Firm Profile > Doyle Clayton > London, England

Doyle Clayton

Education: individuals Tier 1

Doyle Clayton's 'impressive' education practice is singled out for its dual employment and education law expertise, and its ability to offer clients comprehensive advice on safeguarding, pastoral care issues and dismissals. The team is led by Simon Henthorn, who has over 15 years of experience in the sector, and is praised for 'cutting through the 'bluster' and bringing 'common sense to where it is lacking.' The group handles sensitive matters for headteachers, senior staff, and schools. Elizabeth Timmins specialises in providing immigration law advice to schools and colleges.

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‘Simon Henthorn, the Head of the Education team, is unparalleled. He knows the education sector like the back of his hand, he has a good strategic mind for a case and he is excellent with clients. He radiates decency and inspires confidence. I worked with him on a very complex case involving a client with significant health needs, and he went above and beyond for the client.’

‘Simon Henthorn has forensic attention to detail and exceptional work ethic which gets the best results for his clients. Innovative and courteous, he is a very capable lawyer.’

Simon Henthorn is a first-rate practitioner. He is a pleasure to work with and is experienced and dedicated.’

‘They are a strong team. Enthusiastic, resourceful, personable, and experienced.’

The education team at Doyle Clayton are true specialists in employment matters in the education sector, and they understand how education law interacts with the employment of academics and teachers. In my opinion, they are the go-to firm for professors, lecturers, and headteachers with employment disputes.’

Senior executives Tier 2

Specialist workplace law firm Doyle Clayton operates out of three offices across London, and serves corporate clients from a wide range of sectors on the full range of employment law work. It is equally comfortable advising employers and senior executives. Notably, the firm maintains a strong client base of fellow law firms and partners. Recent areas of significant development have included an increase in work involving an international element and a greater investment in start-up clients. Practice head Peter De Maria is known for his litigation expertise, especially High Court cases concerning high-profile team moves and restrictive covenant disputes. Other key team members are senior partner Darren Clayton and CEO Peter Doyle, both known for their expertise across the full spectrum of employment law.

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‘Peter De Maria was personable, approachable and was able to provide legal advice in understandable terms. He also provided a lot of time and attention to my case, which provided me extra comfort to carry on even though my case was incredibly stressful at times. I would highly recommend Peter to anyone.’

‘Doyle Clayton are highly experienced in team move litigation and provide their clients with an excellent service.’

‘Peter De Maria is a very astute tactician and understands the nuances of team move litigation.’

‘Katie Mahoney is very well recognised by practitioners in this field as being involved in lots of high profile employee competition cases. She is someone with extensive knowledge of this sector, with extremely high standards and a true fighter for her clients.’

‘Katie Mahoney is a stand out star. Impressive but approachable, she is a hard worker, who knows what she is doing and is particularly effective. A delight to work with.’

‘Doyle Clayton have particular experience advising senior executives in matters involving employee competition including restrictive covenants and team moves.’

‘Katie Mahoney is particularly collaborative, response and has very strong relationships with her clients.’

‘They are the market leaders in dealing with senior executives. They are really the first port of call for niche advisors in this area. Because they will not have conflict issues they are a constant referral in cases where senior executives are exiting and an independent lawyer is needed to advise them.’

‘Peter Doyle and Darren Clayton are giants in the field but they have developed the firm with a group of exceptional partners and associates.’

‘Peter de Maria is a partner with particular expertise in High Court litigation. He understands which points are important and which aren’t. That sounds simple, but it’s the product of great judgment and huge experience. It enables him to focus on what needs to be done to win.’

‘Dan Begbie-Clench has a knack for finding practical solutions to seemingly impossible situations.’

‘Peter De Maria and Katie Mahoney are both excellent.’

‘Doyle Clayton is a powerhouse in senior executive work, especially in the area of employee competition. It has as much experience in High Court litigation as any other firm and a wealth of specialist knowledge which puts it above its peers. It has particular strength in advising senior executives who are moving to a new employer, and in team move litigation, having been involved in many of the major team move cases over recent years. Its specialist experience and knowledge means that from the outset of a dispute clients are in exceptionally competent hands.’

‘The firm is adept at managing the particular pressures and demands of fast-paced employee competition cases, and at working towards speedy trials in the shortest of time frames. It is also aware of the intricate and often hidden legal and tactical points that these cases throw up, which other less experienced firms may miss.’

