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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Yorkshire and the Humber > Human resources > Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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The employment team at Addleshaw Goddard stands out for its 'expert advice, response times and value for money'. The practice has had a successful year of new client appointments, including having been recently instructed as sole employment law provider to Scotia Gas Network which the team is instructed by in tribunal claims, contract updates and in various TUPE outsourcing arrangements.  Practice head Sally Hulston has particular expertise in the retail and consumer sector and, following a new panel appointment,  is leading advice to Dixons Carphone Warehouse on national minimum wage issues and in defence of several tribunal claims. The team has also been instructed by Froneri ice-cream to provide ongoing general employment and gender pay gap reporting advice, in addition to acting for the company in a large-scale project to alter terms and conditions of zero hour and annualized contacts. The department acts as Vocalink's sole employment law adviser, and is currently assisting the company on various TUPE outsourcing projects, as well as advising on employment considerations following the acquisition by Mastercard of a 92% stake. The team also continues to advise Primark Stores, and Wolseley Group. Managing associates Gerri Elliott,   Andy Graham and 'excellent communicator'  Joanne Lightburn are key names to note. Elliot has particular expertise advising education and the charity sector clients; Graham is noted for a range non-contentious and transnational matters; and Lightburn for employment tribunal and TUPE negotiations.

The employment practice at DLA Piper UK LLP¬†leverages its international offices in cross-border matters and represents globally-recognized brands, including Caffe Nero Group, New Balance and¬†Stanley Black & Decker. Supporting its strong corporate department, the team advised John Menzies Plc on employment aspects of its acquisition of ASIG from BBA Aviation plc, including in relation to the application of TUPE. The team continues to illustrate its significant expertise in handling issues relating to the growing 'gig economy' and, led by practice head Jane Hannon, is currently acting for a national delivery company in disputes relating to the employment status of its workers. Following the previous successful defence of related employment tribunal claims, the practice is now representing the company in a class action supported by the GMB trade union. Legal director Louise Hendry¬†in addition to having considerable experience in equality and diversity matters ‚Ästhas¬†expertise on data protection matters and¬†was instructed by one of the top UK airlines¬†to advise on the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in relation to HR data. Another key name to note is legal director Christopher Baker¬†who deals with the full-spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment advice and leverages his industry knowledge in acting for clients in the media, retail and financial services sectors.¬†David Bradley¬†left the team to head up Ramsdens Solicitors LLP's employment practice.

The 'exceptional' employment team at Eversheds Sutherland acts for a client list ranging from international corporates - including Hallmark Cards and Thomas Cook Airlines - to local and national companies such as West Coast Trains. Benefiting from offices globally, the practice utilised its cross-border abilities in advising Xylem on employment and compliance aspects of two global outsourcing projects, and a global change management programme led by Paul Cotton. Praised for 'combining first-class legal advice with an understanding of the aims and challenges of a large business', experienced tribunal advocate Simon Rice-Birchall led advice to a leading property, residential construction and services group in complex multi-party tribunal proceedings concerning TUPE, redundancies issues and alleged unfair dismissal. In the education sector, Ben Woods led advice to a school facing a complex redundancy situation relating to a member of staff with mental health issues. The team's education sector expertise was further strengthened with the addition of Christopher Mordue from Pinsent Masons LLP; Mordue is acting for a Russell Group university in a sexual harassment claim and in relation to a national minimum wage investigation valued at £0.5m. Cotton, Rice-Birchall, Woods and Mordue jointly lead the team, which includes legal director Louise Lightfood and principal associate Rebecca Kitson.

Pinsent Masons LLP's employment team has strength in the retail, insurance and financial services sectors, with key clients including ASDA, RBS, HSBC Bank, Direct Line and RSA Insurance. Leveraging its employment expertise in support of corporate transactions, the team advised on employment aspects of Zurich's sale of its UK workplace pensions and savings business to Lloyds Banking Group, as well as Legal & General's acquisition of Inspired Villages. In a high-profile employment tribunal claim the practice is representing UK Sport in relation to a discrimination and whistle-blowing allegations brought by former Olympian Jessica Varnish. The team also acted for SIG plc in relation to a claim by the former managing director of SIG's business in Saudi Arabia, which required consideration of the territorial scope of UK legislation, as well as reference to the European Convention of Human Rights. Practice head Jon Fisher is also instructed by a major UK produce supplier to provide strategy in an investigation into National Minimum Wage compliance by HMRC. Changes to team have included Christopher Booth's move to Clarion and Christopher Mordue's departure to Eversheds Sutherland.

