Shoosmiths chief exec steps down in wake of trainee deferral row By Margaret Taylor 22 May 2009 12:26 17 December 2015 15:02 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anonymous 22 May 2009 at 12:46 I think the biggest surprise about this is if it actually comes as a surprise to anyone! I wonder how Tom and George feel now, it is particularly impressive to provoke the resignation of your Chief Exec before even starting, a fine addition to the CV! I did enjoy: “He felt the time was right to hand his leadership role to someone new to shape the next chapter in our history. He’s leaving us amicably and we wish him all the very best.” Though would have preferred “he made a calamitous decision highlighted by an equally disastrous attempt at cheap publicity and we needed a scapegoat”. Oh Shoosmiths. I’m embarrassed by this and don’t even work for you! Reply Link Shoowine Flu 22 May 2009 at 13:38 The man had to go as soon as he blurted out this nugget: “I don’t regret not offering any compensation to our trainees because we spent lots of time making the decision,” Stothard says bullishly. “The only way I would have regretted it was if we had been careless in our decision-making.” A hopeless decision is a hopeless decision, regardless of whether it took a micro-second or a month to muster. Good luck to Claire Rowe who will have to undertake a monumental charm offensive to salvage their reputation. Reply Link poosmith 22 May 2009 at 14:37 Next time people like Stothard and the partners of the firm who were apart of the decision should put their morals before their greedy fat paycheck. poosmith rep had severely been damaged. absolute disgrace..this negative vibe would ring alarm bells to other firms who think they can treat trainees like rubbish. Reply Link Anonymous 22 May 2009 at 17:25 Good grief! This makes me glad that there are still Firms (like Field Grieb for example) capable of avoiding such elephant traps. Lord only knows a good dose of Kentish commonsense is at a premium at the moment. Reply Link Anonymous 22 May 2009 at 22:30 The training is very good at shoosmiths, yes they made the wrong choice and PS paid for it.. greed is why we in this situation, Reply Link Anonymous 23 May 2009 at 08:32 I always thought Paul was a nice chap, I hope none of this nonsense contributed to his decision to go, he did double the turnover after all, I suppose mass redundancies and god only know how awful their figures will be was the driving decision. Good luck Claire, lovely lady and I am sure will do a great job, Shoosmiths certainly need it. Reply Link Anonymous 23 May 2009 at 13:09 I don’t expect the change at the top to have an impact on the firm’s policies. Whilst working at shoosmiths within Claire Rowe’s department I witnessed bullying and a complete disregard for employees’ well being. Trainees would be well advised to take this opportunity to reconsider shoosmiths altogether. Reply Link Anonymous 24 May 2009 at 18:21 The majority of Scottish firms are deferring trainees without any sort of compensation Reply Link a GC 25 May 2009 at 21:26 Perhaps a GC’s perspective would be helpful to the new management regime. The firm’s profound lack of judgment as to how it handled its trainees has disqualified Shoosmiths from handling any work for me for at least the next few years, regardless of whom is now sitting in the CEO’s chair. If this is the “business approach” that is taken towards any firm’s most important asset – its people – I have no confidence that the firm will be to properly advise me on strategic issues. Shoosmiths might also take into account that we have a huge variety of choice as to whom we use, and most GCs will choose to deal with firms that maintain at least some balance of principles with their profits. Any firm that does not understand the long-term consequences of these types of short-sighted decisions – and in particular the negative impact upon the quality of any future trainees the firm eventually stoops so low as to employ affect, whom will presumably move on to be the lawyers actually handling client work and making important decisions – is on the road to oblivion. Reply Link Anonymous 26 May 2009 at 03:56 A PR own goal definately but why have the marketing and PR people got off so lightly? They should have briefed the senior team on an immediate crisis strategy and tried to help stem further damage to the brand. it seems like they just sat back and let it happen. Obviously a a third class marketing and PR team without any ideas. The CEO isn’t the only one who should be going…… Reply Link Anonymous 26 May 2009 at 09:47 At last, common sense prevails. The way that the trainees at Shoosmiths have been treated is nothing short of appalling and is something I’ve not seen in many years in law. The company’s strapline of ‘creative thinking’ and the ‘right answers at the right time’ is painfully ironic. “I don’t regret not offering any compensation to our trainees because we spent lots of time making the decision.” If making the wrong decision takes plenty of time at Shoosmiths, that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the company’s senior commercial decision making. If it was the right decision, then I’d guess you’d still be in the role, wouldn’t you Paul? “The only way I would have regretted it was if we had been careless in our decision-making.” You mean like inciting the general legal profession, bringing Shoosmiths name into disrepute, humiliating two future trainees before they even start working for the firm, whilst potentially harming the relationship with all the rest of the trainees. No carelessness there then. Claire Rowe needs to show some strong leadership and make a statement that will try to un-tarnish Shoosmith’s reputation as far as possible – by doing at least 1 of 3 things. 1 – Revisit the policy not to offer trainees any form of compensation. (Rowe was a former trainee herself back in 1984) 2 – Cancel the deferrals and instead take the trainees on with their original start dates. 