I am the Head of Lewis Silkin’s Investigations and Regulatory group and I sit on the Firm's Strategy Board. I specialise in employment and partnership law, and regularly conduct complex and highly sensitive workplace investigations, alongside my advisory work.
I have a wealth of experience advising major companies and LLPs, in relation to the employment law issues they face, and I routinely conduct complex and highly sensitive investigations, both within the UK and internationally.
I have a diverse client base, with a particular emphasis towards advising major domestic and international law firms and other professional services organisations on all aspects of their relationships with their employees and members/partners. This includes resolving issues such as contentious team moves, the enforcement of restrictive covenants and the use of alternative dispute resolution. I also act for senior executives and individual partners/members.
I pride myself in taking a pragmatic, commercial and business-focused approach to all of my work. I particularly enjoy resolving high value disputes, both before and after the commencement of litigation, including sensitive discrimination cases, whistleblowing claims, and those involving regulatory matters. I also advise on workplace restructures, negotiate employment documentation, such as contracts and settlement agreements, and provide training on all of these issues.
A typical day might include advising my clients on issues such as how to deal with allegations of discrimination or harassment, redundancies and complex grievances or disciplinary matters. I also manage and advise on all aspects of outsourcing arrangements, including the application of TUPE, and any Employment Tribunal claims faced by my clients. Examples of some of my recent work includes:
- advising a major international law firm on a significant restructuring and outsourcing project
- successfully resolving a discrimination dispute between directors of a plc
- successfully defending a multi-Respondent disability discrimination claim
- advising a major supermarket in relation to board level issues
- advising a bank faced with multiple whistleblowing claims
Investigations and Regulatory
My investigations work typically involves allegations of serious wrongdoing and/or allegations against very senior employees or partners. This work requires careful and sensitive handling to ensure that all the facts are uncovered in a fair, proportionate and even handed way. This work includes interviewing witnesses, identifying and locating other forms of evidence and providing a report setting out the evidence obtained which enables the organisation to respond appropriately to the findings made. Many of the investigations that I have conducted relate to regulated industries, so I am able to ensure that the corporate response meets the requirements and expectations of the relevant regulator. Some recent examples of my work include:
- investigating allegations of discrimination made against very senior executives in a household name business
- investigating allegations of sexual assault against a law firm partner
- investigations allegations of bullying made by one board member against another
- investigating multiple allegations against a partner of a law firm
- investigating allegations relating to bullying and discrimination on the set of a film production
- investigating allegations of expenses fraud by a senior executive
- investigating allegations of sexual, emotional and physical abuse against a religious leader
Partnerships & LLPs
My clients include a number of the leading international law firms and LLPs. I regularly advise these organisations in relation to matters such as team moves, the rights and obligations of partners, and partnership disputes. I also act for partners in dispute with their current or former partnership or LLP. Some recent examples of my advisory work include:
- advising a major law firm on the fall-out following a hotly contested management election
- advising in relation to partnership retirement issues and allegations of age discrimination
- advising a major law firm in relation to an arbitration arising out of a team move
- advising in relation to a partner exit which involved allegations of disability discrimination
- advising a team of partners on their rights and obligations towards their LLP ahead of a planned team move
- advising a law firm on near shoring its back office function
I am a passionate advocate of the importance of mental wellbeing, and have the privilege of leading Lewis Silkin's mental health campaign, #ThisPlaceMinds.
Awards and Recognition
- Chambers 2024 (Employment: Employer – London (Firms)) - "Karen has an ability to explain complex employment law issues in easy to understand language." "She is great at explaining the legal position of an issue but then works logically to break that down into a practical solution."
- Chambers 2024 (Partnership: Contentious client) - "Karen is an excellent adviser, a strategic thinker and always highly responsive."
- Leading Individual in Legal 500 2024 (Employment)
- Chambers 2022 (Employment) - 'She knows the law incredibly well, she is very commercial and she finds practical solutions'
- Chambers 2022 (Employment) - 'She is excellent technically, she is very creative and she's a brilliant problem solver because she comes at situations from a different angle and perspective'
- Legal 500 2022 (Partnership) - ‘Karen Baxter is a real star. An excellent investigator with amazing EQ which really helps her get to the bottom of what has happens in very charged and sensitive situations‘
- Chambers 2021 (Employment: Employer) - "She provides very pragmatic business advice"
- Chambers 2021 (Employment: Employer) - "Her advice is very practical and measured, and very responsive"
- Legal 500 2021 (Employers) - 'Karen Baxter in particular is a standout star – very personable, sensible, will always make herself available and can take a knotty problem and find a solution with great tact and diplomacy.