“This has been a challenging six months but, as a firm, we are continuing to invest, particularly in the practice areas which have seen an increase in their workload,” says Joseph Oates, Partner and Head of the Contentious Department at CooperBurnett.
Natasha Smith has joined CooperBurnett’s litigation team as a Senior Associate specialising in employment law. She trained with and qualified into the employment team at a large Surrey firm in 2009 and brings a wealth of experience advising clients on a variety of employment matters.
Most recently, Natasha worked for a niche litigation practice in Kent as well as an HR consultancy business, advising both individuals on their employment rights and businesses across a number of different industries on how to mitigate the risk of legal disputes arising.
Natasha regularly advises clients on queries relating to contractual terms, unfair dismissals, redundancies, discrimination matters, TUPE and, of course, Covid-19. She is experienced in drafting and advising on settlement agreements and particularly enjoys negotiating deals.
“Having worked in Tunbridge Wells previously and lived in the area for some time now, I was aware of the excellent reputation CooperBurnett has locally,” says Natasha. “I was also drawn to the firm’s keen involvement in charitable causes as this is something that I enjoy being involved in too, having organised charity balls and undertaken various personal challenges.”
Adds Joseph: “As we ease out of lockdown, many of our clients are approaching us with employment-related enquiries, so it’s great to have Natasha join the team at this time. Her experience is already proving invaluable.”
Melissa Gire has joined CooperBurnett’s Family & Matrimonial team as an Associate Solicitor. She is working alongside Partner Gemma Gillespie, where she is assisting clients with a wide range of family law matters, including divorce and finances, children issues, pre and post nuptial agreements and co-habitation disputes.
“I have particular expertise in medium to high net worth financial remedy cases arising from a divorce and any associated children issues,” Melissa explains. “I have experience in acting for parents in high conflict disputes in relation to who the children should spend time with and live with, including cases where there has been an element of parental alienation and allegations made against the parents. I also regularly act for clients who wish to enter into relationship agreements.”
Melissa says she was drawn to joining CooperBurnett because of its nearly 40 years in Tunbridge Wells.
“Our workload in the Family team has increased recently and Covid-19 has certainly had an impact,” says Gemma Gillespie. “It hasn’t only affected relationships directly but has resulted in many work-related challenges, which have impacted on separated parents – perhaps with one party needing to move away for work. As we navigate through this time, it’s great to have Melissa join our team; she’s brought some great experience with her.”