Sandra M Wallace CBEPartner
Member of the International Executive Committee
Sandra has a market-leading reputation as an employment lawyer in the UK. She has almost 30 years’ experience helping national and international clients with business reorganisations, executive disputes, employee relations, and complex disciplinary and grievance matters.
In 2022, Sandra was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, for services to law and social mobility.
Sandra supports clients on all employment law matters and is particularly known for acting on high-level discrimination, equality and diversity issues. She also works with global businesses on policy matters, contract reviews, changes to terms and conditions, and post-merger business integration.
She has recently advised on the protective award claims arising from one of the UK’s largest company liquidations, and successfully defended a retailer from a spurious whistleblowing claim, securing a cost award. She has also designed a bespoke investigation workshop focussing on the pitfalls to avoid in racial and sexual harassment whistleblowing complaints.
Sandra delivers client training and workshops, including topical and entertaining case studies and practical guidance to up-skill legal HR and management teams.
She is passionate about advancing socioeconomic diversity and speaks to many companies about how they can ensure they are recruiting and promoting those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Sandra is Co-Chair of the City of London’s Socioeconomic Diversity Taskforce, which looks at career progression in financial and professional services, and Pro-Chancellor for Social Mobility and Honorary Professor at Wolverhampton University. She was formerly the Co-Chair of the UK Government’s Social Mobility Commission.
She is a member of DLA Piper’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and takes a leading role in the firm’s social mobility initiatives, its community outreach programmes to address social inequality, and awareness-raising activities to support disadvantaged groups.
Sandra is also the Birmingham Chair of City UK and a Member of the Board of Trustees for charity National Numeracy.
- Advised on the protective award claims arising from one of the UK’s largest company liquidations
- Successfully defended a retailer from a spurious whistleblowing claim and secured a cost award
- Designed a bespoke investigation workshop focussing on pitfalls to avoid in racial and sexual harassment whistleblowing complaints
- Advised on applicable terms and conditions that were both necessary and market-leading for a client operating in over 25 jurisdictions
- Provided post-acquisition advice on a business reorganisation to align marketing, sales and support functions in the UK, and advised on senior director level changes
- Wolverhampton University, Law LLB, 1994
- Chester College of Law
Awards and recognitions
- CBE for services to law and social mobility, 2022
- Named in the Black Powerlist 2018-23
- Named one of the 50 Most Influential Lawyers, Financial News 2022
- Top ranked Eminent Practitioner in Employment, Midlands, Chambers UK since 2017
- Leading individual in Employment, West Midlands, The Legal 500 UK since 2020
- Named one of the 20 Most Influential Lawyers, Financial News 2021
- Champion of the Year, UK Social Mobility Awards 2020
- Volunteer speaker for Speakers for Schools
Publications and media
- Social Mobility: The Role of Business and Their Legal Advisers
- Who Gets Ahead? Diversity beyond London
- Class in the workplace
- Dive In Festival 2020: Sandra Wallace on the importance of social mobility
- Sandra Wallace: Diverse teams make business better
- Employee wellbeing: Life events – Are you an employer of choice?
- The menopause: A business critical issue for employers
- Supporting employees through baby loss and neonatal treatment
- Supporting employees undergoing fertility treatment
- Domestic abuse: Providing support and empowering employees
Memberships And Affiliations
- Member of DLA Piper’s Diversity and Inclusion Council
- Co-Chair of the City of London’s Socioeconomic Diversity Taskforce
- Birmingham Chair of City UK
- Member of the Board of Trustees for charity National Numeracy