The top employment firms

Simmons & Simmons

Has more blue chip clients than anyone else. One of its major strengths has to be Janet Gaymer – its major weakness that clients cannot always get her. The employment department has resisted the general exodus of partners from the firm and, despite the loss of a few juniors to Freshfields, a well chosen and hard-hitting team remains. The talented William Dawson (left) is being mark-eted as another front man.

Fox Williams

Evidence that it is the size and strength of the team and not the firm which is crucial. Fox Williams has a very focused “niche” department, recently developed to do a lot of partnership work carried out by Ronnie Fox (pictured below). Jane Mann is also a major asset to the firm. It is questionable whether all the others can reach her level. A highly personal, imaginative and constructive team.

Eversheds

With over 100 employment lawyers, Eversheds' size and national image has proven a great marketing pitch, attracting volume and quality of work. Elaine Aarons (pictured left) in London and Viv Du-Feu in Cardiff are considerable assets, but in between there is much variation in standard depending on the office.

Baker & McKenzie

Taken a dip in the ratings due to the recent departure of Fraser Younson, preventing domination of the market. An experienced, well-selected team remains, headed by Christine O'Brien (above). Still heavyweights, but the jury is out on how serious the blow has been and whether the client base will be seriously affected.

Cameron McKenna

While the head of department Simon Jeffreys (below) is very well known within the employment law circuit, the rest of his team are more anonymous. Jeffreys is described as personable, user friendly and is generally well respected. Otherwise, the team is thought of as solid and dependable, but not particularly exciting in its approach.