Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Our People

Michael Sippitt

I am Chairman of Clarkslegal LLP and a Director of Forbury People, Clarkslegal’s subsidiary HR consultancy. With deep experience and proven track record in employee relations, crisis management and contingency planning, 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 issues and industrial disputes. Recognised by the Chambers and Partners guide 2019 as the only Eminent Practitioner in Employment Law in the Thames Valley region. Inducted to the Legal 500 Hall of Fame as an elite leading lawyer and winner of the Legal 500 UK Award 2019 as the leading Human Resources individual lawyer outside of London. I am 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 and is now in its second edition.

I am also Chairman of the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP) and Forbury Investment Network, which operates the CEIP. I lead on the CEIP programme to connect entrepreneurs, investors and businesses internationally for sustainable development and international trade. This also aligns with our expertise in global supply chains and international labour standards.

It is ideal that organisations give employees access to a collective voice, as well as individually, to ensure they feel that their views are heard and responded to. This can be managed in different ways, and I have substantial experience of helping to set up and nurture various collective employment relations structures. 

With growth in innovative technology and changing expectations of employees, organisations need to be equipped with strong platforms for managing substantial changes.

I have written and spoken on business and employment impacts of new technologies on the future of work.

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 early stage contingency planning through to response on the day a crisis occurs.

There is an increasing trend for the approach of unions to be more sophisticated and sometimes international, focusing on campaigns that target reputation and apply stakeholder pressure using social media and PR rather than just 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. We are renowned for expertise in industrial relation issues and for over 20 years have been asked to assist the CBI and the UK Employers Delegation at the ILO in Geneva.

My experience includes substantial experience of trade union collective agreements, negotiations, recognition and derecognition scenarios. I have advocated on disputed union recognition at the Central Arbitration Committee, and have at times been in the front line of difficult trade union negotiations.

With vast 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 risks 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 chair The CEIP and also contribute to Commonwealth business on the Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Enterprise Investment Council and through a trade related committee of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

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, leadership coaching and development work, performance management, 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