Needs Sussed

While larger law firms still believe a juicy cash bonus is the best incentive, other firms are realising that the way to keep staff motivated and happy is to offer remuneration packages that account for a wider range of needs

The average lawyer undisputedly spends the majority of their waking hours in the office, making the workplaces where they spend most of their time arguably as important as their homes.

But of the hundreds of law firms in the UK, only nine made an appearance in The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies to Work For list this year.

It was not the magic circle, or even the top 20 firms, which generally offer the juiciest remuneration packages, that were awarded the accolade. Instead it was the smaller firms, which proved that a combination of work-life balance, defined career paths and flexible working arrangements can be the most enticing employee benefits.
Manchester’s Pannone & Partners is sure to have lawyers beating down its door after recording its best-ever showing in the list, securing third place. The firm was praised for its staff satisfaction rates, while managing partner Joy Kingsley earned plaudits for her inspiring leadership.

Olswang also performed strongly, rising up the rankings to eighteenth place. The firm performed highly in terms of staff loyalty, with staff saying they felt teamwork was particularly successful.

Other firms to appear on the list include Wragge & Co (39th), Browne Jacobson (47th), Trowers & Hamlins (53rd), Mills & Reeve (62nd), Martineau Johnson (79th), Brabners Chaffe Street (90th) and Addleshaw Goddard (94th).
However, several firms dropped out of the list. Eversheds fared the worst – 63rd place last year to not even making the list this time around.
In fact, it was the larger law firms that proved to be the biggest casualties in 2006, including Simmons & Simmons (86th in 2005) and CMS Cameron McKenna (87th last year).
In this HR Special Report, The Lawyer provides a glimpse behind the veil of six of the top-performing firms, examining the inner workings of their HR functions.