Rakesh Patel sits on the executive board of Thompsons as client relations and talent director.

His role is centred around developing internal communications strategies for the firm, managing its organisational development and making sure the firm has the best people with the necessary skills all committed to achieving justice for clients.

Rakesh was the former head of employment rights strategy at Thompsons. His history with the firm puts him at the heart of its relationship with trade union clients and sees him lead on its union-focused campaigns.

Rakesh is well known as one of the UK’s leading lights on employment law and can be regularly seen giving talks and lectures on the subject not only to clients, but also as a guest speaker for a number of other organisations, including the Institute of Employment Rights.

His wealth of experience means he is a welcome commentator on employment law for a variety of publications as well as being a frequent contributor to Thompsons' own publications, including the weekly Labour and European Law Review

Rakesh’s career began in 1992. After qualifying, he worked at Brent Community Law Centre where he specialised in employment, housing, public and social welfare law.

He joined Thompsons in 2001 attracted by the firm’s promise of only ever representing claimants. Nearly 20 years later, he remains proud of its unwavering loyalty to working people and the trade union movement. For Rakesh, Thompsons’ work is not only highly political and pioneering but also valuable and rewarding.

A loyal season ticket holder at Spurs (and patiently waiting for a return of the silverware), Rakesh also lists cycling, walking and listening to music as his interests outside of the football season.


Rakesh's case experience

Gibb v Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust: A Court of Appeal decision that a public body could not escape contractual commitments in a compromise agreement by alleging after the event that their decision to enter into them was unlawful or irrational.

Kelly and ors v UNISON: A Tribunal decision about whether the claimants were discriminated against on grounds of their Trotskyite beliefs contrary to the Religion and Belief Regulations.

Brunel University and anor v Vaseghi and anor: A Court of Appeal decision about the admissibility of without prejudice discussions in court proceedings.

O'Hanlon v HMRC: A Court of Appeal decision about disability discrimination in relation to sickness absence procedures.

Griffiths v DWP: A Court of Appeal case about disability discrimination in relation to trigger points in sickness absence procedures.

Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan and Wood: A Supreme Court case in which we acted for the Royal College of Midwives and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service as interveners. Case concerned the application of the conscientious objection clause for medical staff under the Abortion Act 1967.

Roddis v Sheffield Hallam University: Thompsons represented the claimant in an important case under the Part-time Workers Regulations (PWR) in which the Employment Appeal Tribunal, held that contracts should be defined broadly so that a part-time worker on a zero hours contract can be compared to a full-time worker on a permanent contract when seeking to enforce the right not to be treated less favourably under the PWR.


Professional membership 

Rakesh is a member of the Executive Committee of the Industrial Law Society and is a member of the Discrimination Law Association and the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.                  

He is also a member of The Law Society panel.


Client testimonials

Adam Creme (Head of Legal Services UNISON): “Rakesh provides an excellent service to UNISON and its members. He deals with complex cases in a calm and assured manner.”

An individual client wrote: “Thank you so much Rakesh. I am very, very pleased! I can now get on with a dignified exit and enjoy some time off before starting my new job. It has been a pleasure dealing with you.”

Chambers says: Rakesh is "recognised by market sources for his diligent and effective client service. His negotiation style is also praised, as is his ability to manage complex discrimination cases.

"Thompsons has a knack of getting on particularly well with clients and managing their expectations."

"Thompsons fields a top-notch trade union practice."

Chambers and Partners 2019: Rakesh Patel offers notable experience advising employees on a range of employment disputes and offers particular expertise in discrimination claims. Interviewees describe him as "cool as a cucumber with a very strong idea of how to run litigation."

Legal 500: "Thompsons has a strong hold on trade union instructions, delivering strategic employment law advice to UNISONUnite, the GMB and the RMT."