Squire Patton Boggs' 'five star' employment team is 'positive, commercial and client-focused'. With 'outstanding strength and depth of experience' the group offers 'pragmatic advice from a practical perspective rather than a purely legal interpretation'. The team benefits from 'very broad international reach with strong local working relationships' and has been engaged in complex cross-border transactions and restructuring projects. It is particularly well-known for its substantial retail sector expertise and has further increased its roster of clients in this industry over the past year. The 'calm, assured, very practical' Andrew Stones is 'knowledgeable about both the retail sector and the broader issues that currently impact client's businesses'. Beyond the retail sector, the group has considerable experience acting for clients in the manufacturing and engineering space. The 'excellent' Matthew Lewis heads the employment team which also includes 'impressive younger talent', such as the 'knowledgeable, personable and commercial' senior associate James Keogh. Other names to note include senior associates Gemma Finlayson - who is praised for her 'close partnership with clients when dealing with complex matters' - and 'safe pair of hands' Louise Martin.

The employment team at Clarion combines 'in-depth legal knowledge and commercial acumen' with 'down-to-earth, professional, solid advice'. The 'commercial and pragmatic' Sarah Tahamtani heads the practice and has particular experience advising on TUPE issues. The team receives instructions from both large national and international companies, such as Arla Foods and Equiniti, as well as medium-sized and regional-based companies. The practice has a track record acting in complex contentious disputes, assisting with employment aspects of corporate transactions, and advising on technical points of law including employment status and outsourcing. The team also provides ongoing advice to corporates and offers bespoke training to client's HR staff. Senior associate Deborah Warren is also well-regarded, particularly for handling re-organisation and restructuring of companies. Changes to the team include the arrival of Christopher Booth from Pinsent Masons LLP, and the departure of John Robinson to Schofield Sweeney.

The 'progressive' and 'down to earth' team at DAC Beachcroft LLP 'adopt a commercial approach' and handle both contentious and non-contentious employment work. James Rhodes leads the healthcare sector work. Meanwhile Zoe Thomas represented Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust in a complex discrimination claim from a former employee claiming disability by virtue of menopause. As well as being 'experts in dealing with NHS matters' the employment team acts for large corporates such as DHL, Typhoo Tea and, new client to the practice, BT plc. The practice was also instructed by McDonald's Restaurants Limited in relation to industrial action at two of its restaurants, and strategically advised the company to successfully minimise business impact. Additionally, the team also act for Royal Mail and successfully obtained a high court injunction to prevent a national strike that if had gone ahead would have caused significant disruption to the Christmas period post. Arcadia Group is another key client of the practice and, in a non-contentious work highlight, a team advised on the terms and conditions of their apprenticeship programme and training agreement. The practice is headed up by Louise Bloomfield, who has been consider to be 'a sector leader who punches above her weight', and praised for her ability to deal with complex TUPE issues and reorganisations of companies. 'Pragmatic' senior associate Anjali Sharma is also recommended.

Lupton Fawcett's employment team offers 'timely pragmatic support' that is 'excellent value for money'. Practice head Andrew Gilchrist is recognised for his 'knowledge, commercial acumen and speed of response' and is providing ongoing contentious and non-contentious employment advice to Northgate plc, including on gender pay gap reporting and holiday pay. Louise Connacher is also recommended, particularly for national minimum wage expertise and investigation experience, an area on which she has advised clients such as Hand Picked Hotels. In another work highlight, a team led by Angela Gorton is representing Seabrooks Crisps in an ongoing unfair dismissal claim, relating to a personal injury claim brought by the claimant prior to dismissal. Brian Harrington is another key partner in the group.

The 'timely, pragmatic and cost-effective' employment practice at Walker Morris LLP is 'keen to add value at every stage'. It acts for a broad range for international and national corporates, spanning from clients in retail, to those in the food and drink sector, to premier league football clubs such as Crystal Palace FC. The practice continues to act for Asda Stores and, with Andrew Rayment taking the lead, has advised on employment aspects of its acquisition of stores from the Co-op. Also in the retail sector, the team is instructed as sole legal advisor to Moss Bros Group and is currently assisting with both contentious and non-contentious matters. With a wealth of experience across the full-spectrum of employment matters, David Smedley heads up the practice and leads representation of Mexichem on all employment issues across the group's UK sites. Director Shakeel Dad is 'commercial, clear and focused on delivering a value-add service', and has recently secured instructions from Kraft Heinz and Safestyle plc. The team's high-profile client list also includes Caterpillar, Toyota, Starbuck and Arla.

