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When is a partner not a partner? The curious case of Jeremy Briars

Overview

This briefing from CMS Cameron McKenna follows the case of Jeremy Briars, a solicitor at Williamson & Soden, to provoke debate on the true definition of a law firm partner.

Mr Briars began working for Williamson & Soden in 2001, where he was initially paid a salary of £55,000. In 2003, he became a salaried partner, and was held out to clients from that moment on as being a partner of the firm. In 2004, Mr Briars’ remuneration was altered so that he would receive a share of the firm’s profits amounting to £55,000 per year, plus one eighteenth of the firm’s overall net profits.

When Mr Briars left the firm, he brought an employment claim against Williamson & Soden. The firm argued that Mr Briars was not entitled to bring an employment claim given that he was a partner at the time and not an employee. They relied on his status and profit-based remuneration to justify their argument. However, a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling has found that a Mr Briars was in fact only an employee of the firm and was therefore allowed to bring about the employment claim.

To learn more about this case and the wider implications for partnerships, click 'View Briefing'

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