The Lawyer Management: K&L Gates

Tina Two is director of HR and development in the London office of K&L Gates. She was previously the regional HR manager of Grant Thornton.

Tina Two

How has your role changed during your time at the firm?

Since our merger with K&L in 2005, my role has become much more international and collaborative. Every action, or decision, has a potential consequence elsewhere in the firm, which broadens thinking and breaks down the tendency to work in a silo.

What unusual recruiting methods do you have for lateral hires?

I introduced assessment centres for associate hiring in 2001, which included psychometric and objective assessments. When it comes to partner hires, their proven track record tends to be a reliable measure. Other than verifying that track record and identifying the individual’s fit and future contribution to the existing business, personality profiling is the only additional method that we use at partner level.

How have you tried to attract a more diverse pool of candidates to K&L Gates?

We have worked closely with Stonewall, SEO, Blind for Business, Employer’s Forum for Disability and others. Our international platform helps. Our assessment materials are available in braille. We have a large number of lawyers and staff who work with children from minority backgrounds though Into­University. We have hosted international mooting competitions that offer a bursary to study and work as a prize. Whatever it takes to show that, if you work here, it’s OK to be gay/black/disabled/of either gender or another protected characteristic.

Why is it important to have a diverse pool of candidates?

Because we have a diverse pool of clients.

What are the challenges for a US firm trying to recruit in London? 

The same as the challenges for every­one else. Finding forward-thinking, energetic and motivated individuals that complement and shape the evolution of the firm.

What types of secondments are available for trainees?

There are opportunities all over the world, including Dubai, Doha and Australia. One of the things we look for when we recruit is people who are open to possibilities.

K&L Gates allowed staff to become Olympic volunteers and take time of work, with the firm footing the bill for their hours. How did this engage staff?

Again it goes back to feeling connected. The people who were given flexitime to do what they needed really felt that. Around a quarter of our staff now work with IntoUniversity, which increases staff engagement because they’re contributing to something good and working towards a common aim.

What would you be doing if you weren’t head of recruitment for K&L Gates?

Possibly a physicist (if my maths were stronger), a canoe instructor, or a writer of short stories.

Who would you most like to get stuck in a lift with and why?

Professor Brian Cox. Guess why?

What’s your favourite part of the day?

Early mornings, when the world is still full of possibilities.

What’s on your to-do list? 

More than I can list here. In my world of possibilities…


Staff headcount:

London lawyer numbers (including partners): 117

London partner numbers: 60

Global lawyers at 2012 year-end: 1,748

Global equity partners at 2012 year-end: 502

Financials (2012):

London turnover: $56.2m

EMEA turnover: $93.8m

Asia turnover: $41.48m

America turnover: $924,935m

Global turnover: $1.060bn

Global PEP: $899,960

How can law firms can better retain staff?

“Why people stay anywhere has to be the first question,” highlights Two. “People stay somewhere because of opportunities, the environment and the people. If those three things are in place then people stay. If people don’t feel connected to what the business is trying to achieve then they will leave. Some of our finance partners found the market really tricky in 2009, so they reinvented themselves and looked at other areas such as distressed debt. They stayed connected. I think firms which see people leave aren’t being nimble enough.”

IT: DMS: Hummingbird DM (US)