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One of the City’s best-known employment boutiques Ferguson Solicitors converted to LLP status this month in what amounts to a nod towards modernisation.
One of the City’s best-known employment boutiques Ferguson Solicitors converted to LLP status this month in what amounts to a nod towards modernisation. As managing partner Charles Ferguson, who qualified as a solicitor in 1971 and set up the firm that ultimately became Ferguson in 1997, says: “Unless you’re going forwards, you’re going backwards.”
In recent years the firm has brought in several junior lawyers, while in March this year it hired James Boddy, a barrister who spent five years with employment set 11 KBW. The hires have helped Ferguson broaden the scope of his firm’s work away from its core of advising City traders and professionals in legal disputes with their employers – primarily banks - and towards representing individuals caught up in regulatory tangles.
“As the FSA’s been getting more aggressive we’ve been developing the regulatory side,” says Ferguson. “The traditional response has been to submit, but I’m a bit of a streetfighter and I’m not sure it’s always the best approach.”
New business lines aside, Ferguson remains best known for fighting against banks on behalf of individuals who feel short-changed. The firm primarily advises clients on the conditions of their employment, in particular their bonus and compensation packages. It is a business model that was set in stone a decade ago when Ferguson represented banker Stephen Clark against Nomura in a case that created significant judicial precedents relating to bonuses. But Ferguson admits that in the current climate there are fewer fights over bonuses - because there are fewer bonuses.
“My clients aren’t as flush as they were,” he confirms. “They think long and hard before litigating.”
That said, the firm’s turnover rose last year and is on track to crack £2m for the current year.