Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP > Cambridge, England > Firm Profile

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Employment Tier 2

The Cambridge office of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP plays a key role in the firm-wide employment practice, which provides 'practical and usable advice while always being clear of the risks and benefits'. Practice head Hilary Aldred frequently advises clients in the technology and education sectors, though the firm also handles substantial matters in the life sciences industry and charity sector. Its work encompasses boardroom disputes, multinational reorganisations and redundancy programmes. Senior associates Sophie Whitbread, who is 'very commercial and focused with excellent case management', and Charissa Upton are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Aldred

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm offers practical and usable advice while always being clear of the risks and benefits of the various possible approaches to an issue. Their starting position is always what do we want to achieve as a client and helping us to achieve that rather than taking a strict legalistic approach.’

‘Hilary Aldred has unrivalled understanding of the higher education sector which enables her to understand the underlying issues and give realistic, pragmatic advice and options.’

‘Sophie Whitbread is a standout lawyer who managed the settlement agreement process admirably. Very commercial and focused. Excellent case management. She inspired confidence.’

‘Charissa Upton is organised, efficient, and commercial, while also being strong on the technical legal issues in the case.’

‘Sophie Whitbread’s business partnering approach is both highly effective and highly valued. She works with you as part of your team and is highly responsive.’

‘I mostly work with Hilary Aldred, Charissa Upton and Sophie Whitbread. They are uniformly excellent, responsive and considered in their approach.’

‘The employment team at Penningtons Manches Cooper is extremely competent and well led by Hilary Aldred. Always approachable and friendly, with quick turnaround on work when it is needed. They are a pleasure to work with.’

‘We work closely with Sophie Whitbread and have done for several years now. Her knowledge base is second to none and the advice given always based in reality which really helps when you are trying to run a business. Sophie is an excellent lawyer and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Abcam Plc

Ocado Central Services Ltd trading as Ocado

Christ Church Oxford

UCL Buisness Ltd

Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd

King’s College, London

Whiting & Partners

Fitzwilliam College

Vix Technology Ltd

The Company of Biologists

Lanson International UK Limited trading as Lanson Champagne

Work highlights

  • Advising Christ Church, Oxford on a very wide range of employment and related matters, many of which receive publicity in the national press.
  • Advising Ocado Central Services on a variety of employment queries and conducted employment tribunal litigation on its behalf.
  • Advising Cambridge-based listed company Abcam on a wide variety of employment issues, including on the HR aspects of acquisitions and on sensitive and high-profile employment disputes.

Real estate > Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is 'a forward-thinking firm focused on solutions rather than problems'. The firm-wide practice acts for global banks, developers, housing associations, science parks, colleges and high-net-worth individuals on complex transactions and property finance matters. Sarah Coates , who is known for her 'great clarity and proactivity', leads the practice and is supported by London-based social housing partner Mark Sellers, who frequently works from the Cambridge office. 'Courteous, responsive' senior associate Giorgia Clements frequently advises investors on the sale and purchase of property assets.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Coates

Other key lawyers:


‘We were particularly impressed with how team members were willing to work alongside each other throughout a process. At no point did we feel that there could be a hiatus in progressing matters. Progress and the ability to react and problem-solve were consistently achieved and partner oversight was ongoing throughout, rather than merely in the form of a final review. ’

‘Sarah Coates operates with great clarity and proactivity. Sarah is open, accessible and calm, as well as being technically and commercially astute.’

‘Giorgia Clements operates with an attention to detail that is both thorough and accompanied by a strong instinct towards problem-solving, where options are carefully considered and clearly laid out.’

‘Giorgia Clements. Good to have in your side. Careful attention to detail. Tenacious and accurate.’

‘This is a forward-thinking firm focused on solutions rather than problems. They are a pleasure to work with and we feel we are in safe hands working with them.’

‘The individuals we work with are professional and efficient. They have made the effort to understand our business and what we need as a company to get our jobs done.’

‘I have been extremely impressed with the Penningtons commercial property team in Cambridge. All of my work has been during lockdown and the speed and accuracy of the work hints at a very well resourced team of highly competent people.’

Key clients

Molecular Dimensions Limited

Wren Therapeutics Limited

Max Barney

Blues Property Limited

Rezatec Limited


Samsung Cambridge Solution Centre Ltd

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Biotechnology Tier 2

The Cambridge office of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP works closely with the team in Oxford to leverage its sectoral knowledge to assist more than 90 clients in the therapeutics, medical devices, agriculture and veterinary sectors. Cambridge-based practice co-head Rachel Bradley has significant in-house experience at a pharmaceutical company and now acts for high-profile companies and research institutions, among them Genestack, King’s College London and Wren Therapeutics Limited. Employment partner Hilary Aldred also plays a pivotal role in the practice, which clients describe as 'thorough, quick, and effective'.

Practice head(s):

Chris Shelley; Rachel Bradley


‘The team really get to know the business and the person they are dealing with so that fully understand the requirements and best way to deliver.’

‘They get to know the business and individuals but at the same time they do not pester or become overbearing.’

‘In my experience, this practice is unique in three main respects: – thorough, quick, and effective – excellent listening, isolation of difficulty to be solved, and clear inclusive presentation of solutions. It has a collaborative approach – the process between practice and client felt inclusive and transparent/quick and efficient inclusion of relevant colleagues when appropriate. The people are patient, approachable, proactive, inspire confidence, extremely competent, respectful and empathetic.’

‘Rachel Bradley delivers extremely clear, succinct, and efficient communication with a transparent and respectful approach. She is extremely helpful with prompt responses, and is genuine and supportive.’

Key clients

The Company of Biologists Limited


Applied Molecular Transport, Inc

Cytocell Limited

Wren Therapeutics Limited

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

Seisma Magazine

Metrion Biosciences

Abcam PLC

King’s College London

Atopix Therapeutics

Galvanize Bio Limited

Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies

Molecular Dimensions

Certis Europe B.V.

Work highlights

  • Advising Applied Molecular Transport, Inc as lead co-ordinator of the review of all European clinical trial agreements for the client, for trials to occur in sites across numerous countries in Europe.
  • For a research Institution, drafting a suite of template of templates to cover research: studentship agreement, master services agreement, NDAs consultancy agreements, sponsored research agreements and material transfer agreements.
  • Advising King’s College London on a manufacturing agreement, and associated quality agreement, for the production of GMP product with a King’s spin out company.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a six-partner IP practice across its London, Oxford and Cambridge offices, and it advises on patents, designs, trade marks, copyright and rights in confidential information, particularly in the publishing and life sciences sectors. The team combines specialists with contentious and non-contentious expertise and Rachel Bradley, who leads the Cambridge team, has more than 15 years’ experience, including a stint as corporate counsel for a pharmaceutical company. Associate Natasha Bowyer Irvine focuses on drafting commercial agreements, including IP licences, for clients in the life sciences sector.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Bradley

Other key lawyers:


‘Rachel Bradley has expertise in structuring supplier services agreements.’

‘Natasha Bowyer Irvine showed the dedication to include multiple features to a new agreement template.

Key clients

The Company of Biologists Limited

Cytocell Limited

Seisma Magazine Ltd

Wren Therapeutics Limited

Institution of Chemical Engineers

Cambridge Commodities Limited

King’s College London

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

Galvanize Bio Ltd

Cambridge Design Partnership

Genestack Limited

Oxford Cannabinoid Technology

Work highlights

  • Regularly advising The Company of Biologists on all of its commercial and IP issues, and drafting, amending and negotiating all of their commercial and IP agreements to ensure protection of its IP and interests.
  • Drafting a suite of templates to ensure  a research institute’s IP is properly protected in all of its collaborations with third parties.
  • Reviewed and advised the Institute of Chemical Engineers on its publishing agreement with a global publisher. This included reviewing the agreement, advising on the terms, and drafting amendments.

Corporate and commercial > M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 2

Jointly led by Matthew Martin and Guildford-based Simon Bickerdike, the M&A practice at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP works with a number of high-net-worth entrepreneurs, owner-managed businesses, investors and publicly-listed companies on a range of transactions. The team is regularly sought out by clients with significant offshore interests. Martin, who also serves as co-head of the firm's fashion, luxury and lifestyle sector group, has been a driving force behind the increasing volume of accelerated sales, restructurings and reorganisations, while Seb Orton's cross-sector experience encompasses IPOs, secondary fundraisings and public company takeovers. Michaela Britton  is a key figure for cross-border corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Martin; Simon Bickerdike

Other key lawyers:

Seb Orton; Michaela Britton


‘This practice is unique due to its personal touch. The team truly understands the minutiae of deals and is able to explain them in a coherent and pleasant manner. The practice ensures that all parts of the deal are carefully considered so that there are no last minute hold ups.’

‘I work very closely with Michaela Britton. She stands out as she is very approachable, easy to work with, easy to develop a professional relationship with. Her biggest attribute is that she is able to get the job done as well as keeping me up-to-date with all matter relating to the structure.’

‘The team consists of highly skilled professionals, good to cooperate with.’

Key clients

Tough Mudder UK

Doree Bonner Holdings

Needle & Thread

BM Advisory

Transearch International Partners Limited

HBL Bank UK Limited

SkinBioTherapeutics plc


Peel Hunt


Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is 'very strong across the board in commercial dispute resolution'. It has a number of specialist areas, including general commercial litigation, group actions, banking and finance disputes, reputation management and digital assets. Other areas of note concern product liability, regulatory disputes and IP/IT disputes. Cross-border disputes are another driver of activity, with recent work involving areas such as India and South America. Practice head Rustam Dubash (who also leads the India group) has approximately 30 years of experience of UK and cross-border litigation. David Niven regularly acts for claimants in multi-party actions against solicitors and other professionals. Alex Fox leads the business and finance disputes team; Richard Marshall is international litigation head, while Philip D’Costa leads the firm's IP and IT disputes offering. David O’Brien is 'well-prepared and quick to respond', according to a client. Senior associates Charlotte Hill and Harriet Vidot are also recommended. Kamran Rehman recently joined from Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Practice head(s):

Rustam Dubash


Very strong across the board in commercial dispute resolution and extremely good at finding commercial solutions to thorny legal problems.

They never wavered in their objective, they kept to the agreed scope of work, they were upfront about all costs, they kept to timings, they responded to individual queries without exception, and they acted absolutely in our best interests at all time.

They consider each individual case, and take the time to respond to personal queries and concerns. They showed unwavering support and stuck to their word in all respects.

They provided constant guidance and feedback, while delivering professional service that was of a high quality. I was always fully apprised of the status of the matter in which they acted for me, and any questions raised were answered promptly and efficiently by an appropriate member of the team.

David Niven is effective, fast and quick to the point. He explains the possible outcomes, which lead me to have a good understanding of the procedure and expectation. He is also considerate to the client in terms of fees and time.

David O’Brien is well-prepared, and quick to respond and advise on all aspects of the dispute. He pointed out the pros and cons involved and, unlike some legal advisors, does not tell his clients only what they want to hear.

Richard Marshall gets the job done. Terrier-like and tenacious, so as to achieve excellent results for clients.

Alex Fox and senior associate Charlotte Hill stand out as people you can depend upon for an honest appraisal of the direction of a case.

Key clients

Dr Mohamed El Haddad

Hope Capital

Social Money (t/a BridgeCrowd)

Cutlers Holdings

Scarborough Group International

Work highlights

  • Acted for a Chinese investor on its response to a put option notice demanding £20m cash by an investor.
  • Acting for Dr Mohamed El Haddad, a UK-based property developer, who is bringing a £1bn partnership claim in the High Court against several members of Dubai’s ruling elite.
  • Acting for Cutlers Holdings and Scarborough Group International, the claimants in respect of a professional negligence claim brought against a law firm for breach of contract, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

Dispute resolution > Commodities disputes Tier 2

The international trade and commodities group at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is heavily involved in cases concerning soft commodities, metals, mining, oil and gas and trade finance. Its diverse client base includes Czarnikow Group and the British Coffee Association. The firm acts across the supply chain, from producers through to trading companies and end-users, though it is particular focused on acting for trading companies and financing banks. George Mingay (who is 'measured, thoughtful and calm under pressure') and Mark Sachs jointly lead the 'quick, practical and knowledgeable' team, in which key partner Lisa Hillary plays a central role.

Practice head(s):

George Mingay; Mark Sachs

Other key lawyers:


‘Very practical approach and commercially attuned. Good quality and consistency.’

‘Penningtons has a very good reputation in commodities disputes, both on the oil side as well as grains.’

‘The teams I have interacted with for advice and service have always been well informed and sympathetic to the matter and delivered on a timely basis. They have consistently given strong professional and considered advice.’

‘I am particularly impressed by George Mingay, who is a great lawyer, measured, thoughtful and calm under pressure. He always thinks through issues and works closely with other members of the team, including counsel, to achieve the best possible result for the client.’

‘I have been particular grateful to have George Mingay, who has been outstanding in looking after my interests. He has always been available to explain the legalities of the process.’

‘Highly professional and experienced people, able to understand and analyse quickly the problem, providing replies without losing time with details, going straight to the point, anticipating issues which may be raised by counterparties, with the ability to clearly explain complex matters involving various different jurisdictions, and able to work under pressure remaining calm.’

Key clients

Czarnikow Group Limited

British Coffee Association

Employment > Employees/unions Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's team has a strong pedigree for acting for trade unions, staff associations, employees and union members. It notably excels in cases concerning industrial actions and other collective labour law issues, including reorganisations and mass redundancies. It is also experienced in discrimination and whistleblowing claims. Reflective of the breadth of expertise at the firm, the group in London includes practitioners with specialist knowledge of police injury pensions, issues arising from ill health retirement and judicial reviews, as well as Employment Tribunal claims. The team is prominent in group actions and other novel, precedent-setting cases. In 2020, Binder Bansel led the advice to the Communications Workers Union (CWU) on a high-profile challenge of an injunction preventing industrial action by Royal Mail workers over the Christmas period in 2019 and the general election. In addition, he represented the claimant in Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, a test case on pay and treatment parity between mothers and fathers sharing parental leave. Anthea Christie and recently promoted senior associate Clare Walsh are other key individuals.

Practice head(s):

Binder Bansel

Other key lawyers:


Binder Bansel is an excellent communicator. Easy to discuss issues with him.’

This firm has an innovative and diverse practice, combining a commercial approach with a broad trade union based practice. Clients include the Police Federation and the Communication Workers Union.’

Anthea Christie. Great team player and very switched on.’

Certainly on the claimant side, Penningtons is my favourite firm to work with.’

They are a top notch set of individual lawyers each of whom are extremely adept in the field of employment law (employees/unions) They are at the forefront of employment and discrimination law, creative innovators who are not afraid to challenge and take on thorny issues including appealing novel areas of law.’

The whole team are very approachable, which stems from the partners and the leadership within the team. They speak openly and concisely regarding claims and advise on all aspects and do not hold anything back but they do it in a way that clients understand an except even when the advice is difficult for clients to hear.’

Key clients

Police Federation of England & Wales

Communications Workers Union (CWU)

Civil Nuclear Police Federation

United Road Transport Union

First Division Association

Police Superintendents’ Association

Association of School & College Leaders

National Association of Schoolmasters & Union of Women Teachers

Work highlights

  • Handling a test claim for hundreds of sub-postmasters seeking to establish worker status in the wider economy.
  • Acted for the claimant in Geldart v the Commissioner of the City of London in a successful claim for direct sex discrimination. The EAT upheld the decision in the Claimant’s favour and the matter was recently heard before the Court of Appeal. The case relates to payments made whilst an officer is on maternity leave and the outcome of this case may impact on every police officer in the Metropolitan Police and City of London seeking to take maternity leave.
  • Representing approximately 38,000 police officers in claims for discrimination arising from the transitional provisions of the Police Pension Regulations 2015. The case will consider the government’s proposed remedy and whether this is sufficient.

