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Employment: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire in South West

BPE Solicitors LLP

The nationally focused team at Cheltenham's BPE Solicitors LLP provides an 'exemplary service' for major UK employers, with significant experience of  large-scale High Court and tribunal cases. The team also offers a broad set of non-contentious services, which includes policy drafting, general advisory, and bespoke training programmes. Nick Rowe was brought on to head up the Cheltenham based-team in June 2020, expanding the team's offering with financial services, tech and sports employers. He is supported by the highly regarded Heyma Holmes, who has particular expertise regarding the employment aspects of corporate transactions, and Sarah Lee who often advises on restrictive covenants. Associate Chris Aldridge is also recommended for his contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Nick Rowe

Other key lawyers:

Heyma Holmes; Sarah Lee; Chris Aldridge

Testimonials

‘I have worked closely with Heyma Holmes – she has provided outstanding support to us. She thinks strategically, she provides thorough responses and rationale behind her decision making. ’

‘Sarah Lee was excellent in leading the technical legal response to my former employer and also in guiding and supporting me through what was a difficult process personally. I was delighted by the outcome and would certainly turn to Sarah again for any future employment law advice.’

‘Heyma Holmes is always available to discuss matters, her advice is practical and considers all aspects of the case. She brings with her a wealth of experience and takes the time to get to know our business and our values. ’

‘BPE provides exemplary service – specifically through excellent communication, a highly competent and committed team and practical real-world advice & recommended solutions. During COVID, the team have remained available & worked as efficiently as always.’

‘The team are extremely responsive, commercial and practical with their advice. ’

‘BPE really take time to understand your business, your culture and your ways of working. This means that they are a valuable and proactive business partner’

‘Heyma Holmes is very impressive. One of the best legal minds I have come across.’

‘An amazing team with very talented individuals. Their ability to quickly get on top of the work, come up with a plan and implement it was second to none. The quality of the work was also outstanding.’

Key clients

Insite Energy Limited

Mobile Streams PLC

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)

Dael Group

Kohler

Totally Plc

React Plc

Howard Tenens

Satellite Applications Catapult Limited

Royal Academy of Engineering

Costwold Outdoor

Work highlights

  • Defending Totally Plc in an unfair dismissal claim arising from a redundancy situation.
  • Represented Mears Group PLC in a multi-party claim concerning unfair dismissal, whistleblowing detriments and discrimination on grounds of religion or belief.
  • Advised Mobile Streams PLC on a complex whistleblowing case with claims made by the ex-CEO for interim relief, which included complex jurisdictional issues.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

With well-established connections in the South West backed up by the wider firm's network of national and international offices, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP advises clients ranging from large scale multinational employers to regional SMEs. The Cheltenham team has strong links in the retail, leisure, charities and rural business sectors, providing HR support, restructuring and TUPE transfer advice to an increasingly international client base. It also has a noteworthy contentious practice, representing employers and individuals in tribunal and High Court cases. Sara Wilson leads the team from Cheltenham, with significant experience advising corporate and healthcare employers. Syma Spanjers is also highly regarded for her experience with tribunal claims and negotiating exits for senior executives.

Practice head(s):

Sara Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Syma Spanjers; Kelly Evans

Testimonials

‘Sara Wilson is extremely empathetic. Whilst my personal situation was perhaps not the most complex she had dealt with, she quickly and effectively established how to support, guide and advise me. Whether by design or just because culturally this is how this firm operates, Sara was kind, thoughtful and considerate in their engagement with me. This put me at ease, and I believe helped us together make decisions as and when the time was right.’

‘Excellent subject matter expertise delivered well. Client-centred, yet realistic. Pragmatic advice.’

‘Highly competent team of partners and associates. Excellent experience in employment law matters and therefore I felt the advice they gave was excellent.’

‘The service I received was highly professional – I dealt mostly with an associate and she was always available and the advice she gave was very sound.’

‘Both Sara Wilson and Syma Spanjers are professional and personable in their approach to any given conundrum we may have and I believe us to have a strong business relationship. They understand our business and how it operates, and when giving any advice they apply how it will affect us and what our legal position is.’

