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“LAW, LESS ORDINARY” is the motto of this law firm founded in 1832 by Michael Browne, the then coroner for Nottingham.
The company has been growing ever since and has offices in the Midlands, London, Manchester and Exeter. In 2012, the head office in Nottingham relocated to an open-plan building, bringing together its employees there under one roof for the first time.
The firm celebrated by throwing a party for staff and their families, and made sure that those who were away from the workplace, for instance on maternity leave, were invited. And on moving day, the managing partner, Iain Blatherwick, hosted a series of “bacon butty” sessions, to welcome staff to the building.
This inclusive approach is one reason why staff say they are proud to work for Browne Jacobson LLP (an 81% positive score) and believe they can make a valuable contribution to the organisation’s success (another 81%).
The full-service law firm describes itself as a “genuine alternative” to large national and international legal businesses. It prides itself on treating employees as individuals, each of whom, they say, brings their own distinctive contribution to the workplace.
For example, the company created a bespoke induction and training programme for a trainee solicitor who was unable to undertake a full-time training contract for health reasons. Staff agree that the firm is run on strong values (74%) and that it has a social conscience (75%).
Browne Jacobson's aim is to give their people what they want and need! However, their experience is that interventions have the best chance of success if they work with ideas put forward by the departments themselves. After all, they are in the best position to understand what they need. The creation and implementation of the firm’s development frameworks is a classic example of this. One of the company's departments approached them with a request to help its solicitors understand what they needed to do at each stage of their career to be successful in that role and prepare themselves to move up to the next level. From that discussion was borne the development framework, a type of competency framework designed to provide a clear and consistent structure for the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by their people, focusing on the four key skills areas the business needs, personal effectiveness, management and leadership effectiveness, business effectiveness and technical effectiveness.
In addition to the thousands of pounds raised over the years by their people through activities such as jeans days, raffles, donations at the annual Christmas carol concert and firm quiz, profits raised from book and CD sales, clothing collections and sponsored events, Browne Jacobson has established the Browne Jacobson Charitable Trust which is funded by the partnership and enables employees to apply for grants for their chosen charities. In the last financial year, ended April 2012, they have distributed £12,000 to worthy causes across the Midlands.
Browne Jacobson recognise that people work hard on their behalf and they aim to provide them with recognition for their efforts. They provide a range of core benefits available to every employee from the day they join the firm. These are income protection, a group pension and life assurance which give their employees peace of mind during their time with the company. In addition to these core benefits they also offer a range of flexible benefits and the employees were consulted on what they wished to be able to flex their salary for before the scheme was launched. The flexible benefits are the pension, private medical care, childcare vouchers, cycle to work, critical illness, dental insurance, travel insurance and the ability to flex their life assurance up or down. If someone reduces the amount of life assurance they enjoy, the firm gives them the money back into their salary. Brown Jacobson also hold annual Wellbeing and Benefits Fairs. This year all of the benefit providers were able to attend to inform and educate as well as to pamper. Free manicures, cycle repairs, commute planning, head massages, healthchecks and hand massages were offered. The feedback was excellent.
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave
10% of staff undertake charitable activities during business hours
On-site nursery or vouchers
40% of employees with more than 5 years' service
Dental insurance offer to all employees
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