Employment in North

Collingwood Legal

Boutique employment firm Collingwood Legal fields an 'expert team which understands the practicalities of running a business', and is particularly noted for advising on issues concerning TUPE and representing clients in complex whistleblowing and discrimination claims. Owner-managed businesses, senior executives and charitable organisations regularly instruct experienced practitioner Paul Johnstone, while senior associates Alexandra Besnard and Jane Sinnamon are singled out for their expertise in GDPR and redundancy matters, respectively. Recommended associates in the group include Charlotte McBride and Helen Scott. Practice head Paul McGowan is described by one client as an 'outstanding employment lawyer on every level'.

Practice head(s):

Paul McGowan

Other key lawyers:

Paul Johnstone; Jane Sinnamon; Alexandra Besnard; Charlotte McBride; Helen Scott


‘An expert team which understands the practicalities of running a business, and offers legal advice that proactively allows us to manage sensitive situations with confidence.’

‘Paul McGowan is an outstanding employment lawyer on every level. He has been attentive, knowledgeable and spot on with his employment/HR advice to our firm these past 12 months.’

‘Collingwood Legal are highly skilled in employment law. I have used their services at all stages of the employment process and have found them to be excellent.’

‘Paul McGowan is approachable and his knowledge of employment law is second to none. Charlotte McBride delivers precise and clear advice often to very short deadline requests and is a pleasure to work with. Jane Sinnamon provides complex information in a clear way and the whole team is friendly and responsive.’

‘A specialist practice with masses of expertise in the areas that are important to our organisation.’

‘All of the team at Collingwood Legal are knowledgeable, personable lawyers. Paul McGowan provided invaluable assistance to our firm throughout the pandemic and was on hand 24/7 with our HR issues. He was the firm’s lifesaver throughout such times and he gave us time and attention despite the pressures upon employment lawyers during that time. He was up to date, informed and kept us straight regarding the ever-changing guidance for months on end.’

‘Paul Johnstone stands out a mile. He is a passionate, intelligent, extremely knowledgeable lawyer. He is straight talking but a great communicator also . He is responsive and supportive, especially when dealing with managers who may lack experience in tackling some employment law matters.’

‘Jane Sinnamon is an excellent lawyer and understands our business and how we operate, so can tailor any support to our specific needs. She is both professional and thorough and I am always very happy with the support we get from Jane.’

Key clients

Quartztec Europe Limited

Purmo Group UK Limited


Emmanuel Schools Foundation

Orbis Support

Parmley Graham

Union Property Services

National Golf Club Advisory Association


Eothen Homes

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended claims for constructive unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, whistleblowing, and unlawful deductions before the Newcastle employment tribunal on behalf of NCFE.
  • Advising Kaefer Limited and Wood Group Industrial Services on the inter-group transfer of two major facilities, management and engineering companies in the aftermath of a corporate transaction worth in excess of £200m.
  • Provided strategic advice to Purmo Group UK on negotiating favourable settlement terms with a senior employee who approached the client to negotiate an exit.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Alongside its established reputation as a firm of choice for national public and third sector clients, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is also recognised for its expertise in a number of key commercial sectors, including consumer, energy, manufacturing and transport. Practice head Shirley Hall is known for her experience with complex equal pay and discrimination matters, while recently promoted partner Jessie Uppal is noted for her extensive knowledge of business immigration issues. At the associate level, principals Suzanne Caveney and David Williams stand out; the latter's area of specialist focus is financial services work, and the former has a broad practice which encompasses equal parts contentious and advisory matters.

Practice head(s):

Shirley Hall

Other key lawyers:

Jessie Uppal; Suzanne Caveney; David Williams


‘The team in Newcastle is excellent. Quality advice and particular expertise in local authority, education and healthcare.’

‘Shirley Hall leads an excellent team. A standout lawyer is principal associate, Suzanne Caveney. She has excellent judgement and handles complex cases with confidence and authority.’

‘The team at Eversheds-Sutherland offer a wide range of specialisms which is helpful to us as a large corporate organisation.’

