Browne Jacobson: Environmental control

Browne Jacobson: Environmental control” />Nottingham-based law firm Browne Jacobson made it into The Sunday Times annual best places to work list for the first time this year.

HR director Eileen Henry is convinced that the firm’s debut on the list was due to the firm’s friendly culture and flexible work policies, although she is humble about her contribution.

“It’s not something you can put down to the HR function on its own,” she says. “We’re very fortunate because we have partners at the firm who encourage a friendly and relaxed environment.”

While maintaining a happy workplace, Henry has also got the tough job of changing attitudes within the firm.

She says her biggest challenges during the next few years will be assisting staff at the firm to adapt to change.

“As a firm, a key part of our strategy is to become a commercial business that just happens to practise law,” she says. “That requires a big change in attitudes.
“People have different expectations now in terms of what they want out of their work,” she adds. “Nineteen per cent of our staff work part time and some people work from home. More and more you have to measure what people produce rather than how much time they spend at their desk.”

Browne Jacobson’s HR team consists of 10 people, all located at the firm’s headquarters in Nottingham. The team provides a coherent HR function across its offices in Birmingham and London, with regular visits and across-the-board communication.

The firm prides itself on the amount of training it provides staff members. The firm is even considering seeking accreditation from the Law Society for a number of the courses it offers.

“We’re trying to give people the skills they need to do their job,” Henry says.