Employment > Senior executives Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a ‘great team with exceptional technical knowledge‘ and is sought after for high-profile, complex whistleblowing cases. It has a strong track record for being able to negotiate complex exits, and defending clients against injunctions. Its clients come from multi-national and listed companies and it has considerable expertise in the financial sector. Paul Mander leads the group (London and nation-wide) and assists clients at the CEO level in relation to exit packages and a range of discrimination matters. Andrew Haywood‘s practice includes acting for sports managers, while Tom Walker acts for board members and directors, especially in the finance industry; Walker and senior associate Sarah Mant are highlighted for their ‘exceptional technical knowledge particularly in whistleblowing cases‘. Nick Humphries, ‘who knows dispute management inside out‘ can advise on international employment issues and also advises senior sports professionals. As an ‘outstanding and talented professional’, senior associate Hester Jewitt‘s work includes defending against performance and misconduct allegations, and handling post-termination restrictions.

Practice head(s):

Paul Mander

Other key lawyers:


‘I had the pleasure of working with Paul Mander, who represented me. He was highly professional and managed to get the result I wished for in a timely manner. The human touch, empathy towards clients, excellent results, regular updates and very good advice. I will always recommend this firm.’

‘Have young members in the team who are helping to generate creatively  good technological ideas from system point of view. They use a personal approach, great communications skills and fast reactions.’

‘Penningtons and in particular, Paul Mander, was a recommendation from another law firm. My goodness, we were grateful to get this contact as Paul was EXACTLY what we needed. Paul Mander is a responsive, fast, knowledgeable and entertaining partner. His work for me was exemplary and fast and cost effective.’

‘I worked directly with Sarah Mant and her team. They were responsive, supportive and acted in both a timely manner with a proportional and appropriate outcome in mind. Sarah appreciated that I wanted my situation closed quickly with maximal benefit given the time. Sarah delivered on this.’

‘Primarily I worked with Hester Jewitt. She is an outstanding lawyer and a clearly talented professional who I believe will progress far and quickly. She is detail oriented, experienced and yet impressively efficient with time. She has a deep understanding of dealing with Employment matters in the alternative investment space, especially Hedge Funds.’

‘Andrew Haywood was the partner I dealt with and literally after one initial conversation with him, I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. He gave me rock solid advice and over a matter of just a few weeks turned my situation around with a great package and with my dignity in tact and my mental health restored.’ 

‘I have worked principally with Nick Humphreys. Nick gives every case his all. You get his energy, his considerable experience, his deft business judgment and his good humour.’

‘High quality firm able to deal with all issues that may arise for senior execs, from injunctive proceedings, to ET proceedings, and everything in between. Good pragmatic advice which is solutions focused. Nick Humphreys – knows dispute management inside out. Highly responsive and pragmatic. Clients love him. He really gets results and clients come back time and again. Pleasure to work with.’

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP acts for an array of HNW individuals, families, trusts and estates on a broad variety of claims. The majority of its cases have a cross-border component. Head of team Michael Cash specialises in breach of trust claims as well as other areas such as contentious applications in the Court of Protection and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975. Sarah Lee is recommended for her work on international and domestic claims over disputed wills, trust and estate administration as well as Inheritance Act claims. Lee’s practice also covers the interaction between estate law and Human Rights claims in the context of estate litigation. Henrietta Mason is now at Farrer & Co.

Practice head(s):

Michael Cash

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Lee; Sian Hodgson; Sarah Arnold


PMC’s private client team has an impressive roster of matters. The team is of very high quality, from the partners at the top, to the newest associates. Michael Cash is a partner with a deservedly high profile. He commands respect and fights tenaciously for his clients. Sian Hodgson is a very able associate.’

Sarah Arnold is wonderfully empathetic with her clients and very sensible with her opponents.’

‘Sarah Lee is excellent. An absolute pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable in this area of practice. She is supported by some first-rate colleagues too.’

‘Sarah Arnold – supremely knowledgeable, accessible, flexible and friendly. Incredibly client focused and savvy.’

We really appreciate the practical advice that Penningtons Manches Cooper provides our clients, either when we have a conflict so cannot act ourselves or where the team has more experience or expertise on a particular area. We work with Michael Cash, who is very sound, sensible and helpful.’

‘A heavyweight private client team to which former members have returned. Sarah Lee is a young partner who has always impressed me; she is extremely efficient and has very good judgement. Sarah Arnold is similarly impressive and is a future partner. Michael Cash runs the ship and remains as influential in the field as ever.’

‘Michael Cash is the leading partner, and now something of an elder, experienced statesman in the field. Handles sensitive clients and disputes very well. Sarah Lee has a real ability to drive litigation forward and get to the crux of matters sooner rather than later.’

‘An esteemed name for trust litigation, the lawyers have experience of acting in many high-profile, high-stakes, and highly-sensitive or complex cases. Mike Cash – one of the statesmen of trust litigation, he has excellent experience and an exceptional stomach for the fight. Sarah Lee – savvy and the right blend of personable and assertive in her approach to litigation. A very safe pair of hands.’

Key clients

Administrator for the estate of His Exalted Highness the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad

Patrik Schumacher

Savernake estate

The Receiver and Manager of Darrel Evans dec’d

Administrator of Prince Abbasi Estate

Tim and Marina Cowan

Work highlights

  • Acting for the administrator of the 7th Nizam’s estate in the long running dispute over £35m held by National Westminster Bank that was deposited in 1948. This is a particularly high profile case in India.
  • Acting for Patrik Schumacher on his application to remove his co-executors (Lord Palumbo, Brian Clarke and Rana Hadid) from acting as executors of the estate of Zaha Hadid, the internationally distinguished architect. The case has been the source of a great deal of press interest.
  • Acting as a Trustee for the Savernake estate and dealing with the well-publicised ongoing issues arising out of the trust.

Private client > Court of protection Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP regularly acts as a professional deputy or trustee for individuals who have received an award due to a personal injury or clinical negligence claim. Julie Burton leads a ‘very experienced‘ team that has a broad client base of children and adults with acquired brain injuries and other injuries across the UK and internationally. It also manages the estates of some of its elderly clients. In addition it receives a regular flow of referrals directly from the Court of Protection on various contentious and complex matters. It currently has 130 deputyship matters; 40 trust matters and three matters where Burton has been appointed attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney. Daniel Toop is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Julie Burton

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Toop; Rachel Taylor; Grace Serwanga; James Berry


‘The team is strongly led by Julie Burton who has a wealth of experience. She is assisted by Danny Toop who is also highly regarded. They are panel deputies and also deal with large catastrophic claims. Therefore they can deal with everything from the smaller issues to the much larger ones but everything is dealt with professionally. Julie Burton is a stand out partner. She is very experienced and deals with matters with kindness and compassion‘.

‘It is an extremely approachable team. Nothing is too much trouble. The team seems to be well organised and proactive. The lawyers really are a pleasure to work with. Julie Burton – not only is she incredibly nice and down to earth, she also knows the law, the procedure and the practice inside out. I love working with Julie, she is so calm and has the ability of explaining complex and daunting concepts to clients with ease and simplicity. She is fantastic at thinking outside the box‘.

‘Daniel Toop is a rising star. Extremely professional and kind, but expert in his field. Rachel Taylor – Rachel is fantastic. She has great experience and she is very proactive. Nothing is too much trouble‘.

Penningtons is a large firm with particular expertise in Court of Protection work. It has an excellent team, with real strength in depth which makes it an obvious choice for high-value settlements. The lawyers are flexible in their approach and determined to secure the best quality of life for the clients that they support. Julie Burton leads a formidable team with fellow partner Daniel Toop ably backed up by senior associates Rachel Taylor and Grace Serwanga. You will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced team of practitioners in this specialist area‘.

Julie Burton has built-up and runs a delightful tight ship; over the years she has chosen and nurtured a fantastic, long-lasting and experienced team, which makes clients and their solicitors feel they are in safe, reliable and dependable hands. Julie Burton and Daniel Toop are the outstanding members of the team, willing to think outside the box and treat each client as an individual. I have never had any trouble getting hold of either of them when their advice is urgently needed‘.

I have also instructed Julie Burton as an expert witness giving evidence on the likely costs of CoP and Deputyship work – very balanced and sensible advice, based on her practical experience as a Deputy, and knows exactly when to stand her ground in expert witness meetings and when to concede a point. She has unerring judgment‘.

Daniel Toop always has a good understanding of his clients and their families, and their individual preferences. He is generally able to navigate difficult discussions and decisions and reach a compromise where there is a difference in opinion. He listens to guidance and input from other professionals to aid decision making around expenditure. He is always thorough in considering cost effectiveness and is able to see the ‘big picture’ and weigh up information based on previous experiences with the client and what lies ahead in the future‘.

‘Rachel Taylor – I have always found her to be approachable, flexible and supportive. She is supportive of my recommendations if she feels they are in the client’s interests, and has been flexible in her working approach in order to meet client circumstances‘.

Private client > Family Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP received two successful Supreme Court judgements in 2020 and has already had some success in 2021 in the High Court. It is skilled at advising trustees, family offices and other third parties in financial remedy proceedings and is experienced at advising co-habitants too. The team has vast expertise in cases involving the international relocation of children. It receives plaudits for advising on the whole spectrum of family dispute resolution including collaborative law, mediation and arbitration. Jane Craig and James Stewart head the department that has a considerable international practice. The practice has an excellent reputation for managing Part 111 claims arising from foreign divorces. It ‘offers a consistently excellent client service. The firm has a number of very strong and experienced partners’.

Practice head(s):

Jane Craig (head of department); James Stewart (co-head of private wealth sector)

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Carlyon; Anna Worwood; Amanda Andrews; Edward Floyd; Gillian Rivers; Elizabeth Carson; Kate Molan; Tammy Knox; Lucy Clark; Linzi Bull


‘An excellent firm with an excellent reputation. This firm has a wide breadth of individuals to suit any case – from the complex, high net worth case to the more straightforward middle money case. Jane Craig has a wealth of experience dealing with complex, big money cases. She is completely unflappable and is a real character in the financial remedy world- she is great fun to work with; but irritatingly persistent if she is on the other side. Elizabeth Carson – a serene influence on a case. Very good at handling difficult cases with vulnerable clients. She is immensely supportive of the client and of everyone else on the legal team (including counsel) and is a pleasure to work for‘.

What makes this firm unique is that every single one of its partners and juniors are first class. There is no ‘weak link’. Everyone is simply excellent. The ethos is very much one of a team and the family department has a collaborative and close relationship with other departments within the firm, and often brings in their expertise in cases when required. Furthermore, it is a firm that excels in international family law matters, in large part because of James Stewart’s longstanding editorship of “Family Global Guide” now covering 56 jurisdictions and also because of the fact many of the partners are members of the IAFL (international academy of family lawyers)’.

‘James Stewart – a guru of international family law. Jane Craig – one of the best head of departments in the country. Edward Floyd – knows the papers back to front and pays forensic attention to detail which is much needed in financially complex cases. Elizabeth Carson – my go to for Anglo-American divorces and incredibly kind, empathetic and calm even when under pressure. Anna Worwood – my go to for international relocation or cases where both child arrangements and financial expertise is needed. Kate Molan – extremely hardworking, intelligent and a very safe pair of hands‘.

This team goes from strength to strength and has real depth of talent. Probably one of the best teams in London. To name but a few – Anna Worwood and Lucy Clarke are superb practitioners. Anna Worwood is at the top of her game with an enviable client list. She has great experience but also excellent judgement and the best client care skills of anyone in London. She is also smart and canny. Lucy is super efficient and has a mastery of every detail of her case‘.

Penningtons Manches Cooper has a powerhouse team of lawyers that are leaders in the field across multiple areas of children law. It always goes the extra mile to provide a Rolls Royce service to clients, which translates to exceptional preparation of cases for trial’.

‘James Stewart – a leading light in international family law. He is a stalwart of the IAFL and regularly presents papers both in England and abroad on complicated family law issues. He fights extremely hard for his clients, often in very sensitive and difficult situations.  Anna Worwood – supremely tactical in her approach, she always thinks two steps ahead and achieves excellent outcomes for her clients as a consequence‘.

The team was fantastic, its connections are second to none, it deals with the top barristers in family law, and made the effort to ensure that we had the right candidate for the job. Tammy Knox was absolutely invaluable to me throughout my process. She was always on hand if I needed anything, with a swift response time and even responding on days off or weekends if it was urgent. Her knowledge is fantastic and she managed to make sure that this was a stress less as possible for myself. Anna Worwood was just as brilliant and understanding, always available when Tammy wasn’t, and her knowledge and expertise are outstanding. Both Tammy and Anna have a fantastic client manner, but they are realistic and give you the likely outcome, regardless of whether it would be what you want to hear or not. Their advice has been fantastic‘.

I have used Rebecca Carlyon for legal matters over the course of several years. No matter how much time has gone between our meetings, she has always been warm, empathetic, and absolutely up-to-date on all the ins and outs of my complex case. I have particularly appreciated the fact that Ms. Carlyon is not only an extremely expert legal professional, but also has excellent interpersonal skills – an absolutely vital combination in the sector of family law’.

Transport > Travel Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a 'broad range of knowledge' in travel litigation, with a varied caseload covering road traffic accident claims as well as cases involving incidents which occurred while on holiday or working abroad. The 'very knowledgeableMark Lee heads the practice and is experienced in advising on catastrophic injury claims, including those concerning complex and traumatic brain injuries. Lee has handled cases in multiple jurisdictions, but is particularly well known for his expertise in claims involving Spain, and is a fluent Spanish speaker. Warren Collins has a similar background but has a greater focus on claims involving the US.

Practice head(s):

Mark Lee

Other key lawyers:


‘Key experience from a long-established and stable team who understand their specialism and are able to work in line with commercial agreements in an efficient and pragmatic manner.’

‘Mark Lee is very knowledgeable and has the ability to deliver clear instructions in an easy-to-understand manner for both experienced and inexperienced personnel. He is also very accessible and happy to spend time on understanding the impact of changes on specific sectors.’

‘A solid claimant travel law offering, with a good breadth of experience and the ability to handle the full range of cases.’

‘The team has a solid insurer client base and claims referrals network and benefits from being part of one of the biggest full-service names in the legal sector.’

‘Mark Lee has fantastic human intelligence, lots of experience, is prompt in his client engagement, a real pleasure to deal with and leads his team with commercial nous and acumen.’

‘Penningtons have a travel team experienced in dealing with cross-border litigation.’

‘They have a broad range of knowledge and provide insightful advice. It is a professional but friendly team who we can rely on to meet often tight deadlines. They offered flexibility and understanding when accommodating changes to our business brought about by the pandemic.’

‘The team is experienced, approachable, and combines private client-style client care with specialist cross-border personal injury knowledge.’

