Employment: Sheffield and South Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s employment practice continues to be highly rated by peers and clients for its international strength across the retail, hospitality, and technology sectors. Headed up by Clare Gregory and Gurpreet Duhra, the team handles senior executive severances, cross-border restructurings and outsourcing issues. TUPE matters also feature in the caseload, as well as contentious matters before the Employment Tribunal.

Practice head(s):

Clare Gregory; Gurpreet Duhra


‘The Employment team at DLA have supported us with a number of complex and high profile cases with the high potential for reputational damage to our organisation. Their advice and support is always broader than the pure legal aspects of the case – something which is greatly appreciated, not just by HR professionals in our organisation, but by our senior managers as well.’

‘Clare Gregory provides us with exceptional support. We have relied on her to support us in some of the most sensitive matters and without fail her guidance and advice has been outstanding. She is always accessible, extremely flexible and has an excellent understanding of the context in which we operate. She is an extremely reassuring colleague and I, and many others, appreciate her straightforward advice, support and good humour.’


CMS’ employment team in Sheffield works in tandem with its corporate team and handles a steady stream of contentious and non-contentious matters for public and private sector clients. Tracey Marsden remains a key contact and is highlighted for her 'first-class legal knowledge'; she advises on local and national M&A deals, TUPE work and industrial relations issues. Associate Emma Sweetman handles transactional matters. The group also works closely with the firm's offices in Manchester and London on large regional mandates.

Practice head(s):

Tracey Marsden

Other key lawyers:

Emma Sweetman


‘Really strong knowledge in the area; very responsive team; sensible fees.’

‘I have worked with Tracey Marsden for many years for employment law advice. Really expert in this area and very responsive.’

‘Tracey Marsden is low key, practical, efficient and responsive.’

‘The team at CMS are highly professional yet down to earth and collaborative. We are a small company and often call upon the CMS employment team to support on employee relations matters – they are always highly responsive and provide sound and pragmatic advice.’

‘Tracey Marsden has worked with us for a number of years and has in-depth knowledge of our company and the history of employee matters. Tracey brings this knowledge and uses it in every matter she assists us with, to our benefit. Tracey provides exceptional advice and support to me as Head of HR.’

‘All the competence of a city practice but much more accessible – very practical and engaged. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Tracey Marsden is excellent and leads the team. She is very commercial and experienced and her advice is always practical and focused. She is accessible on short notice and does an excellent job of linking engagements and advice together so you have an integrated consistent view and advice. Emma Sweetman is also excellent. She is able to come up to speed on a matter very quickly and is highly responsive. Recommend them both highly.’

‘Led by Tracey Marsden, Partner, we hold them in the highest regard. Their knowledge of our business, is what sets them apart from other law firms.’

Key clients

Bibby Line Group Limited

Costco Wholesale UK Limited

Diamond Resorts

Ecobat Technologies Group

Forged Solutions Group Limited

Great Portland Estates PLC

GRI Group Limited

Hazy Limited

intu Properties PLC

J Rosenthal & Son (a division of Ulster Weavers Limited)

Low Carbon Contract Company Limited

Manchester Airport Group

The Royal Mencap Society

Miller Insurance Services LLP

Mines Rescue Service


Rackham Housefloors Limited

Retail E-Commerce Ventures

RDI REIT PLC and subsidiaries

Salary Finance Limited

St George PLC

Takasago (UK) Limited

Thor Investment Adviser (Europe) Limited

Werma (UK) Limited

Water for People

Work highlights

  • Advised Manchester Airports Group on the sale of its property holding company, MAG Investment Assets Limited (MAGIA) for a sum in excess of £350m to Columbia Threadneedle Investments.
  • Advised Bibby Line Group on the sale of Costcutter Supermarkets Group Limited to Bestway Wholesale Group.
  • Acted on the sale of the Oasis and Warehouse and Idle Man brands to Hilco in April 2020 after the well-known high street retailer fell into administration.

Irwin Mitchell

At Irwin Mitchell, the employment practice has strength in the higher education and charity sectors and advises across the full range of contentious and non-contentious mandates. Practice head Kirsty Ayre in Sheffield (who is also active in the Leeds market) regularly appears before the Employment Tribunal in discrimination and unfair dismissal claims. The group is experienced in TUPE issues, restructuring matters, and large Covid-19 related furlough and redundancy mandates.

Practice head(s):

Kirsty Ayre

Other key lawyers:

Emily Weston


‘The team provides timely, commercial and practical advice in relation to employment law. This is not an academic team but a team which works assiduously to provide the right advice to achieve the best possible outcome for the clients.’

‘Kirsty Ayre is excellent. Very experienced and responds promptly to a request for advice. Very experienced and with a background of sitting on the employment tribunal, Kirsty is up to date with not only the law but with the view of the tribunal in relation to the applicability of the law to a particular matter.’

‘Very professional and experienced, with a high standard of customer service.’

‘Kirsty Ayre – Kirsty has been absolutely fantastic in assisting me with several difficult employment issues, and her kindness during such a stressful time, was very much appreciated. Always helpful and approachable, her calm good sense immediately puts you at ease.’

