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  1. Employment: Cardiff
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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The ‘responsive and pragmatic’ 20-strong team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides 'tactically astute’ and ‘very commercial advice’ across both contentious and non-contentious matters to public and private sector clients including Welsh Water, Wolverine Worldwide, Neilsen Group and British Broadcasting Corporation. The sheer size of the team enables practitioners within it to have significant pockets of expertise. For example, Thomas Player excels at handling industrial relations work and recently represented SPX Flow on its negotiation of a European Works Council in accordance with the EU directive and the Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations. Many of Tom Bray’s clients are major global entities including Heathrow Airport, which he continues to represent on all its employment tribunals and industrial relations needs. ‘Outstanding’ team head Anthony Rees provides ‘responsive and solution-focused advice’ across a range of contentious and non-contentious work for both private and public sector clients; he recently successfully defended global motor manufacturing company Toyoda Gosei against claims of victimisation, race discrimination and breach of contract. Other recommended practitioners include Huw Rolant Jones, who leads on all the public sector mandates handled by the group; ‘impressive’ senior associate Richard Woodhead , who provides ‘sensitive and sensible advice’ on complex discrimination and whistleblowing claims; and legal director Helen Mortlock , who handles employment work for the firm’s higher education clients.

A ‘real regional heavyweight‘, Blake Morgan LLP 's employment practice ‘goes from strength-to-strength‘ and is ‘able to present complex information concisely and clearly’, excelling at handling sophisticated TUPE issues, equal pay and pensions matters for private and public sector clients.  Joanne Davies is an ‘excellent source of information about TUPE and its implications‘. Paula Kathrens 'combines the standard employment law knowledge with tactical and relational understanding' which she employs to good effect within the education and the healthcare sector, where alongside the ‘unflappable and experiencedMatthew Smith she handles a raft of employment work for NHS Wales including employment work related to doctor disciplinary cases. Senior associate Ian Jones demonstrates an excellent knowledge and practical application of all areas of employee relations'. Clients include PHS Group, Swansea University and Dolce & Gabana. Michael Clarke recently departed for a role at the Equality & Human Rights Commission in Cardiff.     

Capital Law LLP ‘s three-partner team provides ‘exceptional customer service‘ and ‘first-class’ advice across the gamut of contentious and non-contentious mandates to companies and organisations within the education, manufacturing, transport and retail sectors. Noted for its ‘unrivalled level of care and attention’, clients benefit from a holistic approach which not only includes legal advice but also HR consultancy services by dint of the firm’s integrated management consultancy, “Capital People”. ‘Personable and effective’ team head Nia Cooper  ‘always instils confidence with her calm and considered manner and astute advice’, particularly as it pertains to large-scale projects involving TUPE, collective redundancy issues or changes to terms and conditions, in addition to employment tribunal representation. The ‘highly skilled and well-prepared’ Iestyn Morris is particularly accomplished at handling work within the education sector and recently successfully defended a National Association of Head Teachers’ member in a fitness to practice proceeding. Trade union law specialist Richard Thomas is also recommended, while at associate level, Sarah Austin  specialises in the employment law issues associated with corporate transactions handled by the firm, and Welsh speaking associate Esyllt Green  has extensive experience in the retail sector having formerly worked in-house at B&Q. Clients include British Medical Association, University of South Wales, Westbridge Capital and Dow Corning.

The ‘thorough and responsive’ four-partner team at Geldards LLP provides ‘calm and measured advice’ to private and public sector clients, including Admiral Insurance, Arts Council of Wales and Sofa Brands International, across the bandwidth of employment matters, from ongoing HR training and advisory work, through to larger-scale employment projects. ‘Calm and very reasonable’ team head Stephen Jenkins is ‘prepared to go the extra mile for clients’, particularly with regard to TUPE matters and tribunal claims, where he is appreciated for his ability to ‘balance the legal side of the advice with the practical implementation’. Particularly strong on the contentious front, the ‘direct and honest’ Rhian Brace provides ‘practical and simply explained advice’ and is a key member of the team at a partner level that also includes equal pay expert Kim Howell and the ‘very responsive’ Lowri Phillips, who has niche expertise advising on data protection matters and freedom of information requests. ‘Personable and approachable’ senior associate Joga Singh covers contentious and non-contentious matters and is ‘especially good at providing plain English advice for the layperson’.