‘Strong knowledge of legal matters, quick to respond to requests for advice. Good capability within the local practice but also in the wider firm offices,’

‘Sara Wilson on the HR side is excellent. Always available with strong communication skills. I always receive very good and consistent advice from Sara’

‘I absolutely love the team at Charles Russell Speechlys – not only are they commercially minded, they are friendly and efficient. They give practical advice. As a client, I am always conscious of the time spent. However, I feel like the team at Charles Russell are always aware of this.’

Key clients

Sotheby’s

Neal’s Yard Remedies

Cats Protection

Pennant International Plc

Trifast Plc

Reynolds Catering Supplies Limited

The Garland Company Limited

Executive Jet Charter Limited

B&M Babbage & Co Limited

SourceBreaker Limited

Dunkerton Properties LLP

Plymouth Citizens Advice

Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises

African Private Equity & Venture Capital Association

Immedia Group Plc/Immedia Broadcast Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Sotheby’s, a premier international art auction house, on all UK employment matters.
  • Acting for Neal’s Yard Remedies, a UK-based retail and multi-level marketing company, on all UK employment matters.
  • Represented eminent surgeon in the employment tribunal in a claim for discrimination.

Clarke Willmott LLP

The Taunton-based employment team at Clarke Willmott LLP provides top level advice to employers on executive exits, TUPE transfers, furlough and redundancy matters. It has seen significant growth in its litigation offering, in particular with online retail, logistics and pharmaceutical clients. Beyond that, the team is well known for its speciality work with agricultural, education and traditional retail employers. Paula Squire leads the Taunton office, advising on data protection matters in addition to a broader contentious and non-contentious offering, while Marc Long heads the firm's overall employment practice. Kate Gardner left for Michelmores in December 2020.

Practice head(s):

Paula Squire; Marc Long

Testimonials

‘Paula Squire and her team provide a very responsive service. Their knowledge of employment law is exceptional and have handled a number of matters varying in size and nature since we have been working together. They are so approachable. ’

‘This is a highly responsive team. They are large enough to have specialists in most areas of practice, yet maintain a close relationship with us.’

‘Attention to detail, ability to think proactively, they make sound decisions and offer good advice. Their understanding of risk is always helpful.’

‘Collaboration and understanding of our business needs is excellent.’

Key clients

Bridgwater and Taunton College Trust

Acheson Construction Ltd

BMR Solutions Ltd

BioCare Limited

Powersystems UK Ltd

Focus Design Partnership Ltd

Sunlife Ltd

Leweston Farm LLP

Cardstream Services Ltd

Roland DG (UK) Limited

Hestercombe Gardens Trust Limited

Amica Care Trust

Summerfield Developments SW Ltd

Frogmary Green Farm Ltd

Chelston Park Nursing and Residential Home Ltd

Cave Veterinary Specialists Ltd

St John’s Nurseries Ltd

Rainbow Club Ltd

Brean Down Caravan Park

Abbey Manor Group Ltd

Branston Ltd

Plus One (South West) Ltd

Milsted Langdon LLP

Refresco Beverages UK Ltd

St Margarets Hospice Somerset Ltd

Wyke Farms Ltd

Castle Quarry Ltd

Testbourne Estate

Severn Delta Ltd

Chatham Clothing Ltd

Horsley Farm Partnership

ACC Silicone Ltd

Isedio Ltd

South and West Wiltshire Hunt

Sunlife Insurance

Greenslade Taylor Hunt

Xeiad Ltd

Warren Farms Holiday Centre Ltd

Northam Farms Ltd

National Farmers Union

J & K Aquatics Ltd

ACC Silicon

Work highlights

  • Advised on a variety of matters for Bridgwater & Taunton College trust.
  • Advised on various employment law issues related to Wyke Farms’ large workforce.
  • Advising on complex issues including IR35 advice, employment tribunals, and changes in legal framework such as the end of Swedish derogation provisions

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

One of the largest employment teams in the South West, Harrison Clark Rickerbys has a strong focus on commercial, care and manufacturing clients. In addition to a broad array of standard non-contentious work, it has been providing a significant amount of advice related to redundancies and furlough resulting from the global pandemic. It also has a notable contentious offering, which provides support in tribunal cases. Rachel Roberts leads the team from its Cheltenham office. Rowena Kay is also well regarded for her work with the team's SME client base. Oliver Weiss joined the firm from Blake Morgan LLP in September 2020.