‘Good knowledge of HR/Employment law and practice, with quick response to queries when needed quickly.’

‘Our relationship is mainly with Emily Weston who I find to be approachable, knowledgeable and understands the context of the charitable sector when providing advice.’

Key clients

Association of Colleges

Henry Boot PLC

Tecomet Ltd

Capita PLC


Overgate Hospice

Westfield Health

Motorway Direct plc

Work highlights

  • Advised the Chief Executive and HR Director of a large financial services client on a restructuring of its business following an international acquisition.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP's employment team is 'pragmatic and commercially aware', and is headed up by Tom Draper in Sheffield. The group handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters including unfair dismissals, TUPE issues and discrimination claims. The group has also enhanced its offering with the addition of Lee Williams, who advises on redundancy matters and day-to-day HR issues. Also in the group is Elizabeth Ferguson, who has various private companies, SMEs, corporates and public sector organisations as key clients.

Practice head(s):

Tom Draper

Other key lawyers:

Lee William; Elizabeth Ferguson; Toby Pochron


‘I believe the team are well rounded and between them are able to support with all issues, support and advice. The team is very responsive and discuses the rationale behind their advice.’

‘The individuals at the firm are very knowledgeable and they support with sector specific issues. Individuals point you in the direction of recent developments and how it could effect the business which allows us to be proactive and prevent issues.’

‘The team is friendly, approachable and available when we need support, often working to tight deadlines.’

‘Tom Draper is a reliable source of support for us, and he understands our ways of working. He is available whenever we need him and he is always able to deal with issues quickly and effectively.’

‘Very efficient communication both within and outside of normal working hours. Excellent availability of partners and associates, very punctual with legal documentation.’

‘Tom Draper – Highly articulate, ability to view cases from different perspectives, very professional yet down to earth no nonsense approach, Knowledgeable with the best interest of the clients aims always in view.’

‘I think it provides a great service and the lawyers make a great effort to familiarise themselves with the business and give practical and easy to follow advice. This has been of enormous help to me over the past year or so.’

‘I work mainly with Toby Pochron – he is really good at getting back to us, he provides great practical advice – he has been a life saver this year and saved me so much time and helped with really complex problems within our workforce. Being able to contact him at the drop of a hat has meant that a lot of the stress has been lifted! Can’t recommend him too highly.’

Key clients

Abbey Care & Nursing @Home Limited

ASK4 Group

C.F. Booth Group

Gemini Computer Systems Limited

Hydro-X Group

In-Part Publishing Limited

NG Bailey Group

St Luke’s Hospice

Inspired Villages Group


Elevation Recruitment Limited

Infotrack Limited

Kingfield Care Group

Plus X Holdings Limited

The Wolf Safety Lamp Co Limited

Sheffield City Council

Tutora Limited

Arkote Limited

Straight Manufacturing Limited

Progressive Care Limited

Bradley Refrigeration Limited

Queenscourt T/A QFM Group

NTT Data UK Limited

P&K Recruitment Limited

Northern Taxis Limited T/A City Taxis

Magnetic Systems Technology Limited

Cathelco Limited

Boynton Bros (Ranskill) Limited

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited's employment team has been bolstered with the arrival of well-regarded practice head Joan Pettingill, who was the former lead at Lupton Fawcett. The group handles a range of contentious advisory work and handles sensitive disciplinary procedures, redundancy work, and advises on senior level exits. Holly Dobson remains an integral member of the group and advises on data protection work and GDPR matters for large corporates and SMEs.

Practice head(s):

Joan Pettingill

Other key lawyers:

Holly Dobson


‘We work with Joan Pettingill for our employment law. As an SME, we rely on professional partners to advise and assist us on the challenges small businesses face, especially over the last 12 months.’

‘Joan has been on hand to guide us through a very tricky time as we have been faced with a restructure. Unlike many employment law specialists, Joan has a great understanding of our challenges and has been great support, keeping in contact with us every step of the way.’

‘By working directly with Joan Pettingill, we have been impressed that all communication has been direct therefore ensuring any questions are quickly answered.’

‘Joan has a calming influence on situations that can be very stressful as a small business owner. It is great to know we have such expert advice always on hand and would thoroughly recommend both Joan and Wake Smith as legal partners for employment law.’

‘The professionalism, speed of response and common sense approach to give us managers a good chance to understand and implement effectively on whichever given topic, other organisations I have experience of do not give that clarity and speed of response, you feel that you are doing the job yourself and getting charged a hefty sum for the privilege!’

‘Anyone with who we have had dealings with have been excellent to deal with, swift response on all matters by either email or telephone.’

‘Calm, professional and friendly approach, considers all options and determines best course of action, has a good understanding of the business and advises appropriately. We 100% trust their judgement.’

Key clients

Sheffield Diocesan Board of Finance


Cafeology Limited

Work highlights

  • Full range of employment law advice to Cafeology.
  • Employment law & GDPR advice to Sheffield Diocese.
  • Employment law advice prior to management buy out to CTI.