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10 October, 2021 - 23:35 By Tony Quested

Employment lawyers’ case loads are works of art

No fewer than 15 law firms make the top two tiers for Employment work in East Anglia, according to The new Legal 500 Guide.

The Covid pandemic has heightened the fight for new talent as well as presenting challenges for companies managing furlough for some employees and – since lockdown was lifted – ensuring parity for those personnel back working in the office and colleagues working remotely.

It will be some time before conditions return to normality for the majority of companies in the region so Employment Law specialists will continued to be in demand.

Most of the region’s legal practices have top-rated employment solicitors and track records to match. The Legal 500 Guide is scrupulous in its assessment of the very best practices to handle companies’ employment headaches.

Birketts is described as ‘a quality firm in this area with an excellent reputation and a professional, supportive and approachable practice’. 

“The firm-wide employment practice operates through all five of the firm’s offices, handling all aspects of contentious and non-contentious work for both domestic and international employer clients.” 

The firm-wide employment practice operates through all five of the firm's offices, handling all aspects of contentious and non-contentious work for both domestic and international employer clients. Jeanette Wheeler in Norwich leads the practice, in which the 'knowledgeable, supportive and pragmatic' Matthew Newnham and Cambridge-based Abigail Trencher are key figures. 

Greenwoods is said to have ‘an amazing friendly team that is always very willing to help’. The firm has one of the largest employment practices in East Anglia, which acts for household name employer clients across the region and further afield, both in contentious and non-contentious matters. 

Mills & Reeve in Cambridge is described as ‘knowledgeable, responsive, pragmatic and provides clear advice which is simple to understand’. The firm handles complex contentious matters, as well as providing day-to-day advice on HR matters to large domestic and international corporates.  David Mills is head of the firm's national employment practice and he also leads the private sector group. Stuart Craig is the key partner for health sector clients in the East of England and London, while, in Norwich, James Kidd leads the employment, pensions and immigration team.

Ashtons Legal provides ‘pragmatic, commercially-driven advice’ on HR matters for employers, as well as handling discrimination, worker status and unfair dismissal claims. 

“The firm is particularly active for clients in the education, manufacturing, professional services, care home, food and drink, and transport sectors,” The Guide reports. Ross Strowger in Norwich leads the practice and frequently handles employment issues arising from insolvencies.

At HCR Hewitsons, the employment practice is led from Northampton and the Cambridge office is home to experienced partners including Valerie Lambert, who focuses on complex disputes in the High Court and Employment Tribunals and is ‘phenomenally conscientious and hardworking, a match for any City firm’; and Elizabeth Swinburn, who deals with the employment aspects of business restructurings. 

According to one client, ‘the team is deeply knowledgeable but also able to apply that knowledge to a commercial setting’.

Howes Percival is highly regarded for its advice to employer clients in key sectors such as the manufacturing, technology, financial services and food industries. It has a substantial respondent-based Employment Tribunal practice that handles more than 50 claims each year.

The Cambridge office of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP plays a key role in the firm-wide employment practice, which provides ‘practical and usable advice while always being clear of the risks and benefits’. 

Practice head Hilary Aldred frequently advises clients in the technology and education sectors, though the firm also handles substantial matters in the life sciences industry and charity sector. 

Its work encompasses boardroom disputes, multinational reorganisations and redundancy programmes. 

Senior associates Sophie Whitbread, who is ‘very commercial and focused with excellent case management’, and Charissa Upton are also recommended.

Tier 2 law firm, Buckles Solicitors LLP advises businesses, public sector entities and senior executives on domestic and, through its Paris and Milan offices, cross-border employment matters.

Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds has an employment practice that is 'well resourced and able to match larger teams from London and top 50 practices' according to The Legal 500 Guide.

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