Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Our People

Michael Sippitt

I am Chairman of Clarkslegal LLP and Director of Forbury People, Clarkslegal’s subsidiary HR consultancy. With my deep experience and proven track record in employee relations, crisis management and senior executive issues, I am able to provide organisations with strategic support that is both commercial and practical.

I head the employment law practice at Clarkslegal, specialising in strategic legal and employee relations issues. I have substantial experience in labour related restructurings and TUPE transfers, collective employment relations law and strategy, trade union and industrial disputes and crisis management. I was co-author of the employment Law chapter of the Oxford University Press textbook “The Law and Practice of Restructuring in the UK and the US.” This book is the only work to cover the practical elements of both major systems of law in one place. I also advise on senior executive contracts and severances.

I am also Chairman of the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP) and Forbury Investment Network. I lead on the CEIP programme to connect entrepreneur investors and businesses internationally for sustainable development.

It is vital that organisations give employees access to a collective voice, as well as an individual one, to ensure they feel that their views are heard and responded to. There are various forms of collective voice, from recognised trade unions to established forums, focus groups, protests and employee representatives.

Genuine buy-in and the commitment of time and energy from senior management are essential in nurturing and preserving a relationship of trust and confidence between the representatives, employees and organisation. With the growth in technology and changing expectations of employees, organisations need to embrace more innovative approaches to collective voice rather than the usual staff surveys.

I am renowned as a key figure in supporting businesses to effectively manage relationships with trade unions and employee representative bodies. 

Success may be measured in the way a business reacts to a crisis. Knowing how the business will react in a crisis to protect its reputation, assets, stakeholders and commercial interests is vital. I have a wealth of experience of assisting companies in the early stage contingency planning through to the response on the day in the unfortunate circumstances that the crisis occurs.

Although employers’ experiences of trade unions vary enormously, there is an increasing trend for the approach of unions to be more sophisticated and international, focusing on campaigns that target reputation and apply stakeholder pressure using social media and PR rather than strikes.

I have a particular specialist reputation for industrial relations and strategic legal work, based on forty years’ experience in the field and my achievements in significant industrial relations projects.

With over 35 years’ experience helping organisations with major restructures, from collective redundancies to insourcing and outsourcing processes, I am able to offer companies strategic support combined with practical and sound commercial advice, providing a powerful overview of issues to consider, from legal to PR, from union campaigning to employee engagement.

CEIP facilitates trade and investment in sustainable technologies, improves international awareness of developments in green technology and supports low carbon economic growth across the Commonwealth.

I have for many years acted for senior executives, helping them either negotiate their terms and conditions at the start of their employment relationship or their exit packages. I also have significant experience in supporting senior executives being removed from companies/public bodies in difficult circumstances, where allegations of whistleblowing or discrimination have arisen.

As a Director of our HR consultancy Forbury People Ltd, I have seen the difference that our experienced professional consultants can make to businesses of all sizes. We are able to provide support to companies ranging from project management expertise, through to strategic HR support of change programmes, health and safety expertise, policy and contract reviews, equal pay audits and day to day support.

"At Clarkslegal LLP, firm Chairman and Practice Head Michael Sippitt is an expert in industrial relations"
The Legal 500

"Michael Sippitt is an outstanding employment lawyer across the range of work, his expertise is second to none."
Chambers & Partners