SJ Berwin champions ‘One Firm’ approach in bid to foster cross-referrals

SJ Berwin’s senior management has called on partners to work more closely as a team across its network as the firm continues in its attempts to shed its reputation as a firm of siloed individuals.


Stephen Kon
Stephen Kon

Firm leaders at last month’s annual partner retreat told the audience to ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’ in a bid to encourage partners across Europe and its global offices to collaborate and refer work.

Newly elected senior partner Stephen Kon and managing partner Rob Day both spoke at the conference, which took place at Hanbury Manor in Hertfordshire. The slogan for the theme was ‘One Firm’.

One partner commented: “[The message was] we should all work together. We should all be singing from the same hymn sheet. I don’t think any firm does it [perfectly]. Everyone could improve. The reputation is sharp elbows. People have been far more collegiate than the reputation [suggests].”

Rob Day
Rob Day

Another partner countered: “It’s more about maximising [cross-selling]. It means getting more referral work from between countries. It’s a question of driving more out. When you’re pretty strong in all the jurisdictions, you can drive more out of it.”

Cross-selling and collaboration between partners has been a key area SJ Berwin has tried to sharpen in recent years, with the firm widely viewed as one in which partners often operate more as silos than is the case at competitors.

In a bid to achieve the same goal, the firm has been considering a revised partner remuneration system that would take more notice of how much work partners refer to colleagues (20 February 2012). It is thought that no conclusion has been reached yet on these plans.