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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926 - 2022

Sophie Whitbread, Senior Associate at Penningtons Manches
Areas of expertise: Employment, Education, Charities


Sophie has specialised in employment law since qualifying as a solicitor in 2002. She joined the firm in 2012 and advises a wide range of employers. Given her location in Cambridge, many of her clients are education-focused charities, and include a number of the Cambridge and Oxford colleges. She also has many clients in the charity and technology sectors, and has particular experience of advising University spin-out companies. She provides commercial and pragmatic advice on day-to-day employment matters, including redundancies and restructuring, TUPE, restrictive covenants and discrimination.

On the contentious side, Sophie has considerable experience in employment tribunals as well as in the appellate courts and High Court, advising on terminations, discrimination and contractual disputes. Sophie also provides advice to senior employees, and has negotiated significant settlement agreements for a number of individual clients.

She is recognised by both Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession and The Legal 500, which note that “Her knowledge base is second to none” and "In terms of strategy she's phenomenal".

Recent work highlights

  • Acting for ten Oxford colleges and coordinating the management of a wider group of claims by an individual claimant against a number of other academic and public sector institutions in a claim that alleged that the colleges had discriminated against him by not accepting his applications to study. All claims were struck out, and eventually led to a General Civil Restraint Order being obtained against the individual, to prevent him bringing further vexatious litigation.
  • Representing a broadcast journalist in the High Court to recover significant damages in a claim against his former employer for a failure to award him an equity stake in the company.
  • Advising a firm of accountants on all aspects of a redundancy exercise, providing relevant documentation and advice at every stage of the process.
  • Providing advice to an employer client on a potentially significant TUPE and discrimination claim, resulting in the claim being settled to the advantage of the employer.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP