CM Murray LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

CM Murray LLP

Corporate and commercial > Partnership Tier 1

Having fortified its non-contentious partnership practice in recent years under the stewardship of team co-head Zulon Begum, CM Murray LLP fields a full, 360-degree offering, and is retained by LLPs in the financial services, private equity and legal sectors. Frequently advised on are partner exits, lateral moves, appointments and LLP structuring. Team co-head Sarah Chilton steers the contentious side of the practice, which also includes David Fisher. Regular instructions include misconduct investigations, contentious performance issues and responding to whistleblowing complaints. The practice is particularly invested in dealing with sex discrimination, harassment and bullying allegations, with Beth Hale and Emma Bartlett (who joined the firm from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in January 2021) often assisting, while Merrill April, who is described as 'a leader who sets a fine example of excellence', advises on matters of compulsory retirement. Founding partner and 'inspirational leader' Clare Murray is sought out for advice on the enforcement of restrictive covenants.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Chilton; Zulon Begum

Other key lawyers:


At CM Murray the quality is consistent throughout the hierarchy. The attention to detail is second to none and the quality of advice given and judgement exercised is always measured and appropriate. The standout features at CM Murray are the people (all are friendly, approachable and excellent lawyers); the collaboration and teamwork; the diversity (this is a great environment for equality and diversity); and the sheer professionalism and commitment to furthering the interests of clients.

Sarah Chilton is outstanding. Razor sharp, responsive, and a real fighter.

Clare Murray is a market leader. Beth Hale is always great.

Clare Murray is, in my opinion, simply the best lawyer in her field in the United Kingdom.

Zulon Begum combines a deep understanding of the governance of partnerships with a pragmatic approach to advising them.

Clare Murray is an inspirational leader who sets the tone of excellence through an impressive work ethic and her own commitment to maintaining high standards. Merrill April is another partner and leader who sets a fine example of excellence in her own approach and in her mentoring of junior members of staff. Merrill’s experience and legal knowledge is invaluable.

Pooja Dasgupta is a young lawyer who is also impressive in her output and attention to detail and who no doubt has a bright future in the business.

The team handles everything with skill, enthusiasm and an unrivalled entrepreneurial spirit. They are at the forefront of thought leadership.

Work highlights

  • Advised an independent specialist insurance and reinsurance underwriter on the complex structuring of capital investment into its business for underwriting capital purposes and the amendment of its LLP agreement to reflect the investment and new profit distribution arrangements between the members.
  • Acting for a retired partner, who is seeking damages in a High Court claim against his former City law firm due to the improper exercise of the firm’s discretion in awarding profit shares, and is seeking an account under the supervision of the Court.
  • Represented a professional services partner in an age discrimination claim at the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Employment > Senior executives Tier 1

According to a client, CM Murray LLP  stands out for the ‘diversity of the team, integrity, international view, high technical skills and business oriented approach.’ The team is led by the well-known co-heads Clare Murray, who is considered ‘a role model‘, and Merrill April, who has a wealth of experience advising at board member and company founder levels. Emma Bartlett, who joined from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in January 2021 brings decades of experience; one client singled her out as ‘extremely honest, truly a warrior to bring justice and never deterred‘. Other highly rated team members ‘who tackle complex matters and make it look easy‘ include David Fisher (who has ‘significant experience working with senior executives, especially with exit and on-boarding strategies‘); Sarah Chilton (who is ‘calm under pressure, pragmatic yet not afraid of a fight’); Beth Hale and senior consultant Pia Sanchez, who collectively advise on the gamut of issues in sectors ranging from financial services and pharmaceuticals to entertainment. The team assists with complex negotiated exits, restrictive covenants and reputational damage considerations through to discrimination, misconduct and whistleblowing cases. The firm also played a key role in the launch of Innangard Executives – an international network set up for the benefit of international executives and founders around the world.

Practice head(s):

Clare Murray; Merrill April

Other key lawyers:


‘Brilliant employment law team, led by Clare Murray. Incredibly talented knowledgeable and commercial in their very professional approach. Very able in international employment matters. Very friendly and reliable. They combine a clear look on issues and a good reading of human behaviour.’

‘Clare Murray is the leader. Very well known in employment circles. Somebody you can trust. She is always available, quick and pragmatic, business oriented, and a talented negotiator.’

‘Very experienced employment specialists. Combined with strong corporate law and partnership expertise. Strong sector expertise in PE and financial services.’