Practice head(s):

Michael Stokes; Rachel Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Rowena Kay

Testimonials

‘The employment team at HCR are supportive beyond their legal expertise, often setting up topical learning sessions which also allow for local networking among professionals.’

‘I find the advice Rachel Roberts gives pragmatic and free of legal jargon. Rachel has recently been made a partner but is still freely available when needed to discuss ideas and issues, both strategic and operational. I never worry that a question will be too trivial and have learnt a lot from working with Rachel.’

Key clients

British Airways

Willans LLP

The employment team at Willans LLP offers a broad practice, ranging from routine HR, restructuring and corporate transfer advice to specialist advice concerning restrictive covenants and protection of business information. In addition to its experience working with tech, engineerings and charities employers, the team has been developing its work with financial and professional service providers. It also offers strong expertise in managing redundancies, often in consultation with unions. Matthew Clayton leads the team from Cheltenham, offering a broad practice including GDPR and privacy issues for employers. Senior associate Jenny Hawrot is also noteworthy for her work advising SME clients.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Clayton

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Hawrot

Testimonials

‘Willans took the time to really understand what we were trying to achieve. This past year they’ve been particularly helpful and flexible, and recognised the notably severe impact Covid has had on our sector.’

‘The service we receive from Jenny Hawrot is excellent. She takes the time to thoroughly understand our business and culture and her advice and support to us is invaluable. ’

‘The team consistently display high levels of customer service and accessible technical knowledge – we never experience delays or holding emails and instead receive a one-hit delivery of pragmatic advice. ’

‘They have proven to be a first-class team and have ably covered our employment and immigration requirements. It’s not just their technical knowledge and experience that stands out, but also their willingness to be flexible and work alongside us in serving our clients without the formality and ceremony that accompanies other law firms.’

‘The team have been extremely helpful with some difficult cases we have had. I have felt assured that Willans have excellent all-round knowledge.’

‘Prompt and courteous, I always felt reassured with their good advice. ’

‘The team at Willans are knowledgeable, approachable and complete work in a timely manner. ’

‘High-calibre legal knowledge, practical and commercial application. Significant practical support. As good as being in-house with knowledge of the business, its culture and goals. You have full confidence in what you’re being told in terms of law and practice and tactical commercial application.’

Key clients

Dean Close Foundation

Gloucestershire Constabulary

Cheltenham Festivals

Abercrombie & Kent Limited

Commercial Group

ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute

Tecnicas Reunidas

The Higher Education Statistics Agency

Betts Metals Group

Astreya Partners, Inc

Password Services Air Conditioning Ltd

Viper Innovations Limited

GMP Software Limited

Tubular Labs Limited

A&D Holidays Limited

Work highlights

  • Provides ongoing extensive advice to the Commercial Group across a number of key employment matters.
  • Advised Holiday Architects on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Advised Password Services Air Conditioning Limited on TUPE issues arising from a contract won with Mitchells & Butlers plc.

Porter Dodson LLP

With strong experience serving clients in the manufacturing and care sectors, Porter Dodson LLP offers a broad set of employment law services. The team emphasises its work with primary carers, using its strong regulatory background to cater to its local client base's particular needs. It also offers a strong commercial service, focusing on TUPE processes, restructuring, and significant executive exits. Adrian Poole leads the Yeovil-based practice and has been working on expanding the team's care offering to the social care sector.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Poole

Other key lawyers:

Laura Roper; Sarah Young

Testimonials

‘A proactive, engaging and professional team of individuals who provided comprehensive and robust support to all our requirements.’

‘What sets the firm apart from others is its employees. Everyone that I have interacted with has been extremely personable and knowledgeable.’

‘Adrian Poole has been a fantastic source of support who has been able to respond to our needs quickly and thoroughly taking the time to explain the advice/approach in a calm and considered way.’

‘This is a team that has a good breadth of experience, ably led by Adrian Poole. They also have good coverage of the Somerset and Devon area. They offer commercially sensible and tactically astute employment advice and litigation expertise.’

