Employment Law for Businesses

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The legal directories

Advises UK-based and international companies, as well as high net worth individuals, on a wide variety of employment matters, covering employment litigation, discrimination claims, TUPE matters, director exits and shareholder issues. Also handles significant whistle-blowing, holiday pay, GDPR and international employment matters, as well as bullying and harassment claims. Offers significant expertise in the infrastructure, technology and education sectors.

Strengths: One client reports: 'I find them very practical. They understand what the law is and they give you sensible advice. They can explain things really clearly, they're great to work with and they're a great team.'

Another source notes: 'They are absolutely brilliant on employment law.'

Notable practitioners
Hilary Aldred has a respected employment practice and is praised by sources for her work in the education sector, with one source noting: 'Her knowledge of academia and employment in the academic world is second to none. She is so knowledgeable and she really understands the sector, which is quite unique.'

Binder Bansel is regularly called upon to handle industrial relations and trade union issues. He is particularly known for his representation of police and postal clients. 'He is very knowledgeable on employment and trade union law, and very personable and good with clients.'

David Bickford is a knowledgeable employment practitioner whose practice encompasses unfair dismissal claims and TUPE-related issues. His experience extends to include assisting clients with discrimination and whistle-blowing litigation before the Employment Tribunal.

Anthea Christie is commended for her wide knowledge of employment law affecting police officers. She regularly advises on significant discrimination and whistle-blowing claims. 'She's highly knowledgeable with an uncanny ability to digest large volumes of information in record timing; she provides the highest-quality counsel.'

Mike Cole is experienced with TUPE matters and business restructurings as well as discriminations and employment tribunal cases. 'He's a very experienced solicitor who is easy to approach and flexible to our company's needs.'

Paul Mander is a highly regarded employment lawyer known for his expertise representing senior executives. He is experienced across contentious and non-contentious matters.

Chris Syder is experienced in advising on TUPE transfer concerns including relocation and redundancy considerations. He also assists with a range of HR concerns such as complex grievances and settlement agreement negotiations. His practice further covers matters involving allegations of bullying and harassment in the workplace. 'He is highly pragmatic and commercial, and gives great, solid advice.'

Sophie Whitbread is noted for her extensive experience in employment tribunal matters related to discrimination and contractual disputes. One interviewee says: 'Her attention to detail is fantastic,' adding: 'She really drills into what the client wants. She keeps them at the forefront of her mind at all times, which makes her a wonderful solicitor.'

Daff Richardson has a broad practice that spans both contentious and non-contentious employment matters. She demonstrates notable expertise in restructuring and redundancy matters. She also guides her clients through allegations of discrimination and unfair dismissal including claims before the Employment Tribunal. 'She is very well respected, business-focused and has a commercial mind.'

Eugene Wojciechowski regularly handles TUPE-related concerns, including advising on the harmonisation of terms and conditions, relocation and redundancy questions. He frequently supports his clients through employment tribunal hearings involving whistle-blowing cases and human rights-related questions. 'His communication is very clear, he's always pragmatic and the advice is consistent. He responds very quickly to requests.'

Gemma Woodhouse is known for her expert guidance on settlement agreements for senior executives and a range of TUPE-related questions. She is experienced across a range of employment tribunal matters, notably allegations of discrimination or unfair dismissal and whistle-blowing litigation. 'She is a rare commodity in the legal world combining commercial awareness of the organisation she is working with and a legal brain.'

Chambers UK - 2021 edition

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a strong reputation for its board-level work, such as restructuring, redundancies, whistleblowing and senior management dismissals and disputes. Team head Paul Mander regularly acts for both employers and senior executives, managing a number of the firm's long-term client relationships, while other notable team members include Tom Walker, an expert in handling board-level disputes and crisis management, and Andrew Haywood, known for his expertise in post-termination restrictions and injunctive relief work, for both employers and senior executives. The 2019 merger of Penningtons Manches and Thomas Cooper strengthened the team with the addition of Nick Humphreys, who brought expertise and clients from the shipping sector, as well as a strong sports practice.

Paul Mander is as astute as he is outcomes-driven. His eye remains firmly fixed on winning at proper cost to the client.

Andrew Haywood offers excellent support in a practical, very human way. He does what few lawyers take sufficient time to do today: deeply understanding your needs. This sets him apart in delivery terms, cutting through the noise.

Nick Humphreys is a really excellent partner. He is without doubt who I would choose in the event of an employment dispute. Fights the client’s corner very hard. Tactically astute and very knowledgeable in the area.

Tom Walker is an excellent advisor who has a wealth of employment law knowledge and a practical hands-on ability that provides confidence to the client when dealing with challenging and sensitive matters.

Led by Michael Cole, [the Guildford practice] advises clients on both contentious and non-contentious employment matters including representation in employment tribunals, TUPE aspects of transactions, and providing advice on restructurings. The team's client base includes large businesses, SMEs, charities, and UK subsidiaries of overseas companies. Cole is highly experienced in TUPE work, as well as advising directors on termination agreements. In addition to Cole, senior associate Liz Cardy is another key contact and acts in all areas of employment law, as well as providing in-house training to clients.

Liz Cardy and Mike Cole provide excellent service.

The offices in Oxford and Reading offer comprehensive employment advice to clients from sectors including social housing, education, technology and construction. Daff Richardson co-leads the education sector group and provides guidance on business protection issues, reorganisations, restructurings, and senior executive appointments and departures. Eugene Wojciechowski advises on employment tribunal hearings, including those relating to complex unlawful discrimination and whistleblowing claims. David BickfordChris Syder and Gemma Woodhouse all joined the team in 2019, having relocated from the Basingstoke office. Senior associate Victoria Spires is a name to note.

'The team stands out for its creativity in tackling legal problems, its organisation and its responsiveness,' says counsel of the practice in Cambridge. The firm focuses on the technology, charities and education sectors. It advises both employers and employees in boardroom disputes, and counts multinational businesses among its clients. Practice head Hilary Aldred has more than 20 years' experience in contentious matters and advisory work. Senior associate Sophie Whitbread is also recommended.

Hilary Aldred gives excellent practical advice and always gives the impression she is on top of all the issues, both legal and practical, and is considering them all in her advice.

Sophie Whitbread’s work is of very high quality. Her pleadings are good. Her witness statements are excellent – clear and detailed. She really adds value for the client.

The Legal 500 - 2021 edition

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.’

Notable practitioners
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.

Andrew Haywood acted for Curzon Street Partners in a constructive dismissal claim brought by a former chef. Tom Walker is also a key name to note.

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.

Daff Richardson and Eugene Wojciechowski are the key partners servicing the Thames Valley market out of the firm’s Oxford and Reading offices respectively.

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.’

Notable practitioners
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

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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.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP