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Employment: Bristol in South West

Bevan Brittan LLP

The employment practice at Bevan Brittan LLP is highly regarded for its experience in public employment law, in particular regarding local governments. It also has a significant focus on work for healthcare providers, providing governance and strategic advice on behalf of NHS trusts, as well as housing organisations. Its private experience is also notable, operating across a number of different sectors. Notable lawyers include Sarah Lamont, who works primarily with local governments and housing associations, and the experienced Julian Hoskins, who works with a range of healthcare and private sector employers. Health and social care specialist Jodie Sinclair leads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Jodie Sinclair

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Lamont; Julian Hoskins

Testimonials

‘The whole employment and pensions team at Bevan Brittan is extremely well managed and always works exceptionally smoothly and efficiently together. The team is a complete delight to work with and is unfailingly courteous, helpful, efficient and hard-working as well as always displaying really good judgment.’

‘I have worked with Sarah Lamont very closely for a number of years and have done so in the context of very protracted and demanding litigation. Sarah is highly intelligent and legally extremely astute, is very, very conscientious and hard working, always reveals really sound judgment and is utterly committed to serving the interests of her clients.’

‘Super diligent, committed and flexible. Easy to work with.’

‘The employment team at Bevan Brittan truly listen. They take the time to understand a challenge from all angles and provide commercial, sensible solutions. So often lawyers claim they can speak the language of their clients, rarely is this true. Bevan Brittan’s employment team are easy to use, speak in plan English and are able to communicate well at all levels.’

Key clients

Local Government Association

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

National Savings and Investments

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Royal London Borough Greenwich

Lampton 360 Ltd

London Borough of Barnet

Yeovil NHS Foundation Trust

Oxfordshire County Council

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

London Borough Southwark

North Somerset Council

Bath & North East Somerset Council

Buckinghamshire Council

Nottinghamshire County Council

Work highlights

  • Advised a number of NHS hospitals on covid issues, including staffing arrangements for Nightingale hospitals, redeployment of staff to the front line and vaccination conflicts.
  • Advised 52 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, defending multijurisdictional pension discrimination claims brought by over 5,000 fire-fighters.
  • Advising a company in the waste sector on an investigation into allegations of race discrimination against a board member due to social media comments.

Burges Salmon LLP

Acting for a strong base of FTSE 100 and international clients, Burges Salmon LLP offers the full range of top-level employment services. The practice advises on major restructurings and compliance matters, while also handling 'technically complex' litigation. The team's core strengths include its work with financial service companies, as well as its experience with defence, energy, transport and public sector employers. The team, which is praised for its 'collaborative' and' proactive' approach, includes Chris Seaton and Luke Bowery, who advise on a broad range of matters, and James Green, who often works with financial services clients. The 'top notch' Adrian Martin leads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Martin

Other key lawyers:

Chris Seaton; Luke Bowery; James Green; Huw Cooke

Testimonials

‘Adrian Martin is very knowledgeable and practical. ’

‘James Green is a highly experienced employment lawyer. We have worked with James for a number of years and have sought his advice on a wide range of employment issues. He is an expert in his field, provides practical and prompt legal advice and is a pleasure to work with. ’

‘Adrian Martin is top notch and is always sensible and commercial when giving a view. ’

‘Very good team with significant expertise in TUPE matters and other technically complex litigation.’

 ‘As a senior associate, Huw Cooke is consistently cheerful, commercial, pragmatic, supportive and an intuitive strategic thinker. An invaluable member of your in-house team.’

‘We have work with the employment team at Burges Salmon for many years. They understand our organisation and also the sector in which we work. They are proactive in identifying and helping us to manage changes that impact our business. ’

‘The employment team’s key strengths are expertise, the practical application of that expertise, and partnership working. I have rarely worked with an external legal team that can embed itself so well into the culture of an organisation and yet retain such objectivity and insight. Their collaborative working, particularly during the pandemic, has been outstanding.’