‘Laura Roper is a tactically astute and skilled employment lawyer with great client care abilities.’

‘Good specialist employment team with strong body of work across South West. Dealing with claims and appeals, settlement negotiations and representing respondent employers.’

‘Sarah Young – incredibly professional, honest with the strength and weaknesses of the case but also someone you want in your corner as she demonstrated strength and courage and is not to be messed with

‘A comprehensive service from a company that has a very good understanding of GP practices and their teams and the nuances within.’

Key clients

Marchant Holliday School

Altogether Care

Fusion Fostering

Toolstream Limited

Aviation Requirements Limited

Wells City Practice

Taunton Fabrications

Garador

Westbury Packaging

Wyvern Health Partnership

Somerset Local Medical Committee

Roberts Foodservice

3AB Group

Mela Construction

Exmoor Medical Centre

Green Days Day Care Limited

The Good Earth Natural Foods Limited

Perrys Recycling Limited

Ilminster Wellbeing LLP

Crispin Academy Trust

Enmore Academy Trust

Autowerx Services Limited

CC Moore and Co Limited

Somerset Ales t/a Quantock Brewery

Fast2Fibre Limited

GPNM South West Limited t/a McKinlays

A senior consultant gynaecologist

A trustee of a prominent regional sports association

Vivalis Beauty Limited

Pontoon Works Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Wyvern Health Partnership on the merger of five GP practices across Swindon.
  • Advised Toolstream Limited on the restructuring of the business during the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent collective consultations.
  • Supported a prominent group of care homes across the Midlands with a range of disciplinary matters in the context of a regulated industry.

Stone King LLP

The sizeable employment team at Stone King LLP offers 'a very good all-round level of service and engagement' to its base of local and national clients. The practice is well connected with its highly regarded charities, education and private client colleagues, enabling it to offer a broad range of services on matters including teachers pension advice, and exit advice for charitable CEOs. Peter Woodhouse, who leads the firm's transport and logistics work, heads the employment team from Bath. John McMullen left for Spencer West in July 2020.

Practice head(s):

Peter Woodhouse

Other key lawyers:

James Barratt; Jean Boyle

Testimonials

‘Excellent advice – solutions-oriented, up to date information. Excellent interpersonal skills – the team are customer focused, manage expectations. Excellent billing – detailed logs, great transparency. ’

‘James Barratt is always keen to assist. He is friendly and personable and has excellent customer service skills. If I present him with a case that we intend to deal with more robustly, he will provide the appropriate advice and solutions to safeguard the company’s interests.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable, and we always feel reassured and confident in the advice we are given.’

‘Jean Boyle is very generous with her time and is a great person to talk through issues with to get a legal perspective. Her knowledge on schools employment law is exemplary.’

‘Good knowledge of the sector, especially the obscure areas. Various partners lead on specific areas, for example, employment, immigration, mergers.’

‘Jean Boyle has developed a good understanding of our organisation. Her knowledge is extensive and the response time is excellent. ’

‘A very good all-round level of service and engagement. Very responsive. Excellent adaptation to working in lockdown, good virtual meeting platform’

‘Peter Woodhouse is very engaged with us as clients and worked with us in the way we wanted to work. Handled the matters we were working on at partner level and very responsive, always available. Technically excellent’

Wilsons

Wilsons provides a full set of HR and employment service to employers and individuals across a wide range of sectors. While the team has clients in the medical, charities, production, financial services, and agricultural sectors, it is most notable for its education work. Led by Sophia Zand and Stephen Oxley, Wilsons offers a unique practice in advising independent schools on their withdrawal from the Teachers' Pension Scheme. It also provides HR consultancy services for more comprehensive support. Anthony Edwards leads the team from Salisbury.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Sophia Zand; Stephen Oxley

Testimonials

‘Wilsons know us and the education sector well. The is extremely useful with the issues that have arisen over the last 12 months. ’

‘The staff at Wilsons are always available, reporting back in a timely fashion. Nothing is too much trouble and the advice has been excellent. Vicky Wilson and Sophia Zand look after our legal affairs and I would highly recommend both.’

