Distinguished by its nationally recognised public sector practice, Bevan Brittan LLP is a leader in providing comprehensive employment law advice to local governments, housing associations and healthcare providers. It acts for over 30 NHS Trusts in the South West on work spanning governance matters, strategic workforce issues and litigation. The team is also strong in the private sector, where it regularly handles restructuring matters, senior executive disputes and complex employment tribunal claims. A name to note is Julian Hoskins, who primarily covers the private and health sectors. Also recommended is Sarah Lamont, whose expertise is centred on advising councils, housing associations and education bodies. The practice is led by Jodie Sinclair, who mainly acts for healthcare employers.
Employment: Bristol in South West
‘Excellent local government knowledge, which is applied in a practical and useful combination with employment law. Advice is clear, concise and pragmatic to enable an HR professional to take forward cases or act with confidence.
Anne Palmer, Sarah Lamont and Judith Barnes (who is a governance expert). All are professional with a friendly and helpful approach. Fantastic knowledge, which is translated into helpful and pragmatic guidance. They instil confidence in their clients and are always able to provide advice which they can shape to fit the presenting circumstances.’
‘Sarah Lamont is an extremely intelligent, exceptionally hard working, conscientious and caring solicitor who combines comprehensive knowledge of the law with invariably sound and wise judgment. Sarah is totally committed to working for and assisting her clients whilst at all times being very conscious of her professional duties and at all times acting with complete integrity. Sarah’s clear and real care for her clients includes her realization that that involves giving the clients direct and clear advice and that is what Sarah does in the most courteous way even if the specific advice might not be wholly welcome to the client. What is at all times apparent to me is that Sarah’s clients are very aware of the great care and total commitment of Sarah to them and of her very extensive abilities and it is clear to me that those clients are, rightly, extremely pleased and grateful that they have the benefit of Sarah Lamont as their adviser.
In addition to the above, over the many years of my working with Sarah, it has always been clear to me that she works extremely well with her team and has been equally clear to me that her team feels immensely fortunate to work with Sarah both at the professional and personal level. Sarah is, quite simply, a delight to work with and I can and do recommend her and Bevan Brittan, and Bevan Brittan’s Bristol office unreservedly. That practice is in my view clearly one of the very best with whom I have been and am familiar’
Local Government Association
Yeovil NHS Trust
Kent County Council
Oxfordshire County Council
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
Southwark London Borough Council
Derby City Council
Professional Cricketers Association
Catalyst Housing Group
RUH Bath NHS Trust
Greenwich London Borough Council
Northern Devon Healthcare
Southern Housing Group
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Surrey County Council
West of England Combined Authority
Buckinghamshire County Council
North Somerset Council
Bath & North East Somerset Council
Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council
- Advising the Professional Cricketers Association on aspects of Brexit and in particular the English Cricket Board’s proposals to limit the involvement of so-called “Kolpak” players in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
- Acting for 52 Fire and Rescue Authorities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in high-profile national pensions litigation.
- Advising Simply Serve on a challenge brought by Unison over the disclosure of information relating to a pay award challenge.
Burges Salmon LLP delivers standout advice and representation for matters across the full spectrum of employment law. Its impressive client base includes FTSE 100 companies and major international corporations with UK operations. Although the firm acts for clients from a broad range of industries, it has particular expertise in sectors such as financial services, defence, retail and utilities. It has also recently been involved in a number of significant public sector matters. Practice head Adrian Martin has expertise in matters such as TUPE transfers and the employment aspects of corporate transactions. The department is also well-served by the highly active Chris Seaton and Luke Bowery. Director James Green is another name to note.
‘The employment team consistently demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of case law, expert analysis combined with an awareness of commercial considerations and the ability to communicate a clear explanation of the issues and likely consequences.‘
‘They actually trust in you and consider you as a part of their firm.’
‘There is a very definite wish to be of service across all the team at Burges Salmon. The involvement and wish to engage with the client’s needs is exceptional resulting in the provision of a service that is focussed and relevant at all times.‘
‘The care given to understanding both the issue and the company context alongside the ability to bespoke solutions to the needs, values and culture of the company. The speed of response is particularly important and is something Luke Bowery consistently excels at. He is an important and valued business partner.‘
Babcock International Group plc
Thomson Reuters / Refinitiv
BAE Systems plc
John Lewis Partnership
Bank of Ireland
The Crown Estate
Causeway CSP Limited
The Racecourse Association
University of Bristol
Frazer Nash Consultancy
Government Legal Department
Transport for Wales
Office for Students (formerly Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE))
- Advising Ofgem on an employment tribunal case involving a number of claims by an alleged whistle-blower (all of which are denied by Ofgem) involving a unique and highly complex public law issue.
- Handling all UK employment tribunals issued against client John Lewis and Waitrose for the past three and a half years.
- Assisting BAE Systems with the full range of employment and HR issues, including employment tribunal litigation, restructurings and cross-border projects.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
The employment team at DAC Beachcroft LLP undertakes the full range of employment law work for a wide range of FTSE 100 and major commercial clients, including major names in the technology industry. It is also known for its expert advice to insurers, healthcare providers and the public sector. The team is highly active in litigation; it has recently defended a number of complex whistleblowing and discrimination claims in employment tribunals. Team head Alex Lock is experienced in advising large corporate clients on strategic issues. Katy Horner specialises in acting for clients in the health and social care sector.
‘The key differentiators for me are: (1) that the team provides advice which is really practical as well as commercial, they understand the business and factor that into their advice; (2) they are really accommodating around our needs and our preferred ways of working, nothing is too much trouble; (3) they don’t sit on the fence and give clear recommendations.
Alex Lock – fantastic client care partner, really responsive, always accommodating and a true trusted advisor. Unusually for a law firm partner in my experience, he takes constructive feedback about his team/firm extremely well and acts upon it. Really easy to engage with and do business with. Makes my life easier. Andrew Hazelwood – gives great commercial advice that is practical and tailored to our business. Linnea Keldusild – gives great commercial advice that is practical and tailored to our business.’
‘They provide a tailored service and our main contact (Joanne Owers) is able to balance excellent legal advice in a contextual environment. She helps us think through the issues in a practical and clear way that non-experts can understand. She doesn’t sit on the fence and her advice is always thorough and helpful. There are also a range of experts covering specific areas of expertise e.g. tax, immigration, pension matters.
Our main contact – Joanne Owers is regarded as excellent by all of the HR team. We have complete confidence in her advice and she can be relied upon to respond quickly on issues. She always endeavours to meet our timescales which we appreciate are often very tight. She has also provided us with thorough options papers which have enabled us to make commercial decisions when required. We have been pleased with the successful resolution of a large number and difficult/complex cases. We have a high level of trust and confidence in her advice and she is a pleasure to work with. We have established an excellent relationship with her.’
Coventry Building Society
University of Oxford
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Successfully defending the South Central Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust in claims brought by multiple claimants for unlawful deductions from wages.
- Advising Teleperformance Spain on TUPE, restructuring and redundancies, after the client won the contract to provide Go Daddy with customer contact services.
- Sucessfully defended the University of Oxford in a complex age discrimination claim brought by a senior academic.
Osborne Clarke distinguishes itself through its leading cross-border capabilities; it regularly handles complex matters for leading multinational companies, and has a specialism in matters related to European Works Councils. Its deep and experienced bench of employment lawyers is equally strong in contentious and non-contentious work, and excels at large-scale advisory work connected with corporate transactions. Julian Hemming is co-chair of the firm's international employment practice. Paul Killen is the head of the UK employment team, while Anna Elliott was made head of the employment department in the South West in November 2019.
Business Growth Fund (“BGF”)
MITIE Group Plc
ETC venues management team
A listed company in the defence sector
Western Power Distribution
Worldwide Flight Services
Witt Keifer International
- Advising Elis SA and Berendsen UK Limited on the divestment of the Clinical Solutions business, transactions involving 300 staff.
- Assisting BDW Trading Limited with the sale of BRAM, its management company, to First Port; advising on the employment aspects of the sale including the due diligence process and employment arrangements of senior executive managers.
- Advising the founders of Intragen on the investment by FPE Capital and all employment aspects of the deal (including, most particularly new employment agreements for the senior executive team).
TLT's employment team covers all types of contentious and non-contentious employment work, which ranges from day-to-day advice to business-critical litigation, including whistleblowing and industrial action. Key clients include household-name entities, particularly those operating in the retail and utilities sectors. Stuart McBride, who heads up the team, has expertise acting for high-profile clients in the financial services industry. Other names to note are TUPE expert Esther Smith and Siobhan Fitzgerald, who has carved out a niche as a leading employment lawyer in the social housing sector.
‘Invested in understanding our business and acting as a business partner rather than a service provider.‘
‘I feel TLT employment team values the relationship as much as I do.‘
‘Strong technically and responsive on timing at very competitive pricing.‘
‘Esther Smith – great engagement and strong, commercial advice.‘
‘TLT is excellent, very quick to respond with clear, pragmatic and sound legal advice.’
