In the last 18 months Shoosmiths has designed and implemented an ambitious new strategy which will underpin everything that the firm does now and for the next seven years.
The new strategy is simple – Shoosmiths is going to transform from being a really good firm with a really solid reputation into an excellent firm with a reputation for excellence. So by 2030, Shoosmiths will excel in its chosen markets, and in doing so, will lead the premium mid-market pack of law firms.
At the heart of the new strategy is an intense focus on what the firm does well, and a bold commitment to doing it even better.
Shoosmiths’ chosen markets and sectors are:
These are underpinned by three strategic enablers with an overarching approach to excellence through focus, a continued commitment to ESG and a goal to excel in chosen markets:
The strategy roll-out in FY22-23 included videos, articles, live discussions, in-person events and a ‘Strategy Hub’ to host materials. A colleague survey revealed 86% understood the new strategy and 87% saw positive changes because of the new strategy.
Sub-strategies have now been launched for all strategic enablers, and by the firm’s International Board.
David Jackson, who became CEO in May 2022 and worked closely with chairperson Peter Duff and other senior leadership team members to design and implement the strategy, was recognised by The Lawyer’s Hot 100 list for ‘implementing a brand new strategy for the firm as he endeavours to present a bolder version of Shoosmiths to the world’. It was recognised that Shoosmiths was making strides to move the firm up the value chain and described the firm as a ‘steady favourite of GCs’.
Shoosmiths is committed to the advancement of client excellence, not only as an overarching tenet of the new strategy but also as an innate part of the firm’s culture that is built upon every year.
Client listening and feedback
Client listening sits at the heart of how Shoosmiths gauges its service and is an integral tool in its pursuit for excellence.
Shoosmiths’ listening maturity has developed over the last few years, with more feedback working its way back to the firm so it is able to strive for client excellence at every touchpoint.
This year the firm took its listening to the next level by:
Embedding feedback as a further element of the firm's culture by partnering with MyCustomerLens, an online platform that allows Shoosmiths not only to store all kinds of feedback, but to analyse it more closely than ever before.
Using the analysis provided by MyCustomerLens to investigate the sentiments sitting behind client feedback, which give a richer quality of data to ensure the firm meets its excellence objectives.
The firm took its first steps to forming a Client Council, a select group of clients whose input holds considerable value. By getting their input into new initiatives at the development stage, Shoosmiths' offerings are greatly enriched. This approach was trialled with the development of Shoosmiths’ IHL Excellence toolkit.
The new bonus scheme (see People section) is linked to the rating obtained from client feedback as a further testament to the role client listening plays in the firm’s culture.
MyCustomerLens offers us the flexibility we need to make the switch from a manual process to allowing tech to do the job for us – resulting in a number of efficiencies along the way and a deeper level of insight than we can produce manually.
The Client Excellence team periodically shares the collective themes and findings from client listenings. The addition of MyCustomerLens means that this year the themes are more impactful than ever, providing the whole business with a clear picture of the areas that matter most to clients.
The themes are shared internally via our intranet and also through a dedicated number of communitcations channels to ensure universal reach and the opportunity to read them. All themes are accompanied by client ‘evidence’ in the feedback provided, and also a number of practical tips and recommendations to ensure that the positive behaviours which provoke the feedback can cascade through the business.
On client excellence, Shoosmiths’ chief executive, David Jackson, said:
“Listening to our clients and being able to further anticipate their needs is what sets us apart from our competitors. Our focus on what we do well, and our commitment to doing it even better, means we go above and beyond to deliver excellence for ourselves and our clients.”
The client excellence team also produced ‘Client Pages’ last year, a client preference repository engineered using SharePoint software to ensure consistency in how clients’ work is managed by new and cross-locational legal teams/advisers. More than 250 Client Pages aligned to the firm’s top 250 clients were produced. They are incredibly helpful in ensuring we operate a ‘tell Shoosmiths once’ approach, they are also a brilliant tool for clients to know about and they demonstrate the firm’s commitment to consistency.
Compendium continues to be a highly effective touchpoint for clients, letting them know about upcoming legislation so they are able to prepare their Boards and teams.
Growing clients include:
New clients include:
Case study – You can read here how the firm has worked with Chevron to help them to deliver strategic growth.
Nina, our client partner, has connected me to several members of the wider team who provide a great support network. The firm has an incredible collection of people who are consistently supportive, responsive and fantastic in their fields. It supports me on a really broad range of matters – to have what has become a successful one stop external counsel solution is a rare and precious thing!
Supporting clients with Board issues: ESG spotlight
The firm launched a series of Investing in Tomorrow ESG client reports to add greater impact alongside the advice offered, and to provide clients with an important touchpoint.
Another example of thoughtful thought leadership includes commissioning a survey for Shoosmiths’ Future of Work campaign on Businesses’ responses to environmental challenges. This was spearheaded by head of employment, Paul Stokey: Read more.
Shoosmiths’ ability to give clients advice on their ESG issues meant the firm was ranked in the Legal 500 Green Guide.
