Key people at Simpson Millar LLP
We believe our strength comes from our people, the team
that makes Simpson Millar LLP what it is now and
what it will become in the future.
Simpson Millar LLP consists of 30 partners, 10 Associates, 2 Consultants, and
128 fee earners along with 121 support staff. Managing
Partner, Peter Watson, is responsible for the day-to-day running of
the firm and is supported by the Management Committee
and Equity Partners of the business.
Elaine Maxwell - Managing Partner - Maxwell Gillott
Head of Education Law at Maxwell Gillott (a trading style of Simpson Millar LLP)
Elaine is nationally recognised as a leading practitioner in education law. Although interested in all aspects of education law, she has a particular focus on autism, particularly in those cases which need support from health and social services as well as education. She is also concerned to make sure that the introduction of academy schools does not reduce rights for parents and children.
Her reported cases include:
- Jones v Staffordshire County Council, ELR 357
- R v Manchester City Council ex parte S ELR 414
- White v Clitheroe Royal Grammar school (first DDA case against a school), 6 May 2002 Preston County Court
- Governors of F Primary School v T and Sendist  EWHC 1250
- Hill v Bedfordshire County Council,  EWCA 661
- SC v London Borough of Hackney  ELR 474
as well as many others she has supervised as head of the education department.
Elaine has personal experience of children with special educational needs. Of her three children, one has Attention Deficit Disorder and dyspraxia, while another is dyslexic. She has acted as a governor at a local special school, and provided training for members of charities and parents groups including IPSEA and the National Autistic Society, as well as student unions and university administrators. She regularly talks to parent groups about the law relating to special educational needs and has also been interviewed on Radio 4 on a number of occasions about education law issues.
Elaine qualified as a barrister in 1974, and a few years later joined the Civil Service. After taking time out to have three children, she decided to return to practising law. She chose to become a solicitor rather than remain as a barrister, because solicitors have a higher level of direct contact with clients. Elaine began advising educational institutions and individuals on issues of education law in 1990, and in 1994 decided to specialise in education law. In 1998 she established her own firm, based on the philosophy that an exclusive concentration on a highly specialised area of law would result in a better service to clients.
Until recently she was a peer reviewer in education law for the Legal Services Commission, and assists them in the drafting of advice booklets on education law for the general public. Elaine has been recognised as a leader in education since 1996 in both Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and the Legal 500. Quoted recently in Chambers and Partners UK 2013 as follows: "Elaine Maxwell heads the education department and has been heavily involved in a number of cases dealing with SEN, particularly student placements." and Legal 500 2012 as arguably "the leading education claimant lawyer".
Much of her current work in the preparation and presentation of cases for Special Needs Tribunals although she has run many important cases on education law, from student entitlement to grants claims to special needs.
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