‘The only firm I know with this kind of specialised practice. Clare Murray, Sarah Chilton and Pia Sanchez are just a few of many outstanding labour law specialists at the firm.’

‘Exceptional in understanding the case details and bringing up the points that matter for winning. I had already been denied any chance of success during a painful and very stressful experience in facing a planned discriminatory dismissal. I was helpless, but I was very lucky to be introduced to Emma Bartlett. Her merit assessment was completely different from all others before, because she was very capable in exposing the true events beyond doubt amazingly from their own witnesses. Emma is extremely honest, truly a warrior to bring justice and never deterred. I admired her courage with her foresight of the sequence of events and forewarning in terms of time and cost.’

‘Strong expertise in both the subject matter and the process of dealing with executive compensation negotiations. You can see right away that this is a team that has long and established experience in this space. Both Merrill April and Louise O’Connor were available, reactive and supportive throughout the work. They were a good source of advice and direction throughout my negotiations.’

‘CM Murray LLP has excellent expertise in (international) employment issues regarding senior executives. Due to their international global employment law alliance, Innangard, they can respond very quickly and can give adequate advice on cross-border issues.’

‘A very driven, highly specialised boutique law firm. They seem to be always ahead of the competition. Clare Murray – entrepreneurial mind, immaculate understanding of complex employment disputes. Sarah Chilton – dedicated, smooth and strategic negotiator Beth Hale – absolutely skilled and intelligent.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a senior executive of a major global private equity house on their exit and transition to a new role at a competing firm.
  • Advising a managing director in a global investment bank in connection with their resignation and move to a competing business.
  • Advised a high-profile international senior executive on their negotiated exit from a major global media and entertainment company, following the executive having been the subject of an internal investigation into misconduct.

Employment > Employers Tier 5

On the employers side of the employment fence, boutique outfit CM Murray LLP places an emphasis on work emanating from the financial services, professional services, technology, life sciences and luxury brands sectors. The ‘exceptionally bright and knowledgeableClare Murray heads up the practice, which has a substantial track record in highly sensitive sexual harassment and bullying allegations and restrictive covenants. In recent times, Merrill April has excelled in boardroom disputes, while breach of confidentiality issues figure prominently in the practice of David Fisher.

Practice head(s):

Clare Murray

Other key lawyers:

Merrill April; David Fisher; Sarah Chilton; Beth Hale


‘This practice is unique owing to the people who work there. It is a firm specialising and excelling in employment law and the strength and breadth of expertise at all levels across the firm is unrivalled. The work it does representing professional services firms as well as individuals working within them is a real area of strength and many would regard CM Murray as the go-to firm in that area of specialism.’

‘Clare Murray is clearly a leader in her field. Not only is she exceptionally bright and knowledgeable, she brings a sense of calm to any case and is always extremely balanced in her views and well-reasoned and pragmatic. Beth Hale is also an extremely talented lawyer – she has a no-nonsense straightforward approach with clients and always goes the extra mile to get things done. Again, a very knowledgeable and approachable individual to work with.’

‘A truly expert boutique firm that outclasses many larger departments with their knowledge of employment and partnership disputes. They are at the forefront of some excellent networking and knowledge sharing initiatives.’

‘Clare Murray, Beth Hale and Sarah Chilton – all outstanding leaders in their field. ‘

‘Excellent team – very efficient, client focused. Always on the ball.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a Silicon Valley-based cyber security company on potential breach of confidentiality issues involving a UK employee, including related investigation and threatened litigation.
  • Advised a UK-headquartered multinational employer seeking strategic advice on labour relations issues in the UK and Europe inherited by the client from a prior business acquisition.
  • Advised an international law firm on employee allegations of bullying, discrimination and whistleblowing concerns relating to wider practices across the firm.

Dispute resolution > Professional discipline

The firm: CM Murray LLP is a leading specialist employment and partnership law firm which advises multi-national companies, professional partnerships and partners, senior executives and directors.

