Laura Darnley Ward Hadaway 



MIDAS speaks to professionals from Greater Manchester’s key sectors, to get a glimpse into a day in their working life. This month we speak to Laura Darnley, Employment Partner at Ward Hadaway LLP.   


When I first wake up, I prepare for the day by... 

"My mornings are a whirlwind of activity, much like anyone with a family. I get my kids ready for school, ensuring they're all set for the day, while sneaking in a moment to scan my emails for anything pressing that's come through overnight. A quick glance at my calendar helps me mentally prepare for the day's commitments. Then, it's off to the office in the heart of Manchester, with a mandatory coffee stop enroute to kickstart the day." 


I work at... 

"In the bustling Manchester office of Ward Hadaway, I'm part of a team specialising in employment and immigration law. It's my role to not only provide top-notch advice to our clients but also to oversee our junior lawyers, trainees, and paralegals. I'm heavily invested in nurturing our practice here in Manchester, ensuring we continue to grow and succeed in serving our diverse client base. 

The office is located in Chapel Walks, within central Manchester . It's great as it offers a variety of shops and cafés for a nice varied lunch break!  

Our office was recently redesigned with some great new technology, enhancing our operations and commitment to excellence in legal services. The office includes state-of-the-art meeting rooms equipped with the latest digital tools, essential for delivering responsive, high-quality service to our clients.  


A typical day looks like... 

"Predictability is a word unbeknownst to my professional life. Every day brings its unique set of challenges and rewards. I might start with advising clients on how to navigate through complex employment disputes or strategize on managing serious allegations within their teams. Then, I could be off to the Employment Tribunal, advocating on behalf of our clients.

The day could also involve guiding businesses through the intricacies of immigration law, from securing Skilled Worker Sponsor licenses to responding to urgent issues flagged by the Home Office. Plus, I thoroughly enjoy delivering training sessions to clients, ensuring they're well-versed in their compliance obligations." 


The best part of my day is... 

"Getting home to my family is the highlight of my day, without a doubt. Spending quality time over dinner, assisting with homework, and tucking them into bed - these moments are precious. Professionally, the satisfaction of seeing a client's immigration application approved or successfully defending an employment tribunal claim is hugely gratifying but building and maintaining strong relationships with clients over the years is equally rewarding." 


Do you face any challenges and if so, how do you overcome them? 

"The ever-evolving landscape of employment and immigration law certainly keeps me on my toes. Staying abreast of the latest developments is challenging but also what makes this field so exciting. For our clients expanding into the UK, differing time zones, and cultural or language differences can be daunting. My approach has always been one of flexibility, empathy, and leveraging my experience to navigate these challenges effectively." 


What would someone who wants to break into your industry need to know? 

"Resilience and dedication are key in our line of work. The field of law is vast and varied, offering a multitude of paths, but it demands hard work and a commitment to excellence. While it's a demanding profession, the rewards and satisfaction derived from making a tangible difference in our clients' lives are worth the hard work." 


How do you collaborate with the wider professional services co-system? 

"Our engagement with the Manchester-centric organizations like Growth Co, Manchester City Council and other professional organisations is vital. We actively contribute to policy development, engage with trade and government bodies, and provide valuable training and development sessions for our clients. It's about being a proactive member of the community and shaping the landscape we operate in." 


Greater Manchester is known as being one of the UK’s most liveable cities – how do you make the most of it? 

"Manchester's charm lies in its vibrant community and the balance it offers between city life and nature. I make it a point to enjoy the great outdoors -sometimes on roller-skates – especially the National Trust properties, whenever the weather allows. Participating in local community events and volunteering, alongside the myriad of activities for my kids, keeps me grounded and connected to this wonderful city. 




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