"Ahoy there! A former Royal and Merchant Navy officer, now a lawyer, provides maritime legal advice for Lester Aldridge, the south coast solicitors anchored in the seafaring cities of Bournemouth and Southampton, and with further offices in London, Milton Keynes and Hurn in Dorset.
The partnership was founded in 1988, but its origins date back to 1857. Over the past four years it has grown extensively, nearly doubling its staff, who now total 339. More than half are part-time workers, the vast majority female. Happy staff equals happy clients, says Lester Aldridge, and 72% of solicitors and support staff are stimulated by the work they do (a top 40 score), be it commercial property or corporate finance, with just 30% saying they feel like they are on a treadmill (a top 30 score).
New solicitors, aside from four days' company training, are given a mentor, and meet managing partner Roger Woolley on their first day. Being such a pressurised environment, the company tries to create a healthy work-life equilibrium — and succeeds. Lester Aldridge ranks highly for our staff wellbeing questions, finishing 43rd, well above its overall ranking. A generous £59,000 was spent on social events last year, and at the family fun day donkey rides on the chairman's mule are a common sight, while Personality of the Year awards are hotly contested. An ideas box encourages staff creativity and rewards them with anything from a bottle of wine to £500. Solicitors earn £55,000 on average and annual leave varies between 22 and 30 days. Maternity pay is statutory. Staff are entitled to a maximum of 20 days' sick leave per year; beyond that, pay is at the discretion of the managing partner and line manager.
Almost half the staff — 149 employees — have access to free private healthcare for themselves, their spouses and dependants. And 300 (almost the whole staff) can use childcare vouchers. All can access voluntary benefits such as a wine club, health insurance and discounted shopping.
Lester Aldridge is expanding its flexible benefits (a new scheme among most companies) to all. Contributory (between 3%-5%) and non-contributory pension schemes are available. Overall, 59% are happy with their pay and benefits. The company also likes to give something back, providing honorary solicitors for Relate."
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