Dean Parnell

Dean Parnell

Head of Department, Partner
Dispute Resolution, Employment, Health Care

Tel: 0121 698 2200
Office: Birmingham

About Dean Parnell

Dean works with his clients in three key areas: Dispute Resolution, Employment and Regulatory.

Dispute Resolution

  • High value, complex commercial disputes
  • Court injunctions/emergency court applications including; search orders and freeing orders, or delivery up orders
  • Shareholders and/or director disputes
  • Professional negligence
  • Insurance related disputes
  • Partnership disputes
  • White collar fraud
  • Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation


  • Unfair and wrongful dismissal claims (including Employment Appeal Tribunals)
  • Preparation of staff handbooks and contracts of employment
  • Advising on disciplinary procedures/hearings
  • All aspects of employment related discrimination
  • Employment settlement agreements


Advising and representing companies in respect of regulatory investigations in connection with:

  • Health and safety
  • Trading standards
  • Food safety

Defending companies in relation to:

  • Health and safety
  • Trading standards
  • Food safety

Dean has acted for a wide range of organisations including:

  • FTSE 100 companies
  • Multinationals
  • Central and local government
  • Owner managed businesses

Recent Cases

  • Acted upon a £9 million dispute unauthorised removal of a database
  • Acted on a £13 million dispute against HM Revenue and Customs arising from disputed unpaid VAT invoices
  • advised a national retail chain on large scale collective redundancies

What our clients say

Dean has been described by some of the firm's leading commercial clients and Legal 500 referees, as:

"first and foremost a problem solver who will often think outside the box"

"an excellent lawyer"

"will always fight your corner"

"genuinely cares about delivering the best possible result"

"we regard him as an essential part of our team"

'This firm is regarded locally as punching well above its size, largely due to the expertise and personality of Dean Parnell.'

'Dean Parnell is an exceptional lawyer, but more importantly, he is an exceptional problem-solver. He is highly motivated, a clever tactician and a brilliant lateral thinker who can find a way through the most impenetrable of legal problems.'

'Dean Parnell would run a marathon for you if he felt it could make a difference.'

'Dean Parnell is definitely a lawyer that you want to be on your side rather than against you.'

'Dean Parnell is a highly respected dispute resolution solicitor. He is intelligent, engaging, commercial, thinks outside the box and always goes that extra mile.  He does his utmost to achieve the best result possible.'

'Dean Parnell is very knowledgeable, commercially minded and quick off the mark. He is a really tough negotiator and always gets the best deal for his clients'.

'Dean Parnell is a brilliant lawyer who naturally commands respect. He is analytical, a master tactician and a very bright individual. He has excellent attention to detail and is a very effective negotiator'.

What the Directories say

2021-22 Legal500 - Commercial team, willing to adapt to different clients and focus on their needs. Good cross-over between general litigators and more specialised intellectual property litigators.’

‘A medium-sized practice in DR-Comm Lit but punches well above its weight. Dean Parnell is one of the outstanding litigators in the City and beyond including London.’

‘Dean Parnell is the driving force in the DR -Comm Lit department and leads by example. He is a client’s best friend and fights tooth and nail to get the best result.’

‘The very talented Dean Parnell heads up the commercial litigation team in Birmingham and he is a master tactician. He is known for being strategic on his cases and you can rely upon Dean to get the best possible result or deal for his client.’

‘Dean Parnell – excellent litigator with clear strategic view and fantastic ability to focus on the commercial realties of a case.’

‘Dean Parnell and Roy Colaba have been working very hard at a very high professional level, and being considerate with their fees, and I have always been comfortable to discuss any issues with them.’

2020-2021 Legal 500 - ‘My dealings with the team have always been excellent and they are able to provide concise legal advice which is pragmatic and always consider the commercial aspects of the case. They tend to specialise in different areas of commercial litigation which means that they are well placed to give advice on their particular areas of specialism. I find them equally as effective as much larger legal teams but feel the service they provide is more personal and they do seem to genuinely care about getting the best possible result for you.’

‘A high-quality service comparable with much larger firms but very competitive costs, with high levels of partner involvement’

‘Every case is partner-led and total accessibility to a fee earner from day one, including mobile telephone numbers, is provided to each client. Nothing is too much trouble. Fees are fair and transparent and kept under review so that there are no nasty surprises. The team punch well above their weight locally and receive referrals from larger firms which is always a good sign of how well they are regarded, particularly Dean Parnell.’

‘I have worked closely with Dean Parnell since 2009. He oozes confidence, knows everything about his client, the commercial realities of the case and how to win. He is creative in his thinking. Someone to have on your side rather than against you.’

