Lawyer Profile

Panel Lawyer

Jolyon Berry

Partner- Employment
Employment Law, dispute resolution


Lawyer Biography


Joined a magic circle firm in 1998 where he trained and qualified, specialising in commercial transactions and advice to regulated institutions including banks and insurance companies.  Secondment to the in-house legal department of the UK HQ of a global banking corporation before leaving the City and joining Birketts when it had but one office in Ipswich to become the firm’s only full time employment lawyer, in 2003.  Made a partner of the firm in 2006, and has played a part in the considerable growth of Birketts since then; the firm now has 4 offices (Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich & Norwich) with over 55 partners.  The employment team is now in excess of 25 lawyers with 8 partners (one of whom is a part time Employment Judge).

Behind the Bio

Why did you become a lawyer?  Before training to become a lawyer, I was an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment, based in Germany serving a short service commission.  Joining the army was an extreme way of avoiding going to University after leaving school (continued formal education after school did not appeal to me at the time).  After some insights into the  legal profession including a very interesting experience in a Court Martial and considering the recession in the 1990’s when I was leaving the Army, going to Uni to read law degree did not seem that bad a choice after all!

What has been your most unusual case?  A few years ago, a client called me to ask if I was anywhere near a TV; if I tuned in to the Jeremy Kyle Show, the program was about an employee suing my client for discrimination arising from sexual orientation.  The Claimant, who had undergone gender reassignment therapy, and her civil partner were discussing their plans to conceive a child and for the natural mother to undero her own gender reassignment, I think the show was entitled “my Mum is my Dad and my Dad is my Mum”.  I recall that we had the claims against my client struck out on the basis that when the Claimant had suggested she was too ill to attend court, she was apparently working as a roadie for the Rolling Stones!

Any nuggets of advice you’re happy to give a business owner for free? I know that, as a lawyer, to win a client, and to develop a lasting professional association, one has to work on the personal relationships with key people; if our legal expertise is taken as read, why chose me over the next lawyer?  But it works both ways!  Those of my clients who are conscious of the demands on my time and who understand that we have to bill (and then collect payment) for the advice we give, usually get tons of counsel for nothing if they call with a quick question here or there.  So how to get the most from your lawyer?  Instruct him or her formerly, agree a fee or rate and stick to it and then for additional work outside that retainer, find out if the lawyer has some time to speak (even send a few papers) and ask for chat or a sense check “to work out if I need to engage you formerly on another job”.

Why chose Birketts?  We have an award winning, animated clip on the web that answers that question (go to to watch it, but in essence it reassures our clients that we are experts in our fields and we have a solid, sensible platform from which to work.  We do not over-reach ourselves but are still able to compete on the national and even international level.  We offer clear, legal advice.  Which to me means working out commercial solutions; as my first Commanding Officer in the Royal Tank Regiment used to say “bring me solutions, not problems” (a phrase all my team-mates have heard me say).

Favourite quote, album and moment;  I’m Brian… and so is my wife!“.    Wish you were Here”, Pink Floyd and (aside from wedding and birth of children etc.) Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal in Australia 2003 (while collecting £90 winnings from Ladbrokes having predicted a draw after full time).


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