Key clients

Allianz Legal Protection

Travel Insurance Facilities

UK General



Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of a claimant who sustained catastrophic injuries in a road traffic accident in France.
  • Acting for an individual who suffered catastrophic injuries resulting in a spinal cord injury following a fall in Greece.
  • Acted for Carnival in the defence of a personal injury claim pursued by a passenger injured during an on-shore excursion.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP‘s corporate team attracts numerous high-net-worth entrepreneurs and investors, as well as clients in the technology and healthcare industry. The firm merged with Thomas Cooper LLP  in 2019, and since then has been growing its international client base. Simon Bickerdike leads the corporate team with Matthew Martin, and often advises on multi-jurisdictional transactions. Described as ‘fiercely intellectual‘, David Kendall has particular expertise in the technology and private wealth sectors, and Philip Walton is skilled at advising healthcare professionals.Not a lot of international stuff in the submission this year unlike the year before, and the matters are not particularly complex. They now look out of place in T1, so have swapped them around with Brachers. Other firms have complained that they are too small to be in T1 (they were the smallest). Have moved down to T2 this year.

Practice head(s):

Simon Bickerdike; Matthew Martin

Other key lawyers:

David Kendall; Philip Walton; Hannah McIlwraith


‘The Penningtons team, led by David Kendall, provides us with a full legal service to support us on transactions such as acquisitions and corporate restructuring. The team stands out for being responsive and its commercial and practical advice. They represent good value and are very approachable. We value the excellent service we receive from Penningtons and enjoy working with them.’

‘The corporate department has a sense of purpose which combines the needs of clients and the individuals therein with a clear commercial understanding ensuring that all parties are broadly aligned. This is especially important when things don’t go to plan.’

‘A team of professionals at the top of their respective fields all working cohesively together as one.’

‘Local, friendly, approachable.’

‘Standout team members are David Kendall, who always provides pragmatic and commercial advice and delivers solutions to difficult problems – David is as good as any magic circle partner, he is worth every penny and understands our business.’

‘Simon Bickerdike is highly regarded by clients, is a clear thinker, proactive and user-friendly.’

‘David Kendall stands out head and shoulders above any other lawyer I have ever worked with. His personable demeanour works and its genuinely given but when required, David has cast-iron tenacity and if asked to describe him I would say he was fiercely intellectual.’

‘Philip Walton made me feel like a member of his family, and I have no doubt that Phil had my very best interest at heart right the way along.’

Key clients

Elixirr International plc

Group Positive Limited

Axian Consulting Ltd

Oversight Board UK

Artemis Venue Services Ltd

Wirehive Limited

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineers

The Hub Pharmacy Limited

Whitepost Group Ltd

Whitespace Limited

Thatcham Research

Accelerate Group Limited

Rebottling Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Elixirr International plc in its pre-IPO group restructure.
  • Acting for the shareholders of Wirehive Limited in their sale to Pax8 UK Limited.
  • Advised the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineers on changes to its constitution and Brexit-related matters.

Employment > Employment: Hampshire Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP handles a comprehensive range of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters, ranging from contracts and consultancy agreements to TUPE transfers, boardroom disputes, and discrimination claims. Former practice head David Bickford has now retired.

Employment > Pensions Tier 2

With a wide range of clients in the private wealth, education, not for profit and public services sectors, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP offers a well-rounded pensions offering, focusing primarily on transactional matters. Maria Riccio specialises in assisting clients with defined benefit schemes and contentious matters, while Clare Coley is noted for her expertise in defined contribution and auto-enrolment matters.

Practice head(s):

Maria Riccio

Other key lawyers:

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 2

Reading-based banking and finance specialist John Chater is the main contact at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP. His varied portfolio of work covers acquisition finance (including transactions with a private equity element), real estate investment finance, development finance and general corporate banking. In 2020, Chater was part of a cross-office group which advised Jacob Carr Homes (Poole Quay) Limited as the borrower on a facility to allow for the development of 64 private residential units & ground floor commercial premises. Other highlights included handling borrower-side mandates connected with sectors such as social housing, healthcare and hospitality. The firm is also heavily involved in work for lenders and counts a sizeable number of UK and international banks as clients.

Practice head(s):

John Chater


‘They have taken the time to know our business well and the way we operate.’

‘Approachable, friendly and willing to engage with both ourselves and the client to ‘hold hands’ and guide, as much as manage the legal aspects.’

‘Good knowledge of the local market. Ability to take a commercial stance/view and communicate their reasonings.’

‘Associates are very good and readily available. Billing transparency is excellent.’

‘The firm offers the services of a Silver Circle firm, but is more cost-efficient’

‘John Chater is very commercial and precise.’

‘The firm seems to have transitioned seamlessly through the past twelve months to continue to offer an excellent service. Meetings have been offered by telephone or online platforms and have functioned very smoothly. We have been particularly grateful for the content being shared by the whole firm, including several insightful guides, all of which have been particularly topical over the past twelve months. They’re an excellent team who are personable and a pleasure to work with.’

‘John Chater has been our main point of contact within the banking and finance team. He has always made himself available, even at very short notice, and no query is ever too much trouble for him. He is extremely knowledgeable and has a superb team around him to offer support in other areas of the firm, regularly introducing other experts from across the firm who are equally adept and responding to any queries we have.’

Key clients

HSBC UK Bank plc

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Santander UK plc

Gresham Road Limited

Jacob Carr Homes (Poole Quay) Limited

Bangkok Bank Public Limited Company

The College of St. Peter Le Bailey (University of Oxford)

Knowsley (Image Business Park) Ltd

Link Asset Services

Apex Corporate Trustees

Work highlights

  • Advised AIB Group UK plc on its complex (c.£25.5m) facility with a well-known name in the construction industry.
  • Acted for Hightown Housing Association on its £125m revolving credit facility.
  • Advised The College of St. Peter Le Bailey (University of Oxford) on its private placement.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP advises individuals, families and business owners based in the UK and internationally on the full range of private client needs. Lucy Edwards leads the team in Guildford after moving there from London; she has expertise in estate and succession planning for UK and international clients. Adrian Moss leads a team which provides accounting and tax and trust compliance service to clients including trustees, executors and individuals. Associate director Hannah Gearey handles complex offshore probate and philanthropy matters.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Moss; Hannah Gearey; Elizabeth Nicholas; Vanessa Riley


‘The firm are professional, personable and caring. I genuinely feel they put the customer at the heart of all they do. This has not only been my experience but also the same constantly high standard service and experience of my friends, family and colleagues who I have recommended to Penningtons Manches Cooper.’

‘Clarity of advice, availability and always willing to ensure every issue is thoroughly thought through and perfectly explained.’

‘As a team, they are brilliant at joining the dots which means the client experience is seamless. I’ve always had a point of contact at Penningtons and they’ve ensured the internal navigation is completed on my behalf. I also think one of Pennington’s particular strengths is listening. They are so good at truly listening to you, even when you’re grieving and distressed. From the moment you walk through the door to sitting down with lots of potentially scary lawyers, they make you feel in safe hands. And the reality was, I was in the safest of hands. They’re an amazing group of people and I can’t thank them enough.’

‘Their compassion and empathy is incredible and a rarity within their profession. They bring an immense amount of expertise, patience and professionalism to each interaction with the client, whether that’s on the phone, in person or in writing. I valued the speed and brevity at which they managed each of my circumstances – they always responded to emails promptly, thoroughly and on-point. Crucially, all costs/fees were transparent throughout – no bill shock.’

‘This is the best private client team outside central London and possibly outside the magic circle, full stop.’

‘Lucy Edwards leads the team and is a top-class private client lawyer.’

‘Vanessa Riley is superb at explaining extremely complex areas of law which enabled me to keep fully across what we were doing and why. She also has a wicked sense of humour, which massively helps when you want to cry, scream or both!’

‘Elizabeth Nicholas is the most impressive solicitor in the private client arena below partner level I have ever worked with. She is always pragmatic, determined and persuasive. She achieves solutions for clients that other could not through a combination of strategic thinking and technical expertise.’

Public sector Tier 2

The team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has extensive experience advising a broad range of education and public sector clients, including several Russell Group universities and independent schools. The team advises on specialist issues for public sector clients, such as governance and safeguarding, while also offering general legal advice on a broad range of matters, drawing on the wider firm's capabilities. Oxford-based education co-head Daff Richardson has significant employment law expertise which allows her to provide advice on developing areas of employment law and to handle sensitive individual and collective employee relations in the education sector.

Practice head(s):

Daff Richardson

Key clients

St Mary’s University Twickenham

City & Guilds

Magdalen College, Oxford

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys and Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls

Wellington College

St David’s School

The Oratory Schools Association

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

Merton College, Oxford

Oxford University Press

King’s College, London

Work highlights

  • Reviewed disciplinary and grievance procedures and provided bespoke training to senior management to Magdalen College, Oxford.
  • Acting in complex litigation including coordination of multiple consolidated claims for a group of Oxford Colleges.
  • Acting as Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys and School for Girls go-to employment advisors, including advice in relation to Covid-security and furlough leave.

Real estate > Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP advises clients on the full spectrum of real estate matters, with a particularly strong offering in the retail, leisure, education and life sciences sectors. Simon Knott leads the Oxford practice, regularly acting for large corporate tenants with fast 'roll out' programmes in the retail and leisure sector, including convenience stores and drive-thrus. Other key members of the team include Justin Winterbottom, who is a specialist in portfolio management issues, and associate Laura Gorman, who leads on high-value transactional work relating to commercial developments, student accommodation and care homes.

Practice head(s):

Simon Knott


‘All of our work is directly overseen by one of the firm’s partners. Simon Knott and his team in the Oxford office deal with our extensive list of day-to-day real estate matters. Always efficient with excellent communication between their in-house team.’

‘The blend of commercialism, professionalism and understanding of their client. Open, friendly, and will challenge decisions where appropriate.’

‘Always there to get the job done and deliver exceptional standards of delivery even in difficult and time-critical circumstances.’

‘Led by Simon Knott, all of his team are diligent, intelligent, friendly, astute and commercially minded.’

‘Laura Gorman has undertaken some very important work for us on the estate and has ensured excellent delivery and also managed to keep me calm in the process. Her work for us has been exceptional without fail and I could not recommend her highly enough.’

Key clients

Frontier Estates Limited

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals

The Oratory Schools Association

Fortitudo Homes Limited

White Stuff Clothing

23.5 Degrees Limited (t/a Starbucks)


Kensaltown Recording Studios Limited

St Peter’s College


Leyland SDM

Grafton Group

Hitachi Vantara

Work highlights

  • Assisting Fortitudo Limited with 24 different developments, each site is in various stages of the development process, from land acquisition to sale.
  • Acting for The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals in respect of an option agreement with a housebuilder relating to a 134-acre development site that has the potential to supply a significant number of new homes for the local community.
  • Acting for a national Starbucks franchisee on all of its property matters, including new drive-thru stores which are designed and built for the client, by developers.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's team has been occupied by a high volume of COVID-related work, advising its sizeable retail and leisure client base on a litany of business-critical landlord and tenant matters, including break options, early lease terminations and insolvencies. Contested lease renewals on behalf of office and industrial property clients have similarly proven to be a burgeoning source of work. Practice head John Morrison handles the full range of commercial and residential disputes, most notably for educational institutes and life sciences companies in and around Oxford. Amy Evans is noted for her niche agricultural focus, and often works with the firm’s social housing team, advising various housing associations on statutory lease extensions, enfranchisements and rights of first refusal. Roberta Bombaci is recommended for her experience in easement disputes and TOLATA cases. All named lawyers are based in Oxford.

Practice head(s):

John Morrison

Other key lawyers:


‘Exceptionally competent and informative.’

John Morrison has always been exceptional.’

‘The team always provide prompt, insightful advice on matters with clear information and guidance so that I’m able to make informed decisions as needed.’

‘John Morrison is incredibly knowledgeable and personable. It is a pleasure to work alongside him. He deals with matters swiftly and is able to add valuable insights based on his extensive experience.’

‘I work with Amy Evans on a regular basis and she is able to provide valuable information in the context needed for the client. She is always keen to ensure that I’m happy with the knowledge provided. Time-critical matters are always dealt with impeccably and there is absolute confidence in things being handed with the necessary due diligence. ’

‘John Morrison provides a diligent and calm presence, and is excellent at providing commercial advice often at short notice.’

‘The team are simply fantastic. A major player in the property litigation sphere; their continued growth and impressive portfolio of clients speaks to the quality of the lawyers they have.’

Key clients

Flight Centre (UK) Limited

Frontier Estates Ltd

Elis UK Limited (part of Elis S.A.)

White Stuff Limited

Gordon Murray Automotive Limited

Fortitudo Limited

Somerville College, University of Oxford

St Peter’s College, University of Oxford

23.5 Degrees (Starbucks’ franchisee)

Real estate > Social housing Tier 2

The social housing team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP draws on both its national network of offices and unique regional expertise in home ownership, securitisation, and portfolio management to advise registered providers and local authorities on high-value financings and transactions. Practice head Linda Storey chiefly handles acquisitions, disposals, planning agreements and leasing matters, while Reading-based Eugene Wojciechowski – who is well versed in unlawful discrimination claims – helms the firm’s social housing employment offering. Charlotte D’Avola is the lead for housing securitisation and portfolio work, specialising in major facility agreements and asset management matters. Laura McCann and Graham Phillips act for housing providers in the sale and purchase of affordable housing units. All named lawyers are based in Basingstoke unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Linda Storey

Other key lawyers:

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property Tier 2

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is one of the largest firms in the Thames Valley region and uses its multiple offices to provide an extremely broad IP offering. Chris Shelley is a name to note in the Oxford office; a specialist in patent licensing, Shelley is active in the life science and engineering sectors and is consulted by universities and their spin out companies. In Reading, Joanne Vengadesan has a strong reputation in the tech sector and also handles GDPR compliance issues, while Daniel Berry 's practice spans contentious and non-contentious issues. Regards associates, Oxford-based Holly Strube is recommended for brand protection issues in the retail, fashion and sports sectors.

Practice head(s):

Chris Shelley; Joanne Vengadesan

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Berry; Gavin Stenton

Key clients

Oversight Board

Miller Nash Graham & Dunn

Barfoots of Botley

Finance & Leasing Association

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Organix Brands Limited

Evac+Chair International Limited

United Colors International Limited

Roka London Limited

OneCom Limited

King’s College London

Oxford University Press

Pirbright Institute

Medicines Discovery Catapult

CAB International

bioMérieux SA

Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust

Veryan Medical Limited

Luminosity Limited

Astro Lighting Holdings Limited

Britest Limited

Celleron Therapeutics Limited

Grey Wolf Therapeutics Limited

Ethypharm Holdings SA

Norbar Torque Tools Limited

Oxford Gene Technology

Oxford VacMedix

Oxular Limited

MiroBio Limited

Malvern Cosmeceutics Limited

Oxford Endovascular Limited

BreatheOx Limited t/a Albus Health

We Are Couch Limited t/a Couch Health

Orthoson Limited

Orthox Limited

Oxford BioTrans Limited

Nexeon Limited

First Light Fusion Limited

Myricx Pharma Limited

Pathios Therapeutics Limited

Oxford Flow Limited

Opsydia Limited

Oxford Analytica Limited

Intrinsic Semiconductor Technology Limited

Charterhouse Turf Machinery Limited

First Law P.C. (Bighit Entertainment Co Ltd)

Compass Box Delicious Whisky Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Bighit Entertainment Co Ltd. on the registration and enforcement of the UK and EU trade mark rights of K-Pop boy band, BTS.
  • Advised King’s College London on technology transfer transactions and IP issues.
  • Advising Association of Chartered Certified Accountants on the management of its trademark portfolio.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 3

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 3

Public sector Tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has '‘national coverage, with quality offerings in all offices’. In Cambridge, employment specialist Hilary Aldred is co-head of the firm-wide education practice, which excels in assisting Higher Education clients, including Cambridge and Oxford colleges, with matters encompassing student/institution relationships, commercial contracts, public procurement work, governance matters and issues relating to the commercialisation of research. Senior associate Sophie Whitbread has 'exceptional organisational skills' and frequently assists education institutions and charities with the management of employees.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Aldred

Other key lawyers:


‘National coverage, yet quality offerings in all offices.

