Next Generation Partners

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Employment: employee/union firms

During 2022 Primas has built an 'extremely efficient and reliable' employment practice led from Manchester by David Walton. He works alongside Danielle Ayres, who is praised for her 'kind, compassionate and understanding' approach.

Employment: employee/union firms in North West

Leigh Day

Frequently appearing before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, Leigh Day deals with some of the most high-profile mandates on behalf of employees, often acting for unions and senior executives, as well as large group claims involving equal pay and discrimination disputes. Practice co-heads Lauren Lougheed and Linda Wong represent claimants in equal pay, sex and gender discrimination, and whistleblowing matters. Managing partner Chris Benson  is a key contact regarding multi-party group cases and has been involved in local authority equal pay claims. Mike Cain was promoted to partner in April 2022 and is noted for his work on senior executive discrimination claims. Additionally, associate Ryan Bradshaw has niche expertise in higher education and social welfare employment disputes.

Practice head(s):

Lauren Lougheed; Linda Wong

Other key lawyers:

Chris Benson; Mike Cain; Ryan Bradshaw

Testimonials

‘The Manchester team is successfully building senior executive work nationwide which is a competitive offering with specialist advice particularly in discrimination issues to senior finance, legal medical and academia professionals. Mike Cain is driving this. He is technically very strong, great with clients and very sensitive to their requirements.’

‘The firm has an excellent record of client care and service, as well as strong regulatory check mechanisms to ensure clients obtain the best service possible. Given the nature of their work, the commitment to being straightforward and simple in their advice whether it be to an individual or thousands of people is particularly helpful.’

‘Mike Cain has a growing team made up fee earners working with insurance, union and high-net-worth clients. He has run cases of supranational importance to the ECJ and the UK Supreme Court. He is engaged at a level well above most, both macro in strategy and planning, and micro in terms of getting the best result for the client. His candour when providing advice sets him apart.’

Ryan Bradshaw is increasingly sought out by unions for his willingness to give them the advice they need rather than the advice they want. Has developed a niche in the field of worker status in academic institutions and recentering industrial disputes into the tribunals rather than other forms of industrial action where possible.’

‘Unparalleled knowledge and experience in advancing claimant-based mass litigation.’

‘Ryan Bradshaw is incredibly technically able and manages large cases with great skill and care.’

‘Two features of the firm stand out as being unique. First, their legal creativity. They are constantly pushing the boundaries with new and successful cases. Second, their breadth of ability. They are very cross-disciplinary and can offer a helpful mix of different expertise, such as in public and employment law.’

‘Lauren Lougheed and Linda Wong are a fantastic team, driving their claims forward and completely focused on securing the best outcome for their clients.’

Key clients

Asda workers Group Equal Pay Claim (ASDA Stores Ltd v Brierley & others)

Sainsbury’s workers Group Equal Pay Litigation (Ahmed & others v Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited)

Nursing & Midwifery Council v Robin Somerville – Court of Appeal

Bamieh v Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office

GMB

National Aids Trust

Zuzana Windle

Goldsmiths v UCU

J v P

Holiday Pay Claims – Infrastructure Workers – Mega Multiple

Work highlights

  • Acted for over 46,000 mostly female ASDA supermarket workers in their long-running claims for equal pay, achieving a ground-breaking Supreme Court decision permitting comparison between wages earned by predominantly female staff in retail stores in one location and largely male employees in distribution centres and warehouses in another geographical area.
  • Acted for a former Foreign Office lawyer in her whistleblowing action arising from reporting EU corruption.
  • Advised Goldsmiths University and College Union lecturers on claims against the University based on their status as workers in an action which had a ripple effect on other university lecturer contracts.

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP is known for acting for senior executives, board directors, and sports players in Employment Tribunal claims. The team is especially experienced with negotiating complex confidential settlements. Manchester team leader Lydia Edgar frequently acts on behalf of senior executives, while Liverpool and Lancashire team leader Nick Campbell often negotiates high-value settlements, as well as discrimination and whistleblowing claims. Simon Whitehead focuses on executive contracts and exit negotiations and Lee Jefcott is another key contact regarding negotiating complex settlements for senior executives. Employment tribunal specialist Brendan McAleese was appointed legal director in May 2021.

