Eversheds partners and staff at all levels are being told to shape up to a new set of 'visions and values', or face the consequences in their performance appraisals.
New managing partner David Gray unveiled the initiative at Eversheds' recent partner conference. "Over the next 5-10 years we're going to be a great place to work and the most client-centred international law firm," summarised one partner present.
This in turn is supported by six 'behavioural' values developed through consultation: being straightforward; team working; mutual respect; accountability; continuous improvement; and being client-centred.
"The visions and values underpin the essence of what we want to be - a major corporate, international business increasingly driven from London," said another partner. "There's been a radical shift. David has energised the firm and seems to have got the whole partnership on board in six months."
But do not be fooled: this is no fluffy management gimmick. "It's been made extremely clear to us that those partners who show evidence of these not being their visions and values will be held to account… Maybe Eversheds isn't the right place for them," said one partner.
Another said there was no room for the "culture of the personality". He added: "That kind of behaviour terrifies the life out of our junior colleagues. We have to have mutual respect… There are a lot of partners whose behaviour is nowhere near that."