‘Sophie Whitbread has exceptional organisational skills.’

Key clients

Florida State University

UCL Business Plc

Fitzwilliam College


ICMP Management Limited

Christ Church

King’s College London

Work highlights

  • Assisting the student complaints team of a Russell Group university with student complaints which have been escalated through their complaints process and where there was a risk that the students concerned would take the complaints to either or both of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator or the County Court: all of the cases related to issues arising under the Equality Act.
  • Advised an Oxbridge college on a number of information issues including advising on several Freedom of Information Act requests as well as on a data subject access request.
  • Advising Christ Church on a range of employment matters, including three Employment Tribunal claims which have been issued against it by the Dean.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 3

The real estate litigation practice at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is led from London but senior associate Andrea Nicholls in Cambridge plays a central role in the firm's work in contentious agricultural and property matters and disputes concerning freehold property, rights of way, restrictive covenants, overage agreements and land options. Nicholls 'gets straight to the point and is fluent in her law and steady under fire'.

Other key lawyers:


‘Focused fact-gathering, planning and implementation in complex areas of law. Realistic well informed costs estimates. Good client communication. No nasty surprises.’

‘Andrea Nicholls. Gets straight to the point. Fluent in her law. Practical application of very intricate law. Steady under fire.’

‘Penningtons’ property litigation team in East Anglia provide robust and commercially minded advice to large businesses and developers, to farms and to individuals.’

‘Andrea Nicholls is an experienced litigator who is focused on getting the right result for the client. She stands out in cutting through to the main issue and setting aside distractions which often slow down litigation in the hands of others. I would unhesitatingly recommend her for any property dispute, particularly where there was a right of way or insolvency angle.’

‘Andrea Nicholls is clear, concise, quick and approachable with a good manner which clients find easy to understand. Good communication. Practical in dealing and application.’

Key clients

Vitality Limited

Southern Housing Group Limited

Insurance > Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 3

John Kyriacou leads the 'very experienced and expert team' at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, and advises on a substantial caseload of high value cases including surgical complications and delayed diagnoses. The firm also fields a strong offering at associate level; Rosie Nelson brings her 'excellent instincts' to a wide range of cerebral palsy matters, orthopaedic injuries and claims involving elderly care; Lyndsey Banthorpe is noted for her expertise in spinal, sepsis and adult-acquired brain injury claims; while Emily Reville is regularly instructed by families to represent them in complex coronial proceedings.

Practice head(s):

John Kyriacou

Other key lawyers:


‘Superb, professional team.’

‘Rosie Nelson has been compassionate, considerate and understanding from my initial enquiry and right through the claim process.’

‘Most of my work has been with Lyndsey Banthorpe and Emily Reville. Each is truly excellent. Each prepares cases beautifully and identifies all the relevant issues and then works to resolve any problems. They are just a joy to work with.’

‘Emily Reville was extremely efficient and helpful with a quick grasp of quite complex medical issues.’

‘Excellent people skills and communication. Regular updates provided. Professional whilst appropriately empathetic. Good use of technology during the pandemic.’

‘I have worked with Rosie Nelson, who I find to be a very good litigator, with excellent instincts, very organised, and caring to her clients.’

‘A very experienced and expert team who do a great job for clients.’

‘John Kyriacou and Lyndsay Banthorpe are both very approachable and professional with a lovely sympathetic human touch, which was much appreciated by us. We were both very happy with the care and the exceptional level of detail that was used in scrutinising the evidence and in finding the best medical experts for us.’

Insurance > Personal injury: claimant Tier 3

At Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, highly regarded team lead Warren Collins 'drives cases forward to excellent outcomes', focusing particularly on traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations and wrongful death cases on behalf of claimants from both the UK and USA. Another key senior figure in the group is Tristan Hallam, who has been instructed by one of the firm's core clients, the Police Federation, for over 23 years. Hallam works closely with recommended associate, Renee Wright. The offering is singled out by one client for its 'open and collaborative approach'.

Practice head(s):

Warren Collins; Tristan Hallam

Other key lawyers:

Renee Wright; Louise Taylor


‘They are a very strong firm who have a good foothold in the industry.’

‘The serious injury team are clearly experienced at dealing with claims of the very highest value. I have found that they adopt an open and collaborative approach to working on these claims.’

‘I have been impressed with Warren Collin’s professionalism and his general manner. He communicates risks and uncertainty in a clear and transparent fashion. He is reassuring and upfront without offering false reassurance. He is kind and polite to speak with and contains the inevitable anxiety which arises from the claims which he deals with so seamlessly. Having spoken with friends and family about my injury before I contacted Warren, I was astounded and impressed by how understood I felt by him. He has an uncanny ability to put himself in the client’s position.’

‘Very capable and rounded team with excellent results and client care.’

‘I mainly have experience of working with Warren Collins. He has a highly creative and commercial approach to litigation. He finds pragmatic solutions to problems and drives cases forward to excellent outcomes.’

‘The firm are highly experienced and enjoy an excellent reputation in this area of work.’

‘I have found the whole team to be courteous and professional. They have been easy to maintain contact with and responsive despite the pandemic.’

‘Warren Collins is highly knowledgeable in dealing with serious injury claims. He fights for his clients’ interests whilst still recognising the benefits of working collaboratively with opponents to move things along.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a Hungarian claimant who sustained a brain injury while working in the UK, securing a settlement of over £10m.
  • Representing a group of more than thirty claimants in an ongoing high profile matter, which is the subject of an inquiry, and involves multiple claimant groups and multiple defendants.
  • Successfully secured primary liability and refuted any allegations of contributory negligence following a fully contested High Court trial for a claimant amputee.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has strong international capabilities. It regularly assists UK resident and non-resident, non-domiciled individuals, international families, family offices and business owners in numerous countries. Of note is the fact that the team is involved in over 500 active trust administrations and the preparation of over 150 personal tax returns. With Clare Archer at the helm it frequently advises on the establishment and ongoing administration of trusts, family investment companies and family limited partnerships.

Practice head(s):

Clare Archer

Other key lawyers:

Laura Dadswell; James d’Aquino; James Sedgley; Tristan Smale


‘The firm has an exceptionally strong tax advisory practice. The lawyers simply do not get things wrong. They bring their own technical expertise, thoughtful approach and diligence to bear to great effect. The team’s clients – an international and diverse mix – respect them and take the advice. The team works well together. I am particularly impressed by the responsiveness in the last year, the excellent use made of technology (including online meetings, online court hearings, and safe electronic file sharing in very complex matters). I have also been impressed by the very good natured and calm way in which they work together‘.

‘The team is diverse in terms of gender, ethnic background and nationality of origin. James d’Aquino is a stellar partner with everything that the role requires. He is astute, calm under pressure, responsive and a pleasure to work with. His clients trust him‘.

‘My family instructs Clare Archer, James D’Aquino and James Sedgeley on private client trust and tax matters. During the year, James D’Aquino was particularly effective in dealing with a US trust on our behalf. He was instrumental in persuading US trustees to a particular course of action from which we benefitted. James D’Aquino is very clever and knowledgeable about tax (domestic and offshore) and trusts. He is calm, methodical and effective. Clare – her legal instincts are good‘.

Clare Archer provides an excellent personalised service to clients. She is extremely dedicated, with an excellent eye for detail and a firm focus on client needs. Clare is always on top of all the details of her cases. She thinks through each step carefully and is always a step ahead‘.

‘What Penningtons brings to the table is some very talented individuals, who concentrate on the service they provide rather than the fees they generate. In the particular cases I have with them, illiquid assets in the trust mean that they have been working for nothing for a year, until the assets are sold, without complaining. And in keeping a difficult family at least generally together, their concern for this not to become contentious has been outstanding. Laura Dadswell is really, really good in that she is an excellent lawyer, very clear sighted, and handles clients with empathy and great care, without being soft or not telling them how it is. The support team is all very capable and efficient, and conscious not to build up fees unnecessarily. They are very easy to work with, and very responsive‘.

‘Genuine bespoke approach – ability to work collaboratively with client, counsel, experts. Clare Archer combines sharp intelligence with creative approach to tricky issues – diplomatic & professional with difficult people‘.

This firm has a strong private client presence. The lawyers are commercial and pragmatic and they have a good depth to be able to provide a full service offering. Laura Dadswell is a gem. She is personable and intelligent and is able to relate to her clients in a way that puts them at ease and gives them the confidence that she will find the right outcome‘.

Public sector > Education: institutions Tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's full-service team provides an 'exceptional combination of alertness, knowledge and availability', handling a range of employment, real estate, charity and regulatory work for universities. The team stands out for its expertise in immigration changes and international student visas. The 'experienced, sensible and pragmatic' Hilary Aldred is a well-known employment specialist, and also advises on public law and regulatory matters. She co-heads the education practice with Daff Richardson in Oxford, who focuses on student complaints and disciplinary matters, as well as data protection and freedom of information issues.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Aldred; Daff Richardson

Other key lawyers:

Pat Saini; Hazar El-Chamaa


‘Hilary Aldred. Very experienced, very sensible and pragmatic, extremely hard working, excellent grasp of complex situations.’

‘Exceptional combination of alertness, knowledge, availability and, when necessary, lateral thinking.’

‘Hilary Aldred’s legal knowledge and ability to combine an eye for detail with an understanding of both legal and moral principles is outstanding.’

‘The team are excellent and willing to provide advice to university students on the ever changing visa regulations in the UK.’

‘Pat Saini is a true expert.’

Key clients

King’s College, London

Magdalen College, Oxford

Merton College, Oxford

Florida State University

UCL Business Plc

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge


ICMP Management Limited

Istituto Marangoni

St Mary’s University Twickenham

Work highlights

  • Advised King’s College London on a wide range of technology transfer and spin-out activities.
  • Advised a Cambridge College in relation to a highly sensitive issue with the College officer who had a key role in managing the pandemic response in February and March2020.
  • Advised a group of 10 Oxford colleges in Employment Tribunal proceedings issued against them by a serial litigant in person.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Reputation management Tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's defamation and reputation management team has expertise in misuse of private information, harassment and data protection breaches. The team regularly assists other departments within the firm where high-profile and sensitive reputation management and privacy issues can arise, particularly in the areas of employment, private client and family law. Practice head Jeremy Clarke-Williams has more than 30 years of experience in all aspects of defamation and privacy law and routinely advises high net worth individuals. Adele Ashton is a data protection specialist and continues to grow her practice in this area, in addition to providing pre-publication advice to corporate clients.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Clarke-Williams

Other key lawyers:

Adele Ashton


‘What makes this practice unique is their extensive experience, knowledge and ability to problem solve various claims and issues that are allocated to them. The staff have great personal skills and are excellent at taking someone through legal aspects to assisting them in understanding if they have a legal case or not.’

‘Great team with deep knowledge and experience of this legal area.’

‘The practice has adapted and always looks at new ways of delivering for us. Their new, innovative ways of dealing with claims has meant Penningtons have far outweighed other practices. They continue to innovate and set the bar.’

‘They stand out because of their knowledge, expertise and honesty when providing legal advice. They don’t lead a client to submitting a claim when there is no viable claim to be pursued.  They have great interpersonal skills which is excellent when it comes to advising clients as to whether litigation opportunities exist or not.’

‘Jeremy Clarke-Williams – superb, approachable and very clever.’

‘Adele Ashton – excellent, great on the detail and also makes sure that the “big picture” aspects are properly dealt with.’

‘The practice is very personable and will always go the extra mile for clients which is vitally important in our world. We have had challenging clients and they have been happy to try and accommodate in every way they can. The personal service that is provided is second to none. It has been, and continues to be, a pleasure to work with all involved.’

Key clients

Nigel Pearson

Emma Villiers

Dylan Sadler

Oversight Board

Jason Wragg

Work highlights

  • Advised Nigel Pearson, a well-known football manager, in relation to a claim for libel against the editor of an article published on the Leicestershire Live website in August 2020.
  • Advising Emma Villiers who has been involved in an extremely high profile divorce from Charles Villiers, in relation to a media campaign by him which included unfounded allegations of fraud and bigamy against Emma.

Transport > Shipping Tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is highly active in the full range of contentious shipping work. In addition to handling dry shipping disputes, such as litigation over charterparties and bills of lading, the team is heavily involved in complex, international wet shipping matters. Darryl Kennard is frequently instructed by shipowners, underwriters and salvage companies on wet and dry shipping disputes. Another key individual is Tim Kelleher, who has 35 years of experience of the marine industry. Alex McIntosh focuses on contractual disputes. Wet shipping specialist Nick Donnelly and James Severn are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Tim Kelleher; Darryl Kennard


‘The Penningtons shipping team is excellent. Their lawyers combine a strong foundation in the law with legal creativity, and a high level of commercial and litigation acumen.’

‘A very knowledgeable department, headed by the very experienced and personable Darryl Kennard. There seems to be more good shipping case law coming out of Penningtons than any other shipping firm at present.’

‘The shipping team has very considerable expertise in marine insurance, particularly in the hull and war risks areas. In the cases in which I have worked with them, they showed an exceptional level of commitment, doing their utmost to ensure the client got the best outcome possible.’

‘I have worked particularly closely with Darryl Kennard, who is brilliant. He is an astute litigator with a strong strategic sense.’

‘Darryl Kennard is a true enthusiast for shipping law, and draws on experience of both wet and dry shipping.’

‘Darryl Kennard is bright, flexible and innovative. Good grasp of detail and solution-oriented.’

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's commercial disputes resolution team advises on complex high-value disputes with an international element. The Thames Valley team is part of a wider national practice led by Rustam Dubash in London. The Oxford team has particular expertise in general commercial litigation, IT disputes, restructuring and insolvency, and regulatory matters. Emma Davies has a wide-ranging commercial practice, specialising in financial litigation, including derivative claims and data protection. Rebecca Andrews-Walker is also recommended and has a fast-growing practice in contentious insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Rustam Dubash


‘The team are great to work with, very personable and extremely conscientious. The whole team go out of their way to go the extra mile for us and consistently achieve our objectives. The range of expertise in the team is second to none and they always adopt a joined-up approach, which benefits us greatly. The team has spent the last year working for us on some extremely high-pressure and demanding workstreams but they have remained calm and professional, giving us the reassurance that we have needed. The team is exceptional. ’

‘ I find Penningtons Manches Cooper ranks with the best in giving clear and concise advice, warning of bottlenecks also pitfalls in recovering complex situations – and in avoiding where possible litigation before a court, preferring instead to maximise by wisdom and negotiating techniques, playing hardball where appropriate – a most difficult art that many lawyers in my experience have not the ability to succeed at.’

‘We dealt mainly with Rebecca Andrews-Walker; she was very approachable and understood our requirements’

Work highlights

  • Advised Citizens Advice on consumer protection law and regulation for consumers engaging with the energy market through third party intermediaries.
  • Assisted a leading UK property developer in progressing a LIBOR fraud claim against Lloyds Bank Plc.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious issues associated with high-profile restructurings and insolvencies. The firm has lawyers based in a number of key South East markets, including recently promoted partner Rebecca Andrews-Walker in Oxford. She is dual-qualified as a solicitor and insolvency practitioner, and has a notable niche in football insolvencies, acting for the League Managers Association, the trade union for English football managers. Other clients of the firm include insolvency practitioners, receivers, banks and corporates. The group, which also generates mandates from London-based clients and referrers, also includes Guildford-based partner David Kendall, who handles restructurings and insolvency-related corporate transactions, and John Chater in Reading, whose strengths in restructurings and insolvencies are complemented by his banking expertise.


‘Rebecca Andrews-Walker is very charismatic. Incredible work ethic. Very good knowledge of the law – she is also a qualified insolvency practitioner. I would certainly recommend her to anyone who I knew who faced an insolvency issue.’

‘The team is very experienced, and those individuals I work with are effective at advising their clients in a pragmatic and realistic way, always with their commercial interests in mind.’

‘Rebecca Andrews-Walker has just been made partner, which is thoroughly deserved. She is not intimidated by the macho attitude prevalent at some other larger firms. She stayed really focused and we obtained an amazing result. Nothing is too much for her – she just gets on with it.’

‘Really client-friendly and constantly ensuring the client knows what is going on and the risks. Also real thinkers out of the box providing a great service. Heavy promotion of minorities.’

‘Rebecca Andrews-Walker acted for us in respect of one particular matter, which needed to be dealt with quickly and was very important to us. Rebecca did a fabulous job at ultimately getting us an even better result than we had expected. The matter was high pressure but Rebecca always remained calm and professional.’

‘The team were sympathetic and very supportive. This type of team is handling businesses in distress and therefore it’s important to have the right bedside manner! They were great.’

‘Rebecca Andrews-Walker is friendly, communicative and easy to work with – giving commercial and focused advice.’

‘Rebecca Andrews-Walker’s depth of knowledge and experience in this area is excellent – she knows insolvency law inside and out and is very effective at delivering results for her clients. She is very personable and an excellent collaborator.’

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP advises a wide range of local and national charities, schools, and religious institutions on matters such as charity structuring and governance reviews, the powers and duties of trustees, and corporate and employment law. Practice leader Daff Richardson deals primarily with employment issues, including restructuring and redundancies. She also is experienced dealing with whistleblowing and grievances. In 2020, senior associates Sam Rose and Sarah Arnold joined the firm in Oxford and Guildford respectively.

Practice head(s):

Daff Richardson

Other key lawyers:


‘This practice is unique in the way the team works side by side with all of its partners, keeping the best interests of its clients at heart.’

‘They have a solid understanding of the charity industry and so were able to support our organisation through a turbulent time due to Covid-19.’

‘Daff Richardson is very approachable, practical, and displays great experience. Sam Rose provides consistently excellent advice.’

‘Very clear understanding of client’s needs, strategy and goals. Introduced blended billing to suit clients needs and a ‘helpline’ for supporting overflow requirements of in-house legal team.’

‘Willing to work to tight timescales and take time to understand and get to know client’s needs.’

Key clients


City & Guilds

Right to Play UK Ltd

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind – t/a Sightsavers

The Licensed Trade Charity

World Obesity Fund

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineers


Magdalen College, Oxford

St Mary’s University Twickenham

Haberdashers’ Aske’s Schools Elstree

Work highlights

  • Advised Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (trading as Sightsavers)  in relation to a gift of a property to the charity by a will, which leaves a right for the current occupier to reside for as long as they wish.
  • Advised CABI on changes to working arrangements on the client’s move to state of the art sustainable new premises; on the application of the CJRS (furlough leave); on appropriate Covid-safe arrangements and homeworking; in relation to UK workers visiting overseas branches and the application of travel restrictions
  • Advised The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) in relation to their constitution (a company incorporated by Royal Charter) which did not allow the holding of virtual general meetings, and changes to their Regulations in order to allow virtual a virtual AGM to take place in light of the pandemic.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 3

Employment > Immigration

The immigration team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP - which is known for being one of 'the best in the market for immigration issues in higher education' - is led by the 'outstanding' Pat Saini, who also co-heads the firm's India group. The team has a well-established reputation as a strong choice for both business and individual clients; the firm’s private wealth immigration offering is led by the 'wonderful' Hazar El-Chamaa, who was recently elected as chair of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association. The team has recently been busy advising clients whose travel and work plans have been impacted by the global pandemic, as well as continuing to assist businesses with post-Brexit issues.

Practice head(s):

Pat Saini

Other key lawyers:

Hazar El-Chamaa; Adam Cotterill; Meghan Vozila


‘My experience of Pennington Manches Cooper has only been a positive one, mainly due to the exception service provided to me by Adam Cotterill. Adam has a fantastic attention to detail and deals with issues in a structured and calm manner. I would say that this is exactly what is needed in a lawyer – to feel that you are in good hands and that everything is under control. Adam has always been responsive to my communication and has always ensured that I am informed as to any progress. Adam clearly knows his subject matter in great detail and I would recommend him to any prospective clients without hesitation.

‘Pat Saini, Meghan Vozila and the rest of the Penningtons team are extremely knowledgeable and responsive. They also are very good in understanding the business-side of issues as opposed to just the legal side, which allows them to find practical, real-world solutions to issues.’

‘Pat Saini is an outstanding immigration lawyer. She was critical in making our transaction happen smoothly. Great knowledge, availability and ability to make things happen.’

‘Hazar El-Chamaa is wonderful and always ready to support any legal requirements, including effective delegations. Her standing within the immigration and residency legal profession has been exceptionally earned.’

‘I would like to highlight the efforts and detail oriented work of Meghan Vozila. Meghan has not only been involved in every details of the procedure but has gone above and beyond in supporting the client.’

‘Hazar Al-Chamaa was very friendly and professional. Easy to communicate with, and always offered solutions in the most difficult situations.’

Key clients

Galileo Global Education

Regent’s university




Tata Limited

Engitix Therapeutics


The Oversight Board

Student Circus

Work highlights

  • Assisting UK universities with reviewing recruitment practices; advising on India related visa refusals; advising on liaising with the Home Office; and risk management.
  • Assisting businesses with post-Brexit preparations, including applying for sponsor licenses for business who have not previously held them; advising on the new immigration system; and assisting with EU settlement applications.
  • Working with numerous individual clients who found themselves either stuck in the UK or overseas as a result of the pandemic.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 1

The team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a strong M&A and venture capital practice, with particular experience advising clients in the technology and life sciences sectors. Simon Bickerdike and Matthew Martin jointly head the team. Other key figures at the firm include Will Axtell and James Went who both specialise in M&A; Axtell also has extensive experience of AIM listings, whilst Went, who now heads the venture capital team, after former co-heads  Rob Hayes and Justin Starling left the firm to join Osborne Clarke in January 2021, focuses on venture capital financing.

Practice head(s):

Simon Bickerdike; Matthew Martin

Other key lawyers:

Will Axtell; James Went; David Tighe


‘The Penningtons corporate team is outstanding – creative, diligent, highly responsive, always focused on working efficiently and effectively on behalf of clients – a delight to work with.’

‘Their service is a good balance of breadth and depth, but with the interpersonal benefits that can get lost in a bigger practice. They have a great understanding and experience of the technology sector. ’

‘Will Axtell goes the extra mile for his clients and is always available when needed’

‘An excellent team with considerable experience in spin-outs, seed and Series A fundraisings, especially in relation to deep tech and life science companies. One of the most highly regarded and experienced teams in the sector.’

‘Our main current relationship is with James Went, who is brilliant. He is both cerebral and commercial -always happy to discuss details of a point of legal analysis, while also constantly focused on the practicalities of what the business needs. And his work is always thorough, accurate and effective.

‘We also work regularly with David Tighe, who is a highly effective lawyer and adviser and whose work is unfailingly top-notch.’

Key clients

Seedrs Limited

Oxford University Press

Evotec SE

Elis UK Limited

Orca Computing Limited

Bramble Energy Limited

First Light Fusion Limited

Celleron Therapeutics Limited

Mind Foundry Limited

Oxford Flow Limited

Genuport Trade GmbH

Work highlights

  • Acting for Seedrs Limited on its proposed merger with Crowdcube.
  • Acted for Celleron on the establishment and €37m funding of its spin-out SynOx Therapeutics Limited.
  • Acted on the sale of Webexpenses to ELMO Software, a human capital management software company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Employment > Employment: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP works closely with the specialist pension team based in Surrey to provide a wide range of employment advice to its regional and national clients, including industry associations, charities, and UK subsidiaries of international companies. Michael Cole leads the Guildford-based team and has particular knowledge of TUPE-related issues and business reorganisations, and senior associate Liz Cardy advises on a range of employment matters spanning redundancies, grievance procedures and litigation in the Employment Tribunal.

Practice head(s):

Michael Cole

Other key lawyers:


‘Fully flexible, informative and professional in all of their dealings. the ability of PMC to provide quick and practical advice and guidance, at all times of the day (and night) has been exemplary. A great a service.’

‘All team members I have dealt with at Penningtons Manches Cooper have been extremely knowledgeable, helpful and proactive. I trust the advice I receive and find the content of the email bulletins useful too.’

‘We have worked with this team for many years and they have a clear understanding of our business. This makes working with them easy – it’s hard to find a practice that works so hard to understand the company and what makes it a success. Therefore their advice is practical, a balance between meeting the needs of the organisation without isolating the staff.’

‘The teamwork was very good. Whenever certain feedback was required, the expert was available on short notice. Moreover, a colleague was reachable all the time. ’

‘Mike Cole’s understanding of my business, the (what we think are) nuances of our organisation and the straight forward response and approach is of the highest quality. Reliable, knowledgeable and fully accommodating, even when some of my “I need it tomorrow” HR practitioner requests are unreasonable – he always delivers.’

‘For me Senior Associate Liz Cardy stands out. Always readily available for advice and support where needed.’

‘Liz Cardy was my main contact. She has a very strong focus on solutions, was very friendly and on the point. She had a lot of knowledge, ideas out of the box and was there for our problems and questions all the time.’

‘My main business relationship is with Liz Cardy in the Employment department. She is a pleasure to work with and always endeavours to provide whatever we need, whether it be in the form of documents, telephone advice, or recommendations to management. If she can’t advise on something she will point me in the right direction or try to find the answer. Mike Cole has been willing to help in Liz’s absence and has also provided me with excellent advice.’

Key clients

Burhill Golf & Leisure

Wurth UK Ltd

St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Aernova Aerospace SA

Medpharm Limited

Surevine Limited

Blue Oil Energy LLP

Otford Builders Merchants Limited

Vivid Imaginations Limited


Sapienza Consulting

Consult Hyperion

Finance & Leasing Association

M247 Limited

Kent Pharma UK Limited

Robertet UK Limited


Wuerth Industry Service LLP

GIS International

Work highlights

  • Advising Aernnova Aerospace SA on all employment aspects relating to the acquisition of a manufacturing site with 700-800 associated employees.
  • Advising an international pharmaceuticals company on IR35, furlough arrangements and health and safety issues relating to the pandemic.
  • Representing a UK-based retailer providing building supplies for trade and DIY in respect of two ongoing Employment Tribunal claims involving three former employees.

Employment > Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 1

Operating from offices in Oxford and Reading, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is well known for its sector focus and specialist knowledge in the social housing, education, technology, life sciences and construction industries. In Oxford, Daff Richardson's practice focuses mainly on technology and education sector clients, advising on developing areas of employment law and handling sensitive individual and collective employee relations including business protection issues, reorganisations and restructurings. Eugene Wojciechowski, who is based in Reading, is regularly involved in employment tribunal hearings relating to complex unlawful discrimination and whistleblowing claims. Chris Syder and Gemma Woodhouse are also recommended, alongside associates Victoria Spires and Katie Glendinning. David Bickford retired in December 2020.

Practice head(s):

Daff Richardson; Eugene Wojciechowski


‘We always get pragmatic advice and ready access to the team. The advice and approach is sensitive to our values, not ‘cookie cutter’. As a small organisation with a global network of offices, it is invaluable to be able to test our approach to a wide variety of employment issues, and then, if necessary, to use the firm’s global reach and network to seek a trusted local partner.’

‘Daff Richardson leads the team and absolutely sets the tone for the team approach that we find so valuable. On a number of occasions, Daff has also shared input from other specialists in the team and we appreciate that level of consideration and reflection.’

‘Eugene Wojciechowski showed outstanding understanding of all matters he has dealt with for the business, proactive and honest.’

‘Knowledgeable, experienced and friendly, precise advice provided.’

‘Always available, responsive with very practical advice that always cuts to the heart of any issue. Management of risk is always pragmatic.’

‘Chris Syder was excellent throughout the process. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him and I felt fully appraised throughout the process.’

‘I have worked regularly with Gemma Woodhouse, Chris Syder and Katie Glendinning. There is a clear thread of excellent training given to the junior members of staff at this firm and it comes across as a meticulous attention to detail with all of their cases no matter who is dealing with a case.’

‘Always focused on the client with the client’s best interests at heart. Focus on what is practical coupled with excellent knowledge of employment law to produce good results. Gemma Woodhouse is reliable, knowledgeable, creative and knows her subject extremely well to enable her clients to be confident in their application of her advice.’

Key clients

Oversight Board (Facebook)

Bahlsen LLP

Bishop Challoner School

Corel Inc- US parent, Corel UK

Bouygues UK

One Housing Group

23.5 Degrees Ltd (Starbucks)

City & Guilds

Sherman and Sterling UK LLP


Charter Court Financial Services Group plc

St David’s School

Link Asset Services

Simpson Thacher & Barlett LLP

Wellington College

Cobalt Telephone Technologies/Park Now Ltd (trading as Ringo)



PRP Architects

Rutland (DP) Ltd

Sika Ltd

1-1 Recruitment

Dynniq UK Ltd

Davies Group Ltd


Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA)

Ellis UK Ltd

Haberdashers’ Aske’s School Elstree

Magdalen College, Oxford

Work highlights

  • Advised the newly established Oversight Board, which makes independent decisions about content on Facebook and Instagram, on all human resources support associated with the Oversight’s Board establishment in both the US and UK.
  • Advising Selecta, the leading vending machine group, in respect of business critical Covid measures as a result of the various lockdowns.
  • Providing ongoing employment advice to City & Guilds on a range of HR needs, including in relation to Off-Payroll Workers regulations, and advising on a collective redundancy consultation.

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant Tier 1

At Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, the 'impressive', 'experienced' and 'talented' clinical negligence and personal injury team focuses on a wide range of complex and high-value claims, including birth injuries, brain injury cases, fatal claims, elderly care cases and oncology matters. In addition to handling individual claims, the firm is also sometimes seen in group actions. Alison Appelboam Meadows is a 'first rate litigator', who leads the specialist cerebral palsy and stillbirth team. Another key individual is Philippa Luscombe, who specialises in neurosurgical cases, as well as fatal claims and matters arising from delayed diagnosis. Stephanie Code and Alison Johnson  are other names to note, as are senior associates Emma Beeson and Emma McCheyne.

Practice head(s):

Alison Appelboam Meadows; Philippa Luscombe

Other key lawyers:


‘They have in Philippa Luscombe a partner who is highly intelligent. Her forte is medical negligence. I have been involved in a number of cases with her and her grasp of complex medical concepts is both rapid and penetrating.’

‘The team at Penningtons in clinical negligence are very efficient, knowledgeable and speedy in completing work on cases. They are meticulous in the processes involved.’

‘Stephanie Code, leading our case, has been extremely supportive, appreciating our concerns and providing expert guidance to both us and our son, for whom the case was being undertaken. She effectively translated complex legal procedures and terminology. She was flexible and compassionate, recognising our competing familial and work concerns.’

