Pay (and biscuits) come top of Freshfields assistants’ wish list

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s London associates told chief executive Ted Burke that career development and remuneration were foremost in their thoughts at the magic circle firm’s first-ever associate away-day last Friday (23 March).

The firm planned the event as part of an ongoing plan to improve engagement with its junior lawyers.

Ten topics, including career paths, pay, work-life balance, appraisals, training, knowledge management and business development, had been slated for discussion at the forum by the firm’s new associate engagement group, which is made up of 12 associates and four partners from across the practice groups.

The 200 attending associates split into 25 teams, which focused on two headline topics each. Ideas about these key issues were then put to practice group heads and to Burke, who attended the forum.

Dan Burton, one of the associates in the engagement group, said: “People have been very willing to come up with ideas. It’s been very useful.”
Associates also listed five positive things about Freshfields. These included the quality of the work, the people, the location and, crucially, the biscuits in meeting rooms.

In January Freshfields introduced an of counsel role as an alternative to partnership. It also revealed that it was in the process of reviewing associate pay, with a raise expected in the next financial year.