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Employment | Tier1 Collingwood Legal (Newcastle) Ward Hadaway (Newcastle) | Tier2 Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP (Newcastle) Muckle LLP (Newcastle) Sintons LLP (Newcastle) Watson Burton LLP (Newcastle) Womble Bond Dickinson (Newcastle) | Tier3 Baines Wilson LLP (Carlisle) Burnetts (Carlisle) DAC Beachcroft LLP (Newcastle) Hay & Kilner (Newcastle) | Tier4 Archers Law LLP (Stockton on Tees) DWF (Newcastle) Endeavour Partnership LLP (Stockton on Tees) Mincoffs Solicitors LLP (Newcastle) Short Richardson & Forth (Newcastle) Swinburne Maddison (Durham) | Tier5 BHP Law (Stockton on Tees) Cartmell Shepherd (Carlisle) David Gray Solicitors LLP (Newcastle) Jacksons Law (Stockton on Tees) LEADING INDIVIDUALS Christopher Graham | Watson Burton LLP Paul Johnstone | Collingwood Legal Paul McGowan | Collingwood Legal Shirley Hall | Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP Tony McPhillips | Muckle LLP NEXT GENERATION LAWYERS Graham Vials | Ward Hadaway Jane Sinnamon | Collingwood Legal

Jessie Uppal | Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP Boutique employment firm Collingwood Legal stands out for its 'excellent response times' and 'business acumen' alongside its'pragmatic and practical' advice. The team primarily acts for employers but also assists executives with the full remit of employment law matters, most notably in the education and not-for-profit sectors, which constitute two key areas of expertise for the 'efficient, polite and responsive' practice, in addition to winning new clients from the manufacturing, food and sport industries. Managing partner and 'excellent and vastly experienced' team head Paul McGowan advised an employer, a director and a connected independent self-employed contractor on breach of contract matters, fiduciary duties and related litigation, while the 'very practical' Paul Johnstone assisted High Voltage Partial Discharge with a number of cross-border issues such as the secondment of a sales executive in the United Arab Emirates and the set-up of an Australia-based company. Other key areas of expertise include TUPE-related work, collective redundancies, industrial relations issues and restraint of trade claims as well as representing clients in whistleblowing and discrimination proceedings. Solicitor Charlotte McBride is 'extremely knowledgeable and fast-working', while clients also note her 'excellent communication skills' and her 'ability to adapt to a wide range of scenarios'. Consultant Sarah Fitzpatrick is another name to note as is 'very helpful' solicitor Alexandra Besnard, who is singled out for her 'pragmatic approach' and 'ability to deal with fragile clients where extra care is required'. Associate Jane Sinnamon is also recommended.

Ward Hadaway predominately acts for employers and covers a wide range of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters spanning various sectors. Paul Scope, who jointly heads the team with Jamie Gamble, continues to advise Newcastle United Football Company on various employment law matters pertaining to its players: recently, he advised on the termination of employment and transfers of Tim Krul, Siem de Jong and Emmanuelle Riviere, and, in a separate matter, he assisted the Home Group with contractual arrangements with a neutral vendor supplier for all temporary labour on a national basis. Gamble advised Newcastle University on the transfer of Durham University's School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health to Newcastle, which included TUPE and pre-transfer redundancy matters, while, in the contentious space, consultant Joe Thornhill defended Architectural Powder Services against unfair constructive dismissal and disability discrimination claims brought by the SME's managing director. In other contentious work, consultant Tim Smith acted for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in out-of-hours service-related equal pay claims brought by two senior nurses. Bernard Hodgson is another key individual of the team with a focus on contentious work and the recommended Graham Vials specialises in education sector work.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's 'experienced and knowledgeable' team provides a 'first-class service' to commercial and public sector clients; the latter includes local government, policing, education, health and third sector clients. With a specialism in equal pay and discrimination matters, 'approachable and friendly' team head Shirley Hall 'tackles any issues quickly and thoroughly'; recently, she defended Northumbria Police in employment tribunal proceedings pertaining to allegations of unfair dismissal, whistleblowing, sex and disability discrimination and victimisation brought by the client's former director of legal services, and acted for Northumberland County Council before the employment tribunal in defence against unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claims brought by two employees following a restructuring process and subsequent redundancies. Other clients include a NHS foundation trust, a major logistics provider and Nissan Motor Manufacturing. Associate Jessie Uppal is experienced handling business immigration mandates.

