Lucy McLynn

Partner and Head of Employment


  • She's brilliant; she's incredibly supportive and available, and she is extremely knowledgeable.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • Recognised as Practise Lead

    Legal 500 2021

  • She has fantastic legal knowledge... her pragmatic approach is so refreshing and she always makes time to explain her thinking.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • An extremely knowledgeable and skilled lawyer who is also pragmatic, supportive and the ultimate professional.

    Chambers 2020

  • Recognised as a Key Lawyer

    Legal 500 2020

  • Lucy is "particularly knowledgeable, very sensitive and compassionate, while being robust"

    Chambers 2019

  • "Excellent technical knowledge, pragmatic approach and business focus"

    Chambers UK 2018

  • Sources praise Lucy for her "very clear and timely advice"

    Chambers UK 2017

  • Sources praise "her detailed knowledge of the law."

    Chambers UK 2016


I joined the Employment Department of Bates Wells in 1999.  Before that I was a barrister and a firm that did a lot of advocacy in-house was very appealing to me.  I have often advocated in the employment tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal.


My personal highlight of tribunal advocacy has been successfully defending a religious Occupational Requirement for a faith-based organisation (Muhammed v Leprosy Mission International, EOR March 2010). In the Employment Appeal Tribunal, it is Virgo Fidelis School v Boyle which set the precedent that whistle-blowers are entitled to compensation for injury to feelings. The case of which I am most proud is Coleman v Attridge Law. I was Sharon Coleman’s solicitor from the beginning of the case all the way to the Court of Justice of the European Union where we successfully created the concept of associative discrimination. This means that a person can’t be discriminated against because of the characteristic of a person with whom they associate eg as the mother of a disabled child.

As well as discrimination and whistle-blowing I have a lot of interest and expertise in questions about employment status. Along with colleagues I have acted in many cases where we have established that volunteers cannot sue charities in the employment tribunals. Working time is another key interest of mine. I have given a lot of advice about working hours and minimum wage, and difficult holiday pay issues. I have written a book called “Working Time and Holidays – a practical legal guide” (Oxford University Press 2009). I have frequently spoken on television and radio on employment law subjects, as well as lecturing and providing training to clients.

I became Head of Department in 2017. I currently act primarily for charities/not for profit organisations.


  • I carried out an independent investigation for a theatre company which had received allegations of a #MeToo kind against its Artistic Director.

    I interviewed all of the relevant witnesses and prepared a detailed report for the Board, with conclusions about whether any inappropriate and/or unlawful conduct had taken place. This involved advising on issues about how historic allegations should be treated.

  • I acted for a US based charity removing its Chief Executive who was employed in the UK but was working in Africa.

    The advice involved questions of jurisdiction, and detailed consideration of reputation management for the charity. The Chief Executive made allegations that he was a whistle-blower and the “disclosures” that he had made needed to be dealt with. Terms for his departure were successfully negotiated and agreed and there was no negative publicity for the charity.

  • I advised a college associated with a charity on various allegations made by and against senior post holders, including allegations of race discrimination and bullying.

    The charity needed to make a Serious Incident Report to the Charity Commission, which I drafted for them. The post holders in question have now left the college without any compensation and with no claims being brought.

  • I advise employers about the employment law issues arising from an increased use of homeworking/flexible working
  • I have defended numerous disability discrimination/reasonable adjustments tribunal claims
  • I advise on issues arising out of the misuse of social networking media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) by employees both in and out of the workplace
  • I advise on implications of the Equality Act, both for employers and service providers
  • I give advice to employers on large scales redundancy exercises including collective consultation and engagement with trade unions
  • I negotiate settlement agreements on behalf of both employers and employees

Qualifications and career

  • Bristol University, BA First Class Honours in English, 1994
  • Called to the Bar in 1997
  • Joined Bates Wells in 1999
  • Qualified as a solicitor in 2002
  • Partner in 2005

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Member and former Chair of the Industrial Law Society 
  • Honorary legal advisor to Employers for Carers
  • School governor
  • Member of ELA
  • Volunteer youth leader