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Employment: Sheffield and South Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s employment practice is highly rated for its international capabilities across the manufacturing, retail, hospitality and technology sectors. Practice head Clare Gregory and Gurpreet Duhra handle complex TUPE instructions, multijurisdictional restructurings, outsourcing issues and large-scale policy reviews including workplace harassment, mental health and discrimination policies. On the contentious side, the team is regularly engaged in Employment Tribunal disputes including unfair dismissal, disability discrimination and victimisation claims, acting for pharmaceuticals and technology companies. Associate Gemma Harper is developing a reputation for handling matters at the cross section of employment and data privacy law.

Practice head(s):

Clare Gregory

Other key lawyers:

Gurpreet Duhra; Gemma Harper

Key clients

Ardagh Group

Mothercare plc

Merlin Entertainments

Puma United Kingdom Limited

University of Sheffield

Rolls Royce

All Saints Retail Limited

Verizon Communications

River Island

Dixons Carphone

Work highlights

  • Engaged by Ardagh Group on the employment aspects of the £2.5bn merger of its food and metal packaging division with Exal.
  • Advised a professional services company on a new global tax and finance agreement with a key client to deliver tax, finance, data and technology services across 127 countries.
  • Acting for a FTSE 100 company in an Employment Tribunal claim brought by a former employee making allegations of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.


CMS’ employment team works closely with the firm's corporate department, to handle employee restructurings, TUPE and high-value local and international M&A deals across real estate, financial services, construction and retail sectors. Practice head Tracey Marsden provides employment advice on grievance management issues, gender pay reporting work, holiday entitlement matters and senior exits. The group also handles issues involving mental health elements working closely with external consultants, and acts in discrimination and unfair dismissal claims.

Practice head(s):

Tracey Marsden

Key clients


Great Portland Estates

Intu Properties Group

St George Plc

Henry Boot

GRI Group

Burda Principal Investments

Immediate Media

Endeavor (and IMG Media)

NG Bailey

Low Carbon Contracts Company

LGC Limited

Civitas Social Housing PLC

City Taxis


CTW Hardfacing

Work highlights

  • Advised Immediate Media on the employment aspects of its acquisition of BBC Good Food.
  • Provided corporate employment support to sports and entertainment company Endeavor on numerous transactions.
  • Provided employment advice to engineering company NG Bailey relating to its acquisition of The Freedom Group.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell’s employment team provides advice across contentious and non-contentious mandates with a focus on acting for local and national SMEs and corporates. Practice head Kirsty Ayre regularly acts for clients in the Employment Tribunal in discrimination, unfair dismissal and flexible working claims. The team also handles staff restructuring projects, TUPE transfers, settlement agreements for senior exits and trade union negotiations including collective redundancy issues.

Practice head(s):

Kirsty Ayre


Excellent regional firm. Punches above its weight.

Kirsty Ayre has a very good commercial understanding of the matters in hand. Personal service. Very efficient at work and returning of calls, responses to e-mails etc. No matter too small or too large.

The team have been absolutely fantastic in assisting with several difficult employment issues, and their kindness and understanding during stressful times is always very much appreciated. They are very professional, conscientious and thorough and respond quickly to requests for help.

Always helpful and approachable, Kirsty Ayre’s calm good sense immediately puts you at ease. She really listens and doesn’t overwhelm you with irrelevant information. You always feel that however busy she is, you have her total attention and support. Her experience and knowledge, excellent work, professionalism and understanding are directly responsible for many positive outcomes we have achieved.

The team at Irwin Mitchell are always welcoming and accommodating of any requests for support, and the application of their legal knowledge and attention to detail ensures our organisation continues to be legally compliant. Their approach also ensures we take an appropriate risk-based response to some of the challenges we face; this is important for us as sometimes it means we can step outside of what is comfortable to achieve what we need to. This is all only possible with their support.

Key clients

Capita Group Plc

Persimmon Homes Plc


Henry Boot plc

Association of Colleges

Westfield Health


Overgate Hospice

Work highlights

  • Representing Capita in Employment Tribunal claims under the Agency Worker Regulations, in which a major public sector body is named as co-respondent.
  • Representing a major international airline in claims before the Employment Tribunal.
  • Advising a Sheffield-based publicly listed company on a major restructuring involving redundancies due to the disposal of part of its business.


Keebles fields a full-service employment practice, which acts for owner-managed businesses and not for profit clients in Yorkshire; it is also increasingly active on the national stage. The team handles restructuring programmes, tribunal hearings, disciplinary procedures, corporate support work and executive severance issues, and has notable expertise in the manufacturing, professional services and engineering sectors. Designed by practice head Catherine Wilson, the firm recently launched its KIHRA HR Portal, which provides governance advice to clients. Former practice head Barry Warne has retired.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Wilson


Their advice is always pragmatic and extremely helpful. We have every confidence we meet employment law requirements, whilst achieving the best outcome for the business. We have worked with the team for many years, but their knowledge of us and our business means we get the right advice to suit our situation.