‘Shirley Hall is excellent – highly knowledgeable, pragmatic and understands the public sector very well. Suzanne Caveney again offers a pragmatic and helpful approach, particularly on complex issues. Jessie Uppal is a unique specialist on immigration issues – engaging and focused on assisting with key issues.’


Key clients

British Broadcasting Corporation

Avery Dennison Plc

British Polythene Limited

Tata Consumer Products

Nestle UK Limited

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Chief Constable of Northumbria Police

Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc

Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited

Northumberland County Council

Work highlights

  • Defending Morrison Supermarkets against over 3,500 equal pay claims in England, Wales and Scotland
  • Undertaking an equal pay audit on behalf of a rail transport provider in order to advise on the potential equal pay risk following a recent management restructure and a review of pay and grading.
  • Assisting an adult care provider with a complex and challenging disciplinary process involving a number of staff within a particular part of the organisation which supports adults with disabilities to live independently.

Ward Hadaway LLP

At Ward Hadaway, the diverse workload is divided according to industry expertise, allowing the firm to provide sector-specific advice on the full range of employment matters from pre-dismissal to litigation stage. Paul Scope and Jamie Gamble oversee HR Protect, a fixed-price package of unlimited advice and insurance popular with SMEs in the North East which, according to one client, 'offers extra reassurance'. Graham Vials takes the lead on employment work with a nexus to education, advising hundreds of schools and academies nationally. Stuart Craig is the key contact for matters at the intersection of employment and healthcare. The firm also fields recommended practitioners Roisin Patton and Gillian Chinhengo.

Practice head(s):

Paul Scope; Jamie Gamble

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Craig; Graham Vials; Roisin Patton; Gillian Chinhengo


‘The team have been incredibly supportive and pro-active and the linked insurance package offers extra reassurance (without numerous exclusions or caveats). They are experienced and always willing to discuss context and find the right solution for each situation without being overly risk averse.’

‘Graham Vials is exceptional and is the partner we would always go to in the event of a complex or sensitive matter. He is always pragmatic, responsive and understands the importance of context and related matters when giving advice.’

‘The Ward Hadaway team provide practical and realistic advice in relation to HR issues. They listen to the needs of the business and provide cost effective solutions to address these issues.’

‘Gillian Chinhengo has worked with our company for a number of years. She understands the business and how we address HR issues. She is able to grasp the issues quickly and provides excellent advice and guidance. She is always approachable and we enjoy working with her.’

‘Good understanding about the issues being faced currently and good at creating and maintaining relationships.’

‘Our key contact is Graham Vials, who us always willing to respond to the myriad of issues we raise and always available to listen and guide.’

‘The team are very knowledgeable and efficient giving timely, practicable and useful advice and guidance. We also receive lots of pro-active information so we can keep abreast of what is coming up in employment law.’

‘Gillian Chinhengo is like an extension of our team, she understands our business and can offer support that fits perfectly. She also has a fabulous way of really getting to the heart of the matter and offering solution-based advice that helps navigate our way through often thorny and challenging issues.’

Key clients

Newcastle United Football Company Ltd

Durham County Cricket Club

Newcastle Rugby Limited (Newcastle Falcons)

Story Homes Ltd

Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Limited

City of York Council

North East Ambulance Service

Home Group Limited


Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised the Turkish parent company of Chemson on the employment aspects of its proposed sale of its UK sites and significant reduction of its remaining UK operations.
  • Represented the City of York Council in the contentious exit of the Chief Executive following a whistleblowing complaint and related grievance and long-term sick leave.
  • Assisting Piramal Pharma Solutions with the implementation of new collective consultation arrangements to replace the existing employee forum.


The work at Weightmans falls into three broad categories; the team is equally proficient at handling risk management issues, project work and litigation. Recent examples of advisory matters include assisting with redundancy programmes and individual senior exits with significant remuneration packages on behalf of both national and US-parent-company clients. On the contentious side, the firm continues to specialise in cases involving post-termination restrictive covenants. Practice head Christopher Graham is lauded by one client as a 'highly effective litigator'. Principal associate Kerry Waters also receives praise, and is singled out as 'an asset on any case'.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Graham

Other key lawyers:

Kerry Waters


‘Weightmans is very skilled at dealing with clients’ concerns and developing a good working relationship with key players.’