I worked with Peter De Maria and Katie Mahoney on a complex and hard-fought employee competition arbitration. I was immensely impressed by Katie’s dedication and hard work, and her ability to always think a step ahead. She was alive to the unique legal and strategic issues that arise in these types of cases, and demonstrated a considered and confident approach to dealing with issues as they arose.’

‘Peter De Maria – brilliant lawyer, great tactician and know which points to push and which ones not to. Great with clients too.’

‘Peter Daly has an encyclopaedic knowledge of employment practice as well as a very effective strategic mind.’

‘Peter Daly is an exceptionally smart lawyer, technically strong and eminently pragmatic. From a client perspective, during what was an emotionally charged time, he showed compassion whilst never losing sight of achieving a good client outcome.’

Education: schools Tier 3

At Doyle Clayton, the education group is led by the 'outstanding' Simon Henthorn. It has a strong profile among schools, colleges and higher education institutions. The team excels in handling contentious and non-contentious education matters concerning safeguarding, senior-level dismissals and litigation. Elizabeth Timmins is experienced in education-related immigration matters, as is Anna Blackden.

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‘Very personable, calm and expert. Extremely prompt to reply to communications.’

‘Simon Henthorn is outstanding.’

Employers Tier 6

Specialist workplace law firm Doyle Clayton operates out of three offices across London, and serves corporate clients from a wide range of sectors on the full range of employment law work. It is equally comfortable advising employers and senior executives. Notably, the firm maintains a strong client base of fellow law firms and partners. Recent areas of significant development have included an increase in work involving an international element and a greater investment in start-up clients. Practice head Peter De Maria is known for his litigation expertise, especially High Court cases concerning high-profile team moves and restrictive covenant disputes. Other key team members are senior partner Darren Clayton and CEO Peter Doyle, both known for their expertise across the full spectrum of employment law.

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‘Katie Mahoney has a wonderful manner with clients and is utterly assiduous.’

‘They are approachable, they work hard to build relationships and it is clear that the partners are careful to hire from among some of the sharpest employment lawyers in the business.’

‘Doyle Clayton provide a good service to small to medium sized employers.’

‘Doyle Clayton is a specialist employment law firm – they are the experts! They are dedicated, impressive and know exactly what they are doing. A safe pair of hands.’

‘Katie Mahoney is a standout star. Impressive but approachable, she is a hard worker, who knows what she is doing and is particularly effective. A delight to work with.’

‘They have a large specialist team of employment lawyers; you know the people you are dealing with are dedicated to employment law. They have strength in depth for both statutory employment work and the more commercial end of employment: High Court and arbitration.’

Peter De Maria is excellent for team moves, particularly for individual employees. Katie Mahoney is developing great expertise in the employee competition area, particularly team moves. She is always positive and a delight to work with.’

‘A renowned group of individuals with an enviable reputation as specialists in the field.’

‘Katie Mahoney – a senior associate that has made fast progress through the ranks and must now be on the edge of partnership. Excellent with clients, a punchy and highly effective communicator, very mature understanding of court processes, fantastic work ethic, negotiates exceptionally well and gets brilliant results.’

‘Doyle Clayton is a firm that provides employment law advice of the highest quality. The advice is always delivered with an eye to the commercial realities facing its clients. The practice obviously takes the time and has the interest in fully understanding the nature and peculiarities of its clients’ businesses.’

‘Down to earth, practical advice, particularly from Dan Begbie-Clench. He is a great person to work with and really knows his stuff.’

‘The team are personable, technically extremely strong and will go more than the extra yard for their clients. Alongside of that, their industry sector knowledge and experience is uniquely broad and deep. They are a true ally and their advice is always commercially balanced.’

‘Doyle Clayton are a fantastic firm. Their knowledge is extremely impressive. Within reason they are always available for advice and no matter is too small for them to deal with. My thoughts and comments are reflected on the sliders below. I have never in all the time I have been dealing with the had to complain about anything – that is what makes a fantastic law firm.’

‘Helen Brooks projects a calm assurance, a mastery of subject matter, and a focus and sense of purpose that emboldens our sense of purpose. Her authoritative presence and consummate ease in establishing the true essence of the matter at hand, truly makes a difference in our ability to address even the most challenging and complex of employment law conundrums.’


Key areas of work for the immigration team at Doyle Clayton include employer sponsorship issues, global movement of staff, and applications for indefinite leave to remain, British citizenship, ancestral visas and sole representative visas. Anita de Atouguia heads the team and has a good deal of experience advising multinationals, SMEs, start-ups, international law firms and high net worth individuals on immigration. Legal director Malini Skandachanmugarasan recently joined the team from Laura Devine Immigration.