Hugh James provides an ‘excellent level of service’ to standalone clients as well as existing corporate clients of the firm across a range of issues including advice on collective labour law, equal pay, TUPE and pensions. Team head Emma Burns has a strong reputation in the market for both contentious and non-contentious matters. She continues to handle a raft of ongoing work for Natural Resources Wales including helping it to achieve a collective agreement agreeing a new pay structure for all of its staff, as well as day-to-day HR case work which includes representation in tribunal cases. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Louise Price provides an ‘excellent service’ across a range of non-contentious matters including pensions and employee benefits advice; she recently advised independent television production and media company, Avanti Media, through a high-profile TUPE transfer involving the transfer of the Songs of Praise staff from the BBC to Avanti and Nine Lives. Not withstanding her relatively junior standing, associate Rhiannon Dale is already picking up some high-quality work for clients including Braces Bakery and is appreciated for her ‘attention-to-detail and excellent customer service’. Other clients include Rockwool, Celtic Manor Resort and The Walters Company.

Headed by the ‘very highly regarded’ Lucy Lewis and aided by a broad-ranging domestic network of offices, Lewis Silkin LLP’s ‘pragmatic and professional’ eight-strong team provides ‘responsive and tactical advice’ across a range of employment projects including as it relates to strategic redundancies, restructuring and TUPE matters, as well as on other discrete contentious and non-contentious matters. The ‘fantastically astute’, ‘robust and commercial’ Richard Moore is an ‘excellent problem-solver and never shirks from giving the tough advice when it is needed’, particularly in relation to corporate M&A and outsourcing transactions. ‘Excellent’ managing associate James Walters excels at handling contentious matters and is a key member of the team that also includes ‘commercial and diligent’ associate Charlotte Morgan. Clients include Marks & Spencer, MTV and Zara.

Renowned for dealing with complex cases under the anti-discrimination legislation’, the ‘highly professional, experienced and dedicated’ team at Slater and Gordon provides an ‘outstanding’ service to an exclusively claimant side client base including private clients as well as trade union members and the police federation. 'Pragmatic and personable' team head Rachel Harfield 'gets outstanding results for her clients' and is 'often instructed in very difficult cases'. Praised for her 'tenacity' and 'willingness to fight tooth and nail for her clients', Harfield's broad-ranging work includes discrimination, whistleblowing, false imprisonment/misfeasance claims, and data protection matters. ‘Very hardworking’ senior associate Juliette Franklin is noted for her ‘thoroughness’ and ‘excellent judgement’ and has developed a very strong reputation representing senior executives and union members in discrimination cases. ‘Conscientious, dedicated and incredibly tenacious’ associate Mohini Bharani has ‘a particular expertise handling complex race discrimination cases’ scoring a notable success in the recently reported case - Bowler v Chief Constable of Kent Police. An associate in the trade union employment team, Simon James 'has incredible experience and knowledge of a wide range of employment law disputes ranging from acting for hundreds of union members in equal pay disputes, complicated discrimination claims involving dismissal to smaller matters regarding unpaid wages'. Associate James Watkins handles private client employment work and is noted for his 'very meticulous approach and excellent knowledge of the law'. ‘Thorough and diligent in his preparation’, Rhydian Reeves is also recommended.

Headed by the ‘outstanding’ Fabio Grech, the six-strong team at Berry Smith  is noted for its ability to provide ‘clear and robust advice’ to numerous private sector SME clients, as well as public sector entities, particularly in light of its appointment to the NPS panel (notably the firm also advises the NPS itself on employment work). The ‘very approachable and personable’ Grech provides ‘clear and sound advice’ across both contentious and non-contentious work; he continues to represent BBI Group on its consolidation of UK manufacturing operations to a single site in Crumlin, Caerphilly, following an £8.5 million investment, supported by the Welsh government. Associate Sarah Alford  has contentious and non-contentious expertise within the construction, agricultural and manufacturing industries. Alford recently successfully defended a headmaster of a south Wales-based school against serious allegations alleging, inter alia, staff bullying and dishonesty. Other clients include The Life Sciences Hub Wales, Gwent Nursing Homes and Neath Coachbuilders. Jennifer Pinder joined Capital Law LLP in December 2017.