‘Amazing legal support on any HR and employee matters. They are very responsive, client-friendly, understand the complexities of sensitive situations and are our go-to firm when it comes to HR/employee matters. They helped us with very sensitive cases being commercial, pragmatic but also empathetic to the situation for both sides. ’

‘Understands the business and what we are doing. Listens to concerns and offers constructive practical advice and support. Wilsons can support us on a range of projects.’

‘Great team, Always helpful. Very transparent with cost. ’

‘Sophia Zand is very professional and extremely clear and concise with her information. She has helped my company on many occasions and is always on hand to answer my questions. ’

Key clients

Wallgate Limited

Gurr Johns Limited

Heydoc Limited

M G Cannon Limited

Work highlights

  • Provides Wallgate limited with general employment law advice including advice on COVID-19, Brexit, settled status, and disciplinary and grievance matters.
  • Acted for Gurr Johns Arts Solutions Limited in a dispute concerning the enforceability of employment post-termination restrictions.
  • Advised Heydoc Limited on a variety of matters including IR35, international contract matters, and employee termination and post-termination issues.

Mitchell Law

An all-female team of specialist employment solicitors, Mitchell Law advises its clients on a full range of matters including redundancies, restructuring, union disputes, discrimination and executive severance. While it has notable clients in food and beverage, manufacturing and charities, a variety of further learning establishments throughout Wiltshire and Somerset have been making up a growing market for the group. The firm is led by Catherine Mitchell, who handles its complex work.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Emily Greswell

Testimonials

‘Catherine Mitchell was exemplary in her handling of my case. She managed expectations and costs in a transparent and supportive manner at every stage. Catherine is also extremely personable and made every encounter charming and pleasant. The experience could not have been better.’

‘Mitchell Law have a very good team that provide straightforward, user friendly service and give very clear advice. They are easy to engage with and very efficient. Communications are clear and concise and they have a refreshingly commercial approach. Hourly rates are very reasonable and time estimates accurate. We particularly appreciated that they give frequent updates of cost to date. Administration and billing is well organised and clear.’

‘Catherine Mitchell in particular is approachable and empathetic. She is understanding and engages extremely well with clients, quickly gaining an understanding of their issues. Her advise is clear and practical. She strikes the right balance between appropriate support and efficiency while maintaining a very human touch.’

‘A small but technically gifted team that is 100% focused on client support and working as a partnership. Very gifted lawyers with valued communication skills that both support and guide the client.’

‘They are led by an experienced, pragmatic, commercially savvy and excellent lawyer in Catherine Mitchell. She provides the client with confidence, focused and astute advice and makes it her business to understand our business.’

‘Emily Greswell provides highly detailed and accurate legal advice.’

‘Catherine Mitchell is simply one of the most creative and pragmatic legal practitioners I have ever worked with. Catherine brings an instantly enabling approach to every aspect of her own and her firm’s work.’

‘Emily Greswell blends her extensive legal knowledge with an incredibly warm and accessible approach to clients myriad issues. If first solutions aren’t right, she will apply herself to researching alternatives in order for clients to have well informed choices. She brings a light touch to resolving tricky disputes that really reflects the ‘can-do’ culture of Mitchell Law.’

Key clients

Direct Wines Limited

Creo Medical PLC

Weston College

SPTS Technologies Limited

Swindon College

Petroc College

South Gloucestershire & Stroud College

New College, Swindon

Wiltshire Citizens Advice Bureau

Wiltshire Race Equality Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Weston College on operational HR matters, litigation, reputation management and student complaints.
  • Advising New College Swindon on the full range of day-to-day employment matters.
  • Provide all general employment law support to Creo Medical Limited, including employment contract review, advising on disciplinary processes, redundancy advice, and IR35 issues.

Pardoes Solicitors LLP

Pardoes Solicitors LLP offers a full set of contentious and non-contentious services, acting on behalf of both employees and employers. The team is well regarded for its experience working with aerospace, transport and insurance employers, and has a growing practice in the hospitality sector. Practice head Maeve Vickery has a notable focus on managing TUPE transfers for Post Office employees.

Practice head(s):

Maeve Vickery

Key clients

Kings Square Dental Practice

Work highlights

  • Advised Kings Square Dental Practice on Covid-19 related employment issues including furlough, return to work, change of duties and working practice.