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‘Working with Doyle Clayton is a delight – their knowledge of immigration is excellent. They respond to our questions and queries so quickly, which is really important when dealing with visa applications. They are really proactive as well, ensuring we are ahead of the curve as regulation changes. The workshops the team provide are informative and the depth of knowledge from the presenters is impressive.’

‘The immigration team at Doyle Clayton are exceptionally knowledgeable, well-organised, accurate, reliable, professional as well as very friendly and approachable. We know that our immigration needs are in excellent hands with the team.’

‘The team’s specialist knowledge of immigration law has been invaluable over the time they have worked with us. In such a complex arena they provide clarity and clear guidance on what is required to navigate your way through. They are approachable and pragmatic with their advice, and have a solid understanding of our business and what we are trying to achieve.’

‘I have nothing but great things to say about Anita De Atouguia. She is knowledgeable, creative, timely and organised. She makes me feel like I am her only client. I never send her something and wonder when I am going to hear from her. Anita is my go-to for all immigration matters.’

‘Anita de Atouguia is a really valued partner to the business. She is always available to help. We have worked with her for years and really appreciate her help.’

‘The individuals I work with are humans, not just advising machines. They always convert themselves in my position and try to see a case from the perspective of a client exactly in my position and propose corresponding solutions. For me, this is what makes their advice really valuable.’

‘Working with Anita de Atouguia has been a really positive experience. She listens well and executes any instructions with clarity and in good time. Anita has an empathetic but pragmatic approach to her work, which means you can have clear and informed discussions about the complexities of immigration law. I have leaned heavily on her knowledge and expertise these past couple of years and I have found this invaluable.’

Key clients

Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV BBDO)

Downunder GeoSolutions Limited

McCarthy Tetrault



Stripe Payments UK

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

Specialist employment firm, Doyle Clayton , primarily advises longstanding  multi-national, PLC or entrepreneurial clients on compliance and advisory matters. The team also handles contentious work, including discrimination claims, whistleblowing cases and High Court litigation. Tina Wisener leads the team and has particular expertise in outsourcing, TUPE transfers, restructuring and employment-related FCA issues. Piers Leigh-Pollitt leads the data privacy practice. Victoria Burnip handles a broad range of general employment and immigration matters for business clients of varying sizes.

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The team are professional, helpful & always on hand to assist.’

Victoria has been amazing in her immigration and general employment law advice.’

Piers is outstanding in his level of commercial and pragmatic advice. Always available and works to our often tight deadlines.’

The Doyle Clayton team have represented us for many years and continue to provide excellent employment advice and support.’

Sukhpal Matharoo – clear, concise, proactive and takes a commercial view. His notary qualification has proved valuable at late notice on a number of occasions.’

I have found my solicitor very responsive, a very clear communicator, and very competent at anticipating the actions of the other side.’

Key clients

VAT IT (UK) Limted

Aristocrat Technologies Europe Limited

DSG Retail Limited (Dixons Carphone)

Destinations of the World

Immigration Tier 2

Primarily advising on business immigration, the expanding team at Doyle Clayton aids a variety of large clients on sponsor management issues, naturalisation applications, as well as compliance work. Victoria Burnip leads the team and 'gets things done'; her client list includes a number of management consultancy, software and online gaming companies. Burnip also has a growing portfolio of work for private individuals, assisting with spouse of British or EU citizen visas and permanent residency applications.

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The team is always able to advise on the most unique of situations and to adapt to whatever new scenario we bring them.’

We used Doyle Clayton’s services for employment compliance and business immigration services for over 3 years. The lawyers on their team are highly knowledgeable of all the latest cases, regulations and new developments and provide well-informed and reliable advice. They are very fast to reply and are always available on short notice.

Victoria Burnip is an exceptional business immigration lawyer. She is highly knowledgeable and stays up to date on new developments. She is thorough,  communicates proactively and reaches out to keep us informed should there be any changes or regulations that she knows would impact our company or our employees. She is also a lawyer who thinks outside the box and goes far beyond what one would expect to make things happen.  She is a lawyer who has always got your back, no matter the obstacles.

Key clients

VAT IT UK Limited

VAT Compliance Europe Limited

WTax UK Limited


Dixons Carphone

Doyle Clayton is the UK’s largest and mot successful specialist workplace law firm. It is a recognised market leaders for its work with both employers and individuals.

