Freshfields conference gives associates a voice

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

will set up associate-led groups to discuss best working practice as a result of the firm’s inaugural associate conference.

As revealed on www. thelawyer.com (22 March), on 23 March the magic circle firm hosted its first London associates’ away-day as part of a range of measures designed to improve engagement with the firm’s more junior lawyers.

People partner Hugh Crisp, who was instrumental in planning the conference, said: “What was encouraging was that we already do certain things well in certain areas. These small groups will be set up to identify best practice and help roll it out across the firm.”

Positive areas identified by the 200 associates attending the event included work allocation and appraisals. These areas will be included in the groups’ focuses going forward.

Competition associate Dan Burton, part of the associate engagement group the firm set up before the conference, said: “I think it was very helpful to both partners and associates. We had about 40 partners and team heads come along in the afternoon, and the feedback they gave was positive.”

The engagement group scheduled 10 topics for discussion at the conference, including career paths, pay, work-life balance, appraisals, training, knowledge management and business development. The group was made up of 12 associates and four partners from across the firm’s practice groups (The Lawyer, 26 March).

The group’s associates each made a presentation on one of the topics, which was then discussed by all the associates attending. The firm is considering whether to make the conference an annual event.