The employment team at¬†Ward Hadaway¬†'goes the extra mile for its clients', which include both companies and¬†senior executives, and has a particular strength and experience in the transport and healthcare sectors.¬†It handles all HR and employment issues for Stagecoach North East and is currently¬†defending a claim from a former employee who was dismissed following false allegations that he had injured himself at work. The practice has also acted for FirstGroup and RATP Dev London in several tribunal proceedings.¬†¬†In the healthcare sector, the team is advising the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust on TUPE implications in a multi-site reorganisation, concerning approximately ¬£2m of employee liabilities. In another work highlight, the 'highly technically competent'¬†practice head Harmajinder Hayre¬†successfully represented FedEx UK in achieving a low value settlement in a complex claim which spanned issues of¬†unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, harassment, victimisation, breach of contract and breach of the working time regulations. Another key name to note, is the 'very¬†able and knowledgeable' Edward Nuttman, who 'takes an intelligent, proactive approach' and is 'prepared to "think outside the box‚ÄĚ to obtain the best outcome'. Richard Port left the team in 2017 to establish a specialist employment law firm.

With a 'blend strong technical knowledge, practical advice and great customer satisfaction' Blacks Solicitors LLP's employment  team is 'friendly and affordable, whilst also being pragmatic and commercial'. Chris Allen 'leads by example' in heading up the 'high achieving, modern and solid' practice which represents both SMEs and individuals. 'Star lawyer' Tom Moyes has expertise in disciplinary and grievance procedures and tribunal litigation, and is 'recommended for pro-active and reactive legal advice, given in a caring and respectful manner'. Other key individuals include the 'knowledgeable, sensible and commercial' Richard Parr and the 'personable' Paul Kelly. The 'enthusiastic and extremely dedicated' associate Euan Lawrence is also recommended.

Capsticks LLP's employment team acts for employers in the health, emergency services, social care, housing and charity sectors. In keeping with the firm's specialist health expertise, clients include more than 200 NHS organisations, as well as private healthcare providers. The team acted for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust on a proposed mass transfer of staff, which required consideration of TUPE implications among other issues. Rachael Heenan and Ron Simms jointly head the team and successfully defended County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust in victimisation claims brought by two doctors following their referral to the General Medical Council. Other clients include, Humberside Fire and Rescue, Harewood House Trust and Askham Bryan College.

The employment law team at DWF is noted for its 'good strength in depth' and 'pragmatic' advice. The Glasgow-based Michael McLaughlin heads the national employment practice, which has particular experience advising clients in the education, healthcare and retail sectors. The group has advised employers on investigations relating to worker status and national minimum wage, in unfair dismissal claims, as well as advising on day to day employment and HR matters including settlement agreements and terminations. Based in the Leeds office, Philippa O’Brien has experience assisting the corporate team in providing employment advice including in relation to M&A transactions. Clients of the practice include the Grammar School at Leeds, Yorkshire Building Society and LSS Waste. Former practice head Rob Riley left the team to join Ernst & Young Global Limited > London.

Gordons LLP has strength in the retail, transport education sectors, as well as in its representation of Church of England dioceses. The employment practice supports the firm's corporate team in providing employment advice on transactions, including on the £25m management buyout of Sewtec Automation. The 'extremely helpful, positive and knowledgeable' practice head Philip Paget splits his time between the Leeds and the Bradford office and has a particular strength as a litigator. Senior solicitor Bryony Goldspink leads on day to day employment advice to Lady Morrison. Clients include Allianz, Costcutter Supermarkets Group and Associated Waste Management. Tim Gooder moved to Bevan Brittan LLP.

Irwin Mitchell's employment team is recognised for its complex employment tribunal work and also advises on day-to-day and specific issues including on TUPE, contractual issues and restructuring. The team defended Capita in several employment tribunal matters, including an unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claim. In this matter, senior associate Samantha Clark lead advice, both on the proceedings and on strategy relating to management of the risk of reputational damage. Practice head Glenn Hayes has experience advising corporates across a diverse range of industries, and acts for some of the practice's key national clients, such as Sky Betting & Gaming, Barrett Steel and Persimmon Homes plc. Recently, he successfully defended the later in an allegation of detriment for having made a protected disclosure and assertion of a statutory right, in addition to claims of breach of contract and unlawful deductions from wages. With a strong education sector practice, clients include several schools and colleges such as Leeds City College, White Rose Academies Trust and the Association of Colleges. 

