Meet Georgina

Georgina Calvert-Lee

Georgina Calvert-Lee

Head of UK Practice and Senior Counsel

Georgina Calvert-Lee leads the firm’s UK employment and equality team. 

A barrister with a background in UK and US civil litigation, over the last ten years Georgina’s practice has focused increasingly on employment and equality law. She advises employees and employers, students and governors, senior executives and partners, in contentious and non-contentious matters. Her work covers most employment issues, from discrimination, bullying and whistle-blowing, to advice on partnerships, executive compensation and statutory duties, as well as ‘worker’ status, internal investigations, restrictive covenants and other contractual matters.

Her work inevitably touches on privacy and data protection law and Georgina has advised on this and spoken out against the blanket use of confidentiality clauses (NDAs) in sexual harassment settlements. You can read more about her view on NDAs here

With experience in various forums – the Employment Tribunal, CICA, High Court and County Court – Georgina can guide clients through the respective merits of each. She has advanced High Court claims under the Protection from Harassment Act, for breach of confidence and misuse of private information, and represented Chrissy Chambers in the first (publicised) civil claim for non-consensual sharing of intimate images to end in payment of substantial damages. 

Georgina has also brought discrimination claims for clients outside the employment context. She represented the Manders in their landmark adoption discrimination claim; and represents numerous students and academics in discrimination claims against their universities. She is regularly asked to speak to the media and at sector conferences on universities’ handling of sexual misconduct complaints, and with the research and lobbying organisation, the 1752 Group, has published proposed guidance for the sector on this issue.

Georgina was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1993. She worked for the international law firm of Coudert Brothers in Washington DC before joining Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal in Chicago in 1995, where she worked with major corporate clients, including The Allstate Corporation, St. Paul Travelers, McDonalds Corporation and The Prudential Corporation of America. She has extensive experience of multi-state litigation and class actions, in the US. She joined McAllister Olivarius in London in 2007.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and French from the University of Oxford and her Diploma in Law from City University, she graduated in the top ten of her bar school class. She has accumulated various awards for performance or publications during her legal career, including the Chicago-Kent College of Law Dean’s Evening Merit Scholarship (1996), Chrystal MacMillan Prize (1993), and Harmsworth Scholarship (1992); and the Tara Fellowship for Short Fiction (1998). 

Interview with Georgina Calvert-LeeInterview with Georgina Calvert-Lee

Case experience

  • Represented a financial services VP in a claim for race and sex discrimination against her employer, achieving a high six figure pay-out. 
  • Represented the British Sikh couple, Mr and Mrs Mander, in their landmark race discrimination claim against their local authority relating to their attempted adoption.
  • Represented Dr Emma Chapman in her employment claim for sexual discrimination against UCL in relation to their handling of her complaint of sexual harassment by her supervisor. Georgina resisted UCL’s attempts to have Dr Chapman sign an NDA as part of a settlement, until UCL eventually agreed to settle without an NDA. UCL has since announced a policy change, no longer requiring NDAs in any settlements related to sexual harassment or bullying.
  • Represented numerous students in high-profile complaints against their universities for the way their sexual harassment complaints were handled: including the University of Warwick students who complained of sexual harassment by fellow students in a Facebook chat; the University of Cambridge student whose complaint of rape was dismissed by the Chair of the Disciplinary Committee on the eve of the hearing, as being too serious for or just not covered by the University’s disciplinary rules.
  • Georgina headed the on-the-ground team, conducting Chrissy Chambers’ civil claim for non-consensual sharing of intimate images (formerly known as ‘revenge porn’), the first to have secured a settlement for substantial damages and statement in open court.
  • Achieved sizeable settlements for senior executives in the media and financial services sectors against their employers for claims brought under the Protection from Harassment Act.
  • Advised employers and employees on navigating the exits of senior employees in contentious situations involving cross-jurisdiction competition and restrictive covenant issues, potential theft of confidential commercial data, whistle-blowing, race and sex discrimination and harassment.
  • Ongoing advice to companies on workplace issues: health and safety; compensation and incentives; IR35 status; disciplinary and grievance procedures.

I will always be grateful for your unwavering support of me. Equally, I will always be grateful for showing me how to find my voice and strength.

Title IX case against UCLA, client confidential

It was such a weight off our shoulders; suddenly somebody else with a lot more experience was managing the case.

Sandeep Mander, Mander v. Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

We really thought that there was nothing that anybody could do for us. We were wrong.

Dr Celeste Kidd, Aslin et al v. University of Rochester et al

To get the result you got you must be as tough with your legal opposites as you are kind and understanding to your clients.

AOA client, confidential

Compared with other law firms I’ve worked with, no one matches the combination that McO has of experience, brilliance, ferocious fighting and deep empathy for their clients.

Dr Holly Atkinson, Atkinson et al v. Mount Sinai Health System, Inc. et al

Because my case could not bear public scrutiny, a very powerful institution used massive financial resources to try to crush me for asking for my disability rights. This was a huge mistake, as they didn’t know that I would obtain McO representation. I couldn’t ask for better representation.

Disability Rights client, confidential

I would like to say from bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you to all the team. Now I can go and forget my former employer. God bless you all.

Unfair Dismissal client, confidential