Lawyer of the week: Will Clayton, who won a combined unfair dismissal and discrimination case arising from a disability claim
THE TIMES: LAWYER OF THE WEEK
Thursday February 24 2022, 12.01am, The Times
Will Clayton, a partner at Constantine Law, acted successfully for Adeline Willis, a senior risk and compliance officer, in a combined unfair dismissal and discrimination case arising from a disability claim. The Central London employment tribunal ruled that NatWest Group discriminated against her on the grounds that cancer is a disability under the Equality Act 2010, and unfairly dismissed her two days after her cancer surgery. She could receive more than £2 million in damages.
What were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome in this case? Disclosure — a prolonged drip-feed of highly relevant documents, well past the date set by the tribunal, with the most prejudicial documents surfacing just two days before the hearing. What is the best decision you have taken as a lawyer? Choosing employment law. I cannot imagine doing anything else. Who do you most admire in the law? Lady Justice Simler. I spent three days in front of her arguing a complex appeal on a transfer of undertaking protection of employees case when she was president of the employment appeal tribunal. So impressive. What is the best advice you have received? No matter who you are talking to, or opposing, you will be more effective seeing things from their perspective. What is the funniest thing that has happened in your job? Watching a judge turn red with embarrassment as he struggled to silence a loud ringtone on his new Apple Watch; he didn’t have a clue how to turn it off. Moments earlier he had rebuked a witness for not putting their phone on silent. What are the best and worst elements of being a lawyer? Worst: the struggle junior lawyers go through to get a foothold in larger law firms; they are held in perpetual paralegal mode. I was trusted to argue cases in court at 22, why not trust them? Best: the euphoria of winning. What law would you enact? Compulsory salary transparency in large corporations. Equal pay laws are toothless on this. Keep it simple. Make employers be open about who gets paid what and why. What is your favourite film? Nothing highbrow — Avengers: Endgame. The Marvel Cinematic Universe kept our family smiling all through lockdown and we never tire of watching them.
This article first appeared in The Times on 24 February 2022.