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Our team

The JMA team combines a wealth of experience, whether you are looking for HR, employment law or immigration advice.

Joanna Atkinson
Practice Director and Solicitor – HR & Employment Law

E: joanna@jma-hrlegal.co.uk
M: 0(+44) 7540 706135
T: 0(+44) 1252 821792

Sonia Bhola
Consultant Solicitor – Employment Law

E: sonia@jma-hrlegal.co.uk
M: 0(+44) 7515 735517
T: 0(+44) 1252 821792

Simona Hamblet
Consultant Solicitor – Employment Law

E: simona@jma-hrlegal.co.uk
DD: 0(+44) 1483 670177
T: 0(+44) 1252 821792

Jennifer Nicol
Consultant Solicitor – Employment Law

E: jennifer@jma-hrlegal.co.uk
M: 0(+44) 7834 188937
T: 0(+44) 1252 821792

Tsige Berhanu
Consultant Solicitor – Immigration Law

E: tsige@jma-hrlegal.co.uk
M: 0(+44) 7930 444862
T: 0(+44) 1252 821792

Sarah Bettin
Office Manager

E: sarahb@jma-hrlegal.co.uk
T: 0(+44) 1252 821792

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Joanna Atkinson

Joanna has a background which includes over twenty five years’ specialist employment law experience as a practising solicitor and practical hands-on HR experience.  She qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and has been a partner of a leading law firm in Oxfordshire and worked in the City prior to joining an HR consultancy as its Head of HR and Legal. She set up JMA HR & Legal in 2009. 

Joanna works with organisations of all sizes, ranging from small and medium sized businesses, large multi-national organisations and those operating in the charity and public sectors. She has also continued to act for employees, in particular those at senior and director level, assisting in particular with the negotiation of exit packages and advising on settlement agreements, contracts of employment/service agreements, and related issues, including restrictive covenants and bonus arrangements.

Joanna is often praised by her clients for her pragmatic and approachable style. She is commercial and yet compassionate when dealing with their HR and employment challenges.  She works with her employer clients to ensure that they are well equipped to respond to day- to-day employment issues as and when they arise, as well taking a pro-active approach to managing their HR responsibilities.

She is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and the CIPD (The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and is also a fully trained Mental Health First Aider with MHFA England, reflecting her commitment to supporting employers and employees to manage mental health issues in the workplace positively. She also founded Top Work Places in Hampshire (www.twih.co.uk) in 2019 which aims to champion those employers who nurture employee wellbeing and development, embrace diversity and value a positive work-life balance.

Joanna is also a regular speaker at seminars and runs practical workshops on current HR and employment law matters.

In her spare time, Joanna enjoys photography, keeping fit, travel and the great outdoors. She is also a trustee of Peer Productions, an award winning youth arts charity specialising in combining high quality arts practice with peer education.

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Sonia Bhola

Sonia is a highly experienced solicitor, having qualified in 1996 she has over twenty years’ experience advising across all areas of employment law matters.

Sonia has spent over ten years working for a City practice and a number of her previous roles have included managing teams of junior employment solicitors as well as acting as a Head of Department. Mostly the practices that Sonia has previously worked for have been considered in the top 200 Law firms in England. Sonia is also a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Her expertise spans over a broad range of industries and has included advising small owner managed business, satellite offices where the main company is based in Europe/America, large blue chip companies as well as charities and the voluntary sector.

Sonia has devised and delivered workshops and seminars which are bespoke to organisational needs, as well as working in collaboration with other organisations such as ACAS, HMRC and ACCA.

Sonia has been described by clients as providing sound pragmatic advice which is considered and encompassing the commercial realities of a situation. She has a no nonsense approach always trying to find the right solution for her client.

Sonia enjoys spending time with her young family and in the little spare time she has left she likes to practice meditation, yoga and pilates.

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Simona Hamblet

Simona brings with her over 20 years’ experience as an employment law solicitor, having qualified in 2001.  She advises on all areas of employment law  from settlement agreements through to complex Tribunal litigation. She qualified in employment law in 2001, and later became a Partner in a multi-office law firm, before deciding to work more flexibly. She joined JMA HR & legal in January 2020.

With a focus on offering practical and solution-based advice, Simona works with SME business owners, corporate HR managers, and individuals, offering legal direction, hands on support and ongoing guidance.

Client feedback includes that she is “clear and professional whilst welcoming” and “works with clients, to reach the desired outcome, as quickly as possible”.

In addition, Simona has a keen interest in personal and business development, holds coaching & mentoring qualifications, is a Mental Health First Aider, and regularly speaks at seminars and training events. In her spare time Simona can be found salsa dancing, reading non-fiction (unless on holiday), yoga, running, and travelling.

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Tsige Berhanu

Tsige qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and so has over ten years’ experience in the practice of UK immigration law with particular emphasis on corporate immigration and private immigration work. She is a commercially aware and very able practitioner with proven track record in the field. Tsige is also a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association.

Tsige provides tailored immigration assistance to employers including applications for Sponsor Licence, Sponsor Licence management, renewal of Licences, as well as advising on immigration compliance policies and processes. She also advises and assists with UK visa and leave to remain applications in all the points based system categories (Tier 1, 2, 4 and 5) for skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors, as well as students.

Tsige’s expertise also extends to assistance with applications for sole representatives of overseas businesses, EEA nationals, as well applications for family members of British Citizens and UK visa holders.

Outside of work Tsige enjoys playing tennis, swimming, and travelling as well as trips to the Royal Opera House to enjoy opera and ballet performances.

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Sarah Bettin

Sarah is PA to the team here at JMA and runs the office, dealing with everything from our marketing and social media communications to our office administration, including bookkeeping. She also helps run our training events and assists with the preparation of employment tribunal documentation, contracts of employment and HR and employment policies and procedures.

In her spare time Sarah has a small flock of Hebridean sheep, ducks and chickens which keep her busy. When the weather allows she also goes flying in her hot air balloon.

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Jennifer Nicol

Jennifer is a highly rated employment lawyer, with over 20 years’ experience. At JMA, Jennifer provides advice to organisations and individuals on a wide range of employment law issues from hiring and exits, to complex investigations and workplace disputes. Clients describe her as someone who provides superb service, assumes the role of a genuine business partner and who delivers pragmatic, succinct, fit for purpose advice.

Jennifer is also a qualified Mental Health First Aider (MHFAE). Having many years of experience of dealing with disputes with a mental health aspect, Jennifer is passionate about workplace wellbeing and mental health. Jennifer works closely with a team of medical experts to equip organisations to deliver effective workplace mental health strategies.

Diversity & Inclusion is another of Jennifer’s passions. She is one of the first lawyers in the UK to have completed Chartered Management Institute accredited training on leading Equality & Diversity. She is happy to support organisations of any size with advice on Inclusion policies, plans, strategies and initiatives at any stage of their inclusion journey.

Before joining JMA, Jennifer was a Partner (14 years) and Head of Canary Wharf at a leading specialist law firm where she led a team of 6 lawyers. In this role, she developed a passion for supportive leadership and mentoring.

Jennifer is also a regular speaker at seminars and events.

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys family time, travelling, keeping fit especially Pilates, reading and meditation.

HR, Employment Law and Immigration Solicitors

+44 (0)1252 821792

enquiries@jma-hrlegal.co.uk