About the firm. Doyle Clayton was set up by Peter Doyle and Darren Clayton in 1997 as specialist employment law boutique. Over the years it has expanded its services to include immigration, pension, regulatory, data protection, employee benefits, share schemes and remuneration, health and safety, start-up support and employee ownership trust services. It also has one of the UK’s leading education teams providing services for the education sector, its employees as well as students/parents. This also includes a specialist team providing SEND (special educational needs) help and advice so that children and young adults get the help and support they need at the right school, college or university.

Today the firm operates from four offices (City, Mayfair, Canary Wharf and Reading) and employs over 50 specialist lawyers and advisors. It is also a founder member of ELLINT (, an international network of specialist employment law firms.

Types of work undertaken: Doyle Clayton advises on a wide range of workplace legal issues (both contentious and non-contentious).

Employment: specialist employment lawyers provide high-quality advice and support which covers the full range of employment law matters including: contracts, policies and procedures; employment disputes in the High Court and tribunals; TUPE; redundancy situations and termination of employment; settlement agreements; injunctions and team moves; and partnership and minority shareholder disputes.

Business immigration: this specialist team has a wealth of experience in all areas of business immigration law, including the points-based system (PBS), and keeps abreast of the latest developments so that it can guide both individual and employer clients through the immigration process. The firm has expertise in relation to applications under each tier of the PBS, including applications for investors and entrepreneurs under Tier 1 and Tier 5 (GAE) visas. It advises employer clients on applying for sponsor licences, related compliance issues, and issuing certificates of sponsorship (under Tier 2 of PBS, which includes the general skilled category and the intracompany transfer category). It has a 100% success rate for clients’ sponsor licence applications and knows how to expedite matters when required. The team is expanding its global immigration visa assistance capabilities, including advising on Schengen visas. In addition, the team advises on other non-PBS visas including sole representative applications, as well as assisting individuals to obtain settlement and British citizenship. The team also has particular expertise in EEA matters in relation to obtaining immigration documentation for EEA nationals and their dependant family members.

Employee benefits: the pensions team has experience of all forms of UK-based pension arrangements, advising employers, trustees and intermediaries. Doyle Clayton’s employee share incentives experts can help design and deliver the right share scheme solution for each business, guiding clients through the increasingly challenging tax, corporate governance, employment law and regulatory issues. It also advises on the operation and administration of share schemes, helping on the grant of new awards, processing vested awards, dealing with departing employees and advising on corporate transactions.

Other areas: data protection, regulatory, corporate/commercial, employee ownership trusts, notary public and health and safety.

Sectors: finance, insurance, professional services, manufacturing, media, education, retail, hospitality, leisure, transport and logistics, technology, pharmaceuticals and startups.

Department Name Email Telephone
CEO Peter Doyle
Employment - Reading TIna Wisener
Employment - London Peter De Maria
Business Immigration Anita de Atouguia
Pensions Andrew Campbell
Regulatory Charlie Herbert
Corporate Liz Barton
Data Protection Piers Leigh-Pollitt
Employee Ownership Trusts Garry Karch
Education Simon Henthorn
Notary Public Sukhpal Matharoo
Photo Name Position Profile
 Liz Barton  photo Liz Barton Partner & Head of Team Liz is a highly experienced lawyer advising companies…
Mr Dan Begbie-Clench  photo Mr Dan Begbie-Clench Partner, specialist in employment law. Dan advises companies and senior executives on…
Mrs Helen Brooks  photo Mrs Helen Brooks Helen is a partner in the City office, specialising in employment law.…
Mr Andrew Campbell  photo Mr Andrew Campbell Andrew is a partner specialising in pensions law who advises corporates and trustees…
Mr Darren Clayton  photo Mr Darren Clayton Senior Partner
Mr Peter De Maria  photo Mr Peter De Maria Peter is a partner specialising in all areas of employment law. He has…
Mr Peter Doyle photo Mr Peter Doyle Managing Partner – Advises both corporate and individual clients on matters including senior…
Mr Simon Henthorn  photo Mr Simon Henthorn Simon is a Partner and Head of Education at Doyle Clayton. His…
 Charles Herbert  photo Charles Herbert Partner & Head of TeamCharlie leads the firm’s Regulatory and Financial Services…
Ms Anita de Atouguia  photo Ms Anita de Atouguia Partner and Head of Business Immigration
Number of UK partners : 16
Number of other UK fee-earners : 34
ELA (Employment Lawyers Association)
ILPA (Immigration Lawyers Practice Association)
Solicitors Regulation Authority