Outstanding service and excellent knowledge. Very decisive and clear. Surpasses previous HR services.

Catherine Wilson is an outstanding solicitor with extensive knowledge. She is very decisive and clear. Excellent communication skills and always on hand to answer any HR issues that may occur. Very prompt service.

Key clients

LBBC Technologies Limited

Catering Projects Limited

Zedra UK Trusts Ltd

Pressure Technologies Limited

Welbilt UK Limited

ELG Haniel Metals

Bletchley Park Trust Limited

The Building Societies Association

Seniors Architectural Systems Limited

Doncaster Knights Rugby union Club

CEPAC Limited


Rapid RTC

Pegler Yorkshire Limited (part  of Aalberts)


Eyre and Elliston

Cheswold Park Hospital

Independent Forgings and Alloys

Catering Projects Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising manufacturing company Pegler Yorkshire on a restructuring, trade union consultations, threatened industrial action, redundancies, TUPE and executive severance.
  • Advised luxury hotel Hassop Hall on the employment aspects of its closure, including the redundancy process and implementation of the consultation process with employee representatives.
  • Advised a manufacturing company on the severance of a long-serving operations director and an associated board restructuring.

Lupton Fawcett

Corporate clients engage Lupton Fawcett’s employment team on the full breadth of advisory matters including TUPE transfers, large-scale restructurings, executive contractual negotiations and exits; the group also acts in misconduct allegations. The team also has notable expertise in the manufacturing, care home, education and healthcare sectors. Key contact Joan Pettingill handles HR training programmes, which encompass advice on equality and diversity issues.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Gilchrist

Other key lawyers:

Joan Pettingill

Work highlights

  • Advised an international construction company on the overhaul of its employment contracts and handbooks, including: pay, hours, benefits, holidays, tax and expenses policies.
  • Advised an international chemicals company on redundancies and redeployments arising from a site closure.
  • Advised a research organisation on the full range of employment issues including exit terms for senior management team members.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP expanded its employment offering through the recruitment of director and practice head Tom Draper. The practice focuses on acting for clients in the Employment Tribunal and has recently handled TUPE disputes and whistleblowing claims; it also assists with executive severance negotiations for SMEs and counts a growing number of local and national corporates on its client roster. Key sector strengths span the care home, IT, finance and facilities management industries.

Practice head(s):

Tom Draper


The team, led by Tom Draper, are an invaluable support to me and my business. They have an ability to balance sound legal judgement with solid commercial pragmatism, quick to reach the core of an issue and not afraid to challenge and suggest alternatives or bespoke solutions. This high level of understanding of our people and business combined with a willingness to take ownership of issues makes Freeths in my view a true business partner rather than just a service provider.

The team at Freeths are very knowledgeable but deliver the advice in a way which is easy to understand. As a company they are effective at understanding our business and giving advice which adds value to us. I have found the company to be more responsive than others.

Very knowledgeable team and advice is swiftly given; clear and very pragmatic. Makes the client feel that they are important to the firm and is non-judgemental, highly professional and a safe pair of hands. Better than most firms I have dealt with in pretty much every respect.

Under Tom Draper’s direction the employment team has grown in recent times with the addition of a number of quality like-minded lawyers.

Tom Draper is effective and efficient in providing excellent advice and a comprehensive service. Tom takes time to get to know his clients and it is like working with an internal adviser.

Key clients

Abbey Care & Nursing Home Limited

ASK4 Group

C.F. Booth Group

Gemini Computer Systems Limited

Hydro-X Water Treatment Limited

In-Part Publishing Limited

NG Bailey Group

St Luke’s Hospice

WFI Financial LLP

Neuro Case Management Corporation Limited

Queenscourt Ltd

Cathelco Limited

Work highlights

  • Defended a software company in a prospective claim from a former apprentice alleging unfair dismissal and breach of contract.
  • Advised a water treatment business on the enforceability of the restrictions in the employment contract of a sales director working for a competitor and the simultaneous exit of the incumbent sales director.
  • Advised a care provider on a sensitive situation concerning an employee alleging disability discrimination.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited provides employment advice to regional SMEs and senior executives on severance negotiations, redundancy strategies, HR training, TUPE transfers, disciplinary procedures and general regulatory issues including employee data privacy and GDPR mandates. Holly Dobson leads the practice following Mark Serby’s departure in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Holly Dobson


The culture is what makes the practice unique which is a reflection of the individuals who make up the team.

The team clearly have one common goal in mind: to deliver a great service. The team are highly professional, courteous and extremely knowledgeable in the area.

We have worked with Wake Smith Solicitors Limited for a number of years and the service and expertise have been faultless; clearly they are experts in their own field. The qualities valued in them are their expertise, sound advice, the confidence they instil in their advice, their ability to communicate effectively and go above and beyond to ask questions in order to understand the industry and factors which affect it. I would not hesitate to recommend Wake Smith to other businesses.

Key clients

Sheffield Diocese