‘The people I have dealt with are extremely competent and committed. Always willing to go the extra mile even if it means working out of normal hours to deal with urgent matters or to fit in with clients’ work patterns.’

‘Christopher Graham is one of the most experienced employment lawyers in the country. He is battle hardened and is a highly effective litigator.’

‘We have dealt with a number of team members over recent years and we are always impressed. They all have the same professional standards. They bill at the end of the month so we know what we are paying for each month.’

‘Christopher Graham is the person with whom we have dealings. I think he is outstanding. He has dealt with a number of matters for our business and we are impressed every time. He is clearly technically very knowledgeable. Even though he is very senior and we are a small firm we have his mobile number and call him directly. He knows what is going on with a matter and is very responsive.’

‘Kerry Waters is a diligent employment solicitor who has amassed considerable experience of Employment Tribunal and High Court work. She is clever and client-focused, and an asset on any case.’

The team are highly skilled and their capabilities cover a wide range of legal work. I always feel that they are protecting me and my business. It never just feels like another job to them.’

‘Kerry Waters is a tireless worker for her clients, who are always reassured by her grasp of the details of their case.’


Key clients

Stewart Reader

Federal Signal Inc/Victor Products Limited

McParland & Partners

Nelson Petcare Limited

David Allen trading as David Allen Chartered Accountants

Utility Alliance Limited

Adrian Shaw

University of Sunderland

Lucion Services Limited

TT2 Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented David Allen, trading as David Allen Chartered Accountants, throughout High Court litigation with an ex-employee and competitor business relating to the ex-employee’s breach of post-termination restrictive covenants.
  • Prepared Stewart Reader’s complex claim for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal, following a dismissal that threatened his reputation and continuing career in education.
  • Representing McParland & Partners and Fairstone Financial Management throughout ongoing High Court litigation against a former director in relation to breach of his post-termination restrictive covenants and misuse (and misappropriation) of confidential information.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Following the retirement of respected practitioner James Wilders in December 2020, Lorraine Heard has taken the reins at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. As a result of her reputation for being 'hugely experienced in defending class-action big ticket work', Heard regularly act in pay-related high-value complex Employment Tribunal claims, as well as frequently being sought out to defend against detailed allegations of discrimination, unfair dismissal and breach of contract. Other key team members include managing associate Hilary du Randt and associate Alan Kennedy, both of whom are noted for their proficiency assisting with all aspects of change management.

Practice head(s):

Lorraine Heard

Other key lawyers:

Hilary du Randt; Alan Kennedy


‘An incredibly able collection of equal pay specialists in Newcastle. Hugely experienced in defending class-action big ticket work, in the private and public sectors.’

‘Lorraine Heard is quite simply the best equal pay solicitor with whom I have worked. Manages huge litigation incredibly well. Very tactically astute. Very experienced. Excellent client handling skills. Organisational, management and timetabling skills are incredibly important in this field and she has them in abundance. What more is there to say? Hilary du Randt is incisive and very able.’

‘Alan Kennedy is pleasant, efficient, commercial and sensible.’

‘The team were absolutely seamless in their delivery – although I dealt with a couple of different individuals, they could have been the same person. All extremely knowledgeable of the subject matter, and with a deep understanding of our particular case. When the individuals swapped between them, I did not have to repeat instructions or go over previous ground – that had already been done efficiently behind the scenes.’

‘I dealt mainly with Alan Kennedy, who I could not recommend highly enough. He was extremely responsive to queries I sent via email or requests for phone conversations. His commercial attitude made my job so much easier as he was on the same page and had the right balance of advice between legal principles and commercial considerations. Alan without doubt went above and beyond the call of duty.’

