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Michael Burd

Michael BurdPartner and Chair

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I am the Chair of the Partnership and also a partner in the Employment, Immigration and Reward division.

In my practice I advise on many aspects of employment and partnership law, with a particular focus on the resolution of high level disputes (including through mediation and arbitration), senior level departures, boardroom issues, business transfers and restructuring.

Much of my work has an international element to it, and I often work closely with colleagues in other jurisdictions to navigate cross-border matters. I sit on the Executive Committee of Ius Laboris, the global alliance of human resources law firms of which we are UK member. Examples of international work could be advising on a multi-jurisdictional restructuring or co-ordinating a cross-border HR project.

The Legal 500 directory recommends me for my “exceptional wisdom, negotiating skills, and ability to give difficult advice very clearly”, which is rather flattering but is certainly what I aim for! I have also recently been listed in the top five Thought Leaders by Who's Who: Labour and Employment 2017, for receiving the highest number of nominations by peers, corporate counsel and other market sources.

I was born and raised in New York State, but came to the UK in 1978 to study for a year and, basically, stayed on. Outside of work, I’m a bit of a foodie who enjoys the occasional glass of wine.


I have more than 27 years’ experience of advising on all aspects of my field. My clients come from a wide range of industry sectors including finance, professional services and marketing services, to name a few. I represent a significant number of law firms. Recent examples of my work include:

  • defending a multi-million pound discrimination claim brought by a former partner against an international professional services firm
  • assisting a listed media company in resolving an acrimonious dispute with its departing CEO
  • advising a large financial services group on the poaching of a team from a major competitor – successfully avoiding injunctions. I am regularly asked to speak on employment issues at international conferences and events

Partnerships & LLPs

Anyone who has been a partner knows that partnerships and LLPs have a different dynamic than other types of organisations. I have many years of experience advising on the particular issues that they give rise to. My clients include a number of the leading international law firms as well as major financial services partnerships and LLPs. I spend much of my time representing these clients in large-scale partnership litigation or arbitration, often with an international dimension. Many of my clients also consult me about their partnership and LLP agreements. From time to time I have also acted for partners in disputes with partnerships and LLPs.

Advertising & Marketing

In my many years of advising advertising, media and marketing agencies I have learned that they generally share one overriding characteristic – the frisson which comes with a business where creative and account management have to coexist as necessary bedfellows. This makes them fun and interesting, but also challenging when it comes to their employment issues. I understand those challenges, and use that to inform my advice on all manner of staff matters. Some examples of recent cases are:

  • advising a major marketing services group on enforcing non-compete restrictions when a management team left to form a start-up
  • assisting an agency in dealing with the fall-out when a senior creative team split up
  • defending (successfully) an age discrimination complaint brought by an unsuccessful applicant for an account management role. I have also advised frequently on the TUPE implications following account moves

Professional Services

I have many years of experience of advising professional services firms – both partnerships and corporate entities – on their wide-ranging employment and partnership issues. Among my clients are many leading international law firms, financial services businesses and other professional practices. In some cases I also represent professional bodies or regulators. I am generally involved in assisting them to head off disputes before they arise or, if that is not possible, to help them to a resolution once they do (through various methods of dispute resolution).

Awards & Recognition

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