Mr David Smedley > Walker Morris LLP > Leeds, England > Lawyer Profile

Walker Morris LLP
33 Wellington Street

Work Department



Partner and Head of Litigation and Employment


As Head of Employment, David has over 25 years experience in all aspects of employment and industrial relations work. In addition, he deals with a wide range of high value breach of contract and restrictive covenant claims. With his Employment Team he resolves a wide range of contentious issues as well as becoming involved in strategic HR planning for clients in a non-contentious context. David is also part of our Education Group and deals with all aspects of education law including admissions and exclusions issues and claims for judicial review. David was one of the few to successfully oppose an appeal against a schools decision to permanently exclude a pupil.

In a given case David will generally deal with all advocacy and is well known to ACAS and the Employment Tribunals. He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and the Industrial Society and regularly contributes to publications (both specialist and general). Guidelines for Tribunals to deal with discrimination claims were handed down in David’s case of Netto Foodstores v Blaise Tchoula. David also acted in the recent high profile status case of Redcats (Brands) Limited v James.

David is Head of Litigation & Dispute Resolution and a member of the Firm’s Management Board (an elected post) for over a decade. David is heavily involved in the firm’s Annual Charity Children’s Calendar competition and together with Ashley Jackson, he judges the entries and hosts the award ceremony for the winning schools.

Lawyer Rankings

Yorkshire and the Humber > Public sector > Education

Areas of expertise for Walker Morris LLP are advising schools and colleges on academy conversions and also construction matters; the group is increasingly working for universities and also assists councils, funders, education institutions and suppliers. The practice’s work spans a wide range of mandates, covering topics such as general commercial issues, governance work, state aid matters, employment and pensions mandates, real estate transactions, regulatory work and litigation. David Smedley has knowledge of employment law, admissions and exclusion issues and acts in judicial reviews, while Jules Harbage is well versed in construction and building matters; the pair jointly lead the team.

Yorkshire and the Humber > Employment > Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire

Walker Morris LLP has a diverse employment practice, acting for clients within the manufacturing, food and drink, finance and technology sectors. It also has a particularly strong sports employment focus, with a number of Premier League football clubs in its client roster. Practice co-head Andrew Rayment is a specialist in employment work for international transactions while fellow practice head David Smedley continues to develop the group’s immigration offering, advising on sponsor license applications, visas and post-Brexit right to work changes. Senior associate Charlotte Smith is ‘fantastic’. Laura McLellan left the firm to join Knights plc in February 2022.