Key clients

Babcock International Group plc

Thomson Reuters / Refinitiv

BAE Systems plc

John Lewis Partnership

FirstGroup plc

Bank of Ireland

The Crown Estate

Causeway CSP Limited

Reiss

Ofgem

HS1

The Racecourse Association

Endemol Shine

University of Bristol

Spire Healthcare Group plc

Government Legal Department

Transport for Wales

Quartz Media Inc

Office for Students

Affinity Water

Optegra

UK Atomic Energy Authority

Work highlights

  • Advising Babcock International Group plc on the full range of day to day employment and HR issues including Covid-19 related issues.
  • Acting for Transport for Wales on the employment and pension arrangements involved in the establishment of the Wales and Borders Rail Service.
  • Defending John Lewis/Waitrose in a number of Employment Tribunal claims, spanning unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, discrimination breach of contract, harassment and wrongful dismissal.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP acts for a wide number of prestigious employers, including FTSE 100 companies, with a particular focus on insurance, health and public sector employment matters. It is known for acting on behalf of technology companies and has also seen a growth in its international client base, in particular regarding corporate transfers. Contentious matters make up the team's most notable work, primarily employment tribunal cases. Alex Lock leads the practice, leading on work involving corporate restructuring and outsourcing. Katy Horner is also highly regarded for her work with health and care sector clients, as well as executive exits.

Practice head(s):

Alex Lock

Other key lawyers:

Katy Horner

Key clients

Dixons Carphone plc

Zurich Insurance plc

BT plc

Coventry Building Society

OFWAT

Teleperformance Portugal

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • On behalf of the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, defending a novel and legally complex claim in  the High Court brought by an NHS employee alleging breaches of her human rights.
  • Advised Teleperformance Portugal on the application of TUPE regulations and the Acquired Rights Directive during an outsourcing transaction.
  • Representing Sainsbury’s in the defence of over 9,000 equal pay claims brought by retail staff alleging they are paid less due to their sex.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke works with an impressive international client base, advising on complex employment issues including the employment aspects of transactional matters, redundancies and restructurings, discrimination and an array of other contentious matters. The firm also has significant experience in matters involving the European Works Council, facilitating additional work with multijurisdictional clients. Much of this is led by Julian Hemming, who leads the international employment practice. Anna Elliott heads up the firm's South West employment practice and Paul Killen leads the UK employment team. Transactional specialist Leanne Coates is also well regarded.

Practice head(s):

Anna Elliott; Paul Killen; Julian Hemming

Other key lawyers:

Leanne Coates; Philip Chivers

Testimonials

‘They explain the legal position in simple terms that help us to understand the situation we are dealing with.  There is always a person who can help with the specific enquiry available, and our contacts always keep us informed.’

‘Phil Chivers and Leanne Coates have been instrumental in assisting us in many recent matters. They are friendly, very helpful and timely in dealing with matters.’

Key clients

Stericycle Inc

Resources Connections, Inc

Diageo

Mountain Healthcare

Etc venues management team

Sana Biotechnology

Medical Defence Union

A listed company in the defence sector

Western Power Distribution

Tech Mahindra

Ralph Lauren

Dassault Systemes (3DS)

Penta Consulting

Totally Money

CoStar

Worldwide Flight Services

Witt Keifer International

Leagas Delaney

Grifols

Subway

Work highlights

  • Leading and project managing multi-jurisdictional Covid-19 related projects for Stericycle.
  • Assisting Resources Connection Inc with a large European restructuring and redundancy exercise.
  • Advising Diageo on all UK employment law matters, including rewards and incentives.

TLT

The multidisciplinary employment team at TLT offers significant experience across a variety of advisory and contentious matters. It offers support on business-critical reputational matters, including board-level exits, whistleblowing and discrimination matters. It also advises on outsourcing, TUPE and trade union matters. Core clients include a variety of household name companies across retail, finance and utilities, as well as a growing number of international businesses. Stuart McBride heads the employment team, supported by Esther Smith and Siobhan Fitzgerald, who are praised for their 'commercial and business-focused' approach.

Practice head(s):

Stuart McBride

Other key lawyers:

Esther Smith; Siobhan Fitzgerald

Testimonials

‘The team we have worked with over the years have always been a joy to work with. If our key contact is away then a colleague is always available to respond to any question we may have and always quickly. I’ve found no issue at all to indicate a lack of continuity/coherence in advice given. Everyone we deal with is friendly, commercial and responsive.’

‘Siobhan Fitzgerald and Esther Smith have demonstrated a really deep understanding of our business, partnership structure and associated dynamics and have always worked with us in a commercial and business-focused manner.’

‘Always really effective and strong advice provided. This advice balances risks against commercial requirements. Always quick to respond and supportive in reaching a productive outcome. ’

‘Siobhan Fitzgerald always provides sound advice that keeps the commercial requirements of the business in mind. Her view is always balanced and effective.’