‘Esther Smith is one one the best solicitors I have ever worked with. Esther always responds quickly with advice that is easily understood. The advice could be factual, or if appropriate, provides options which clearly set out the risks to the organisation. Esther is very personable and client-focused; she works well with the HR team to understand our issues and helps us to work through complex cases and scenarios.‘
J Sainsbury plc
National Crime Agency
Smiths News / Connect Group plc
Homebase / Bunnings
Onward (formerly Symphony Housing)
WH Smith Plc
Good Energy Group Plc
- Advising a significant number of clients across a variety of industries in relation to the forthcoming changes to IR35.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has a strong reputation nationally acting for high-profile clients across a wide range of industries; its key specialisations include the retail, financial services, energy and fast-moving consumer goods sectors. The employment team is led by Tim Woodward, who brings very strong commercial experience, and whose specialisms include pensions and employee incentives. Other strengths of the department include advising clients on industrial actions, employment tribunals and business immigration. Managing associate Emma Doble is noted for her extensive experience of defending employment tribunal claims.
‘In all of my dealings with Jo Martin, I felt that she went above and beyond the service I expected; nothing was too much trouble for her. I was immensely impressed with her professionalism and her very quick grasp of my situation, and the fact that she was willing to assist me; one other firm I tried was slow to respond and then thought that I didn’t have a case, and they were also very expensive for an initial consultation compared to WBD. I greatly appreciated Jo’s sense of calm, ability to assist me with all questions that I had even if they were minor, and her professional knowledge of all aspects of my situation.She made what could have been a horrible and quite scary ordeal for me into something that I almost found cathartic; she took the stress out of all stages of the process by really guiding me through it. I really feel that Jo Martin is a standout individual at her firm.‘
‘Highly professional but human. The communication was regular, clear and effective. I at no point felt out of the lop. Their legal expertise was clear and covered all bases – no gaps. It gave me confidence.‘
‘My experience working with this team has been 100% plus positive. What struck me as well as their legal expertise was their empathy, understanding and support on a personal level – we went through this together as a team. Jo Martin was exceptional. This has been a tortuous and difficult time for me and without Jo I don’t think I would have completed this case. She explained the legal position clearly which allowed me to make appropriate decisions in a timely manner. I really appreciated that Jo ‘had my back’.‘
Government Legal Department
St Monica Trust
Plymouth Community Homes
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
Corbin & King Restaurant Group Limited
kgb group (including 118 118 Money, The Number UK and Conduit Global)
- Providing AIG with employment advice and litigation support for insured businesses.
- Assisting Corbin & King Restaurant Group with employment-related matters.
- Advising B&Q on employment litigation, as well as strategic advice on day-to-day issues.
Ashfords LLP provides employment law support to clients from a wide range of industries; it is strong in the public sector, as well as the health, energy and retail sectors. On the contentious side, the team regularly defends clients against complex employment tribunal claims and High Court litigation. Equally important is the department's advisory work, which includes restrictive covenants, TUPE, immigration, collective redundancies and senior executive exits. Team head Stephen Moore is experienced in all areas of employment law. Associate Jenny Marley has expertise defending social care and housing association clients against employment tribunal claims.
‘Very professional, expert, human, supportive and accessible.‘
Mr and Mrs Rampersad t/a Clifton Residential Care
Holly Rise Consultants T/A Bluebird Care
St Mungo Community Housing Association
Franchisee of Subway
Various individuals in respect of Sainsbury’s Settlement Agreements
- Advising St Mungo Community Housing Association on all employment law and HR related matters.
- Advising Clifton Residential Care on successfully defending a payment claim brought by an employee and later advising on responding to the application to appeal to the Supreme Court and initial preparation for this.
- Advising ARAG on all employment law and HR related matters.