‘Philippa Luscombe leads the team from the front. She is a first rate PI and clinical negligence partner who is always across all issues in her cases. She is well-prepared, client-focused and a delight to work with.

‘Alison Appelboam Meadows, Alison Johnson and Emma Beeson are star practitioners. Alison Appelboam Meadows has an encyclopaedic knowledge of birth injury claims and is a first rate litigator, highly respected by clients and opponents alike with excellent judgment. Alison Johnson is a delight to work with: a great team player, she achieves extremely successful outcomes in the most complex of cases. Emma Beeson is a future star with a brilliant eye for detail, great dedication and first-rate client handling skills. ’

‘This is a very talented team of personal injury and clinical negligence lawyers. There is strength in the breadth and depth of experience in complex cases and high value claims of the utmost complexity. There is a drive to achieve results and provide a high standard to clients.’

‘Philippa Luscombe is the partner who heads the clinical negligence team. She is adept at analysing complex cases from different angles. She demands high standards of her team of lawyers and experts, and she leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of her clients’ claims. She gets results even in the most difficult cases.’

Work highlights

  • Handled a claim arising from negligent eye surgery. This was a complex claim as it related to three separate surgical procedures against a retired private ophthalmic surgeon.
  • Acted for a client who sustained multiple and catastrophic injuries, including burst spinal fracture and complete cord injury when he was cycling with his partner and both were struck from behind by a van. The firm was involved from the outset, instructed while the client was still an in-patient, two months post-accident.
  • Investigated and concluded a claim for a woman who was told definitively that she had pancreatic cancer and underwent major emergency surgery for removal of her pancreas, only to be told post-operatively that her tumour had been benign.

Private client > Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 1

The family law team spread across Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP‘s South East offices advises high-net-worth individuals on their international property portfolios, offshore assets, and complex pension structures. The family team also has the benefit of utilising its property, tax and corporate teams to assist their clients with their family wealth structures and corporate issues. Veronica Gilmour leads the team; she has considerable expertise in handling pensions issues through mediation. Associate Bethan Carr joined the team from Stowe Family Law LLP in 2020; she has considerable experience in advising on surrogacy matters, whilst Rachel Donald specialises in nuptial and cohabitation agreements.

Practice head(s):

Veronica Gilmour

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Donald; Bethan Carr; Laura Naser; Laura Hughes; Sarah Duckworth


‘The Guildford branch of this firm has a strong, dynamic, creative and empathetic team who both individually and together are a match for any of the London ‘magic circle’ firms. It is a balance of experience and wisdom from their senior partners and energetic enthusiasm and initiatives from the junior end.’

‘I think that what stands out most about this firm is their collaboration. As a team it is evident that they work well togetherl. There is never an issue if the solicitor with conduct is away as they have a team approach to their cases.’

‘The team is excellent and stands out amongst its peers across the board.’

‘Penningtons are, in my view, the foremost family law firm in Surrey. They offer excellence in expertise combined with a pragmatic and sensible approach to fees and a friendly, down-to-earth manner. One of the firm’s greatest virtues is its strength in depth across all areas of experience. Clients just love them.’

‘Rachel Donald is exceptionally approachable and behind her relaxed approach is a sharp case analysis with a good ability to think outside of the box and come up with sensible solutions. 

‘Veronica Gilmour has seen it all and done it all, which gives her clients unrivalled experience at the top of the department. However, Veronica successfully combines her commanding leadership of the department with an ability to dedicate time and attention to her individual clients, to ensure that they receive an unparalleled level of service. She is excellent in every way.

‘Laura Naser is hard working, passionate and strong in support of clients. Goes that extra mile and is incredibly talented.’

‘Bethan Carr is not afraid of giving clients difficult advice, which is important as there are some solicitors in other firms who tend to leave this to counsel which can result in the client feeling as though their counsel is not understanding or supportive of their case.’

Private client > Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 1

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is home to ‘a sparkling collection of successful and empathetic family lawyers.’ Operating from regional offices in Oxford and Reading, the team handles the full spectrum of family law matters, with particular expertise in international work. Oxford practice head Jane Mitchell has a track record including success in the Supreme Court and regularly handles complex international issues relating to overseas assets and children arrangements, and is supported by Eleanor Moodey. Ruth James is another key practitioner, with particular expertise in acting for business owners. Kerry Fretwell leads the Reading team and has expertise in Schedule One applications for unmarried parents. Associate Bethan Thomas is also recommended, with experience in cohabitation disputes and pre and postnuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Jane Mitchell; Kerry Fretwell

Other key lawyers:


‘The Reading team of Penningtons Manches Cooper has an excellent and cohesive team structure. As a team, they provide an extremely efficient, professional and wholly reliable service. It is an incredibly well organised and friendly team.’

‘Jane Mitchell is one of the top family law solicitors in Oxford. I regard her as outstanding.’

‘Kerry Fretwell leads the team at the Reading office. She has an excellent knowledge of the law, is excellent with clients and is always able to give pragmatic and sensible advice.

‘Bethan Thomas is an excellent lawyer. She has a keen eye for detail, is focused on achieving the very best for her clients and is extremely hard-working.’

‘The firm is a sparkling collection of successful and empathetic family lawyers.’

‘Best team in the Thames Valley by a country mile. All are first-rate lawyers that know their stuff and whilst none of them are pushovers, they adopt a sensible approach that ensures great outcomes for their clients. ’

‘Ruth James manages to combine acute legal acumen and emotional empathy to create a winning combination that provides her clients with first-rate support and representation. ’

‘The team is exceptional. The firm is highly efficient with symbiotic strength between departments, between individuals, and geographical areas. The technology is exceptional. ’

Real estate > Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 1

The 'widely respected' commercial property team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP handles work for regional, London and national clients, with specialism in planning, promotion agreements, construction, social housing, development and industrial matters. Mike Busby heads the department in Guildford with considerable expertise in high-value asset work and development work, acting for national retailers, hotel operators and large landowners. Timothy Davies handles acquisitions of development land commercially and residentially whilst Tony Burns handles work involving industrial and logistics sites, especially regarding development funding agreements.

Practice head(s):

Mike Busby

Other key lawyers:

Timothy Davies; Tony Burns; Sam Davies; Lyndsey Whittell; Jamie Lynch; Graham Dixon


‘A great team spirit is clearly evident within this department. Communication and knowledge across colleagues are seamless and they strike a great balance of delivering the highest standards for their clients with a very personable approach.’

‘A friendly and laid-back firm, always diligent in their responses and work.’

‘Penningtons Manches Cooper have a widely respected property team covering all aspects of the law. Regionally the team have become market leaders and are head and shoulders above the competition in terms of response times, quality of advice, communication etc.’

‘Mike Busby’s legal knowledge and expertise is second to none. What makes Mike different to other solicitors is his commercial awareness which ensures that his clients’ best interests are always primary.’

‘Graham Dixon has excelled himself in his advice and assistance working for us, most recently on a complex estate purchase.’

‘During this past year I have once again had good reason to be extremely grateful to Mike Busby and Jamie Lynch. Both have been absolutely excellent and consistently so. Mike Busby particularly is clearly hugely experienced, commercially aware and despite, no doubt, being exceptionally busy, he is always abreast of matters. His timely advice and proactive interventions have been vital on several occasions. Likewise, Jamie Lynch is highly competent and an excellent communicator. Both are extremely hard-working and have provided a superb service, seemingly unaffected by the pandemic.’

‘Tony Burns is hard working, reliable, responsive and easy to deal with and friendly.’

Key clients

Seybourne Estates Limited

Adanac Busines Park Limited

Gordon Murray Automotive Limited

Oceanic Estates

The Stable

Signature Senior Lifestyle

Max Barney

Greatwave Developments

Thatcham Research

Burhill Golf and Leisure

Burhill Developments

Flight Centre (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Three Joes on its purchase of The Stable pizza group with its portfolio of 14 restaurants from Fullers Brewery.
  • Advising long-standing client Gordon Murray Automotive Limited on the acquisition of a site for its new global headquarters.
  • Advised Adanac Business Park Limited on the infrastructure, construction and letting of the c180,000 square foot development for light industrial use, being phase 1 of the scheme.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 1

When it comes to tech issues, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a leading firm across the South East. Its practice spans numerous office locations and is therefore able to advise on a broad range of issues including software supply agreements, AI projects and data protection. Sole partner Joanne Vengadesan leads the team from Reading, which also includes senior associate Oliver Kidd, who has developed the firm's relationship with tech companies on the Surrey market from the Guildford office.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Vengadesan

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Oversight Board

Student Crowd

International Decision Systems Ltd (IDS)

Axian Consulting

Kings College London

Nihilent Ltd




Ubisense Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised StudentCrowd on many aspects of data protection compliance.
  • Advising International Decision Systems Ltd on commercial contracts.
  • Advising Kings College London on software development in relation to trial of a product related to psychological support.

Corporate and commercial > Equity capital markets – small-mid cap Tier 4

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's equity capital markets practice has gained momentum since the arrival of partner Seb Orton from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in 2019, with the firm generating a strong flow of work from investment banks, brokers and corporates. In addition to handling AIM transactions, the firm is also increasingly active in Main Market and AQSE (formerly NEX) matters. Orton's work aligns with the firm's core strengths in retail, technology and life sciences. In 2020, one of his highlights involved advising SkinBioTherapeutics Plc on a £4m conditional placing and associated open offer.

Practice head(s):


Commercial, straighforward advice from a team that is easy to work with.’

Seb Orton is very knowledgeable and proactive, providing commercial advice on a range of public company transactions.’

Key clients


SkinBioTherapeutics Plc

Peel Hunt

Stanford Capital

SI Capital

Allenby Capital

Elixirr International Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised finnCap (as nomad and broker) on the IPO of Parsley Box Group plc (market cap of £83.3m).
  • Advised finnCap and Peel Hunt finnCap and Peel Hunt as brokers to Revolution Bars Group on a £15m equity fundraising and finnCap as nominated adviser on Revolution Bars Group’s move to AIM.
  • Advised Elixirr International PLC on its pre-IPO reorganisation before its IPO on AIM.

Corporate and commercial > Venture capital Tier 4

Following a number of high-profile departures, including that of Rob Hayes  and Justin Starling  who joined  Osborne Clarke LLP in January 2021, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP maintains a significant offering for investees, as well as handling university spin-outs from its Oxford office. James Went is one of the main contacts for this work and is appreciated for his ‘responsiveness and clarity of thought‘, acting for venture-backed companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. Corporate tax expert Kathy Hills is also a key resource in relation to investments made through tax efficient schemes, including the government-backed EIS and SEIS initiatives.

Practice head(s):

James Went

Other key lawyers:


Excellent understanding of the client, nuanced yet clear language, broad consideration of circumstances.’

James Went is responsive and displays a great clarity of thought.’

Key clients

Seedrs Limited

Evotec SE

Orca Computing Limited

Bramble Energy Limited

First Light Fusion Limited

Celleron Therapeutics Limited

Mind Foundry Limited

Oxford Flow Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Celleron on the establishment and €37m funding of its spin-out SynOx Therapeutics Limited.
  • Acted for Oxford Flow on the investment by the Georg Fischer group into Oxford Flow’s water and industrials business and its further fundraising of £12.5m from new and existing investors.
  • Acted for First Light Fusion on its funding round led by Oxford Sciences Innovation and IP Group, raising $25m from existing and new investors.

Insurance > Product liability: defendant Tier 4

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is praised for its 'internationality and broad client base'. The group acts for manufacturers, distributors and retailers from the automotive, food and drink, life sciences, retail and technology industries. Rustam Dubash heads up the commercial dispute resolution practice, and John Doherty leads the product liability team; he is 'very bright, organised and very good indeed with clients'. Associate Nick Bamber advises on EU product safety and regulatory requirements.

Practice head(s):

Rustam Dubash; John Doherty

Other key lawyers:

Nick Bamber; Elise Bevan


‘One of the great strengths of the team is its internationality and broad client base, which leads to great experience in different industries. From my perspective, they give reliable and practical advice to their clients at reasonable costs. They have an excellent international network for the benefit of their clients.’

‘John Doherty is a very experienced partner who represents the interests of his clients in a friendly and committed, but emphatic manner. He is always available for his clients and gives his advice considering their economic interests.’

‘Penningtons’ regulatory team has remarkable domestic and international expertise in the commercial and litigious aspects of regulation. We appreciate the partner involvement from the matter’s very beginning to its end, and the team’s creativity in dealing with the risks identified and developing strategies to ensure a favourable outcome for clients.’

‘I consider John Doherty to be a truly fantastic lawyer who cares for his clients and understands their needs, with a remarkable command not only of the legal  issues, but also the technical aspects of the matters under consideration.’

‘Nick Bamber handled the large scale of our needs very well and explained the directions we should be looking at to resolve our legal requirements.’

‘The team was very easy to get a hold of during the Covid-19 working from home period. Their video conferencing technology worked very well and a team of three lawyers worked together with us to resolve our legal issues.’

‘Penningtons is a high-end, competent firm that builds relationships with its clients. I have met staff a few times and they are always interested in the business and everything about you. They are professional and quite fabulous.’

‘John Doherty is very bright, organised and very good indeed with clients.’

Key clients

Joy Organics LLC

Andreas Stihl Limited

The Conran Shop

British American Tobacco

Vana Health, Inc.

Breathe Happy Ltd.

Sales Force National PTY Ltd Xenexus

Veg of Lund


Work highlights

  • Advised British American Tobacco on a range of product safety and liability issues, including clean nicotine delivery products, also known as potentially reduced risk products (PRRPs).
  • Assisted Andreas Stihl Limited with product liability claims, regulatory compliance and risk issues, encompassing appropriate labelling and presentation to ensure the safety of its market-leading professional power tool range.
  • Advising The Conran Shop on product safety obligations, recall and associated disputes.

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 4

The team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP specialises in group claims against law firms and construction professionals and places an emphasis on out of court settlements. Co-heads of the team, Rustam Dubash and David Niven, have both developed the joint group action professional negligence practice. Peter Stockill  leads the construction side of the practice. Kamran Rehman joined the team in 2021 from Shakespeare Martineau LLP, strengthening the team's expertise in the banking and lending professional negligence arena.

Practice head(s):

Rustam Dubash – Head of CDR; David Niven – Head of Professional Negligence

Other key lawyers:

David O’Brien; Peter Stockill


‘Penningtons Manches has a highly profitable practice advising Indian clients on banking and commercial cases in the UK. The team also conducts a range of complex commercial cases.’

‘Penningtons are the ‘go to’ team for claimant class action professional negligence cases. They have massive, unrivalled experience in this field, and have a track record of securing huge settlements for their clients.’

‘David Niven and his team are specialists in group action claims – that means that they know the law and the practical difficulties of dealing with such claims, inside out.’

‘Penningtons Manches Cooper is particularly good at handling class action professional negligence litigation. The firm distinguishes itself by its strategic approach to such litigation, planning an effective strategy from pre-issue correspondence to final resolution.’

‘They have particular expertise in acting for multi claimants, many of whom live abroad and whose first language is not necessarily English. This involves standardised advice whilst at the same time keeping advice to clients as clear as possible and taking into account individual facts.’

‘David O’Brien combines an unparalleled attention to detail with the ability to communicate clearly to clients about their claims.’

‘David Niven is very experienced and commercially minded and keeps a close eye on day-to-day matters, whilst in charge of overall strategy.’

‘David Niven is the doyen in this area: he is a hugely experienced practitioner who can calmly navigate claims through to trial with absolute focus and a minimum of fuss.’

