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Lisa Mayhew became Co-Chair of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner with Therese Pritchard in April 2018, and was re-appointed alongside Steve Baumer in January 2020. Previous to this, Lisa was Berwin Leighton Paisner's Managing Partner.

Outside of her role as Co-Chair of the Firm, Lisa's practice focusses on employment law. Lisa is known for successfully defending employers in large and complex employment disputes. Her work has typically been at Boardroom level, for example acting on executive hires and severances, discrimination proceedings, cases of whistleblowing, or on major corporate transformation initiatives. Work of this nature is always highly sensitive, has significant reputational ramifications and typically involves substantial, 7-figure sums.

While keeping clients out of court is often the first priority, Lisa has represented clients in the High Court or at Employment Tribunals over 50 times. In all cases, Lisa has focused not just on winning, but in achieving the right outcomes for the client and protecting their reputation, based upon an appreciation of the publicity and regulatory aspects of each case.

Lisa’s clients have included eight of the world’s largest banks plus other FTSE-level or large private companies in sectors such as retail and energy. Lisa completed in-house secondments at Merrill Lynch and John Lewis Partnership. Lisa has been named as one of only two 'eminent practitioners' in employment law in Chambers & Partners directory.

A regular guest speaker at industry events and author of multiple published articles, Lisa also co-wrote a book published by Sweet & Maxwell on “Discrimination: Remedies and Quantum”.


Representative Experience

  • Hiring and exiting of senior management - Acted for a FTSE-100 company on the hiring and exiting of senior management staff in the UK and internationally, and on an alleged claim of discrimination by a regional manager. The 7-figure claim, which we successfully defended, was particularly interesting given that we proved covertly recorded staff conversations had been doctored.
  • New employment regulations on holiday pay - Advising a major corporation, with many thousands of employees, on the significant implications - financially running to tens of millions of pounds - and related future recommended provisions associated with the introduction of new employment regulations on holiday pay.
  • Employee compliance and termination best-practices - As an example of advisory work, advised a real estate company on a range of employee compliance and termination best-practices in 10 countries. The recommendations, developed following a review of case law in each jurisdiction, were delivered for the Board against tight deadlines.
  • Discrimination - Successfully defended a FTSE 250 financial institution on an alleged disability claim. We proved that our client had met its obligation to create a level playing field for all employees, to the extent that the claim was abandoned prior to hearing. The case was legally important since it sought to expand employers’ obligations to positively discriminate in favour of disabled employees.
  • Equal pay discrimination - Successfully represented Merrill Lynch on a $14million equal pay and discrimination claim brought by employee Stephanie Villalba. The case, which was covered extensively by the UK and international media, remains one of the highest value discrimination claims ever to have been brought to court in the UK.
  • Unfair dismissal - Successfully represented a global bank against a claim of unfair dismissal by a senior employee, a claim complicated by disputes over share entitlement.