Practice head(s):

Lydia Edgar; Nick Campbell

Other key lawyers:

Simon Whitehead; Lee Jefcott; Brendan McAleese; Heena Kapadi; Siobhan Howard

Testimonials

‘Nick Campbell is always available and efficient in use of his and our time. A real difference–no prevarication. Straightforward experience and advice on offer.’

‘The advice provided to me focused, practical and driven by the desire to achieve a good outcome for me. Tactically, Brabners were astute, recognising the relative strengths and weaknesses of my case and providing me with appropriate advice. The team was empathetic, displaying understanding and sensitivity for the very difficult situation I was dealing with. Their approach to billing was both flexible and accommodating, recognising the financial constraints that I was working to. The outcome that was achieved was excellent and their advice represented genuine value for money.’

‘My case had a number of different legal queries which Brabners where able to deal with all in-house – this put my mind at ease that I was getting the right advice from the right people.’

‘I found that the individuals were always approachable, on hand to give any advice along with being extremely knowledgeable in their fields of expertise. I found Simon Whitehead and Heena Kapadi extremely professional and they would go out of their way to help on a number of matters. I really appreciated the fact that they would go above and beyond to help out on a number of matters.’

‘Lee Jefcott was very supportive, gave good advice – even when it wasn’t what I wanted to hear – and his communication was always timely and very clear. Most importantly to me, he advised me regarding actions to take which resulted in a settlement from my previous employer that I was very happy with.’

‘The service you receive from Brabners is very person-focused. Everyone I dealt with displayed a professional, personal and sensitive attitude. I was confident of the advice as it was supported by subject knowledge. I have not hesitated recommending Brabners as they are hardworking, focused, sensitive and leaders in their field of profession.’

‘I had the pleasure of being supported by Siobhan Howard. Her advice was always clear and presented at a level to be easily understood. She was firm without being pushy or insensitive to my stresses. She has a fantastic intuitive ability to adjust her communication to be empathetic, sensitive to my feelings, but always kept that professional distance/perspective. I felt supported, confident of the advice and proposed strategy. This is all due to her being a very confident, creative, person-centred professional.’

‘This is definitely about their personal touch, your issue becomes their issue and you feel fully supported during their representation.’

Work highlights

    Gorvins Solicitors

    Gorvins Solicitors provides full service employment advice and representation to employees and senior executives, with expertise ranging from redundancy and maternity and pregnancy discrimination to negotiating settlement agreements. In recent years it has seen a noticeable increase in multiple departure exercises. New practice head David Rogers joined from Tetrosyl Limited in February 2022, bringing his extensive experience in representing clients at Employment Tribunal and on employment-related aspects of corporate M&A transactions to the table. David Walton and Danielle Ayres departed in February 2022 and November 2021, while associate solicitor Matthew Davis joined from Forbes Solicitors in January 2022, adding further settlement agreement strength to the practice.

    Practice head(s):

    David Rogers

    Other key lawyers:

    Matthew Davis

    Work highlights

      Kuit Steinart Levy LLP

      Kuit Steinart Levy LLP often deals with Employment Tribunal litigation, including complex whistleblowing and discrimination claims, as well as high-value civil litigation involving senior executive terminations. The team also covers employment law involving sport and High Court injunctions related to post-termination restrictive covenants. Practice head Kevin McKenna is a key contact regarding complex terminations and unfair dismissal claims, while Sally Bird advises on boardroom disputes. Employment dispute specialist and senior associate Claire Hollins joined from Weightmans LLP in May 2021. Claire Treacy, noted for her work on sexual harassment and unfair dismissal claims, made associate in June 2021.

      Practice head(s):

      Kevin McKenna

      Other key lawyers:

      Sally Bird; Claire Hollins; Claire Treacy

      Testimonials

      ‘Great teamwork, blend of partner and other staff as required.’

      ‘My original solicitor was very approachable and comfortable to deal with. Her understanding of my complicated case, was extraordinary and she pushed in every direction to have my case carried out to an exceptional level.’

      ‘I really felt that the team took time in assessing my situation and it was dealt with in a professional and friendly manner.’

      Kevin McKenna was always there for me giving legal advice, but also moral support.’

      Work highlights

        Linder Myers

        Linder Myers frequently acts for employees in group actions, ranging from group claims for enhanced contractual redundancy payments to protective award claims. The team also represents directors and senior employees regarding disciplinary matters. Practice head Alan Lewis has experience in unfair dismissal of employees and directors and disability discrimination cases.