Darwin Gray LLP ’s ‘knowledgeable and strong’ two-partner team provides an ‘outstanding level of service’ to a growing roster of largely domestic clients across the gamut of employment issues, from day-to-day HR advice and training through to complex restructuring exercises and contentious work. The team also includes a number of fluent Welsh speakers including ‘superb’ team head Fflur Jones, ensuring that it is a popular choice for local corporates whose first language is Welsh. Jones is ‘appreciative of the business and commercial implications when delivering legal advice’ and although she handles a range of work, she has developed a particularly strong reputation representing claimants in complex discrimination cases. The ‘excellent’ Damian Phillips acts for employers and employees and as head of the firm’s sports team also regularly handles employment law matters for rugby players and coaches. ‘Outstanding’ bi-lingual senior associate Owen John ‘explains everything without resorting to unnecessary complex legal jargon’. As well as regularly handling TUPE transfer work for corporates, John has developed expertise in several more esoteric areas including with regard to sleeping provisions. The team is rounded out by an HR consultancy offering enabling the team to provide a fully comprehensive and holistic service to clients.

The ‘very well-respected’ employment boutique Morgan Denton Jones  ‘punches above its weight’ and is noted in particular for its ‘ability to go the extra mile for clients’ and ‘willingness to tackle complex cases’ on behalf of Wales based corporates from a range of sectors. Benefiting from an ‘in-depth knowledge of employment law’, Mark Morgan provides ‘level -headed and sensible advice’ across all aspects of employee disputes and non-contentious employment law, including dismissal, discrimination, redundancy, staff transfers, employee monitoring and complex contract claims involving senior executives. Jenny Jones also handles broad-ranging employment work on behalf of corporates but has also developed a thriving practice on behalf of London-based senior executives on the negotiation of exit terms. Associate Elizabeth Evans is also recommended for her ‘ability to put forward the best possible option for a remedy', as well as the 'ease with which she is able to explain new legislation’.

Although it is relatively small compared to others in the ranking, under the leadership of the ‘very impressive’ Claire Knowles, Acuity Legal Limited 's employment team provides an ‘absolutely brilliant service’ to an ever growing roster of standalone clients, as well as existing corporate clients of the firm. The ‘amazing’ Knowles has ‘vast employment law knowledge’ and as well as handling discrete matters including advice on TUPE and redundancy procedures, also regularly handles in-house training on current hot-button employment issues. Recent highlights include advising energy company Dulas across a range of matters including drafting in-house policies and procedures, such as a sickness absence policy and an overtime policy. The team also handles a substantial amount of ongoing employment work for clients signed up to the firm’s Acuity Counsel service.

Under the leadership of the ‘very impressive’ David Lewis, Howells Solicitors retains a strong presence in the south Wales market for handling claimant employment work and has also begun to develop a growing respondent offering on behalf of a broad range of SMEs and charities. Praised for his ‘ability to adapt advice to suit the occasion’, Lewis also has niche expertise in sports issues and has handled exit and contract negotiations for numerous well-known sporting individuals. The departure in July 2017 of the well-respected claimant lawyer Nathan Vidini (who is now a freelance employment consultant), was offset somewhat by the arrival of associate Gemma Bailey from Blake Morgan LLP in the same month. Bailey advises both individual and company clients on employment disputes in all aspects of employment law.

Since its formation in 2013, sole practitioner boutique REFRESHING LAW has been recognised for its ability to provide an ‘efficient, uncomplicated and value-for-money’ service to local and English clients, either directly or as a result of law firm referrals. By virtue of having smaller overheads and a flexible perspective on billing, it is able to provide a ‘very responsive and personal service’ to corporates on the employment work pursuant to M&A transactions, and for employers and senior executives in relation to negotiating the departure from the organisation of executives. ‘Technically very strong on all aspects of employment law’, Anna Denton-Jones ‘has a deep understanding of the employment law issues facing businesses which are preparing for sale or are in the process of being sold’.

Thompson Darwin Limited provides a 'responsive and value for money service' to employers and employees across the gamut of contentious and non-contentious employment law issues. The 'exceptional' Bethan Darwin is 'brilliant at dealing with situations in a calm and controlled manner and thinking on her feet'. Leveraging her additional corporate law expertise,  Darwin is particularly accomplished advising directors and senior executives on non-executive director contracts and share options. On the employer side, Darwin has represented numerous companies including G Tech and Propertyserve UK across a wide variety of matters including advice on contracts of employment and remuneration packages.  

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