Freshfields partners queue up for rigorous assessment by associates

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has put 96 per cent of its partners through a leadership training programme, including upward appraisal by associates.

The scale of Freshfields’ programme is impressive. An HR director at a rival City firm explained: “Every firm has a number of old lags who just won’t do it.”

Freshfields is not the first City firm to introduce such a scheme; most notably Clifford Chance embarked on a test-run in March following the now infamous ‘Paddinggate’ memo.

Freshfields’ training programme is the brainchild of the firm’s chief executive elect Hugh Crisp. Starting with management, most of the partners have been through the two-and-a-half day training programme since it was introduced by Crisp 18 months ago.

The appraisals are 360-degree, so partners get feedback sent anonymously from department heads, fellow partners and assistants.

The course is run by HR consultant Chris Parker, who said: “This has brought to the partners an awareness of the importance of leading and energising our people.”