        Practice head(s):

        Alan Lewis

        Testimonials

        ‘The qualities that Alan Lewis possess is that he goes the extra mile for you, his listening skills and his willingness to not take any short cuts, but leaving no stone unturned when working for his client.’

        ‘I have found the team to be organised, supportive and very competent.’

        ‘In what was an extremely stressful and emotionally taxing time for me, Alan Lewis was particularly sensitive, supportive, and understanding. His advice was very clear and concise. I will always be grateful for the care and consideration which Alan and his team afforded me. I have referred several friends and colleagues to Alan and his team on employment-related matters.’

        ‘The Linder Myers employment law team has always proved exceptional in the service that it provides. Honest sound advice which is complemented with empathy and compassion for its clients. A professional service where you are sure to be in safe legal hands.’

        ‘Alan Lewis is a very straight-talking, no nonsense lawyer. Alan is a truly dependable lawyer whose professionalism, intellect and excellent soft skills make him a first rate choice for any employment law-related issues. Alan’s collaborative and communicative approach to dealing with clients make him stand above the competitors in his field.’

        ‘They are extremely good at strategy and legal analysis.’

        ‘Alan Lewis is very knowledgeable and a master of strategy.’

        ‘Alan Lewis is incredible – he goes above and beyond what I understand an employment lawyer can and will do. He responds at incredibly short notice (and acts). He works amazingly hard for his lay client and enjoys a number of wise and sensible strategies to incredible effect. I have recommended him to friends and colleagues. Without exception, every single one has said how amazing he was and how hard he fought for them.’

        Key clients

        Mohammad Alam & 24 Others – group claim against Bredbury Hall

        Orla Mulvenna & 17 Others – group claim against The Collective (Living) Limited

        Work highlights

        • Acted for 47 claimants in a claim for a protective award against Dapatchi Construction who were each awarded the maximum compensation permissible.
        • Acted for a senior independent financial adviser who left his employer to set up in competition, including providing advice on strategy and tactics and resisting threatened claims for an injunction and damages for alleged breach of restrictive covenants.
        • Acted for two senior directors of one of the big four banks in the United Kingdom in relation to separate disciplinary and grievance proceedings, including negotiating terms of a substantial settlement.

        People Legal

        People Legal represents employees in settlement negotiations and Employment Tribunal claims involving dismissal processes, redundancies, and restructurings. Practice head Chris McAvoy-Newns covers discrimination, whistleblowing, and unfair dismissal cases. Senior consultant solicitors Helen Littlewood and Rizwana Ishaq joined from Centrefield LLP in August 2021 and Gateley Plc in October 2021, respectively. Littlewood focuses on contractual issues in the sports industry and Ishaq is a key contact regarding grievances and disciplinary matters. Solicitor Jessica Daniel, who specialises in whistleblowing, discrimination, and unfair dismissal claims, joined from Gateley Plc in September 2021.

        Practice head(s):

        Chris McAvoy-Newns

        Other key lawyers:

        Helen Littlewood; Rizwana Ishaq; Jessica Daniel

        Testimonials

        ‘Very committed smaller firm offering niche market service.’

        ‘Chris McAvoy-Newns is very ‘on it’, really unwavering service to client, everything is done with supreme efficiency and care.’

        ‘They really care about your case. Chris McAvoy-Newns is great at working quickly to tight deadlines. Good problem-solving and analysis. Clear and upfront pricing, usually on a fixed fee basis.’

        ‘Every individual at the firm has been proactive in assisting me at each & every step. The communication with all details has been easy to understand & effective. The advice is always in my interest. I can’t think the whole team enough for the support they have provided.’

        ‘Chris McAvoy-Newns gained my confidence and my trust. His knowledge and clear communication skills left me in no doubt about the merits and weaknesses of my case so that I knew where I stood and what to expect. I felt an immense sense of relief having Chris on side as he grasped all of the claims in my case so well. His fees were reasonable and his conduct was exemplary.’

        ‘Chris McAvoy-Newns provided an exceptional service and continually went above and beyond my expectations. He has great empathy with his clients and puts them at ease. His response to telephone and email enquiries is second to none.’