‘Very friendly, empathetic and always seek to understand our needs. They have taken the time to understand our organisation extremely well. ’

‘I like the whole team approach that makes us feel valued as a client and their overall responsiveness. I also enjoy their thought leadership on key issues and peer to peer discussions.’

‘All of the team at TLT that we have contact with are excellent and professional.’

‘Esther Smith is our ‘go to’ person for employment law advice. Esther is always professional, pragmatic, realistic and responds quickly and efficiently. Esther has real skill in making complex queries easy to understand in legal terms. ’

Key clients

J Sainsbury plc

BT Group plc

Savills plc

Southern Water

Ageas Group

Imperial Tobacco

WH Smith Plc

Biffa plc

Smiths News / Connect Group plc

URW/Westfield

Work highlights

  • Supported The Bart Ingredients Co. on a relocation from Bristol City Centre to Avonmouth.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

With one of the largest employment teams in the South West, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides 'excellent knowledge of real business issues'. Its most notable clients include large, household name retailers and local and national public sector employers. The team also has notable sector specialities working with companies in energy, financial services, insurance and fast-moving consumer goods. Tim Woodward leads the team, specialising in pensions, employee incentives and industrial relations matters. Recently promoted partner Jo Martin offers significant experience in organisational change, discrimination and terminations, while Emma Doble has experience defending insured employers in tribunal matters.

Practice head(s):

Tim Woodward

Other key lawyers:

Jo Martin; Emma Doble

Testimonials

‘Excellent knowledge of real business issues and the need to have a realistic outcome. Very flexible and responsive in approach’

‘High level of skill and expertise in their subject area. Very approachable and responsive.’

‘Competitively priced, with a smooth invoicing and accounting system. Outside of formal casework, they are willing to participate in organisational development with in-house training events.’

‘Business and solution focused advice which is both sensible and practical. Overall excellent service with prompt and pragmatic responses to issues and a reassuringly coherent team that shares work to draw in the best thoughts and advice. Collaboration is good and the social value content of the service is particularly welcome.’

‘Tim Woodward is a professional of high integrity and has a gift for thinking through complex issues and giving clear, logical and sound advice. Added to that, his friendly and partnership approach successfully creates a great relationship and makes one feel like his only client.

‘Emma Doble has a significant amount of experience in dealing with ET claims and is efficient yet thorough. She is both measured and commercial as well as being extremely responsive to the needs of her clients.

‘One of the strengths of the team is their management of ET claims. They are commercial and pragmatic and manage claims efficiently and cost-effectively.’

Key clients

AIG

Government Legal Department

National Grid

Post Office

TSB

B&Q

Plymouth Community Homes

Corbin & King Restaurant Group Limited

kgb group

Barden Corporation

Plymouth Learning Partnership

Work highlights

  • Continuing to be part of the AIG panel providing employment advice and litigation support for insured businesses.
  • Advising TSB on employment matters and litigation.
  • Serving as sole employment advisor to Corbin & King Restaurant.

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP's employment law team provides 'personalised, empathetic but honest' support to its clients on a wide range of matters, including restrictive covenants, TUPE, and COVID-19 matters including furlough, while on the contentious side, the team has a strong track record of work on tribunal claims and High Court cases. Specific sector expertise includes public sector, health, energy and retail. Stephen Moore heads up the team, and is praised for this work on post-termination and whistleblowing cases, while Jenny Marley is particularly experienced in acting for housing, health and social care groups in tribunal cases.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Moore

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Marley; Lorna Clark

Testimonials

‘Stephen Moore leads an impressive employment team in Bristol. They offer a breadth of knowledge which is impressive. ’

‘Stephen Moore’s aptitude and knowledge in employment law is unparalleled – he’s particularly good in post-termination competition cases and whistleblowing cases. Lorna Clark is also a very able and personable solicitor with a good following of clients. She has a sensible approach and exercises sound judgement with a base of good knowledge and experience.’

‘Ashfords have a very large and highly experienced employment team. They are employment law experts and the go-to firm in the South West for claimants and respondents alike. They deal with the whole spectrum of employment law matters including restrictive covenants and complex breach of contract claims.’

‘Everyone I have dealt with has been extremely organised and professional. Instructions are always clear and documents presented in good order. The individuals have a strong understanding of both the commercial and legal aspects of the cases they are dealing with.’

‘The employment team at Ashfords have been fantastic at supporting us over the past three years. Their particular strengths have been finding practical solutions to organisational risk and providing immediate support on urgent issues. ’

‘Jenny Marley takes a no-nonsense approach to her cases. She always responds well to requests and is good with her case preparation despite working under pressure.’