Key clients

Mpac Group PLC

Vertu Motors PLC

Parkdean Resorts UK Ltd



Dnata Limited

Cumberland Building Society

Work highlights

  • Advising Parkdean Resorts on the full scope of employment law issues, from day-to-day queries regarding  managing employees and the seasonal workforce to defending Employment Tribunal claims and navigating furlough and the coronavirus job retention scheme.
  • Working as part of the three firm AIG panel, which provides employment advice and litigation support for insured businesses.
  • Defended the client against complex claims of sex and disability discrimination, including direct disability discrimination, discrimination arising from disability, and an alleged failure to make reasonable adjustments, less favourable treatment on grounds of part time working, and equal pay.


The team at Burnetts offers a wide range of employment services, both contentious and advisory, to commercial and charity clients across the UK. The firm is a popular choice for clients from the education sector, as practice head Natalie Ruane is able to leverage her particular expertise in this industry to advise on the employment aspects of academy conversions and the establishment of MATs.

Practice head(s):

Natalie Ruane

Muckle LLP

Under the leadership of 'invaluable adviser' Chris Maddock, the team at Muckle LLP advises employers across all sectors on the full range of employment issues, including TUPE and corporate transactions, regulatory issues, business immigration and data protection matters. The firm also continues to provide a fixed price retainer arrangement to over 100 clients, ranging from small charities and owner-managed businesses, to national companies. Tony McPhillips is noted equally for his expertise in complex litigious work and his focus on clients from the sports sector, while associate Lisa Kelly is recommended for her experience with discrimination and equal pay issues. For education providers, Jill Donabie is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Chris Maddock

Other key lawyers:

Tony McPhillips; Jill Donabie; Lisa Kelly


‘Muckle LLP provide a first-class service in every respect. Their advice is always considered, timely and proffered from as fair a perspective as possible. The employment team is notable for their low turnover of staff, which I think reflects extremely well on the leadership and the organisation. Nothing is ever too much trouble and I cannot commend them highly enough. In addition, they provide excellent communications and seminars to provide updates on key legislative changes, which are always extremely helpful to attend.’

‘Chris Maddock has an exceptionally clear understanding of how our business works and his advice is always given with that in mind. It is pragmatic, thoughtful and fair. Lisa Kelly also provides a first class service. She is incredibly efficient and prompt to respond and will always offer a well thought out and robust perspective. Both Chris and Lisa are a pleasure to work with and their guidance and advice is greatly appreciated.’

‘The employment team at Muckle have a depth of knowledge and experience which is more than capable of covering all the employment law needs of our business. The Mi Shield retainer that Muckle offers allows our management team to concentration on delivering business objectives safe in the knowledge that the ever increasing complexity of employment matters is covered in a professional and cost effective way.’

‘Chris Maddock has been my go-to for employment advice and support for a number of years and is an invaluable adviser to the business. He manages to translate the often complex area of employment law into clear actionable strategy which ensures we are able to achieve our ongoing business objectives. I would have no hesitation in recommending Chris to cover any employment advice needed.’

‘The team is very responsive and handovers are seamless from one practitioner to another. Knowledge of our business is key and an abundance of legal practical common-sense advice is given.’



Key clients

NCG (Newcastle College Group)

University of Northumbria

Hays Travel Limited

END. Clothing

Education Development Trust

The Football Association

Gentoo Group Limited

Newcastle Building Society

Port of Tyne

A & P Group

Work highlights

  • Advised a registered social housing provider on changes to local government terms and conditions of employment for over 1,000 employees following a TUPE transfer.
  • Led an investigation into allegations of financial impropriety and other potential career-ending allegations on behalf of a multi-academy Education Trust.
  • Defending an employment tribunal claim which arose out of concerns about safety at work during the pandemic on behalf of a global ship building and repair business.

Sintons LLP

At Sintons LLP, experienced practitioner Keith Land heads up a team which is equally comfortable handling work in and out of the Employment Tribunal on behalf of clients from both the public and private sectors. Key areas of strength for the group include reorganisations, strategic advice, TUPE and discrimination claims. The firm continues to expand its client base, focusing particularly on its sectors of expertise, which include healthcare, education, charities, renewables and construction. The practice is also noted for its strong offering at associate level, which includes Angela CarverAilsa Hobson, Fiona Campbell and Catherine Hope.

Practice head(s):

Keith Land

Other key lawyers:

Ailsa Hobson; Fiona Campbell; Angela Carver; Catherine Hope


‘Sintons provide an invaluable employment service to my business. With over 200 members of staff in a highly regulated industry, I could not achieve the results I do without their input. Sintons are able to look at each situation and plan accordingly.’

‘Keith Land is, quite frankly, the reason I am able to sleep every night. He is the epitome of kindness, professionalism and intellect within his field.’

‘Angela Carver took the time to understand the company ethos, as well as the business requirements and tailored her advice to ensure what we did was both legally correct but also underpinned our company ethos. Approachable, and very active in offering help and support above and beyond the legal requirements. Friendly, genuine and has the time for everyone – Angela really took the time to build the trust, which meant she was the first port of call for all our managers during difficult times. When away on holiday, she ensured we had a contact point who was well briefed and understood the situation and company approach fully.’

‘Always had good practical prompt advice and service’

‘Catherine Hope was easy to deal with and provided good advice provided.’

‘Strong down to earth approach.’

‘Catherine Hope was exceptional. Relentless in pursuing our goals and super responsive.’


Key clients

Space Architecture (Europe) Limited

ADM Pressings Limited

GCH Corporation Limited

The Auckland Project

Eagles Community Foundation

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria Limited

Eric Wright FM Limited

Eric Wright Water Limited

Motel One (UK) Limited

Warmseal (Newcastle) Limited

Work highlights

  • Defended ADM Pressings against a claim for automatic unfair dismissal under the public interest disclosure (whistleblowing) regime and discrimination, running to ten days before the Newcastle Employment Tribunal and involving over eleven witnesses.
  • Assisted the Auckland Project with an internal restructure to ensure long term charitable sustainability of the client and in response to restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19.
  • Advised Motel One (UK) Limited on all aspects of its response to the pandemic, including furlough arrangements, two mass redundancy situations and changes to terms and conditions of employment.

Baines Wilson LLP

Acting exclusively for employers, from household names to small family owned companies, the team at Baines Wilson LLP handles a wide range of contentious and advisory work. Practice head Joanne Holborn has particular expertise managing sickness, absence and rehabilitation matters, and regularly advises clients on how to deal with complex disability discrimination issues. Tom Scaife works closely with the firm's corporate department to assist clients with transactional work. Caroline Rayner is a key contact for Employment Tribunal and court proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Holborn

Other key lawyers:

Tom Scaife; Caroline Rayner


‘The team offers practical advice, rather than just legal. We discuss the effects of the advice on our business and the commerciality of our decisions and they understand this, because they run their own business.’

‘Joanne Holborn adopts a very hands on pragmatic approach to every situation. She knows our systems and policies and is able to comment on when updates are needed to fit in/adapt to our situations.’

‘Tom Scaife is very thoughtful and detailed in his replies. He has a very logical brain which always considers the outcome required.’

‘The strength with this team is that they know our business, our culture our strengths and our limitations – they therefore provide advice which is is not just legally correct, it is given and explained in a way the HR team can ‘sell’ to our senior team.’

‘Tom Scaife is always accessible and gives a no-nonsense logical response to queries. Joanne Holborn is accessible and gives a detailed response to issues.’

‘We value the knowledge, advice and the quick response that we receive when faced with a problem.’

‘Our main contacts are Joanne Holborn and Tom Scaife – nothing is too much trouble and we know we will receive pragmatic advice, support and back-up.’

‘In 35 years as as HR professional I have never come across such an on the ball lawyer as Tom Scaife – he is proactive and incredibly knowledgeable, literally whatever I throw at him he knows or comes back with good, well thought out and reasoned answers. I trust his judgement and advice and I often wonder who is the HR professional when he professionally guides me to the answer I know I should be giving.’

