Sacco Mann Talks to Emma Shakespeare of Travlaw

5 Minutes

Emma is a Partner and the Head of the Commercial and Corporate Governance Team at Travlaw.&n...

Emma is a Partner and the Head of the Commercial and Corporate Governance Team at Travlaw.   
Travlaw is a boutique law firm based in Horsforth, Leeds. It has the largest legal team in the UK dedicated solely to serving the travel, leisure, hospitality and tourism industry. The team acts for businesses across the UK and internationally, and are immensely proud of their success. Travlaw boasts an enviable and varied client base, ranging from small family businesses to global corporate groups such as Expedia, Jet2, Best Western and They comprise travel agents, events companies, business travel management companies, tour operators, visitor attraction operators, travel technology companies, and industry bodies and associations such ABTOT, UK inbound and the Business Travel Association. In addition to leisure travel, the team also work on sporting events, educational trips, charitable events and business travel arrangements both the outbound as well as the inbound domestic market.
Chambers UK Solicitors 2021
The firm enjoys an unrivalled relationship with the travel and leisure industry, serving UK and international tour operators, travel agents and their insurers as well as many start up enterprises. Travlaw has the largest dedicated travel law team in the UK and holds over 80 year’s combined experience.
What brought you to Travlaw?
I trained with Stephen Mason who is one of the founding partners of Travlaw. My career then moved in a very different direction as I became a corporate finance lawyer in London for 10 years, ultimately reaching partnership. My husband and I took a lifestyle decision and returned Yorkshire where I worked in-house as a commercial lawyer and as Deputy Group Company Secretary for two global marketing and design engineering businesses, supporting their group companies on all aspects of legal compliance and good corporate governance.
Having kept in touch with Travlaw over the years, I was approached to return and to use the experience I’d gained during my career to support the development and growth of the commercial team, which I did in November 2019 – four months before Covid-19 hit!
How has the last 18 months been, working for the travel industry?
As everyone will know, the outbound travel sector has suffered badly and the uncertainty as to when overseas leisure travel will properly return, continues. From a legal perspective, it’s been an ever-evolving and unprecedented situation so there has been a lot for us to keep up to date with. However, being the largest, dedicated team in the UK this has made this easier; we’ve been able to offer invaluable support to the whole industry - at the outset of the pandemic, we delivered webinars on a weekly (if not daily) basis, providing our clients and industry partners with an opportunity to seek much needed clarity and clear answers to some of their most pressing business concerns. The team have continued to regularly deliver updates and virtual events, at no charge to our clients and have continued to partner with ABTA to deliver regular virtual training, updates and conferences to the industry. 
For the Commercial and Corporate Governance Team, we have throughout the pandemic been extremely busy and this continues, unabated primarily due to the diversity of our client base, the re-opening of the UK hospitality and leisure industry and the popularity of domestic holidays. It’s worth mentioning that by 2025 the UK tourism industry is predicted to be worth over £257 billion, accounting for just under 10% of UK GDP and supporting almost 3.8 million jobs, and above all, it’s resilient and innovative.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Without a doubt it’s the quality and diversity of my work load, as well as the rare opportunity to become a specialist and to carve out a long term career; the chance to develop an in-depth understanding of the legal complexities of one of the most heavily regulated industries. This allows the team to be business partners, rather than stereotypical lawyers, and to deliver much (appreciated) added value to our clients. It’s essentially an in-house role, but for a diverse industry rather than a single client! 
A lot of our commercial contracts (B2B and B2C) and regulatory compliance work is international, for which we work alongside our International Travel Lawyers Network colleagues. I’m currently working with a new business to establish a global ethical travel network and franchise and I’m also advising on the charter of cruise lines and an island! Within my team we also cover all aspects of corporate and corporate finance work as well as compliance with the mandatory package travel financial protection statutory requirements. In addition to Data Protection and Intellectual Property work, we undertake technology contracts work as well as providing compliance advice in respect of the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 and the ATOL Regulations. 
There’s a huge emphasis on client hospitality and given our partnership with a variety of industry bodies and associations, many enjoyable opportunities to attend events, conferences and to present and deliver training in the UK and abroad. For example, the team recently hosted the ABTA Annual Data Protection Training day, virtually and Travlaw is legal sponsor of the Visitor Attraction Conference 2021 to be held (in person) in London in the autumn.
 And finally, of course, I love working with the team. Travlaw has unrivalled depth of experience and expertise and I am very proud to be a part of this. The SRA describes us as one of the “best organised and happy law firms they had audited”! 
We are currently working with Emma to find an additional Lawyer (full or part time) to join the Commercial and Corporate Governance Team. If you are a Lawyer looking for a diverse and rewarding career but one where you can become an expert in a sizeable but niche sector which is critical to the economy, click here to find out more or contact Racheal Mann ( or Sophie Linley ( on 0113 245 3338.