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Birkett Long LLP's 'highly professional and committed' practice 'specialises in all areas of employment law and delivers a quality service'. While the lawyers continue to focus on contract drafting and changes, TUPE transfers and court litigation, including discrimination claims, in the construction industry, 2017 saw the team representing employees or defending employers in an increased amount of tribunal claims, as well as receiving more instructions from the education sector. Team lead Martin Hopkins and 'knowledgeable, personable and professional' associate Reggie Lloyd advised Imperial London Hotels on changes to employees' terms and conditions, which were connected to claims brought by one individual under the National Minimum Wage Act and for unfair dismissal and breach-of-whistleblowing protection. Hopkins also defended K E Kents against an unfair dismissal claim, after the claimant was made redundant for gross misconduct in his working methods. Countryside, Spicerhaart Group Services and Acer Landscapes were some of the new clients from 2017. Solicitor Jo McKenna left for Ellisons Solicitors in February 2018, after which Charlotte Holman joined the Basildon office from Backhouse Solicitors.

The employment department of 'professional and progressive regional firm' Birketts LLP draws upon a 'broad base of disciplines in employment law' and 'always provides extremely prompt and concise advice at a reasonable cost'. The team acts for corporate clients within and beyond the Essex region which need assistance with TUPE matters, restructurings and the exit of directors and other senior staff, while also being able to act on the side of the employee. Clients tend to come from the sport, healthcare, construction, facility management, leisure, energy, food, agriculture, education, haulage and motor retail sectors. Team lead Kevin Palmer, who has 'invaluable depth of knowledge', represented a senior director in a whistle-blowing, disability discrimination and unfair dismissal claim against his former employer UBS. In another highlight, Palmer advised Statoil on the TUPE transfer of around 50 employees of a windfarm to the company. The 'approachable and very knowledgeable' legal director Clare Barlow assisted Blancco Central Services with a redundancy process in the UK, involving British and foreign nationals. Clients also recommend 'reliable and result-oriented' senior associate Beth Baird , who has a 'charming yet tough approach in negotiations and excellent knowledge of the financial services sector.'

Thompson Smith and Puxon's employment team impresses with its 'realistic advice, an understanding of clients' needs and communication that is delivered to a high standard'. Focus areas regarding employer matters include strategic advice and risk assessment, contracts and policies, disciplinary procedures, TUPE, restrictive covenants, dismissals and redundancies, disputes, tribunals and settlement agreements, while individuals are being represented in their equal pay, maternity/paternity rights, TUPE, unfair or wrongful dismissal and whistle-blowing claims. During 2017, partner Richard Porter, who 'listens carefully and then provides clear and concise advice', and solicitor Sam Welham acted for local and international clients from the media, printing, retail, financial, care, sports, construction, farming, education, engineering, hospitality and professional sectors.

The 'very professional, well-reputed and proactive' employment team of Pinney Talfourd LLP provides 'clear, swift and knowledgeable advice, as well as good value for money'. Particular experience exists in the professional services, banking, energy, education, healthcare and charity sectors, while general focus areas include unfair dismissal, discrimination, breach of restrictive covenants and TUPE claims. In a recent highlight, 'pragmatic and commercial' senior associate Alexander Pearce represented an individual in their unfair dismissal claim against a telecoms company and further dealt with employment issues arising from the sale of an electrical wholesaler client. Another key lawyer is senior associate Bushra Elzubeir, while dispute resolution partner Stephen Eccles leads the practice, which also counts Brook Street Foodservice, Fairclough Property Professionals, Havering Women's Aid and Knight International among its clients.

The 'good and reliable' Palmers is 'an excellent choice for employment advice'. The team consists of 'considerate' associate Lara Murray, who 'gives realistic and sensible advice and knows the nitty-gritty of employment law', and recently qualified assistant solicitor Samantha Randall. Murray has particular experience on the non-contentious side, which includes drafting HR packages for employers, assisting with health and safety regulations and giving training sessions, for example on mental health in the workplace. She also brings and defends against tribunal claims; a recent highlight was the defence of a construction company against an unfair dismissal claim revolving around health and safety matters.

The employment practice at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP covers both contentious and non-contentious matters for clients in the healthcare, insurance and recruitment sectors, including documentation drafting, TUPE transfers, employee exit packages, restrictive covenants and tribunal claims. Key client TBS GB Telematic & Biomedical Services receives ongoing employment law support, while Runwood Homes and Thames News Services were also represented in 2017. Associate solicitor Hayley Dear is the key practitioner, with support from assistant solicitor Ana James-Pittau, litigation partner Fiona Colwell and legal executive Polly Plant.

During 2017, Tees Law continued to advise senior executives and organisations from the agricultural, education, civil aviation, professional services and logistics sectors, particularly with regard to exit negotiations, settlement agreements, TUPE, discrimination and whistle-blowing tribunal litigation, as well as giving data protection workshops. In a recent highlight, the team advised its key client, the Institute of Fundraising, on the employment and TUPE matters arising from its merger with PFRA. Partner Robert Whitaker, recently promoted senior associate Jonathan Insley and associate Katherine Jameson make up the practice.

Wortley Byers LLP's 'excellent and strong' employment practice mainly acts for companies, but also saw a recent increase in the representation of individuals. 2017 was also characterised by a higher load of tribunal proceedings, unfair dismissal claims in the construction industry and matters relating to working time and agency worker regulations, while the representation of clients in TUPE, redundancy, disciplinary, grievance, and post-termination restrictions proceedings continued. 'Outstanding' associate Sarah Stanyer, who has 'plenty of experience, a high level of responsiveness and good empathy', and litigation partner Wendy Beach, who 'offers commercially practical advice in a reassuring manner', are the key contacts. Clients include Chigwell London, Brentwood School, Shadforth Pharmaceutical and Fire Integrity.

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