Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's team of 'highly professional and knowledgeable' lawyers advise employers, boards and senior executives on internal restructurings, redundancies, whistleblowing claims and senior management dismissals and disputes. Head of practice Paul Mander regularly advises well-known clients in the retail, technology and construction industries on all employment law related matters, while other key partner Tom Walker's practice largely focuses on working with directors on strategic HR issues, internal disputes and high-level dismissals. Andrew Haywood is the key partner for senior executive work, where he assists with exit strategies and the enforcement of post-termination restrictions with a focus on the misuse of confidential information, social media and competitive moves.
The Cambridge office of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP plays a vital role in the firm’s wider national employment practice and clients remark that 'the legal advice is sophisticated and spot-on'. Hilary Aldred, who frequently advises clients in the education sector, and senior associate Sophie Whitbread are key contacts. Outside of education, their practices focus on life sciences, technology and charity sector clients, as well as high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs.
Michael Cole, who is well respected in the market, offers clients a wealth of experience in discrimination cases, TUPE, business reorganisations and various workplace disputes. Working alongside senior associate Liz Cardy [in Guildford], he advises on unfair dismissal claims, settlement agreements, and grievance and redundancy procedures.
The Oxford and Reading offices demonstrate 'first-class expertise' in employment law, particularly in relation to data protection/GDPR, advocacy in Employment Tribunals and senior executive disputes, among other HR issues. Daff Richardson and Eugene Wojciechowski are lead partners.
David Bickford has experience of defending complex employment tribunal claims, outsourcing (including all TUPE issues), and advising on employment policies and procedures. Gemma Woodhouse is also recommended.
The Legal 500 - 2020 edition
Advises clients on a full range of employment matters, with particular expertise in disputes, trade industrial relations and post-termination restrictions. Represents a broad range of clients, including those in the life sciences, education and technology sectors. Acts for a wide client base of local, national and multinational businesses. Extensive experience advising senior executives on terms and conditions, exits and litigation.
Strengths: One client says: ‘The firm offers a comprehensive solution to our issues, including personal tax issues for overseas employees,’ while another highlights that ‘the advice given is sensible and practical.’
‘The team as a whole is excellent and provides seamless coverage - their big strength is the capability of the individuals within it at every level.’
‘They are very supportive and propose good solutions.’
Hilary Aldred leads the employment team in East Anglia and concentrates mainly on employment litigation. Clients praise the level of her technical knowledge and pragmatism.
David Bickford is head of the Basingstoke employment practice. Experienced in contentious and non-contentious employment mandates, he advises on TUPE, terminations of employment and restrictive covenants. Clients appreciate that he is ‘very responsive and comes back with clear, sensible, and accessible advice.’
Mike Cole heads the Guildford employment team. He is particularly adept in TUPE matters and business reorganisations, and is appreciated by clients for his ‘ability to assess the situation, and offer comprehensive guidance while remaining down to earth and pragmatic about our company's businesses needs.’
Daff Richardson, who leads the team in Oxford, frequently acts for charities, educational institutions and senior executives. A client says her advice is ‘hugely practical, commercial and technically precise.’
Chris Syder is a strong mediator in employment matters, with a significant presence in the construction, infrastructure, professional services and engineering sectors. He advises on gender pay, TUPE, and disciplinary matters, and he is commended for giving ‘clear advice with a human side to it.’
Eugene Wojciechowski leads the firm's employment offering in Reading, acting for a clients in the banking, IT, retail and property sectors. Clients say he is ‘careful and considered in his advice.’
Gemma Woodhouse is focused on the education and technology sectors, and is held in high regard for her employment litigation advice. An interviewee comments: ‘Her work ethic is second to none. She's straight-talking, she advises well, and we have a good relationship with her.’
Chambers UK - 2019 edition
Penningtons Manches LLP provides 'an excellent cradle-to-grave service with a particular emphasis on client care' and is 'very strategic and unflappable in even the most complex employment disputes'.
