James Lenihan is an employment law solicitor with over 16 years post-qualification experience. James has been at Thompsons since 2005, but before that he spent two years advising and representing clients on the other side of employment disputes - one year in a commercial practice and one year with the Royal College of Nursing.

For 7 years, James worked as a senior employment litigator in the London office before moving becoming unit manager of our employment rights teams in Cardiff, Bristol and Plymouth. James was appointed a member of the firm in 2018.

James is responsible for managing all aspects of the employment rights department in Wales and the South West. His role involves overseeing the provision of the employment service, ensuring that it runs smoothly and efficiently, and that it meets the high expectations of our trade union clients. James manages a team of lawyers and gets involved in supervision from the point of referral to case conclusion.

James set up and continues to oversee a national telephone advice line service, providing early employment advice to our trade union clients and enabling them to best support their members to achieve early resolution and avoid adversarial litigation. 

Regular talks on employment law to trade union clients for Thompsons, or on behalf of our trade union clients also keep James busy.

Securing proper compensation for those badly treated at work through working in partnership with trade unions means that James works with a diverse range of clients on a wide-range of legal issues. The Thompsons partnership with trade unions and the ability that offers to shape employment law and solve workplace issues is a key aspect of the work that James enjoys.

Outside of work, James enjoys walking, music, and playing the piano.


James' case experience

  • Won a landmark legal judgment for a Unite member unlawfully blacklisted in the construction industry for trade union activity, boosting the chances for other blacklisted workers to seek justice.  
  • Won a sex discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and constructive dismissal case against Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in which the judge described the defendant's witness to have "so comprehensively have their evidence demolished".
  • Won a constructive unfair dismissal claim for an FBU official after she resigned following a compulsory transfer to another station failed to consider her personal circumstances.


Professional membership

James is a member of the Industrial Law Society.