SJ Berwin to use graduate classes for retention push

SJ Berwin to use graduate classes for retention push” />SJ Berwin has introduced a system of associate ‘graduate classes’ in a bid to improve the firm’s assistant retention, recruitment and career development prospects.

The new system is one of a raft of initiatives being introduced following completion of the firm’s strategy review earlier this year and aims to provide associates with more defined career development.

Managing partner Ralph Cohen explained that the programme, called ‘Insight’, had been developed in conjunction with external advisers Sherwood PSF Consulting to offer appraisals and advice to associates on a confidential basis.

Sherwood will now run two-day external career development conferences annually for all of the firm’s associates globally at the two years’, four years’ and six years’ PQE marks.

A pilot for the firm’s four years’ PQE assistants was held last month, with around 20 associates attending the weekend conference. A similar event is planned for two years’ PQE associates in September.

Cohen said the programme would be conducted annually on a rolling basis in order to capture all of the firm’s associates and to facilitate the development of peer groups across all practice areas and offices.

He said the programme had taken almost six months to develop, following completion of the firm’s strategy review in January. The review resulted in the creation of nine working groups, targeting issues ranging from the firm’s international network to its culture and values.

For example, a working group of five partners is developing a formal flexible working-hour programme that the corporate group is understood to have already begun trialling.

A separate working group is reviewing the firm’s diversity and recruitment policies in view of targeting greater ethnic minorities and female candidates.