3 – Do nothing – the easy option, sending out a message that the company made a mistake and has done nothing to rectify this error showing weak leadership and out of touch policies. Reply Link Krista 26 May 2009 at 12:26 PS isnt even a being made a scapegoat – he stands by the firm’s crass decision not to compensate the trainees…and notice the “we” in the decision-making process…Shoosmiths Shoddysmiths more like, shame on you. I, along with many others now,wouldn’t touch you with a barge pole. A firm that makes such bad judgements from a personal, professional and public relations standpoint cannot be counted on to offer any kind of advice to anyone. Or perhaps only to ask them what they would do, and do the opposite. Reply Link Krista 26 May 2009 at 12:41 This si laughable, STRAIGHT FROM SHOOSMITHS WEBSITE: XXXX Our culture Nothing is more important to us than our Values. They guide how we work together, and how we provide our clients with the very best service. They are at the heart of our working culture and at the root of our success. We are nothing without our people. The way we think about our work, our colleagues and our clients defines what makes us different and better. What makes our culture so successful? The lack of barriers between departments, a real lack of hierarchy, zero tolerance for arrogance and pomposity, clear thinking and mutual support. All our people are supported by a senior management team who really do live and enforce these values, and who ensure that our special energy is applied in the right areas. XXX LIP SERVICE, actions speak so much louder than words. Reply Link Anonymous 26 May 2009 at 14:52 This is all nonsense. It’s lazy journalism to link PS’s departure with the recent story about deferrals. Just because one follows the other doesn’t imply a causal link. I hope it’s not lawyers making these points, because it really is dim. CEOs move on all the time, especially after a long period of success. Good luck to PS, who is a thoroughly decent man who has brought great things to Shoosmiths. Stop smearing a decent bloke with these oh-so-easy oh-so-thoughtless comments. Reply Link Anonymous 26 May 2009 at 16:56 The standard of grammar and punctuation in this, and other threads, is absolutely shocking. As a former lawyer in private practice, now in industry, and a sometime buyer of legal services from the profession, it is hard not to conclude that standards of literacy in the profession are slipping, and slipping fast. Reply Link Anonymous 26 May 2009 at 17:27 What a thoroughly relevant comment above; thank you for that erudite addition. Would you care to make another statement, possibly in relation to the “dumbing” down of A Levels/ degrees nowadays? Good luck to the CEO, I think she has her work cut out for her. Scapegoat or not, having a new CEO should allow the firm to rebrand itself; paramount to this is offering trainees compensation. Indeed this might look like the firm is cowering to external pressure, but putting up their hands and admitting an error will win alot more support than sticking to their guns. Reply Link to anon at 26 may 2009 4:56 26 May 2009 at 17:29 “The standard of grammar and punctuation in this, and other threads, is absolutely shocking” – this isnt a English exam!! keep your grammar spotting to yourself! Reply Link Freddy 26 May 2009 at 18:40 Anonymous at 4.56pm: surely the quality of grammar in a conversational thread of comments on this site is no indication as to the general standards in the legal profession? I agree that grammar is important but let’s not get anal over nothing. Reply Link Anonymous 26 May 2009 at 21:27 Or should that be slipping quickly? … Just a thought. Reply Link Anonymous 28 May 2009 at 11:09 I agree that this has been a PR disaster but I can’t help thinking that the Lawyer has blown this all out of proportion in a very tabloid way. Let’s not forget that these students had all their fees and maintenance paid and still have jobs. There are much worse things happening in the economy and yet true to form, greedy lawyers/law students feel hard done by because they haven’t been given a couple of grand to take a long vacation. Spare a thought for the families who have to survive on redundancy pay outs to keep a roof over their heads! If people outside the law read these articles, what must they think of us all… Reply Link Anonymous 28 May 2009 at 15:40 Just in relation to an earlier posting about PR advice. You can give the best advice in the world but if management ignores it or thinks they know best and want to do it their way then good luck to you. At that point you wait until the cause of the problem has been removed and then get on with the job of picking up the pieces, no matter how long it takes. A good reputation can take years to build and can be trashed in minutes thanks to poor management decisions, no matter how well they can be rationalised after the event. Reply Link Puff 28 May 2009 at 16:45 To be clear, the money paid to deferred students is not being paid because firms feel students should have all-expenses-paid holidays or that students are greedy. The payments are to compensate students who had a legitimate expectation and, in many cases, contractual right to take up paid employment, but instead find themselves unemployed and looking for work while they wait another year. Students rely on the TCs they have accepted up to 2 years previously. If an executive signed a contract for a new job and handed in his notice only to find the new job has been unilaterally postponed, he would be able to pursue the company for breach of contract! Also, just because the bigger firms pay fees and some maintenance doesn’t mean that a) students don’t still incur costs/debts while studying the LPC (and GDL in some cases), or b) all students deferred by their firms even benefitted from the fees/maintenance packages. Reply Link Anonymous 29 May 2009 at 16:35 The whole charade at Shoosmiths doesn’t surpise me in the least in relation to trainees, redundancies etc. I am afraid that Shoosmiths have lost the thing which once set them apart from other firms and that was that once they actually cared about their staff rather than just the extra thousands in the partners pay packets. Its going to take more than just a change in the CEO to turn the rot around. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.