Key clients

Baltic House


North Point Pall Mall

Northern Powerhouse


Hever and Needham Hotel

Hope Capital Ltd

Social Money

Welby London Ltd

Cutlers Holdings Limited

Scarborough Group International Limited

Wed-in-style Limited and others

City and Country Group Plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for 200 investors of Northern Powerhouse Developments Ltd following its collapse in 2019 seeking to recover their losses in the hotels and care homes operated by NPD or its subsidiaries.
  • Acting for Giambrone in a professional negligence claim against their former solicitors, who acted for them in purchases of off-plan properties in two developments in Calabria, Italy.
  • Acting for 138 clients seeking to recover losses arising from the failed property developments, Baltic House, Angelgate and North Point Pall Mall

Public sector > Education: schools Tier 4

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's schools team handles a range of immigration, employment, property, governance and debt recovery work; the practice has seen marked growth in education-specific work, particularly safeguarding queries. Practice head Gemma Woodhouse acts for independent schools, advising on employment matters and discrimination issues as well as safeguarding work and parental complaints.

Practice head(s):

Gemma Woodhouse


‘All colleagues I have dealt with have been first rate. Student Visa work – which is completely accurate – is a fairly rare commodity and Penningtons staff in this respect are outstanding.’

‘Gemma Woodhouse – very pragmatic. Keeps it straightforward but always provides options for consideration. Availability is always good – very much there when needed.’

‘Specialists in the field of education. Hugely accessible, top quality advice and guidance.’

‘Gemma Woodhouse – exceptional practitioner. Her experience and expertise in the field make her invaluable. She is contactable at any time and exceptionally quick in her responses.’

‘Responsive personal service from Partners and their teams who understand our needs. Desire to provide pragmatic solutions.’

‘Gemma Woodhouse – consistently responds quickly, provides straightforward, innovative, commercial advice. Reliable, steadfast and very approachable.’

Key clients

St David’s School

Bishops Challoner School

Wellington College

Hemdean House School

Haberdashers’ Aske’s Elstree Schools Limited

Crosfields School

Cognita Schools

Reed’s School

Caversham Preparatory School

The Oratory Schools Association

Shrewsbury House School Trust

The Licensed Trade Charity

Brampton College

Arnold Lodge School

King’s House School

Association for the Education and Guardianship of International students

Derby Grammar School

Beaconsfield Educational Trust (Davenies)

Prior’s Field School

Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship

Notre Dame Prep School

Cambridge Tutors College

Work highlights

  • Assisting a leading independent school in relation to a breakdown in relationship within its executive leadership team and the subsequent fall out including advising on multiple Subject Access Requests.
  • Acting for the sellers in the sale of Riverston Group Limited to the Chatsworth Schools group.
  • Advising a leading independent school on the proposed withdrawal from the TPS, including collective consultation requirements and potential employee grievances.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Sport Tier 4

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is ‘strong across the board in sport, from commercial and employment through to regulatory matters’. Football is a keystone of the practice, which notably represents the League Managers Association, individual managers, players and intermediaries on the full gamut of relevant matters including contractual disputes and reputation management. Practice head Andrew Haywood is also a veteran of many disciplinary, discrimination and business protection mandates and oversees a team which directs the remainder of its sector-specific emphasis towards sailing and yacht races, motor sports, esports and the representation of young athletes, including several Team GB athletes and Paralympic hopefuls.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Haywood

Other key lawyers:

Richard Marshall; Nick Humphreys; James Severn; Jeremy Clarke-Williams; Sarah Allan; Oliver Cooke


 ‘I have worked principally with Nick Humphreys. He is immersed in the industry so that his advice covers all bases and not merely those that relate to litigation.’

Nick Humphreys may be the hardest-working lawyer in Western Europe. I have seen him handle effectively workloads that would crush an ordinary lawyer. Nothing is too much for a client to ask. He is there when you need him and delivers when he is asked to. He is exceptional.’

‘A team strong across the board in sport from commercial and employment through to regulatory matters. A go-to firm, which is making a big impact in the market place.’

‘Nick Humphries is astute, gets results and is a – if not the – leading figure in sports disputes with an employment law angle.’

‘James Severn has excellent international connections, with particular strength in arbitrations in sport. Richard Marshall is a commercial dispute resolution partner with specialist niche in sporting sector. Andrew Heywood is an employment law specialist who has carved out a niche in sporting disputes.’

‘The team is very adept at client management, and this is reflected by the high calibre of its clients in the sporting industry.  The team is very commercially minded, and places real emphasis on achieving a satisfactory commercial outcome, instead of getting wrapped up in unwanted litigation.’

‘Richard Marshall is a brilliant tactical lawyer, who brings a high degree of commercial acumen to his cases.’

‘Richard Marshall is very experienced and always great to work with. Oliver Cooke is very bright and accessible.’

Key clients

League Managers Association

Mahindra Racing UK Limited

Nigel Pearson (football manager – ex Leicester City and Watford)

Gordon Murray Group

George Bates – Team GB Wheelchair Basketball Player

Grey Sports Group

Toca Football UK Ltd

Dave Richardson

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented football manager Nigel Pearson in a libel case against Leicestershire Live, resulting in a published apology and paid damages.
  • Advised a Team GB wheelchair basketball player in an appeal against the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s change of its classification process, which resulted in the player being ineligible to represent GB at the Tokyo Paralympics.
  • Acting on behalf of racing car designer Gordon Murray Group on the acquisition of the site for its new global HQ in Windlesham, Surrey.

Dispute resolution > Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 5

Noted as 'the thorn in the retail banks side', Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's commercial dispute team is particularly well-known for acting against banks in litigation. It counts swaps litigation, international settlement disputes and group litigation among its areas of expertise and also acts for banks in claims. Alexander Fox leads the business and financial disputes team while Rustam Dubash heads the commercial dispute resolution group and David Niven leads the group litigation practice. Senior associate Charlotte Hill specialises in financial services disputes including LIBOR manipulation and crypto-asset disputes.

Practice head(s):

Rustam Dubash; Alexander Fox; David Niven

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Hill; David O’Brien; Emma Davies; Bronagh Adams


They are the thorn in the retail banks side! Alex Fox and Charlotte Hill understand how those banks operate and the tactics they deploy, and meet those strategies head on and with an almighty force.’

Alex Fox is quick to go the second mile for the client and is constantly looking for creative solutions to legal disputes. David Niven has one of the strongest track records of class actions in the financial services arena. David O’Brien is one of the rising stars of banking litigation. He is distinguished by his attention to detail and his commitment to achieving the best outcomes for his clients.’

Alex Fox is a strategic wizard. Unlike some, he has an extremely firm grip on the detail, whilst also being able to see the big picture and take good tactical decisions. He’s also lovely to work with and great company.

Charlotte Hill is a force of nature. She really steps up to the plate and takes the lead on cases, and is no doubt a partner-in-waiting. She’s knowledgeable, hard-working and an excellent quarterback on cases, directing the work and shouldering her share of the load too. She also seems to be something of an opponent-whisperer: I’ve never seen someone get on so well with opponents, clients, and potential witnesses, and it’s a real secret weapon in hard-fought commercial litigation.’

The team has some of the most in-depth knowledge of both the commercial realities and legal issues surrounding banking litigation; with an appreciation of how the various products work in practice and how this fits into the analysis of their effect upon a customer in circumstances of mis-selling and misrepresentation. The team has been involved in, amongst other things, some of the most significant disputes concerning LIBOR manipulation litigated in London.

The team has real strength in depth: they all muck in, from the partners down, and there are no weak links. The junior associates and paralegals are extremely efficient, and have an adamantine work ethic. They really do go the extra mile, and it makes a difference.

Alex Fox is a dynamic leader, inspiring others by his determination and good humour, and sets the tone for the team. He is also fiercely bright and quick to see a point. Charlotte Hill and Bronagh Adams are highly intelligent and strategic thinkers. Charlotte is particularly creative and able to see matters obliquely. Emma Davies is utterly determined and indefatigable. She will work as hard as the situation requires and will not give up until done.’

Key clients

Hope Capital Ltd

Social Money T/A BridgeCrowd

Fiduciam Nominees Ltd

United Bank UK

Capreon (UK) Ltd / Noe Group

Work highlights

  • Defended an ultra high net worth individual in English proceedings brought by German bank group against the main shareholder of large industrial company for sums in excess of $180m, alleged to be owed by him pursuant to a series of guarantees and indemnities given in the context of facilities provided to the company.
  • Defending a real estate company in a disputes for break costs arising out of an early termination of an ISDA.
  • Acting for a bridging lender (Hope Capita) in a professional negligence valuation claim against Alexander Reece Thomson.

Employment > Employers Tier 5

Underpinned by a strong financial services focus, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP fields an ‘extremely strong team covering the full range of employment law’. The practice, which is led by Paul Mander, mainly advises on restructurings, redundancies, whistleblowing issues, and senior management dismissals and boardroom disputes. The practice of Tom Walker, a ‘first port of call for boardroom disputes’, emphasises confidentiality, whistleblowing and discrimination issues. Another key name in the group, Andrew Haywood has experience advising on competitive moves and social media-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Paul Mander

Other key lawyers:

Tom Walker; Andrew Haywood; Nick Humphreys


An extremely strong team covering the full range of employment law, capable of dealing with all issues. Highly responsive to client needs. Provides high-quality advice and associated tailored services to clients.’

Nick Humphreys offers unparalleled client service. Really fights the client’s corner. Coupled with detailed subject matter knowledge and good tactical nous makes for a potent combination.’

Paul Mander’s sizable team has the breadth and depth to be able to support us on urgent or time-intensive matters should they arise. They are extremely efficient and provide great value for an exceptional standard of advice.’

Paul Mander is extremely commercial in his advice and truly understands our business. He is incredibly responsive and solutions-focused, tailoring his advice to the individual stakeholders on each matter and anticipating issues before they arise. He is a genuine partner to our people team.’

Tom Walker is our first port of call for boardroom disputes. He is user-friendly, keeps it simple, and gets solutions for the board. We mainly see Tom working with senior c-suites and fiduciaries, within the regulated sphere. He’s an executive trouble shooter.’

They are very cooperative and efficient in replying to our views. Their advice is always very professional. They listen to our views and try to accommodate our points wherever possible.’

Andrew Haywood advice is always comprehensive and takes into consideration our point of view. Available at short notice and revert back within agreed timelines.’

One-stop shop for most legal requirements due to a wide area of expertise and offices located throughout the UK and internationally. Professional approach, quick turnaround, and a good understanding of client’s business needs translated into the advice angle.’

Key clients


Farfetch UK Limited


Circlo3 S.a.r.l

Bucher Industries

Cenkos Securities

Lanson International Uk Limited t/a Lanson Champagne


Brummer & Partners Capital LLP

Seahorse Maritime Limited

Curzon Street Partners

Ayondo Markets Limited


Soap & Co

Habib Bank plc

Comsec Investigations Limited

Infovista S.A.S

Exchange Capital Partners

John McAslan & Partners

Heals 1810 Limited

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 5

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a multi-practice team that advises a broad range of third sector clients from local and national cause charities to education institutions, social housing, trade associations and religious institutions. Other key clients include family offices, philanthropists and grant making charities. It has particular strength in working with prestigious education charities and it has been busy working with ecclesiastical charities. Gemma Bell and Daff Richardson now head the team as Henrietta Mason is at Farrer & Co.

Practice head(s):

Gemma Bell; Daff Richardson

Key clients


City & Guilds

Right to Play UK Ltd

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind – t/a Sightsavers

The Licensed Trade Charity

Marine Stewardship Council

World Obesity Fund

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineers


Magdalen College, Oxford

Work highlights

  • Advised Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind – t/a Sightsavers in relation to a gift of a property to the charity by Will, which leaves a right for the current occupier to reside for as long as they wish.
  • Advising CABI on changes to working arrangements on the client’s move to state of the art sustainable new premises; on the application of the CJRS (furlough leave); on appropriate Covid-safe arrangements and homeworking; in relation to UK workers visiting overseas branches and the application of travel restrictions
  • Advised The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) in relation to their constitution (a company incorporated by Royal Charter) which did not allow the holding of virtual general meetings, and changes to their Regulations in order to allow virtual a virtual AGM to take place in light of the pandemic.

Real estate > Commercial property: development Tier 5

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP’s London property team places a high degree of emphasis on real estate investment work, supporting on a variety of ownership structures, funding arrangements and subsequent leasing negotiations, in addition to forward sales and purchases. Practice head James Nadin demonstrates a tenacity for high-value portfolio transactions and is also active in the development space. The team’s development work includes a number of significant large-scale projects and is supported by the firm’s wider proficiency in construction and planning affairs.

Practice head(s):


‘Professional practice. Always available to talk and discuss.

Key clients

Aquastrada Limited

Fairbridge Developments Limited

Munroe K Luxembourg SA

Scarborough Group

Work highlights

  • Acting on Middlewood Locks, a 25 acre waterside development linking Salford and Manchester. This development will provide 2,200 homes and 900,000 sq. ft. of commercial space (offices, hotels, shops and restaurants).    
  • Acted for Aquastrada Limited on the sale of Stratford Office Village, Stratford to an SPV of Aberdeen Standard Pan European Residential Property Fund for a land price of £19.8m. The team also supported on the entry into a development funding agreement where Aquastrada contracted to build 158 residential units with a maximum commitment of circa £32m. This was a build to rent scheme.
  • Advising on real estate, financing, planning and construction work of a development site in Sussex to Ilke Homes Limited. The development site has planning permission for over 300 homes.

Real estate > Commercial property: investment Tier 5

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP’s London property team places a high degree of emphasis on real estate investment work, supporting on a variety of ownership structures, funding arrangements and subsequent leasing negotiations, in addition to forward sales and purchases. Practice head James Nadin  demonstrates a tenacity for high-value portfolio transactions and is also active in the development space. The team's development work includes a number of significant large-scale projects and is supported by the firm’s wider proficiency in construction and planning affairs.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


Professional practice. Always available to talk and discuss.’

Key clients

Martin Homes

Work highlights

  • Acted for Martin Homes on the purchase of the freehold of Bursswood, Kent from the administrators of the Dorothy Kerin Trust.  The site spans approximately 104 acres with buildings of 70,812 sq ft and is part Grade II listed with formal gardens and woodland.

Real estate > Construction: non-contentious Tier 5

The growing construction practice at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP offers a diverse set of expertise across the housing, care, energy, mixed-use and education sectors. While the core of its work is domestic, acting on behalf of local authorities and contractors, it is receiving an increasing number of instructions from international companies. Richard Cooke leads the team, working alongside Francis Ho and Peter Massey.

Practice head(s):

Richard Cooke

Other key lawyers:


‘Proactive in making contact and ensuring that clients are provided with information on developments that may be relevant.’

‘Francis Ho has good interpersonal skills and knowledge.’

‘In a very busy marketplace the firm has consistently delivered on its promises.’

‘Peter Massey has continually delivered for us and the team he manages work to the same high standards.’