        ‘They are extremely professional in all aspects. Their communication is second to none, they send constant updates and are very realistic with expectations. Excellent teamwork.’

        ‘Chris McAvoy-Newns was extremely approachable, listened to everything I had to say, was non-judgemental and very calm in his approach.’

        Work highlights

        • Acted for a senior accountant/tax consultant in a case involving alleged breach of restrictive covenants, in which High Court proceedings were initiated.
        • Acted for a senior employee of a multinational telecommunications company in relation to allegations of bullying raised against him.
        • Acted in a complex whistleblowing claim brought by a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist against an NHS Trust and several named senior individuals.

        Slater and Gordon

        Slater and Gordon has a strong reputation representing senior executives and trade unions regarding discrimination matters, protective award claims, and TUPE claims. It has additional expertise advising the Police Federation and acting in areas such as regulatory litigation and pension challenges. Head of the Manchester employment team Sadiq Vohra advises on complex discrimination matters and group litigation, while Head of Organisations and Members employment team Justin Quinton frequently advises trade unions and the Police Federation on collective employment matters. Senior associate Sharon Wardale is a key contact for police and unions on pensions. In May 2021 senior associate Graham Roberts joined from Simpson Millar LLP.

        Practice head(s):

        Justin Quinton; Sadiq Vohra

        Other key lawyers:

        Sharon Wardale; Graham Roberts

        Testimonials

        ‘From the very beginning of taking my case on this firm continually kept me in the loop with the current position in a way that re-assured me and was easily understandable. Any questions/doubts were quickly put to rest.’

        ‘Everyone I have worked with at Slater Gordon has been friendly, practical and client-focused.’

        ‘Sharon Wardale is very knowledgeable and responsive to requests for assistance and advice.’

        ‘Where do I begin? They are a first rate team that is very client-focused. They have delivered a score of fantastic results and also assisted us with points of law at the drop of a hat. They are very accessible and make our lives so much easier.’

        ‘It has very good knowledge of matters arising from working with unions. The members of the team care about getting a good result for the client.’

        ‘Justin Quinton is dedicated to his work. He is friendly to work with, but also is very knowledgeable and has a good grasp of the cases we have worked together on. He is readily available when we need to speak about issues on the case. Laura Thompson – although new to the team, in the work I have done with her she has been very reliable. She developed a good rapport with the client. She was very willing to help whenever I asked her for assistance.’

        ‘A talented employment team. Focused, thorough and efficient, with an excellent understanding of the needs of the client. The advice is always well drafted and considered, engaging both the factual circumstances and the law.’

        Key clients

        Lloyd Kelly

        Alice Thompson

        Rachael Wright Turner

        Mr T Brown

        Mike Ferguson

        Work highlights

        • Represented a client in a Court of Appeal case relating to pension entitlement when the client was retired on ill health grounds.
        • Represented client, bringing a number of claims, including indirect sex discrimination in respect of the flexible working request.
        • Represented client in an appeal by the respondent against an Employment Tribunal decision.

        Thompsons Solicitors LLP

        Thompsons Solicitors LLP has a strong reputation defending workers’ rights, frequently representing UK trade unions as claimants before the High Court and Employment Tribunal in complex equal pay cases, industrial action, and discrimination claims. Practice head Bernard Wentworth is an expert in trade union law and has covered a wide range of Employment Tribunal cases, including multi-claimant actions, unfair dismissal cases, and disability discrimination. The team has expanded with solicitors David Jones and Louise Roberts joining from Simpson Millar LLP and JW Law Limited in January and November 2021.

        Practice head(s):

        Bernard Wentworth

        Other key lawyers:

        David Jones; Louise Roberts

        Testimonials

        ‘Thompsons works exclusively for trade union members in employment claims against employers. This single focus means the very experienced team is excellent at considering every possible avenue of claim for a client. When assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a potential claim they are realistic and properly manage clients’ expectations. I find cases to be very well prepared with well-drafted witness statements.’

        ‘Not only do they have a wealth of lawyers experienced in practical aspects of the law, they also get the collective issues in respect of advancing trade union members’ rights.’

        Key clients

        Unite the Union

        UNISON

        BMA

        RMT

        PCS

        UCU

        FBU

        NUJ

        RCM

        POA

        ASLEF

        Work highlights