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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 > North West > Human resources > Employment: employee/union firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Employment: employee/union firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

The practice at Gorvins Solicitors, which is led by David Walton, has recently seen an uptick in work relating to collective redundancies and bulk compromise agreements, as well as settlement agreements for both senior executives and lower-level employees. The team also regularly assists employees with their Employment Tribunal claims with Walton often conducting his own advocacy. Advice for employees and their families affected by cancer is a particular niche area of expertise for the firm, while another specialist area is advice on maternity and pregnancy discrimination, which a speciality of senior associate Danielle Ayres.

Practice head(s):David Walton

Other key lawyers:Danielle Ayres

Testimonials

'The experience and skill-set of the whole team brings a level of confidence to proceedings. This is compounded by a vein of integrity that runs through to whole practice.'

'David Walton's ability to put into words what I struggled to was awesome. It was as if he could read my mind and find the words that clarified everything that needed to be said. David's experience and knowledge meant that the advice he gave to me was just right for me. He gave me confidence to stand up for what I believed was right and I am grateful to have had him on my side.'

'As well as being part of a winning team, Danielle Ayres helped me cope with my circumstances on a personal level too. She also gave me confidence and explained everything perfectly whenever I needed it.'

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP's team, which is led by Kevin McKenna, advises clients throughout the UK on a wide range of union-related matters, including complex Employment Tribunal litigation involving whistleblowing and discrimination. The team is also adept at handling issues relating to confidential information, injunctions and restrictive covenants.

Practice head(s):Kevin McKenna

Other key lawyers:Sally Bird; Mark McKeating

Testimonials

'The team got up to speed in a short amount of time and provided excellent service, both in its advice and negotiations with the counterparty.'

'Clear, concise and effective in communication and also in conducting negotiations in a calm and constructive manner.'

Led by Chris Benson, who divides his time between Manchester and London, the team at Leigh Day has a strong track record of advising union members in claims for equal pay against public and private sector employers and supporting union causes in high-profile litigation. The team has an established relationship with the GMB Union, providing head office and other high level legal advice. Associate solicitor Mike Cain is praised for 'coming up with imaginative ways of ensuring clients can obtain representation'. The team was recently strengthened by the arrival of senior solicitor Claire Burton from Cumbria Law Centre in January 2019.

Practice head(s):Chris Benson

Other key lawyers:Mike Cain; Lauren Loughee; Linda Wong; Ryan Bradshaw

Testimonials

'The firm has an exceptional commitment to access to justice and client welfare. Their nose for important points of wider interest is second to none, as well as their commitment to getting the right result for their clients.'

'Mike Cain has a track record of coming up with imaginative ways of ensuring clients can obtain representation. He is focused on obtaining the best client outcomes, as well as ferreting out important points of law in cases that ensure wider access to justice.'

'The team are all dedicated, professional and practical. It is always a pleasure to work with Leigh Day.'

'Chris Benson is a fantastic lawyer. His work is always of the highest calibre and his dedication to achieving a successful outcome for his clients is unsurpassed. He has an extensive profile of complex employment cases, particularly in the field of equal pay.'

'Ryan Bradshaw is empassioned about people's rights and is a rare creature in that he maintains a working knowledge of the social security arena.'

'Mike Cain is incredibly efficient when dealing with any cases that we pass to him and he is very knowledgeable on various aspects of employment law. The majority of our clients have commented on how Mike puts them at ease and briefs them on the merits of their case in a way that they completely understand the legal perspective.'

Key Clients

GMB Union

Andrew Short QC

Nick Toms - counsel

Jo Chimes - Equality & Diversity Forum

Dan Manville Wolverhampton Welfare Rights

Matt Jackson  - counsel

Sue Hastings - Indepdendent Expert

Work highlights

  • Representing over 30,000 individuals on their claim for sex discrimination against ASDA.
  • Representing over 2,000 individuals o their claim for sex discrimination against Sainsbury’s.
  • Representing claimants in a TUPE dispute between GMB Union & Unite and several contractors at the Sellafield nuclear waste disposal site.
  • Pro bono representation of client in claim for unfair dismissal.
  • Representing 500 GMB members on claims regarding holiday pay.

