Russell Cooke Putney London 2

About Carla

I support charities and not-for-profits with people issues, including employee, volunteer, trustee, and member and beneficiary concerns. I specialise in employment and data protection law.

Carla combines expertise in employment and data protection law with experience and understanding of the not-for-profit sector. She supports diverse charities including those working in the arts, education, environment, homelessness, health, social care and international development sectors, as well as professional membership bodies. Carla is able to call on her HR, regulatory and safeguarding knowledge to get to the bottom of knotty problems and offer creative solutions.

Clients appreciate Carla’s calm and clear advice on complex and sensitive matters.

Carla qualified as a solicitor in 2012 and joined Russell-Cooke in 2017. She became a partner in 2022.

Carla Whalen’s client service, level of sophistication and commercial awareness are very strong. She is incredibly helpful.
Chambers' client (2022)


  • Successfully defending a national charity against complaints of unlawful discrimination by a service user

  • Advising the board of trustees of a well-known charity after grievances were raised against senior managers

  • Supporting a household name charity to respond to allegations of sexual harassment against a trustee

  • Working with a professional membership association to develop an equality, diversity and inclusion strategy

  • Successfully arguing that TUPE applied on the merger of two animal welfare charities

  • Supporting a community charity with a restructure and redundancy process following the end of a key contract

  • Advising a religious charity on the publication of information relating to a historic safeguarding investigation

  • Assisting a health charity to respond to a request from the Charity Commission for information following a safeguarding alert

  • Helping a youth charity to put in place data sharing agreements with government departments and universities

  • Advising a membership body on responding to a complex subject access request

  • Supporting a charity to deal with a personal data breach affecting children and young people

Carla has always been incredibly helpful and swift to reply, and provides really useful explanations in layman's terms.
Pause Creating Space for Change, Client


  • Member of the Employment Lawyers Association

  • Member of the Charity Law Association

  • Chair of The Fitzrovia Chapel Foundation

Carla guided us through a complex and delicate legal situation by drawing on her wealth of experience. Her upbeat disposition was a huge asset that helped us keep perspective through some pretty grim situations.
Client, Thames Explorer Trust

Awards and accreditations

Carla's highlights



Employment law changes

April 2024 saw a number of changes to employee-friendly and family-friendly employment laws. This update provides an overview of the changes and how they may...
Carla Whalen, Partner in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, charity law and not for profit team, Julia Chabasiewicz, Associate, Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Charity team
Multiple Authors
4 min Read
Carla Whalen, Julia Chabasiewicz


Spring into 2024: A discussion on what lies ahead for the charity legal sector

Our panel of charity lawyers and guest speaker provide insights into current trends, legal and regulatory developments affecting the charity sector and discuss what lies ahead...
Carla Whalen, Partner in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, charity law and not for profit team,
Carla Whalen
2 min Read


Russell-Cooke partnership shortlisted for Business Charity Award

Russell-Cooke is delighted to have been recognised in the Third Sector Business Charity Awards 2024 shortlist in the ‘Legal’ category...
Carla Whalen, Partner in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, charity law and not for profit team,
Carla Whalen
1 min Read
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