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's 'excellent' employment team is experienced acting for companies both based in Yorkshire and across the UK, with the ability to call on the firms national office network. It advised Dnata, which forms part of the Emirates Group, in relation to a number of transactions involving the transfers of a number of employees pursuant to TUPE, as well as in employment disputes. Known for its representation of clients in the chemicals and manufacturing industry, the team is instructed by Vertellus Specialties UK in several matters including a tribunal claim brought by a former employee alleging a breach of contract. Additionally in this sector, the practice acts for Huntsman/Venator, and PX Group. Managing associate Ed Duffield  heads up the Leeds practice and supported the corporate department in advising new client Polyframe Group on strategy relating to a collective redundancy situation, arising from a closure of one of their manufacturing sites.

The employment practice at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP advises both employers and private clients on a spectrum of issues. The team is singled out for TUPE expertise,  Dr John McMullen is nationally recognised in this area and recently advised on complex TUPE aspects of the merger of three major UK arts organisations, as well as on other areas of HR support. The group is also known for representing charities and education sector clients in employment matters. Practice head +Chris Billington acted for charities on post transfer changes to employment terms and conditions and Sue King leads the HR response and education response services, which focuses on providing ongoing employment advise to charity and education clients.

Berwins attracts praise for 'putting the client at the center of everything that they do' and for offering 'timely, detailed, insightful advice' that 'represents true value for money'. The Harrogate-based practice, led by Mike Patterson, acts primarily for SMEs, owner managed businesses and senior employee and directors of SMEs. Patterson was recently promoted to Director and has been highlighted for his 'stand out ability to articulate often complex and detailed information in an understandable and practical manner'. With a 'wealth of experience' senior partner Paul Berwin is another key name to note in this area. The team acts for Belzona Polymerics in ongoing advice and disputes and recently advised suit makers Berwin & Berwin on the implications of TUPE in respect of its employees and concessions within various department stores across the UK.

Paul Ball and the 'brilliant' and 'innovative' Gearalt Fahy joined from 3volution Limited to establish Gateley Plc's 'modern, progressive, motivated and client focused' employment practice in Leeds. The two-partner team is able to draw upon the firm's national office network, and represents both smaller local businesses as well as several national and international employers with entrenched union arrangements. The practice recently acted for Cape plc in a harassment claim brought by one of its employees. Ball and Fahy also both regularly advise of strategy and non-contentious employment matters.

Langleys Solicitors LLP's York-based employment practice is led by Mini Setty, who has particular expertise in equality and diversity issues, executive terminations, employment issues on business transfers and strategic project. Setty has been instructed to provide advice on employment status as well as corporate support employment advice. Recently, the team have also been acting for clients on TUPE and outsourcing issues.

Based in Huddersfield, Ramsdens Solicitors LLP's 'excellent' employment group has the capabilities to represent clients in a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, with 'a level of expertise at a price point that is difficult to find'. The team has been bolstered with the addition of practice head David Bradley from DLA Piper UK LLP, who attracts praise for his 'high level of knowledge and tailored advice' and has experience acting in multi-jurisdictional matters. The group is regularly instructed by companies and senior employees to handle disputes as well as advising on TUPE matters, redundancies and restructuring. Jeremy Cook is another key name to note.

Schofield Sweeney's employment practice represents clients in the education and healthcare sectors and is praised for its 'knowledge and quick response times'. The 'always excellent' practice head Simon Shepherd acts for plcs, SMEs and schools and academies in disputes, tribunal claims and non-contentious advice. The team was instructed by two GP practices to advise on the TUPE implications of moving staff from public to private sector, and managed restructuring and redundancies in addition to harmonising terms and conditions. In another work highlight, Alexandra Clements defended JD Sports Fashion in a number of tribunal claims alleging sexual harassment, discrimination and constructive dismissal. Other key names to note include John Robinson who recently joined from Clarion.

The 'knowledgeable and proactive' employment practice at Shulmans LLP offers a 'professional, approachable and sympathetic' approach to contentious and advisory matters. Ian Dawson and Jim Wright jointly head the practice which has particular expertise across the professional services, independent schools, manufacturing and the regulatory sectors. Wright led a team which successfully defended Ghana International Bank in claims brought by a former director who was dismissed for gross misconduct. In another work highlight, the group is advising Hartlepool Sixth Form College on all employment aspects of its merger with Sunderland College, including on TUPE implications. The 'calm, thoughtful, unflappable and intelligent' Tom Watkins was recently promoted to partner.

Ben Daniel heads up Weightmans' national employment, pensions and immigration practice, which acts for clients in the transport and logistics sector. The group successfully defended Hoyer Petrolog UK in multi-day employment tribunal proceedings relating to alleged discrimination, achieving dismissal of all claims. In another highlight, it advised National Express on divestiture of part of its operations, which included a complex TUPE transfer. The group also has a significant presence in the healthcare sector with clients including Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, North Cumbria University Hospital and Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

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