Key clients

Ares Management

Generation Partners

Black Mountain Partners

Aviva Investors




Invel Real Estate Advisors

American Institute for Foreign Study

St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford

Aytoun Street Developments

The Lancaster Landmark Hotel Company

Patrizia Hanover Property Unit Trust


St Peter’s College, University of Oxford


Evox Therapeutics

Project & Building Consultancy

Esdevium part of the Asmodee group

Catalyst housing group

Permasteelisa UK Ltd

One Housing Group

Newlon Housing Trust

Paragon Asra Housing Limited

Poplar Harca

BDL group

Southern Housing

Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing

Treveth Developments Limited

Cornwall City Council



Epping Forest District Council

Signature Homes



Ennismore International / Hoxton Hotels

Work highlights

  • Advising Black Mountain Partners on the redevelopment of 68 King William Street and an all-day restaurant from the owners of the Wolseley.
  • Negotiated a complex agreement for a lease for Esdevium Limited with a gross internal area in excess of 13,000 sq ft.
  • Advising the developers of a large 250,000 sq ft office to private rented sector scheme to create 629 apartments at Parkview in Bristol.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 5

The team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is led by Donald Lambert, who is experienced in portfolio management but has in recent years focused on development-related work. These two elements form the cornerstones of the practice and include tenant insolvency and telecoms sector matters as well as disputes at the intersection with construction (most notably in the fire safety space). Clients include investors, developers, institutional landlords and tenants. The firm is committed to reducing its carbon footprint through its accreditation with Planet Mark.

Practice head(s):

Donald Lambert

Other key lawyers:

David Masters; Ben Robinson; Laura West


They have sufficient strong individuals with specialist knowledge at every level within the team that they can comfortably handle larger matters and clients.

Ben Robinson is outstanding – he appears very relaxed on the surface, but has a real eye for detail. He is extremely thorough and very good at seeing the end game – he always keeps everything on track.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is adept at property litigation.

What stands out about PMC is their particular sensitivity to their clients’ commercial concerns, strategies and objectives. PMC anticipate when a decision in litigation will present particular challenges for their client.

Laura West is a standout associate. She is tenacious, organised and committed to achieving results at every stage of litigation. She is very able with technical detail.

Donald Lambert is impressively clever and a lateral thinker, with a remarkable ability to find new angles in law to apply to a case’s facts.

Across the team they have the expertise to deal with any kind of property dispute.’

I am reassured that when I contact PMC for support and advice, I will be able to speak to someone who understands our business and what our needs are, so plan their advice accordingly. They have a broad spectrum of expertise and can connect you to other parts of their business for relevant advice.

Key clients

CGW Snooker LLP

Monkhill Limited

Munroe K Luxembourg SA

Alpha Real Capital

Southern Housing Group

Metropolitan Thames Valley

Sellar Property Group

Peabody Trust

Work highlights

  • Acting for the appellant in the Court of Appeal case of Aviva Investors Ground Rent Limited v Williams, concerning leases which set out a fixed percentage of the service charge payable for each flat, with wording ‘or such part as the Landlord may otherwise reasonably determine’ included after each percentage.
  • Advised Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Limited and Aviva Ground Rent Holdco Limited on the merits of a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of warranty and in due course issued and litigated proceedings which featured close to 100 defects arising over a period of four years.
  • Issuing and running heavily contested 1954 Act lease renewal proceedings for CGW Snooker LLP.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property: trade marks, copyright and design Tier 5

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP handles transactional IP matters, brand management and enforcement actions before the UKIPO. The team is jointly led by the 'approachable, pragmatic and very knowledgeable' Anna Frankum in London and Chris Shelly in Oxford, whose extensive client lists cover the full spectrum of sectors.

Practice head(s):

Anna Frankum; Chris Shelley


The team provides creative, strategic, and practical advice to address the issues posed. The communication is clear and concise and makes it very easy for me to relay to my ultimate clients.

First-class understanding of the law. The ability to strategise. Excellent client service.

Anna Frankum is approachable, pragmatic and very knowledgeable.

Practical advice, speed of response, understanding of my business. Acting as a sounding board, as well as a typical legal advisor.

Anna Frankum is a really lovely, kind and approachable person, as well as being at the top of her game legally.

Key clients

All Saints Retail Ltd

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Barfoots of Botley

C&C Alpha Group

CAB International

Compass Box Delicious Whisky Ltd

Evac+Chair International Limited

Finance & Leasing Association

First Law P.C. (Bighit Entertainment Co Ltd)

Institute for Fiscal Studies

Joseph Giles Ltd

Needle & Thread Design Holdings Ltd

Norbar Torque Tools Ltd

OneCom Limited

Organix Brands Limited

Oversight Board

Roka London Limited

Root’s Reggae Reggae Sauce Ltd and Levi Roots

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)

Shanti Hospitality Group

Tradecraft Tools Ltd

Thatcham Research

United Colors International Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on various trade mark disputes including ongoing oppositions against third parties and commencing invalidation and revocation actions before the UKIPO.
  • Advised Levi Roots and his company Roots Reggae Reggae Sauce Ltd on numerous new opposition, invalidity and revocation proceedings before the UKIPO to defend the RASTA PASTA and REGGAE REGGAE SAUCE brands.
  • Advised Kings College London on technology transfer transactions including numerous licences of patents, know how, copyright and antibodies and clinical data in the life sciences field.

Real estate > Social housing

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a leading UK and international law firm which provides high-quality legal advice tailored to the needs of both businesses and individuals. It aims to address the specific objectives of each client through its broad market insight and technical expertise, and offers a personal service founded on a strong team ethic and culture.

The firm: Penningtons Manches Cooper’s head office is in the City of London. There are further UK offices in Basingstoke, Birmingham, Cambridge, Guildford, Oxford and Reading while its overseas network stretches from Asia to South America through offices in Singapore, Piraeus, Paris and Madrid, as well as in São Paulo via an association with Brazilian law firm Mattos Engelberg Echenique. Clients range from private individuals and owner-managed businesses to multinational corporations, public companies, universities, professional partnerships, banks and financial institutions.

Types of work undertaken: The firm has established a strong reputation in a variety of sectors, particularly private wealth, shipping, technology and property. It is also recognised for its expertise in life sciences, education,  retail, sports and entertainment and international trade and commodity finance. The main areas of legal services provided are real estate, dispute resolution, corporate and commercial, private client and family. To ensure a seamless service is provided to clients, all Penningtons Manches Cooper’s activities and people are divided into three divisions:

Business services: this division offers expertise in all types of dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration with specialists located in three of the world’s leading arbitration centres of London, Paris and Singapore. It also provides a wealth of expertise in corporate services and corporate finance, MBOs, MBIs, M&A and joint ventures as well as initial public offering and AIM listing. Areas of work include corporate tax, IP, data protection, employment, immigration, banking, financial regulation, insurance and reinsurance, international arbitration, marine, trade and energy, travel law, reputation management and privacy, insolvency work and all types of real estate litigation.

Real estate: the real estate division represents companies, institutions and individuals, both in the UK and overseas, seeking property advice. Solicitors are experienced in dealing with investment sales and purchases, funding agreements, development schemes, portfolio management, landlord and tenant matters, registered social landlords and agricultural investments, as well as smaller commercial property work. Specialist town and country planning, environmental, taxation and construction law advice is also provided. The residential property team advises on high-value residential property sales and purchases, including French property transactions.

Private individuals: private client services include international tax structuring, personal tax planning, wills, trusts, charities, the administration of estates, and capacity and Court of Protection matters. The family team provides a comprehensive service which incorporates all aspects of family financial work and international family law issues. This division also has a substantial clinical negligence and personal injury practice which is regarded as one of the leading teams in the South East.

International: Penningtons Manches Cooper has a broad international focus and provides an integrated service for corporates, individuals and their families, wherever they live or do business. Its network of international offices is supplemented by its membership of Multilaw and the European Law Group, associations with representatives in over 100 countries, while many of its lawyers play leading roles in a range of international bodies. The firm is well placed to advise on all aspects of inward investment and offers specialist international maritime, commodities, trading and finance law advice.

Other offices: Basingstoke, Birmingham, Cambridge, Guildford, Oxford, Reading, Madrid, Paris, Piraeus, Singapore

Chief executive David Raine
Head of business services division (contentious) Franco Bosi
Head of business services division (non-contentious) Helen Drayton
Head of private individuals division Tim Palmer
Head of real estate division Peter McElligott
Banking and finance Grant Eldred
Clinical negligence Philippa Luscombe
Clinical negligence Alison Appelboam Meadows
Commercial Anna Frankum
Commercial Chris Shelley
Commercial dispute resolution Clare Arthurs
Construction Peter Stockill
Contentious trusts Michael Cash
Corporate Simon Bickerdike
Corporate Matthew Martin
Court of Protection Julie Burton
Education Hilary Aldred
Employment Paul Mander
Energy and offshore Tim Kelleher
Family Jane Craig
Immigration Pat Saini
Insurance and reinsurance Mark Lee
Intellectual property Anna Frankum
Intellectual property Chris Shelley
International trade Tim Kelleher
International wealth Laura Dadswell
International wealth James Stewart
Life sciences Chris Shelley
Personal injury Philippa Luscombe
Private client Clare Archer
Real estate Peter McElligott
Real estate litigation Donald Lambert
Residential property Duncan Taylor
Retail Matthew Martin
Shipping Darryl Kennard
Social housing Linda Storey
Tax Stephen Goldstraw
Technology Joanne Vengadesan
Travel Mark Lee
Hilary Aldred photo Hilary AldredPartner specialising in all areas of contentious and non-contentious employment, including dealing…
Clare Arthurs photo Clare ArthursClare is a partner and heads the firm’s commercial dispute resolution department.…
Rachel Bradley photo Rachel BradleyPartner in the commercial, IP and IT team, with a particular specialism…
Sarah Coates photo Sarah CoatesSarah is a partner in the firm’s real estate division in Cambridge.…
Helen Drayton photo Helen DraytonHelen heads the non-contentious teams within the business services division and is…
Number of UK partners : 132
Number of other UK fee-earners : 385

At Penningtons Manches Cooper, we believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce generates vitality for our firm and helps to shape individuals’ professional development. We actively endeavour to attract a vibrant and varied workforce from the widest pool of qualified candidates. All job applicants and employees receive equal treatment regardless of age, sex, gender identity, marital status, race, religion, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation or disability.

Our inclusion strategy takes a five-point approach covering recruitment, retention, training, communication, and data analysis. We are committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and diversity in our policies, practices and procedures and in those areas in which we have influence in the wider community. We have a diversity inclusion working group leading and implementing initiatives and addressing issues such as the provision of quality work experience to young individuals from less privileged backgrounds in the UK. We review the impact of our inclusion efforts on a regular basis and complete a full strategic review of our practices, processes, and external partnerships annually.

External partnerships

As a firm, we are committed to widening access to the legal profession and our external partnerships play a key role in this.

Penningtons Manches Cooper is a signatory to the Race Fairness Commitment which mandates the firm to a series of data driven techniques and measures aimed at tackling inequality in the recruitment, progression and retention of talent from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK.

We remain committed to supporting our colleagues’ mental health. Last year, we signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment to help inform our approach and to make our existing targets more ambitious. In line with this, we have refreshed our mental health action plan to adhere to the standards set out in the commitment, focusing on tackling the stigma of talking about mental health, ensuring our culture supports positive mental health and increasing understanding and awareness of mental health throughout the firm.

The firm has also joined the Women in Law Pledge which was launched by the Law Society, in partnership with the Bar Council of England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX), to promote gender equality across the profession. The pledge supports our broader gender pay gap action plan.

Internal working groups

We have six employee inclusion networks: Age, Disability and Mental Health, Gender, LGBTQIA+, Race & Faith, Socioeconomic. Our networks are run by employees and supported by partner sponsors. Our networks provide an open forum for employees to share their thoughts and ideas and play a pivotal role in raising awareness and educating the firm on inclusion initiatives.

In addition to our networks, we have 27 Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Ambassadors who are committed to fostering, embedding, and promoting an inclusive culture. They have lived experience in the area in which they are offering support and as such, can provide tailored guidance and a safe space for individuals to share their thoughts and experiences.

CLIENT: Duncan Logan, CEO, RocketSpace
COMPANY/FIRM: Penningtons Manches Cooper
TESTIMONIAL: “London’s tech community continues to expand rapidly and drive innovation. Creating a physical presence here is critical to our expansion strategy and mission to build an ecosystem for innovation to thrive, across a global network of campuses. We are delighted to have worked closely with their inward investment team who provided us with vital legal support for this major business transaction.”

CLIENT: Jan Schnitzer, General counsel, u-blox
COMPANY/FIRM: Penningtons Manches Cooper
TESTIMONIAL: “I have been impressed by their professionalism and attention to detail. Their work has been prompt and delivered on budget, but without sacrificing quality of service. They were able to provide the full range of services that we needed for this complex transaction which demanded not only an ability to work with lawyers in two other jurisdictions, but also to meet the intellectual property challenges of working in the cutting edge area of LTE wireless technology.”

CLIENT: Dr Scott Brown, CEO, Nexeon
COMPANY/FIRM: Penningtons Manches Cooper
TESTIMONIAL: “The Penningtons Manches Cooper team provided a first class service to help us secure this major funding round. We found them to have a good grasp of the legal issues, offering solutions when required, and they were always available and responsive. Members of their team have worked with the company since its incorporation in 2006 which certainly helped us navigate our way through the process.”

CLIENT: Cecilia Emanuelson, Legal Affairs, Inter IKEA Holding Services SA
COMPANY/FIRM: Penningtons Manches Cooper
TESTIMONIAL: “Their team understands the specificities of our company which makes it so much easier to communicate. They always get back to us in a timely manner with advice and know what to look out for on our behalf. We are very impressed with their work as well as the results of a number of trademark infringement cases.”

CLIENT:  Simon Wyatt, Director, Contamac Ltd
COMPANY/FIRM: Penningtons Manches Cooper
TESTIMONIAL: “Our requirement is that our advisers become, in effect, part of our management team, understanding our business, plans and strategy, which we achieve through regular meetings
and communication. In choosing our legal advisers, we needed to be sure they understood our requirements, and had the capability to deal with them. Penningtons Manches Cooper has acted for us over many years, and we have made full use of many of the services they provide, covering commercial agreements, property transactions, IP requirements and employment law. They have never let us down, providing sound, sensible advice in a timely fashion.”

CLIENT: Ralph Dawson, Director, Dawson Walker Communications
COMPANY/FIRM: Penningtons Manches Cooper
TESTIMONIAL: “I have always found their team to be accessible, responsive and professional in the advice and support they provide to my organisation. They take the time to discuss the issues so we have a clear understanding of our position and to explain matters in enough detail for us to be able to make informed decisions on what to us would otherwise often be very complex issues. They are a pleasure to work with.”

The Lex 100 Verdict

Covering a ‘wide range of practice areas, including commercial and private individuals’, Penningtons Manches Cooper is a full-service firm with a mixture of international scale and small-firm characteristics. ‘A small trainee intake, good work/life balance, and a variety of seats available’ plus a ‘friendly, good experience in the interview process’ makes PMC an attractive prospect. There are offices in London, Basingstoke, Oxford, Cambridge and Reading among others in Southern England and, due to the merger with established shipping law firm Thomas Cooper in 2019, PMC has a stellar maritime law practice which is a major draw for trainees. As one trainee highlights, ‘I chose PMC as it offers a high quality work.  The small intake presents opportunities for one-to-one training with great client exposure. PMC is also one of the most friendly international firms’. More social activities and higher pay would be appreciated by trainees, but the impact of the pandemic has played its part in this. Indeed some trainees praised the firm’s response, with one commenting, ‘I've had a really positive experience, despite doing my whole first seat remotely. I am given a lot of responsibility and have had great client exposure’. PMC rates highly among current trainees: ‘everyone is very friendly; the department I have been working in has been going above and beyond in terms of the remote working and making sure I'm included in work and general conversation’. If you are looking for a maritime law focus, as well as broad and high-quality legal training across personal and commercial sectors, Penningtons Manches Cooper is a strong contender.