Elaine Aarons

Partner | London

Client services contact Candice Driver


Elaine is a partner in the employment team.

With over 35 years' experience in employment and partnership law, for the last 15 years acting mainly for senior executives, partners and entrepreneurs, Elaine is an acknowledged leader in her field.

Over 95% of her client base is senior individuals and includes: senior executives in FTSE 100 and 250 companies, largely main board directors and members of executive committees; senior bankers - she has acted for 19 Bank Chief Executives (some more than once as they have returned for further advice); principals and senior management in private equity houses, private equity backed firms, hedge funds and other financial services boutiques.

In addition to financial services, she has clients in senior management roles in all sectors of the economy - most recently in transport, energy, technology, publishing, retail betting, management consultancy and real estate. She also has a particular interest in advising senior academics, having acted for a significant number of Vice-Chancellors of universities.

Listed in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame which recognises individuals who have received constant praise from their clients for continued excellence, she has been described by the directories as ‘tenacious and intelligent', an 'absolute master strategist and tactician', a ‘formidable opponent', a ‘strong client advocate' and ‘phenomenally good'. She is recommended for her ‘sense of strategy and imagination' and has also recently been recognised in Spear's ranking of the best employment lawyers for senior executives, wealth managers and family offices.

Elaine is always focused on delivering her client's objectives. She advises on a wide range of issues, including termination of employment, resignation/removal from partnerships, negotiating service agreements and LLP agreements (including negotiating corporate indemnities), investigations and disciplinary proceedings (particularly in FCA/PRA regulated businesses), bonus, discrimination and whistleblowing claims, team moves and restrictive covenants (drafting and enforcement).

She is regularly instructed to lead multi-disciplinary teams and is therefore a natural choice where employment, regulatory and reputation management issues are paramount. She is also used as team leader on matters involving corporate, litigation and wealth planning advice.

Elaine is also involved in a number of organisations that support women in the workplace. She is a long standing member of the International Women's Forum and part of their Ethical Leadership Committee. She is also the co-founder of One Loud Voice for Women, a not for profit that represent the voices of 300,00 women and whose goal is to achieve gender parity in the workplace for all women regardless of seniority.
Headshot of Elaine Aarons

Me in a minute

In my career I have had two guiding principles - to do what I love doing and to stay ahead of the curve. Both of these have stood me in very good stead

My move to Withers ten years ago was driven by these principles. I had specialised in acting for employers for 26 years acting mainly for institutional clients. I had been one of the very first lawyers to specialise exclusively in employment law. I was a leading practitioner in my field and had a very strong practice. There was actually no reason to change.However, my move to Withers was strategic - I thought there was a gap in the market for a 'big hitter' that focused almost entirely on senior executives. I thought I could leverage my brand as a blue chip City employment lawyer to create something unique. No one had done it on the scale that I planned to do it.

The move proved to be tremendous. 10 years later I can say I have acted for 14 Bank Chief Executives, I have conducted cases for captains of industry and leaders in their fields. I have acted against the biggest banks and hedge funds as well as FTSE 100/250's in all sectors. I have been involved in headline grabbing stories (the longest running being front page news for 10 days). Some of the appointments and removals in which I have been instructed have involved such leading players that politicians at the highest levels of government have taken a personal interest.

I love every moment of it.

It should be said that I also work with clients who are emerging leaders, making their way up the corporate ladder, as well as those who are already at the height of their career. I feel I can offer the benefits of my experience combined with a genuine interest in helping people who have been highly successful and want to continue to be.