'Leading light' Alan Lewis is at the helm of Linder Myers' employee/union firms team, which  has a track record of acting senior employees and directors. The team has recently seen an increase in protective awards work, while other areas of expertise include representing clients  in  the Employment Tribunal and High Court in relation to matters including restrictive covenants, confidentiality breaches, redundancy and TUPE scenarios, unfair dismissals and sex, race and disability discrimination claims. The team was recently bolstered by the arrival of in-house counsel Lee Bronze from Simpsons Solicitors.

Practice head(s):Alan Lewis

Other key lawyers:Lee Bronze

Testimonials

'This team stands out due to its practical, down to earth advice.'

'Alan Lewis is the leading light at this firm. Clients find him affable in nature, yet a tough negotiator and shrewd litigator, not to mention technically sound.'

Slater and Gordon handles the full range of employment issues in relation to unions, with principal lawyer Sadiq Vohra stepping up to lead the practice group in early 2018. Vohra focuses on private client matters, working in tandem with Jennifer Ainscough, who handles the membership side of the practice. The team is experienced in negotiating employment contracts, and advising on restrictive covenants, severance agreements and employment disputes, particularly concerning breach of contract, equality claims, whistleblowing and redundanies. Non-contentious instructions such as negotiated exits also feature.

Practice head(s):Sadiq Vohra; Jennifer Ainscough

Other key lawyers:Clare Armstrong; Sharon Wardale; Lauren Broderick

Work highlights

  • Acting for a claimant in a multi-day employment tribunal case relating o race discrimination and unfair dismissal.
  • Represented claimant seeking wife’s entitlement to pension on his death.
  • Acted for claimant challenging use of positive action in recruitment process.  
  • Represented dog handlers denied allowance despite transporting police dogs in own vehicles.
  • Representing over 300 claimants in covert/intelligence department not paid for overtime.

Thompsons Solicitors LLP, dubbed 'the go-to firm for virtually all of the trade unions', has a national reputation for acting for some of the largest trade unions in the country, representing members in a variety of employment tribunal claims, from unfair dismissal to disability discrimination. Employment and trade union law unit manager Bernie Wentworth leads the practice. Senior case handler Neil Todd is also well regarded for his knowledge of collective trade union rights.

Practice head(s):Bernie Wentworth

Other key lawyers:Matthew Pull; Jamie Humphries

Testimonials

'Thompsons are the leading claimant employment law firm with a nationwide presence. They have strength and depth in numbers with fee earners at each level impressing with their knowledge, and practical advice.'

'Thompsons are responsible for expanding the frontiers of labour law and are the go-to firm for virtually all of the trade unions.'

'The employment team's technical ability on the law and consideration of the crossover into industrial relations is second to none. The service provided by the personal injury serious injury team is compassionate, thorough and with a particular emphasis on ensuring their clients are set up for life. The asbestos team deal with the sensitive nature of such cases with compassion and empathy and provide an absolute first class service to clients and their families.'

Work highlights

  • Acted for PCS member in case of unfair dismissal, discrimination arising from disability and a failure to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Successful ET claim of unfair dismissal and discrimination arising out of disability under s.15 Equality Act 2010.
  • Successful claim for automatic unfair dismissal under s.103A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 against former employers.
  • Acted for a PCS member in a successful tribunal case for unfair and wrongful dismissal against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
  • Acted for Unison members in a successful ET claim for unlawful deductions from wages relating to nationally agreed terms and conditions of employment.

Sarah Collier now leads the department at KBL Solicitors LLP after joining from Napthens LLP in July 2018. Collier has experience in advising on complex discrimination cases, with particular expertise advising on cancer in the workplace. She also represents employment tribunal claimants on a range of matters including unfair dismissal, wrongful and constructive dismissal, unlawful deductions from wages, equal pay and whistleblowing.

Practice head(s):Sarah Collier

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Legal Developments in North West for Employment: employee/union firms

  • 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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