Paul Mander leads the team, which was bolstered by the recruitment of Binder Bansel and Anthea Christie in 2017. Bansel is praised as 'extremely knowledgeable' and 'an exceptional discrimination lawyer'; he also handles class actions, collective labour issues and trade union law. Christie, who is 'a force to be reckoned with', handled a judicial review application for a Police Federation representative and is acting for three Police Federation members in claims for unpaid overtime.
At Penningtons Manches LLP [in Basingstoke], 'the overall level of service is phenomenal, the advice given is tailored to the business and has a view to the commercial' issues at stake. David Bickford heads a department that acts largely for employer clients and handles cases concerning whistleblowing, liability for holiday pay, discrimination actions and senior employee exits. Chris Syder, whose expertise includes gender pay matters, is 'very responsive' and has a 'pragmatic' approach. Gemma Woodhouse and associate Katie Glendinning are 'knowledgeable and personable and meticulous with their case preparation'.
The [Cambridge] practice is ‘very quick to respond and keeps clients well informed'. 'I have been really impressed with the quality of both the legal knowledge and case preparation' remarks one barrister. Hilary Aldred, who regularly acts for clients in the education sector, is recommended for her 'excellent customer service ethic, her personal touch and her unrivalled, in-depth knowledge of the sector'. Sophie Whitbread is ‘very professional and explains things well, so non-legal people can understand the terminology‘. Counsel notes that 'her legal knowledge is excellent, she takes a very good analytical view of the case, she is incredibly thorough and she is a good tactical litigator.
The 'highly regarded' [Guildford] team is valued for its 'responsive and pragmatic' approach. Michael Cole is 'exceptionally talented on all fronts, with tactical nous and a willingness to test the frontiers of settled law'. He undertakes the resolution of all types of employment issues assisted by associate Elizabeth Cardy.
The Legal 500 - 2019 edition
Advises UK-based and international companies, as well as high net worth individuals in a wide variety of employment matters, covering employment litigation, discrimination claims, TUPE matters, director exits and shareholder issues. Offers significant expertise in the infrastructure, technology and education sectors, among others.
Strengths: One client describes the firm as ‘timely, very comprehensive and very knowledgeable.’
One client praises the team's ‘wide and deep range of capabilities’ which ‘enables us to create pragmatic solutions to our biggest legal problems.’
Another interviewee characterises the team as ‘very straightforward, pragmatic and available, and the advice is sensible, not theoretical.’
Hilary Aldred is renowned for her understanding of the education sector. Clients praise her ‘excellent experience’ and also the fact that she ‘is always calm, measured and realistic in her expectations.’
David Bickford leads the team based in Basingstoke and advises on both contentious and non-contentious employment issues, including terminations, Employment Tribunal claims and outsourcing matters.
Head of the Guildford team Mike Cole has experience across all aspects of employment work, with strengths in discrimination claims, TUPE and reorganisations. Clients report that he ‘can act decisively with lawyers on the other side to gain a good outcome for us quickly.’
Sources say Daff Richardson is a ‘very good lawyer’ who is ‘very authoritative in her advice’. She advises on the full range of employment law issues including boardroom disputes, executive appointments and terminations.
Chris Syder operates a wide employment law practice, with considerable experience in TUPE. His clients are spread across the construction and infrastructure, professional services, IT and technology sectors. A client states: ‘He always understands the issues and the culture, and he gives excellent commercial advice with exceptional technical knowledge.’
Tom Walker advises on reorganisations, internal disputes and high-level dismissals. Clients say he is ‘very service-oriented’, and appreciate his ‘understanding of the commercial factors affecting business decision-marking’.
Eugene Wojciechowski has experience of a broad array of contentious and non-contentious employment law issues for large corporates and senior employees.
Gemma Woodhouse is described by sources as someone who is ‘very efficient and knowledgeable’, with another noting: ‘She is very responsive, concise and straight to the point.’ She advises on both contentious and non-contentious employment issues, with a focus on discrimination issues.
Chambers UK - 2018 edition