Muckle LLP provides an 'excellent service' alongside 'clear and constructive advice which balances the legal position with the client's commercial reality'. With a focus on acting for employers, the 'very responsive and highly competent' team receives a steady flow of instructions from owner-managed businesses, educational institutions, sporting clubs and organisations as well as charities and other third sector clients but also handles work for senior executives. Its contentious and non-contentious employment law expertise spans executive terminations, TUPE matters and employment tribunal representations. As a transactional highlight, the team advised South Tyneside College (STC) on a number of employment law matters pertaining to its merger with Tyne Metropolitan College (TMC) to create Tyne Coast College, including collective redundancy and transfer of undertakings matters, while, in different work, the practice assisted a North East-based domiciliary care business and a sports organisation with HMRC national minimum wage investigations. In litigation, the 'superb' Tony McPhillips, who is also noted as being 'down-to-earth and approachable' and having 'strong commercial acumen', acted for a trainee consultant in a claim for disability discrimination against the client's lead employer NHS trust. Chris Maddock heads the team.

Sintons LLP 'always offers reasoned and appropriate advice' and is particularly active in the healthcare, education, charity, energy and construction sectors. As a significant matter for the former, the team represented the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust in a nuisance value settlement as part of a claim for constructive unfair dismissal and disability discrimination brought by a claimant, who sought compensation in excess of PS100,000 for pension contributions. In the non-contentious arena, 'measured, honest and practical' team head Keith Land, who also has a 'great sense of humour', provides regular advice to the North East England Chamber of Commerce on a number of general employment law matters including redundancy, the potential transfer of employees and restructuring matters. He also assisted Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust with employee transfer provisions contained in an agreement between the client and NHS England. Senior associate Donna Anderson is another key member of the team.

The 'professional, knowledgeable and experienced' team at Watson Burton LLP is 'easy to deal with' and 'able to cut to the chase'. Clients benefit from its 'good commercial approach' and the team's 'focused and pragmatic advice, which adds value to the client's business'. Recent work includes acting for a manufacturing sector client in TUPE transfer matters and a dispute with a trade union, defending a different client against claims for disability discrimination, and assisting a company with TUPE and LGPS implications of its public procurement tender. In co-operation with the firm's corporate department, the group also handles a number of transactional matters. Team head Christopher Graham provides 'excellent advice', most notably on unlawful discrimination, outsourcing and industrial actions, and is 'authoritative and tenacious when needed'. The 'business-focused' Jacqueline Turner is also recommended, particularly for employment tribunal work pertaining to unfair dismissal and discrimination claims.

With a sector specialisation in technology, retail, utilities, healthcare, education and chemicals, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's 'highly responsive and proactive' team acts for a roster of well-known regional and national clients and stands out for its 'extremely high level of service'. Covering a broad field of employment law work, recommended team head James Wilders' expertise includes representing clients in tribunal proceedings covering unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. On the non-contentious side, instructions frequently pertain to collective redundancies and restructuring issues as well as transactional TUPE matters. In recent work, Wilders advised a holiday company on the closure of one of its two head offices, involving the redundancy of over 100 members of staff, and assisted a large further education college with employment law matters arising from a merger between the client and a local sixth form college, which included restructuring issues to avoid redundancies. In contentious work, the team successfully defended Cumberland Building Society against a claim of constructive unfair dismissal brought by a managing director. Other clients include an insurance company and a public authority. The latter received TUPErelated advice.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2018
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