Swinburne Maddison LLP

The team at Swinburne Maddison has developed a strong reputation for advising educational institutions. Jonathan Moreland, who is marked out by one client as 'a superb sounding board and advisor', leads the offering, which also includes recently promoted managing associate Sharney Randhawa; the latter is known for acting in a variety of discrimination cases. On the advisory side, the firm regularly advises on restructuring and TUPE, negotiates settlement agreements and provides day-to-day HR support.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Moreland

Other key lawyers:

Sharney Randhawa


‘Considerable contact with Jonathan Moreland over past year. Technology no barrier to discussion and reflection. Very supportive and at the same time realistic. Readily available at all times.’

Quality, trustworthy, responsive law firm – the team provides quality advice that we trust and are very quick to respond to whatever queries we come up with. The advice is accurate and precise – and protective of us as a client. There is no nonsense – straight to the matter. Committed to hard work for their clients. Excellent service.’

‘Jonathan Moreland is always professional, courteous and listens carefully to give considered advice. He is a good communicator and explains options and the legal process clearly and in language which is understandable. His questions and suggestions have always been pertinent. He always gets back to me when he says he will and even though it is more difficult at this time will arrange calls or telephone meetings so his support and advice is available when needed. I have recommended him to colleagues and friends.’

‘The practice is very professional. There is no stuffiness just a positive and co-operative culture.’

‘I dealt with Jonathan Moreland who gave me prompt and the best possible advice all the way through a difficult redundancy. He took away much of the stress and represented my interests fully, ensuring that my severance settlement was more than satisfactory.’

‘Trust, care, transparency and pride in the delivery of solutions. Jonathan Moreland appreciates the balance between positive outcomes and the cost of taking further action.

‘Jonathan Moreland is a superb sounding board and advisor on employment law issues. Very measured, empathetic and appropriately direct, giving a clear sense of direction.’

‘They don’t feel like they are solicitors when they deal with me. I feel like they hold our hand every step of the way and that they really listen to us. Nothing is too much trouble whereas with other firms it can feel like you are not a priority. Very strong knowledge of the law and experience, which makes me feel confident when I use them.’

Key clients

Durham Cathedral

Ramside Estates Limited

The Esh Group

Hargreaves Services plc

St Chad’s College, Durham University

St John’s College, Durham University

The Enquire Learning Trust Limited

Building Design (Northern) Limited

Richard and Julie Bennett (former owners of Derwentside Environmental Testing Services Limited)

Durham City Rugby Club

Clever Clogs Day Nurseries Limited

Berger Closures Limited

GT Cleaning Machines Limited

Derwentside Trust for Sport and the Arts

AKV Cladding Limited

Singletrack Systems Limited

Teescraft Engineering Limited

Land Technologies Limited

Fusion for Business Limited

St Cuthbert’s Hospice

Merit Estates (Yorkshire) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Providing ongoing support to one of the UK’s leading universities, including advising on the application of the furlough scheme and assisting with the implementation of a restructuring and redundancy programme in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Managing all of the employment elements of a multi-million pound share disposal, including collating all relevant HR information for disclosure, drafting and negotiating the employment aspects of the disclosure letter and share purchase agreement, and negotiating post-termination restrictive covenants.
  • Representing a client in a high-profile whistleblowing case.

David Gray Solicitors LLP

Seasoned practitioner Bryony Rest heads up the specialist immigration law offering at David Gray Solicitors LLP, advising on both personal and business immigration matters. The team serves a wide client base, including commercial clients who wish to employ overseas nationals or whose workers have had work permits revoked, family clients who have immigration difficulties, and criminal clients facing deportation.

Practice head(s):

Bryony Rest


‘Excellent service and coordination between different practitioners, covering responses to clients’ emails even their solicitor is on leave.’

‘Bryony Rest is a professional solicitor in immigration law and her advice is solid and useful. She is also a caring person, taking care of the needs and feelings of the client.’

‘I worked exclusively with Bryony Rest. I found Bryony to be extremely friendly, approachable, kind and helpful. We have worked together both in person and online. She is very knowledgeable and gives you confidence that, together, you can find a solution to your issue. I felt supported by Bryony and would not hesitate to contact her again in future should similar issues arise. I have also personally recommended her to staff members with visa and immigration questions or concerns, and would do so again.’

‘We had a number of meetings with the David Gray’s team and bounced ideas around for them to find workable ways of dealing with our issues – this has been completed each time with good information supplied that we were able to pass onto other parts of our business so that they understand what is required.’

‘Bryony Rest is able to get us answers and she ploughs through all the, what we would say is conflicting information, to give us a straight answer to our questions. It may not always be the answer we are looking for but then Bryony will look and finding us another possible route to get the end result we were looking for.’

Endeavour Partnership LLP

Endeavour Partnership LLP is singled out by one client for fielding 'great legal minds but with a very human touch'; the firm is also noted for offering dedicated business immigration, pensions and data protection expertise, as well as a range of other advisory services. On the contentious side, the team has recently seen a growth in increasingly complex Tribunal litigation. Practice head Stephen Elliot and 'exceptional' practitioner Theresa Carling are the core contacts.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Elliott

Other key lawyers:

Theresa Carling


‘Every single individual, I have dealt with at Endeavour Partnership has, beyond the exceptional knowledge and technical capability which I except as default, the necessary human attributes to understand what I value and what is important for me. Based on that they can provide advice clearly with an appropriate risk assessment – they can explain to me in plain English what my options are and what would be a good solution. In summary: great legal minds but with a very human touch.’

‘Theresa Carling was very professional and commercial whilst also being very personable.’

‘I would say one of the main strengths of this practice are the people. As well as being very knowledgeable they can offer practical advice and communicate this in a manner that everyone can understand. They are there to support every step of the way and the fees are reasonable.’

‘Theresa Carling gave us an exceptional service. She was always available to give advice, respond to correspondence under extremely limited timeframes and generally there to support us every step of the way. I could not recommend her and her team enough.’

‘Professional, personal, prompt and diligent guidance and support. ’

‘I have dealt with Stephen Elliott and his team for a number of years now and the key points to note from me are: very high professional standards, extremely knowledgeable in their area of work, supportive, prompt and efficient in responding to requests. Always feel my needs are met as a client. Very efficient billing service.’

‘They provide a personal, bespoke service. We have known and used one of the partners for a long time and he has always been helpful and attentive for all our employment law requirements.’

‘Stephen Elliot is our main point of contact. He is calm and reassuring but firm enough to make sure that you follow his advice. He delegates to juniors when required to mitigate the expense. His advice has always been sound. He is always readily available.’


Key clients

Silverstone Circuits Limited

Yarm School

Cleveland Bridge UK Limited

Tees Valley Combined Authority

Visualsoft Limited

Castle Howard

The Darlington Farmers’ Auction Mart Company Limited

JH Mechanical Limited

Champion Tutor Limited

Active Financial Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Cleveland Bridge UK on the dismissal of a trade union health and safety representative who was accused of dishonestly giving incorrect information to the Health and Safety Executive in an attempt to discredit his employer.
  • Assisted with a review of Visualsoft’s current data protection policies, practices and procedures and advised on its overall compliance with the current data protection regime in order to secure a private equity investment from Livingbridge.
  • Advising the CEO of a national HR advisory business, and the other former shareholders (who sold the business in December 2019) on a significant retention following the sale, in which the purchaser has been seeking to reduce the amount to be paid to the shareholders.

Hay & Kilner

Following the retirement of respected practitioner Neil Dwyer in October 2020, the offering at Hay & Kilner is headed up by specialists Sarah Hall and Sarah Furness; the former takes the lead on corporate support work while the latter's wide practice encompasses tribunal claims, employment documentation, restructuring work and discrimination issues. Although the firm acts almost exclusively for employers, the group has recently advised numerous high-net-worth individuals on termination packages and restrictive covenant matters. Tom Clarke is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Hall; Sarah Furness

Other key lawyers:

Tom Clarke


‘Tom Clarke is the main person we deal with and has been great to work with over the last few years. Tom fully understands our business and any issues we have had, which have been a few and varied. Tom has acted quickly and his advice has been spot on in all the varying issues we have had to deal with within the business. Very professional and gives us more than one option to look at in a situation, as well as explaining the implications behind each option.’

