Chief executive David Gray and UK managing partner Bryan Hughes have been canvassing Eversheds' associates to find out how to make the firm a success in the future.
Gray says that he and Hughes feel it is important to seek the opinions of associates as they are "the partners of the future", and much of Eversheds' success lies on their shoulders.
"We have between six and nine months before we have to formalise our strategy for 2009-12, so we felt it was necessary to talk to the associates at smaller away days instead of at conferences, where it is difficult to engage with them," explains Gray.
Eversheds senior associate Diana Newcombe says the level of engagement makes it feel as though the collective associate voice is being heard. "At my away day international strategy was a key focus, with many of us wanting to see continued growth in this area," she adds.
Meanwhile, Norton Rose is creating three staff forums - including one for associates and knowhow lawyers.
The firm is aiming for a "holistic" makeover of the workplace, according to London managing partner Deirdre Walker, who said: "People need to feel good about the environment they're in."
Since moving to new Thames-side offices on the South Bank in early 2007, it is understood that associate retention figures at Norton Rose have improved by 10 per cent. The new offices physically united staff who were previously spread across six London locations.
The three new communication groups cater for associates, support staff and secretaries. A group for trainees was already in existence.
Walker said each would meet with management around three times a year, adding: "They're very much a listening exercise."
The new associate and knowhow lawyers' group will include 11 associates and one knowhow lawyer or paralegal, with more than half of the group made up of corporate finance and banking associates.