‘Personalised, empathetic but honest. Legal jargon is explained to make it easy to understand.’

‘Jenny Marley is fantastic to work with. Jenny stands out as having a pragmatic, common sense approach with an exceptional ability to explain the issues and risks in a straightforward way, keeping legalese to a minimum. Jenny’s calm, reasoned approach inspires confidence in her ability and gives a sense that we are in safe hands with her. ’

Key clients

Continuum (Financial Services) LLP

St Mungo Community Housing Association

Caretech Community Services Ltd

Momentum Services Limited

The Great American Bagel Factory Ltd

Red Rock Estate and Property Management Ltd

A Subway franchisee

ARAG

Penhaligon’s Limited

BlackRock

Work highlights

  • Acted for Continuum in a High Court restrictive covenant dispute.
  • Serving as the sole legal advice provider for St Mungo Community Hospice, advising on a full range of employment matters.
  • Defending StreetSharp, a McDonald’s franchisee, in a tribunal case involving constructive dismissal.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP offers the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment services. The team is particularly regarded for its HR consultancy unit, which has helped advise clients on issues relating to TUPE, furlough, and redundancy. Its client base spans across retail, manufacturing, education, pharmaceutical and logistics employers. Tim Copplestone is particularly well regarded for his experience with the professional sports sector. Sharon Latham and Marc Long co-head the team, with Latham spearheading much of the firm's international client base growth.

Practice head(s):

Sharon Latham; Marc Long

Other key lawyers:

Tim Copplestone

Testimonials

‘The advice we receive I am confident is the best for all matters; we never have to wait for a callback, meeting or simply any information we require. They have a range of skills within the group and the price always matches the skill level required to perform the task ’

‘Sharon Latham offers no-nonsense advice and guidance – she has defended us well with all matters and all outcomes have been the right ones. They are always professional, with a range of experience and actually take time out to get to understand our business and its requirements. I never have to question the service as I am 100% confident in Sharon and the practice’s support.’

‘The team is really great to work with – there is always someone available in the absence of our usual contact if he is unavailable and everyone that we work with approaches our queries in a consistent manner.’

‘Tim Copplestone is always willing to go the ‘extra mile’ for us and strikes a very good balance between explaining our legal position whilst balancing the risk for the business in taking any course of action.’

‘It is like having an in-house legal team which heads off the situation before they become situations. They proactively bring us up to speed on the latest legislation and best practice. When we do present serious challenges they always come back with a can-do attitude and case references.’

‘The team at Clarke Willmott are adaptable, the availability of partners is superb and they are very good at bringing in expertise from across the firm. Their actions mean that we and our members can be assured of being in safe hands. ’

‘Tim Copplestone stands out as being extremely attentive to the needs of our members. His understanding of the sporting landscape is exceptional. No matter the situation, he remains unflappable. His advice is always practical and tailored to the situation and the needs and position of the client, which provides us and our members with utmost confidence. ’

Key clients

Evergreen Garden Centre Limited

Lidl U.K. GmbH

Bristol Water plc

M+W Group

Inspirage UK limited

Thames Card Technology Limited

Meika Limited t/a Primrose

Exyte Group

Penguin Foods Limited

NKD International Limited

Decathlon

Wasserman Media Group

The Rugby Players Association

Microdesk Inc

AB Dynamics Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Exyte Group on the reorganisation of its UK business.
  • Advised The Rugby Players Association on player protection issues including regarding pay-cuts implemented across the Premiership as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Defended Decathlon in unfair dismissal and whistleblowing Employment Tribunal claims, securing wasted costs order against the claimant.

Menzies Law

Boutique employment firm Menzies Law offers services to SMEs and large companies on both a national and regional basis. The team offers advice on tribunal cases, senior exits, redundancies, and restrictive covenants, and has seen significant growth in advice relating to employment status and equal pay claims. Practice head and qualified barrister Luke Menzies specialises in tribunal cases and is an expert regarding the gender pay gap. Tamsin James is also well regarded for discrimination and disability cases.

Practice head(s):

Luke Menzies

Other key lawyers:

Anne-Marie Boyle; Tamsin James

Testimonials

‘Menzies has intimate knowledge of our business, its existing personnel and its former employees. This is crucial as it allows them an understanding of what makes the business tick and the journeys that have led us to the current position, which in turn allows them to consider the wider implications of any advice they give. Particularly during the early stages of Covid-19, the business was massively reliant upon the guidance of Menzies to tackle the many challenges that the business faced.

