Registry and John Port Academy are clients.

Geldards LLP’s team provides ‘clear and concise’ advice to employers and employees alike. The group specialises in assisting public bodies with investigations and disciplinary and grievance procedures and advising on the employment aspects of academy conversions both pre- and post-conversion. It also handles senior executive exits, as well as the full range of claims before the Employment Tribunal. Corporate support work and restructuring and redundancy procedures are other areas of strength. ‘Client-focused’ life sciences and technology expert Rhys Wyborn ‘demonstrates strong commercial insight’ and is the main adviser in the East Midlands. Also recommended are practice head Stephen Jenkins, who splits his time between Cardiff and the Midlands, and  ‘hardworking and attentive’ associate Rachel Mills. Wyborn led advice to Heavyweight Air Express on the dismissal of a senior employee and director for gross misconduct and acted in the subsequent unfair dismissal claim. Wyborn also assisted ISS Labour with multiple redundancy and business reorganisation matters. Other clients include Fathomtree and Motion Picture Solutions. Senior associate Jameel Mann joined Knights plc.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited is rated for its ‘excellent support’ and ‘professional expertise’. Headed by Laura Kearsley and featuring Andy Jamieson and Lindsey Harrison-Grimes, the group handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, from industrial relations, whistleblowing and TUPE issues, to redundancy and reorganisation matters and senior executive exits. It also provides strategic HR advice and assistance with disciplinary and grievance hearings and employee consultations. Recent work includes successfully defending a multi-day age discrimination and unfair dismissal claim, and advising on the drafting and negotation of settlement agreements in the course of senior executive exits. The department’s list of clients from the education sector continues to grow, although clients span a broad range of sectors. Jenny Kinman retired while Keeley Baigent left to found ksabLAW.

The ‘professional and always responsive’ team at Chattertons excels in discrimination and unfair dismissal claims, but also has a strong track record in corporate support work, collective redundancy consultations and day-to-day HR support. Acting for clients from the education sector is another key specialism. The varied client list contains large national and international companies alongside small regional businesses, in particular from the Lincolnshire and Newark regions. Practice head Danielle Lister, who has ‘excellent communication skills’, and Desley Sherwin are the main contacts. The practice successfully defended an employer against a constructive unfair dismissal claim, and recently advised several employees in the context of a TUPE consultation, in particular on objections to proposed changes in the employment terms and conditions.

The ‘very effective’ practice at Fraser Brown attracts praise for its ‘modern, forward-thinking approach’ and expertise in the care, leisure and engineering sectors. Able to assist with both day-to-day HR issues and complex employment litigation instructions, ‘direct’ and ‘pragmatic’ practice head John Buchanan recently defended All About Bricks against claims brought for associative discrimination, victimisation and automatic unfair dismissal.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’s core expertise lies in the education sector, where the team handles a broad spread of work with a strong litigation component that includes whistleblowing and discrimination claims, grievance procedures, senior executive exits, and unfair dismissal claims. It also advises on TUPE procedures and provides corporate support. Practice head Kate Hindmarch advised Taylor Motor Group on the employment aspects of the acquisition of a car show room, assisting among other issues with the TUPE process. Other clients include Lincoln College Group, Greenzone Waste Management and Link Education Trust.

Delivering ‘professional, efficient and supportive’ service, Premier Legal LLP’s ‘client focus is central to all it does’. The boutique employment firm excels in contentious as well as non-contentious work, with a team that advises businesses and individuals on a vast spectrum of issues, successfully representing them in complex litigation matters if need be. Managing partner Sarah Robinson heads the practice, which includes ‘patient and empathetic’ practitioner Adrian Barnes who attracts praise for his ‘unwavering attention to his clientsneeds’. Recent highlights include assisting a client with the employment aspects of a business restructuring and representing a client in a tribunal claim brought for alleged breach of restrictive covenants. Compass Plus, Kings Carpets & Interiors and World Service are on the client roster. Aarti Bedi left.

Noted for its ‘exceptional service’, the ‘professional’ team at Smith Partnership is ‘attentive to a client’s needs’. With a clear focus on the education, healthcare, retail, telecommunications and sports sectors, the team assists both private and public sector clients in contentious and non-contentious matters, including employment work ancillary to corporate transactions. ‘Excellent’ practice head James Johnson, whose ‘personable nature enables open discussions and instills good working relations’, specialises in senior executive exits, settlement agreements, discrimination claims and TUPE transactions. The latter made up a significant portion of the recent caseload, though redundancy proceedings and a multi-day discrimination claim were also included. The department acts mainly for employers, but also counts employees among its clients.

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Legal Developments in East Midlands for Employment

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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