Paul McGowan

Managing Partner

Paul is Collingwood Legal’s Managing Partner and Principal Solicitor. He is an experienced and active employment law specialist and has acted exclusively in employment law since 1997. Paul founded Collingwood Legal in 2010 after having previously worked in large commercial firms in Newcastle and London.

Paul is hugely proud to lead a team of leading employment law experts and has overseen the growth of the firm from a start up business to an award winning Legal 500 “Top Tier” law firm.

Paul is recommended in the Legal 500 Tier 1 rankings as a Leading Individual in the North East.


Examples of Paul’s experience include:

  • Successfully bringing and recognising and defending numerous Employment Tribunal claims.
  • Providing businesses with practical advice on complex areas such as TUPE and whistleblowing claims.
  • Advising high-profile individuals in the field of sport, particularly football.
  • Providing strategic advice to senior individuals on business exits.
  • Defending and pursuing restraint of trade matters including injunction proceedings in the High Court.
  • Leading Collingwood Legal to win the Northern Law Awards Law Firm of the Year (1 – 5 Partners) in 2017, 2019 and 2022 and Employment Law Firm of the Year in 2018 and 2022.
  • Shortlisted for the prestigious Legal 500 national Human Resources Individual of the Year Award in 2019.
  • Leading many collaborative events with national conciliation service Acas.

Noteworthy cases

  • Allen v Amalgamated Construction Co Ltd [2000] ICR 436, ECJ case C-234/98  – TUPE case regarding inter-group transfers at Employment Tribunal, EAT and European Court of Justice.
  • UK Coal Mining Ltd v National Union of Mineworkers and British Association of Colliery Management EAT 2007 – landmark case regarding collective redundancy consultation and site closures.
  • Former Chief Executive of large business – unfair dismissal claim – achieving maximum award at full Tribunal hearing in 2021.

What people say about Paul

  • “Paul McGowan is superb. His legal knowledge is exceptional. His commercial sense is also spot on.” –(Legal 500 2023)
  • “Paul has an engaging yet responsive manner with his clients. He is diligent, intelligent and on the money with his advice” –(Legal 500 2023)
  • “Paul is knowledgeable, approachable and commercial. He provides robust advice in an accessible way on even the most complex of matters.”  –(Chambers UK Legal Guide 2023)
  • “He has vast experience which he can draw on in complex situations.” (Chambers UK Legal Guide 2023)
  • “Paul is highly knowledgeable, and offers practical and detailed advice with excellent quality service.” (Chambers UK Legal Guide 2023)
  • “Practice head Paul McGown is ‘incredibly knowledgeable’, particularly on TUPE and whistleblowing issues” -(Legal 500 2023)
  • “Paul McGowan has an ability to get to the heart of matters clearly and provide concise, tailored advice.” –(Legal 500 2023)
  • “Paul is an exceptional employment lawyer with an amazing knowledge of employment law.” – (Chambers and Partners 2022)
  • “Paul McGowan is an outstanding employment lawyer on every level. He has been attentive, knowledgeable and spot on with this employment/HR advice to our firm these past 12 months” – (Legal 500 2022)
  • “He is extremely knowledgeable, approachable and has a gift for making complex issues easy to understand” – (Chambers and Partners)
  • “Strong business acumen coupled with outstanding technical expertise.” – (Chambers and Partners)
  • “Managing partner and ‘excellent and vastly experienced’ team head Paul McGowan advised an employer, a director and a connected independent self-employed contractor on breach of contract matters, fiduciary duties and related litigation.” – (Legal 500)
  • “Paul McGowan is recognised and praised for his in-depth knowledge of employment law, particularly in the areas of TUPE and whistle-blowing…. he is described by clients as “experienced, unbelievably knowledgeable on a wide range of topics, calm in a crisis and totally dependable.” – (Chambers and Partners)
  • “Paul McGowan is singled out for his ‘drive and business acumen’, which inspires loyalty and respect from his clients.”- (Legal 500)

Outside of work

Paul enjoys spending time with his family including his 3 active boys and sheepdog and when time allows skiing and playing average golf .…


The firm offers a tight, professional, exemplary service. It's enthusiastic, sympathetic and reassuring.

Chambers and Partners

Small enough to care, large enough to battle.

Chambers and Partners

The firm is outstanding; they always go the extra mile to ensure the information given is accurate, informative and can be administered with as much ease as possible.

Chambers and Partners

The team is always pragmatic and looks at the wider issues. They keep me calm, playing the long game and considering all the tactics and policies. They work as a team and everybody is always fully briefed. Good value for money.

Chambers and Partners

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An expert team which understands the practicalities of running a business, and offers legal advice that proactively allows us to manage sensitive situations with confidence.

Legal 500 2022