‘Menzies does not sit on the fence when it comes to providing advice on difficult matters. They clearly outline the risks of any strategy and provide the necessary support to allow the business to make the relevant decisions. ’

‘The Menzies team are unique because of the service they provide and how they provide it. Their client service is exceptional; they react quickly and nothing is ever too much trouble. The advice is always practical and explained in plain English, and they’ll always enter into a discussion about impacts and potential options.’

‘Luke Menzies and Anne-Marie Boyle partner with us rather than act as a supplier. The relationship allows us to discuss situations in a way that adds value to our business and enables them to see the contribution they make. We see Menzies as an extension of our business and we couldn’t do without them.’

‘Transparent billing. Very responsive when you need their advice. The offer virtual seminars and briefings, which were chargeable, but with the money going to charity, which was refreshing.’

‘Friendly, approachable style. Very knowledgeable experienced advisors. Take care to get to know your business. Give proper business and commercially orientated advice – they do not sit on the fence like some of their competitors.’

Key clients

MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd

KDC/One Swallowfield

Atlas Professionals

Hydro Extrusions UK Ltd

InfraCo Africa UK Limited

Wightlink Ferries

Miele

Franklin College

Brand Alley

JellyCat

Parmenion

Richard Huish College and Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised KDC One Swallowfield on all aspects of the closure of one site employing c.120 staff and the reorganisation of another key site.
  • Advising a fashion retailer on a major dispute between the chairman and the board and management, investigations into several staff grievances and the subsequent disciplinary cases.
  • Defending a wealth management firm against an equal pay claim valued at c. £145,000 brought by a female manager.

Thrings LLP

Thrings LLP supports its clients in a wide variety of employment matters, including tribunals, corporate support, data protection and immigration. The team works with clients across multiple sectors, with the majority of work coming from telecoms, charities, manufacturing, agriculture, media and FCMG employers. The ‘absolutely superbKerrie Hunt leads the team, working with corporate and SME clients on matters including High Court litigation. Natalie Ward is also well regarded for corporate TUPE support.

Practice head(s):

Kerrie Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Natalie Ward

Testimonials

‘The response times that I receive from Thrings are excellent, the support that I receive from them is superb and I really couldn’t ask for more.’

‘Kerrie Hunt is absolutely superb – she explains clearly and assists with every query that I present to her.’

‘The team has the resources expected of a modern legal practice. The need to work from home meeting via video conferencing hasn’t diminished the quality of service and may even have improved it.’

‘An exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced team able to provide well-grounded and relevant advice. ’

‘Kerrie Hunt is one of the most collaborative business partners that I’ve personally interacted with. She is available, even when busy with other engagements.’

‘We find them extremely collaborative and are always available for our questions and guiding us through situations that require their expert steer. They are also proactive in providing additional support to reinforce our company internally – be it through training sessions for our employees, reviewing our processes, documentation to make it more robust for the future or others.’

Key clients

The Alzheimer’s Society

The Royal National Institute of Blind People

Foot Anstey

The employment team at Foot Anstey works with clients in the retail, media and technology sectors, including the Royal Shakespeare Company. Private equity is another area specialism for the firm. Karen Bates leads the practice from Exeter; legal director Joanne Boyle is the key contact in Bristol. Richard Neary left for Temple Bright LLP in April 2020.

Practice head(s):

Karen Bates

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Boyle

Testimonials

‘They are highly responsive, have excellent knowledge of all aspects of employment law, very client-focused and good tactical skills.’

‘Joanne Boyle is an extremely experienced employment lawyer, with excellent judgement and superb client care skills. No detail in a case is left unscrutinised. Clients like her for her ability to connect with people from all backgrounds and for her ability to get to the heart of a case quickly. ’

‘Excellent employment law advice, plus information on Covid/furlough issues despite lack of face to face interaction.’

‘Jo Boyle is collaborative, well-versed in employment matters, helpful and always available. The advice received is always tailored to her knowledge of the client, its objectives and its staff and is practical, comprehensive and straightforward. She is well able to offer advice not only on potential or actual disputes but also on more general employment matters. ’

Key clients

Welcome Break

W C Rowe (Falmouth) Ltd

City Electrical Factors

Happy Days Nursery Group

Screwfix

Ensono Limited

Gregory Distribution

Management Team of Barbon Group Limited

Holroyd Howe

Princess Yachts