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Carolyn Soakell

Carolyn SoakellPartner

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I am a partner in the firm’s Employment, Immigration and Reward department, based in our Oxford office.

I have a varied employment law practice, advising employers on Tribunal litigation, employee relations issues, contracts/policies and restructuring and outsourcing. I work with clients ranging from City law firms to toy manufacturers via the energy sector.


Although my practice covers all areas of employment law, I am particularly interested in discrimination and equal opportunities issues and regularly advise employers on matters such as their diversity policies, discrimination grievances, harassment complaints, and Employment Tribunal claims.

Examples of my recent work include:

  • advising employers on preparing for gender pay gap reporting requirements
  • representing an employer in a disability discrimination claim by a senior employee who was dismissed for poor performance
  • advising on salary sacrifice schemes and maternity issues
  • advising on a multi-jurisdiction age discrimination claim

Professional Services

A significant part of my practice involves advising law firms on their own internal HR issues. I lead the team’s Law Firms group and frequently deliver training tailored to clients in the legal sector. I advise firms on partnership law matters, particularly relating to discrimination issues. I also advise on matters such as partnership/employment status, the rights and obligations of partners under partnership and LLP agreements, the structuring of partner benefits, and partnership exits and disputes, including retirement and age discrimination.

Awards and reocgnition

  • Chambers 2024 (Employment: (Thames Valley)) - "She's really good in discrimination cases."
  • Legal 500 2024 (Employment: Thames Valley) - ‘Carolyn Soakell is one of the best external lawyers I’ve instructed in 30 years’ of practice. She is pragmatic and well-informed about the industry in which we operate, and of course has taken the time to get to understand us as a client.’
  • Chambers 2023 (Employment – Thames Valley) "Carolyn is super to work with. She's approachable, knowledgeable and collaborative."
  • Legal 500 2022 (Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40) - ‘Carolyn Soakell is technically excellent, super responsive, and gives clear commercial advice in a very client-friendly manner.’
  • Who's Who Legal Global Leader - Labour & Employment (England) 2021
  • Legal 500 2021 (Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40) - ‘Carolyn Soakell is the best external lawyer I have; I’ve worked with her for over ten years and she is faultless'
  • Recommended in Who’s Who Legal 2020 England
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