Clarke Willmott LLP's employment team is recognised for its expertise in sport, and it also demonstrates strong capabilities in the education, retail and manufacturing sectors. The group provides specialist employment law support, as well as advice on HR consultancy and business immigration issues. Team head Sharon Latham was instrumental in the firm winning a number of new clients, including a significant US company in the real estate sector. Tim Copplestone remains the team's go-to lawyer for sport-related matters. Kevin Jones retired from private practice in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘Sharon really focusses on understanding the drivers of the business overall, not just the case or topic for which advice is being sought. This allows advice to be provided in context. Oftentimes, Sharon is the person who has the memory of the organisation, and is able to stop it from harming itself based on the information she knows and the guidance she provides.‘
Rawle Gammon and Baker Holdings Limited
Wasserman Media Group
Oscar Mayer Limited
Decathlon UK Limited
Primrose Group Limited
Evergreen Garden Care Limited
Kingsdale Group Limited
Exyte UK Limited
Community Mentoring and Support CIC
Fowlers of Bristol Limited
Bradfords & Sons Limited
The Rugby Players’ Association
CityWest Homes Limited
Bristol Bears Limited
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club
Somerset County Cricket Club
St Enodoc Golf Club
Somerset Cricket Board Limited
Pen Partnership Limited
West Somerset Railway plc
- Acting for a US caravan park operator on the acquisition of a 2600 pitch and 300-acre asset.
- Providing ongoing advice to Wasserman Media Group on UK employment law.
- Advising Meika on the outsourcing of a warehousing division involving a service provision agreement, TUPE transfer and pre-transfer collective redundancy consultation process followed by satellite reorganisations.
Foot Anstey acts for some of the biggest employers in the South West, as well as nationally recognisable names such as Screwfix and the RSC. It has a significant focus on the retail, media and technology sectors. In addition, the firm has a growing capability advising clients in the financial services industry. Practice head Karen Bates, who is based in Exeter, often advises boards on strategic business issues, as well as representing major commercial clients in employment tribunal proceedings. In 2019, legal director Joanne Boyle joined the firm's Bristol office from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team I have engaged with at Foot Anstey are knowledgeable, professional, respond in timely manner, answering queries and questions and keep us informed.‘
‘Joanne Boyle has been excellent – responsive, helpful, very aware of context and options. She has assisted greatly in resolving a recent difficult employment issue.‘
Ensono Limited (backed by Charlesbank Capital Partners)
Reed & Mackay Travel Limited (backed by Epiris Private Equity)
Maybank Kim Eng Securities (London) Limited
W C Rowe (Falmouth) Limited
City Electrical Factors
Royal Shakespeare Company
Menzies Law is a boutique firm entirely dedicated to employment law. Its client base includes local SMEs, nationwide companies and senior executives. Practice head Luke Menzies, who is a qualified barrister, is a regional expert on the gender pay gap. In addition, he regularly handles employment tribunal claims. Anne-Marie Boyle's specialisms include TUPE and discrimination litigation. Another name to note is Tamsin James, whose recent work included negotiating a high-value senior executive exit. HR consultant specialist Simon Martin left the firm in 2019.
‘Menzies Law have a personal and very bespoke approach to the HR issues we require advice on. Their approach is very clear and direct, with prompt and clear responses. They operate without a huge infrastructure which makes the service they provide much more relevant.‘
‘Luke Menzies is personable and very approachable. He has a measured and clear methodology and is able to communicate more complex issues with the clarity we (as clients) require.‘
Miele Company Ltd
MAN Truck & Bus
Babcock Integrated Technology Ltd
Avado Learning Ltd
Emma Bridgewater Ltd
Wessex Water plc
Parmenion Capital Management LLP
Ruskin Mill Trust
- Advising BABCOCK Integrated Technology’s HR team on a number of significant issues.
- Assisting Saint Gobain with a case brought by a senior employee for multiple grievances, whistleblowing and trade union-related detriment claims together with a detailed Subject Access Request.
- Representing Avado Learning in three employment tribunal claims.
Thrings LLP offers its clients a wide range of employment law services, which includes providing representation at employment tribunals, strategic and advisory work, and advice on the employment-related aspects of GDPR. It acts for clients in sectors such as FMCG, TMT, charities, manufacturing and engineering supply chains. The department also works closely with the firm's highly regarded agriculture practice. Team head Kerrie Hunt recently led on a number of employment tribunal cases, many of which involved complex discrimination claims.
Other key lawyers:
‘A deep understanding of all aspects of employment law extending to specialist areas such as agriculture.‘
‘Exceptional, high-quality guidance from dedicated employment law specialists who understand the business.‘
‘Kerrie Hunt is a very knowledgeable and professional lawyer. She always wants to understand our point of view and provides concise and clear explanations of options and decisions.‘
AirTanker Services Ltd
Kohler Mira Ltd
The Outside Clinic
Denhay Farms Ltd
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa
Penny Brohn UK
- Advising an individual (via the Communication Workers Union) on her disability discrimination claim against the Royal Mail Group.
- Providing advice to an individual (via the Communication Workers Union) in relation to alleged detrimental treatment by the Royal Mail Group.