‘From the outset Hay & Kilner were transparent, efficient and capable. I felt very comfortable that the billing was reasonable and offered value for money. Everyone who I spoke to at Hay & Kilner was approachable and supportive whilst offering sound advice backed by key legal knowledge.’

‘A key reason when choosing Hay & Kilner to provide legal advice was their approachability. Sarah Furness was empathetic and patient which helped us a great deal throughout the process. Sarah is also a fantastic negotiator and I felt sure that she was on our side and would achieve the best possible result for us.’

‘I have used Sarah Furness at Hay & Kilner on several employment matters over the past 12 months and her advice has always been second to none. She manages to provide clear, commercial advice at a very reasonable fee. I especially like the fact that she is able to get straight to the core of the problem and the advice needed without over-complicating matters.’

‘Working with Hay & Kilner is always made easy by their incredible team, their professionalism and their expertise. No issue seems too big or small for them. They work to deliver the best result possible and we can’t fault them.’

‘Tom Clarke, Sarah Hall and the team always go the extra mile and make sure we are kept in the loop through the whole process, they are professional and can always be relied on.’

‘We have a great ongoing relationship with Tom Clarke – he is always at the end of the phone if needed and will act in a swift and professional manner.’

‘Sarah Hall has a great depth of knowledge. Shows professionalism and a friendly manner.’


Key clients

Royston Limited

Indigo Software Limited

NECS UK Limited

Wingrove Motor Company Limited

GFA Gastech limited

55 Fisheries Limited

Sabic UK Petrochemicals Limited

Darlington Building Society

St Martin’s Care Group

International Centre for Life

Rocket Medical Plc

Hyperdrive Innovation Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised 55 Fisheries on its acquisition of a local fishery business from a well-known national operator, including providing full TUPE advice and support and assisting with due diligence, indemnities and warranties.
  • Provided significant day-to-day support to Royston Limited in respect of the use of the job retention scheme and in respect of a redundancy/restructure process.
  • Assisting GFA Gastech, an HR key client on an annual retainer, with a whole range of HR-related matters, including a restructuring resulting from the impact of the pandemic.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

The group at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP  is commonly retained as the primary external legal advisor by a variety of employers in such contrasting sectors as construction, IT, gaming, finance, retail and manufacturing. Practice head Nick Smith offers clients assistance with a wide range of contentious and advisory matters, capably supported by associate Robyn Aisbitt. Following the departure of Martha Craven in May 2020, the firm welcomed experienced solicitor Laura Tennet from Sintons LLP in September of the same year.

Practice head(s):

Nick Smith

Other key lawyers:

Robyn Aisbitt; Laura Tennet


‘Mincoffs have an excellent employment team who are always, even during these current times, available to talk to at any given time of the day. They give exceptional advice over an ever-widening range of subjects on employment law and keep us up to date with all legislation. This practice is unique in that they offer good solid friendly advice at a very realistic cost with a lot of advice given free of charge.’

‘Our main point of contact at Mincoffs is Nick Smith who is regarded as a friend to our group of companies. Nick is always available to talk to and is someone who we have complete confidence in due to the way in which he explains all situations so clearly and, as you would expect from a top solicitor in his field of employment law, gives excellent advice. We cannot speak highly enough of Nick.’

‘Personalised service.’

‘Efficient response times and an empathetic approach.’


Key clients

Barter Books

Cascade Cash Management Limited

Document Risk Solutions Limited

Canny Creative Limited

Northern Bear plc

L B Foster Rail Technologies (UK) Limited

EWM Hightec Welding UK Limited

Perfect Image Limited

Historic Property Renovation Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Barter Books on a variety of employment matters, ranging from sickness absence, performance management and disciplinary hearings to termination, as part of a general retainer.
  • Advising Cascade Cash Management on a variety of employment matters, ranging from sickness absence, performance management and disciplinary hearings to the implementation of new contracts and policies, as part of a general retainer.
  • Advising Document Risk Solutions on a variety of employment matters, ranging from immigration issues to IR35 and TUPE, as part of a general retainer.