A growing firm appears to be bucking the trend for moving away from the partnership model by inviting a dozen staff to become partners.
Fletchers Group said it has launched a new partnership programme for the first time in its 35-year history. The 12 new partners will join the 12 existing directors of the business in an attempt to attract and retain talent for the medical negligence and serious injury firm.
The move comes at a time when the number of partnerships in the legal profession has decreased and lawyers appear less focused on becoming partner. Other firms have also emerged which offer senior solicitors the opportunity to retain a share of their fees as a consultant without joining a partnership. Many of these firms have also marketed themselves to potential recruits as being more flexible around working hours and commitments outside of work.
Peter Haden, chief executive of Fletchers, said: ‘The partnership programme is a core part of our people strategy, which we’ve created both to attract great legal talent, and to improve career satisfaction for our existing teams.
‘It includes embracing full flexible working; a concept that we celebrate for its genuine benefits to our colleagues. We have formally instituted new policies for home working, daily working and shareable jobs; as well as shaking up our maternity and paternity policies to become a genuine leader in this field.’
Fletchers is not changing the management or ownership structure and partnership does not come with a specific leadership or responsibility or taking charge of a department. The idea is to identify a broader leadership group to reflect that there are senior lawyers in the group who should play an active part in leadership and strategy discussions, for example on merger deals.
Haden said the group wants to ‘re-commit to the professionalism of what it means to be a lawyer’. There are also ancillary benefits such as a better benefits package and a bonus structure to enable them to participate in the growth of the firm.
Haden added that the new cohort was identified not only for their legal expertise but also those who were innovators who come up with different ways to build the business.
The partnership programme will be ongoing and more partners elected every year, with no set limit to the number.
Fletchers was acquired by Sun Capital in October last year, and new owners say they want to build scale, through recruitment as well as mergers and acquisitions.
The group has a 520-strong headcount with offices in Manchester and Southport. It has recruited 120 staff in the past 12 months.