Eversheds has a "commercial approach to employment advice that is laced with practical thinking".
Led by the well-respected Peter Norbury, the practice continued to go from strength to strength in 2006, winning new clients such as Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare.
The firm also successfully represented Virgin Trains on a high-profile religious discrimination case as well as acting for long-held clients McDonald's and Severn Trent.
Martin Hopkins remains focused on the US side of the business.
In 2006 Wragge & Co's employment group won a host of new clients including retail giant Monsoon, Lotus Cars and Interserve FM.
The practice also added further credence to its strong reputation in the public sector, receiving new instructions from various local government bodies, attracted by the technical ability of former local council leader Mark Greenburgh.
Led by the experienced Martin Chit-ty, the team is applauded for its "good attitude and hunger for City work".
DLA Piper UK's outstanding national employment practice is represented in Birmingham by a "responsive and knowledgeable" five-partner team. In 2006 Karen Macpherson advised easyJet on the setting up of its Madrid operations, while recommended group head Nick Jew advised on two major outsourcing contracts and comes highly recommended.
Particularly praised for its "excellent retail experience", the practice also acts for financial institutions.
The eminent David Beswick, one of the Midlands' foremost employment lawyers, leads the two-partner team at Hammonds.
Teresa Dolan was made up to partner in 2006, filling the gap left by the senior-level departure of Kathy Halliday to Cobbetts in 2005.
The practice specialises in contentious matters and recently represented automotive supplier Visteon in an employment appeal tribunal case as well as successfully defending Allied Carpets in an unfair dismissal claim. Other clients include Peugeot and Aston Villa FC.
In 2006, Jane Byford replaced Ian Marshall as employment head at Martineau Johnson, leading the practice to client wins that include Wolverhampton University, Doncaster College and Natura Cosmetics.
David Faulkner remains the principal contact for employment advice to educational institutions and is commended for his "experience and professionalism". Clients say the team has "excellent commercial awareness and knowledge of specialist areas".
The employment group at Pinsent Masons is "professional, practical and a pleasure to do business with", according to clients.
The well-respected Linda Jones continues to lead the practice and in 2006 acted for Misys on the high-profile exit and replacement of its company founder, Kevin Lomax.
The team's already successful client training function has also gathered momentum recently, with senior associate Trish Embley transferring from Eversheds to devise a new series of public training courses.
At HBJ Gateley Wareing, Ruth Armstrong leads a team that provides "good-quality advice in all corporate matters".
Tribunal litigation is a particular strength, with the practice maintaining a solid success rate. Highlights for 2006 include acting for automotive component manufacturer, UYT, in a major restructuring and redundancy programme and advising Radway Doors and Windows on the relocation of its head office and Aston sites.
Reed Smith Richards Butler moves up into the third tier this year due to a growing market presence thanks to its transatlantic merger, some major client wins and the increasing complexity of its transactions.
The team specialises in both contentious and non-contentious work, and in 2006 advised a number of multinational companies on such issues as equal pay claims, misconduct allegations, regulatory matters and restructuring projects. Ranjit Dhindsa leads the four-partner employment group. …