Employment lawyer Sofia deals with a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters, across a variety of sectors. Her expertise lies in advising ultra-high-net-worth clients on private staffing. She advises on recruitment, on-going management and termination of staff such as house managers, butlers, close protection officers, private chefs, nannies, chauffeurs and housekeepers. In addition to drafting tailored contracts and supplementary agreements to protect her clients’ privacy, Sofia also deals with contentious terminations, defends her clients’ position and reputation if they are faced with employment claims or unreasonable demands from ex-employees.
Sofia often assists in the sourcing of other professionals who can provide supplementary assistance with recruitment, immigration, payroll, banking and insurance, to help clients meet their legal obligations and employ staff more simply in the UK.
In a more general employment capacity, Sofia predominantly acts on behalf of employers. Her work includes assessing claims brought or threatened against respondent clients, liaising with ACAS and/or the claimant’s representative on pre-claim conciliations, selecting, instructing and managing counsel, and preparing for tribunal hearings as well as defending claims on behalf of respondent clients and all aspects of employment tribunal work. In addition, she guides board members through issues such as company restructuring and advises on shareholder or director disputes and mediation.
Her work ranges from preventing employment claims by ensuring the correct documentation is in place, to advising on employee management such as disciplinaries, grievances, and sickness management. She also advises on terminations including on structuring, dismissal, maternity, redundancy procedures, and tribunal claims, in addition to the negotiation of settlement agreements and packages on behalf of employees as well as employers.
Sofia is an avid industry speaker and article contributor. She regularly organises seminars on a wide range of issues including data protection, modern slavery, stress management and general employment law updates. She is also a frequent guest speaker at CIPD and ACCA events.
Sofia presents at our HR Forums in a clear and concise manner ensuring simplicity throughout the seminar. Sofia is always well prepared and extremely knowledgeable on the subject matter and ensures that everyone is engaged, through audience participation. You will find her extremely approachable at the beginning and end of the seminar and always willing to answer individual questions. What you get from Sofia is someone that can make sometimes a tedious subject, entertaining and light hearted.
Returning from one of Sofia’s sessions, I learnt an incredible amount of useful information and had 3 pages of notes to take back to the office!Sofia is a lively presenter, delivering really well throughout. Her content, is relevant and jam packed with useful legal tips and insights. Delivered in a way that is totally understandable, commercially savvy and at times very thought provoking. Sofia is such an engaging speaker that there is no need for the typical boring power point presentations – Sofia can engage an audience just by speaking, given her wealth of knowledge and expertise. Her style is relaxed and informal, whilst encouraging the audience to give their thoughts, feedback and sharing of experiences. This makes you feel very confident in her advice and that you could easily approach her with questions.
People Experience Lead, Unilever
Sofia is definitely an expert in this niche and very sensitive area of employment law. She is a real go-to person for private household HR - there's no doubt!
Country House Consultancy Partner, Knight Frank
Thank you for all your help and being so efficient. If we need further advice on anything I will definitely come back to you.
Sofia held a very informative and interesting Private Household HR Forum for us. It covered all of the necessary topics - I can't wait for the next one!
Sofia presented a great Private Household HR Forum. It was really useful & practical!
The Private Household HR Forum that Sofia held for us was very informative. It was especially good to have small groups for discussion.
Family Office Manager
- Employment contracts, directors’ service agreements, consultancy agreements
- Service occupancy and workforce agreements
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Bespoke company policies and handbooks
- Settlement agreements
- TUPE advice and related documents and letters
- Maternity/paternity/adoption advice
- Redundancy and restructuring planning and consultation advice
- Managing stress-at-work issues
- Unfair dismissal and redundancy
- Discrimination, harassment and victimisation claims
- Whistleblowing claims
- Disciplinary and grievance issues
- Restrictive covenant enforceability
- Confidentiality issues
- Employment Tribunal work
- Breach of contract claims including wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal and bonus/commission claims
- Advised a private office being blackmailed by a departing housekeeper, holding confidential information on the affairs of the family, successfully terminating the employment and settling for a nominal sum and an undertaking.
- Advised a family office on the recruitment and contractual hours of a Norland nanny with unconventional working arrangements, providing all necessary supplementary documentation and advice to ensure full legal compliance.
- Provided guidance on compliance issues relating to close protection officers, their contracts, hours, travel arrangements, SIA licensing and insurance.
- Assisted clients relocating to the UK and setting up a fully staffed household. Identified the correct legal status of the different categories of workers and where necessary advised and assisted in the set-up of separate service companies to employ staff.
- Advised a group company on the strategic closure of an office and termination of the managing director. Provided tactical and detailed guidance on a wide variety of related issues including shareholder and directors’ dispute, dealing with complex corporate and employment tax issues, liaised closely with external tax advisers and corporate and litigation colleagues as appropriate. Successfully led negotiations and concluded the matter through mediation, settlement and a share buy-back.
- Acted as a trusted adviser to a number of clients seeking other professional advisers, such as accountants and tax specialists.
- Advised clients on the implications of using the correct legal status for workers/employees and a client on mobile workers’ contracts, bearing in mind recent case law on these issues.
- Advised a large international client on damage limitation after a manager prematurely terminated an employment contract without due procedure. Advice gained prevented the likelihood of a successful claim being brought.
- Provided a road map and guidance to a client managing long-term sickness absence where the employee had been off sick for over one year costing the client company substantially in terms of management and associated benefits.
- Advised a client on the employment aspects of corporate restructuring to achieve the desired strategic long-term solution for the organisation. Provided appropriate advice and guidance on levels of redundancy consultation required where the affected employee is pregnant and/or on maternity leave.
- Acted for a number of high-level executives, providing appropriate advice to enable employees to exit with substantial termination packages (which can often be related to their shareholdings or directorships, both of which require more tactical and strategic advice).
- Advised clients on the management of poor-performing employees, provided guidance on termination and appeal stages.
- Advised a number of clients on data subject access requests, working on behalf of employers and employees, sifting through data to ensure relevance for disclosure and dealing with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Recognised in the Legal 500 2018 for Employment: Employers and Senior Executives
“Always available with punctual and precise professional counsel” Legal 500 2018
Full Member of the Employment Lawyers Association
Founding member of the Woking Diamond HR Forum
Sofia qualified as a solicitor in 1999. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2017, she worked at the following firms:
- DLA Piper