Preserving careers, Protecting reputations, Managing risk

Principal areas of work
Employment: The employment law practice focuses on advising overseas companies and senior executives, It advises overseas companies on all aspects of establishing, managing and, where necessary, restructuring their UK operations and has a market-leading reputation in advising UK and international senior executives on their appointment and termination arrangements (together with related contentious and non-contentious disputes). Advising on senior executive exits, high-value discrimination, sexual harassment and whistleblowing claims, team moves and enforcement of restrictive covenants is core to  the firm’s practice. Many of those employment law matters will have cross-border aspects, and the firm has extensive experience in handling cross-border and UK investigations and litigation. The firm successfully represented Public Concern at Work (as intervener) in the Court of Appeal in  the  two  leading whistleblowing cases of Chesterton Global v Nurmohamed (2017) (meaning of ‘in the public interest’) and Day v Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust (2017) (the junior doctor whistleblowing case).

Partnership law: The partnership law practice advises many international professional partnerships, LLPs and their equity partners (individually or collectively), on UK and cross-border partnership issues particularly in the legal, accounting, patent attorney and financial services sectors.

CM Murray LLP has market-leading expertise in partnership disputes and also partnership advisory and non-contentious work. The firm advises on partner departures, team moves, partner restrictive covenants, partner maternity arrangements, partner sexual harassment and other misconduct investigations discrimination and whistleblowing claims, and related litigation (including partnership arbitration).  The firm also has significant experience in advising the exiting partners of hedge funds. The firm successfully represented the intervener, Public Concern at Work, in the Supreme Court in Clyde & Co and Anor v Bates van Winkelhof (2014) which determined that LLP members are ‘workers’ for the purposes of whistleblowing (and related worker protections) including in relation to their exit arrangements and enforcement of restrictive covenants.

The firm’s non-contentious professional services advisory and LLP M&A practice advises on all aspects of non-contentious Partnership, LLP and M&A work, on a broad range of issues from governance, partner remuneration, internal restructuring, to joint ventures and LLP conversions. The firm specialises in professional services firm M&A and advises US firms on establishing SRA regulated operations in the UK. This is complemented by the multi-disciplinary partnership capability which the firm is able to provide through its membership of the Professional Practices Alliance (PPA), of which CM Murray LLP is a founding member.  The PPA is a multi-disciplinary alliance of leading independent advisers to professional services firms.  Managing partner Clare Murray was a founder member of the Association of Partnership Practitioners (APP): the leading UK Association for partnership advisers; Partner Esther Martin is a member of the current Management Committee of the APP.

International work: The firm is a founding member of international employment law alliance, Innangard, whose members are leading specialist employment law practices around the world:

CM Murray LLP has a market-leading reputation for its expertise in handling international and cross­-border employment and partnership law issues. Managing partner Clare Murray established and is past chair of XBHR, a global think tank for cross-border HR experts:  The firm regularly collaborates with overseas employment lawyers on client matters and international projects and has particularly strong links within the US.
All lawyers in the firm are active members of, and in many cases officeholders in, leading international associations including the American Bar Association (ABA), the International Bar Association (IBA), International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA), and the European Employment Lawyers Association (EELA). All lawyers in the firm regularly speak at international conferences on employment and partnership law matters.

Sectors: CM Murray LLP advises clients across a wide range of sectors, with particular expertise and experience within professional services and financial service sectors including law firms, accountancy firms, hedge funds, luxury brands, and technology, information and communication sectors.
The firm’s advice is strategic and pragmatic; its approach is direct, firm and focused squarely on achieving its clients’ commercial objectives and timescales.  Preservation of client reputation is a core objective of the firm at all times.

Sponsored briefing: ‘Fantastic boutique CM Murray dominates the market in the partnership space’

Managing Partner Clare Murray
Employment and Partnership law Clare Murray
Senior Executives Esther Martin
Senior Executives Samantha Mangwana
Multi-national Employers Anna Birtwistle
Multi-national Employers David Fisher
Partnership Disputes Clare Murray
Partnership Disputes Sarah Chilton
Non-contentious Partnership Zulon Begum
Clare Murray  photo Clare Murray Managing Partner
Number of UK partners : 7
Number of other UK fee-earners : 4
AIJA - International Association of Young Lawyers
American Bar Association (ABA)
IBA (International Bar Association)
Law Society of England and Wales
Law Society of Ireland

At CM Murray we value diversity and are committed to promoting diversity within the workplace by seeking to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly, with dignity and respect and by recognising and encouraging individual contribution within the Firm.

We aim to ensure that all decisions are taken without reference to irrelevant or discriminatory criteria. We have adopted a detailed Equality and Diversity Policy as a means of helping to achieve these aims. Our policy applies to dealings with clients and third parties as well as to internal matters.