‘My main point of contact is Dean Parnell who I consider to be a genuinely brilliant problem solver. Dean is able to combine great intellect with incredible creativity and this provides clients with the best possible litigation strategy which is not obvious to anyone until he mentions it. He is a great negotiator and tactically he always seems to be a few steps ahead of the opposition. If you want to have the best chance of getting the best result in a litigation matter then it is best to have Dean as part of your legal team.‘

Dean Parnell is a very well-known figure and combines a good knowledge of the law with a very commercial outlook and is highly regarded locally, frequently being asked to act as a court-appointed independent solicitor to supervise search orders.’

2019-2020 Legal 500 - Dean Parnell - In Corporate Litigation 'a lawyer that you want to be on your side rather than against you' - jointly leads the team and has broad experience in commercial litigation, with notable expertise in search orders.   A very good reputation as one of the better dispute resolution teams in the West Midlands. They place great importance on client service and making sure the right person is selected for the job.'   In Employment - Dean Parnell is key member of the group, which acts for companies and senior employees.

2018 -2019 Legal 500 - Dean Parnell, whose expertise includes acting as a supervising solicitor for court-ordered searches, on top of being ‘very experienced and sensible: he is calm and reassuring, firm but not aggressive, and a tactically astute negotiator who secures good deals for his clients’, is ‘particularly strong on shareholder disputes and claims relating to directors’ – he represented a foreign company on recovery of losses from director-level frauds.

2018-19 Legal 500 - Dean Parnell  leads the team and is 'very popular with clients', and has 'a "can-do" attitude'.  He has a broad expertise in employment, and acts on behalf of employers and very senior employees.

2017 Legal 500 - Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘one of the strongest of the smaller city centre firms in commercial litigation’, and thrives under the leadership of Dean Parnell, who is ‘very experienced and sensible, with sound judgement and a particular skill at negotiating very good deals for his clients’. Parnell is an experienced mediator and is also qualified to act as a supervising solicitor for search orders. The practice represented clients in a number of multimillion-pound claims and noted an increase in injunctive relief, SWAP claims, shareholder disputes and civil fraud.
Sydney Mitchell LLP’s diverse practice ‘punches above its weight’. The practice acts for employers and individuals in contentious and non-contentious matters, and Birmingham-based team head Dean Parnell attracts praise for his ability to ‘focus on solutions rather than conflict for the sake of it’.

2016 Legal 500 - Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘strong and getting stronger and one of the best mid-sized firms in Birmingham in this area’, according to one client. Dean Parnell heads the team and is noted for his ‘client focus and sensible advice’. The team’s recent caseload includes a million-dollar cross-border dispute and various professional negligence and shareholder disputes.

2015 Legal 500 - Sydney Mitchell LLP is ‘clearly run efficiently’. The firm is regularly found acting on complex commercial disputes, including shareholder disputes, warranty claims and injunctive relief, often valued in excess of £1m. Dean Parnell is ‘a great legal analyst’.

The highly regarded, ‘down-to-earth’ Dean Parnell heads the team at Sydney Mitchell LLP, which has particular expertise in high-profile TUPE-related matters.

2014 Legal 500 - Commercial Litigation section Dean is referred to as "sensible and commercially astute" and "commands high respect locally"

2013 Legal 500 - mentions Dean in the Dispute Resolution section as working 'tirelessly for his clients'.

2012 Legal 500 - reports that Dean 'gets to the nub of issues fast'.

2011 Legal 500 - he is referred to as 'highly rated' and is specifically mentioned as jointly heading up the Dispute Resolution team.

Awards and Recognition

Dean was President of Birmingham Law Society during 2010/2011 and had a very successful year in office.

Dean was one of 6 finalists for the 2011/2012 Legal Personality of the Year category of the Law Society Excellence Awards. The judges described Dean as "an inspiration while President of Birmingham Law Society" and having "proved to be an exemplary ambassador for England's second largest city"


Career History

2003 – joined Sydney Mitchell as a Partner
2000 – 2003 Pinsent Curtis Biddle
1995 - 2000 Hammond Suddards
Qualified as a solicitor in 1995


Dean has a considerable amount of published articles in the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Law Society Bulletin.

Memberships and Offices held

  • The Alternate Dispute Resolution Group
  • The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • The Employment Lawyers Association
  • Dean is a past President of the Birmingham Law Society. He has chaired the Dispute Resolution Committee within Birmingham law Society since August 2009.
    UK Top Tier Firm 2022 Lexcel Practice Management Standard Birmingham Law Firm of the Year for 2021 Resolution Collaborative Family Lawyer
    The Law Society Accredited in Family Law Conveyancing Quality Scheme