Ferguson

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.


Charles Ferguson
Charles Ferguson

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.