Partners and LLP members are in a very different position to employees. We often help steer them through difficult issues at all stages of their careers, including advising on the terms of partnership/LLP member appointments, negotiating exits, dealing with team moves and restraints on moving firms and dealing with issues associated with whistleblowing or unlawful discrimination.

Although there are similarities and some overlap with employment situations, the law relating to partners and LLP members is different in many respects. In addition, the contractual relationships (usually set out in a partnership or LLP agreement) are substantially different from employment contracts.

Partners and LLP members are (to a greater or lesser extent) part-owners of, and co-venturers in, the business, rather than merely serving the business. As a result, true partners (and their LLP equivalents) do not have some employment-related rights such as the right not to be unfairly dismissed. However, most partnership and LLP agreements deal with the removal of partners or LLP members and partners/LLP members may have important rights under those provisions.

Partners and LLP members do have some of the rights that employees have, such as the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of protected characteristic such as race, sex or age and rights associated with the protection of whistleblowers.

In some cases, people are held out to the external world as partners, but in reality they are salaried employees, with all associated employment rights. Hybrid arrangements such as fixed share or junior equity partners can further complicate the position. Often, the first question to be asked is whether a particular individual is a true partner/LLP equivalent or a disguised employee.

Please click on the drop down menu for further details of our work in this area and how we can help your partnership or LLP.