Lewis Silkin lands million pound Merrill Lynch claim

Lewis Silkin is battling its largest ever employment tribunal matter, taking the lead for former Merrill Lynch banker Stephanie Villalba’s sex discrimination claim against the investment bank.

Joint head of employment and incentives James Davies is leading the team for Lewis Silkin, instructing employment junior Dinah Rose alongside Brian Kennelly of Blackstone Chambers as counsel.

Lovells, led by partner Lisa Mayhew, is advising Merrill Lynch, instructing Nicholas Underhill QC of Fountain Court chambers and Thomas Linden of Matrix Chambers as counsel.

The hearing began on Tuesday(8 June) at the South London Employment Tribunal in Croydon, where skeleton arguments were submitted on behalf of both the applicant and the respondents.

If successful, it will be the largest ever sex discrimination pay out in the UK. Estimates put the value of the claim at around £7m.

The case is another boon for the employment team at 43-partner Lewis Silkin. On 1 April, the firm opened an Oxford outpost with the hire of a three-lawyer team from Boodle Hatfield, led by partner Russell Brimelow. Former Allen & Overy senior associate Jonathan Carr has also joined the office.

This weekend, the five fee-earner Oxford team moves into new premises with capacity for 20 staff.