As part of a Conversations with Clients webinar series, Jonathan Lipman, Group General Counsel of Mercedes-Benz UK, joined Sebastian Price to discuss what an IHL team can do to help deliver ESG goals.
Client Megan Stott of Deliveroo joined Shoosmiths for a webinar in our Social Mobility in Action series with a spotlight on charity End Youth Homelessness, a beneficiary of the Shoosmiths Foundation’s social mobility grant. Watch the webinar recording below:
At Shoosmiths, we regularly work for clients whose interests are further afield than the UK. In addition to our own offices across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Belgium, we work with leading independent firms across the globe and are also an active member of the World Services Group (WSG).
World Services Group is the most prominent global network of independent firms that provides an exclusive means of connecting its members to the most elite legal firms with cross-industry access to a select few investment banking and accounting firms.
Through this network, WSG delivers global expertise powered by seamless collaboration and provides the highest quality and value for clients. WSG is comprised of over 120 prominent firms representing multinational clients worldwide. Members act in over 150 jurisdictions with over 23,000 professionals globally.
One recent collaboration between Shoosmiths and another WSG member, major German firm, Heuking Kühn Lüer, can be read here:
The firm has an International Committee which is led by corporate partner Alastair Peet, launched its new international strategy this year. That strategy builds on Shoosmiths’ new firmwide strategy, focusing on chosen markets and what matters most to our clients, and the firm is actively considering broadening its international footprint building on the launch of its non-UK office in Brussels in 2022.
To assist, the firm has also launched a new international targeting committee, comprising a broad cohort of partners and business development professionals who have built extensive relationships across the WSG network and with other firms, and are able to help direct and support clients on their global needs. These deep relationships have arisen from working closely with colleagues on client matters and by attending key events and conferences across regions to network and share knowledge, whether that is at the WSG global, and regional meetings, the International Bar Association (IBA) conferences and events, and the Association of Corporate Counsel European and North American conferences, or as a result of our own targeting initiatives. The result is the firm is able to support and guide our clients on their international requirements, pulling together projects on a global basis, and actively targeting non-UK clients in line with its chosen markets and sectors.
This is an exciting time to further evolve the firm's approach to international work and develop our reputation as a firm who can help our clients on what matters globally through our network and relationships.
Legal directories rankings
The Legal 500, ranked Shoosmiths in a total of 132 practice areas, of which 30 were Tier 1 rankings. The firm was promoted in 12 practice areas and 10 practice areas broke into the tables with a new ranking. The Legal 500 also released research data, where Shoosmiths topped the table as the firm with the most UK-wide referee responses, and also the firm with the most referee responses in practice areas outside London.
The Chambers and Partners UK Guide 2023 ranked Shoosmiths in the top six firms with the most UK rankings with 69 practice areas ranked, 16 ‘band one’ rankings, 11 new rankings and 11 ranking promotions. Promotions in rankings included Shoosmiths’ Litigation and Corporate teams in three and four regions, respectively. In addition, individual rankings increased to 154 with, 23 Shoosmiths partners ranked band one and 23 associates ranked as Associates to Watch.
Shoosmiths has been ranked as a recommended firm in the newly published The Legal 500 Green Guide UK. The Guide recognises firms with a clear focus on sustainability, climate change mitigation and supporting the green transition. Shoosmiths is recognised for the pre-eminent legal expertise its team are providing to clients, as well as the firm’s internal practices and net zero ambitions.
Shoosmiths litigators are recognised as expert authorities in this year’s specialist Chambers and Partners guide for professional advisers to wealthy individuals and organisations, with 10 lawyers ranked across its High Net Worth 2023 Guide.
Chambers and Partners continues to rank Shoosmiths EIGHT Connected Services products Cia® and Matters+ as band one in their Global LawTech 2023 Guide.
This last financial year has been transformational for our people and in line with our new firmwide strategy, our approach to People & Culture features as a key pillar alongside Clients & Markets and Running on Rails.
In ensuring the firm remains competitive, and that people are given the optimum opportunity to thrive and achieve excellence, a raft of new measures under this pillar have been devised and renewed.
Our values guide our behaviour, and our behaviour defines our culture. The firm was proud to launch a refreshed set of values that underpin who we are as a business.
This project to instil futureproof values considered the opinions and experiences of a range of stakeholders. Focus groups were conducted across our employee diversity networks (Embrace, Balance and Proud), which saw trainees, new recruits, partners, employees and clients collaborate.
Our new values are:
Shortly after the launch of our values a colleague survey was taken. It was determined that more than 84% of our people felt the refreshed values matched the firm’s culture, and 85% had a good understanding of what those values meant.
Another development to our overall People & Culture approach was the introduction of a new, highly competitive and innovative reward strategy with a new collegiate employee bonus at its heart.
This discretionary, non-contractual scheme has an ‘on-target’ pay out of 5% of actual basic salary for the performance year with the opportunity to earn up to 7% of salary depending on the firm’s performance. The scheme pays the same percentage of salary to all employees and aligns with our financial year. Criteria include profit, client excellence and people and communities targets. We believe we’re one of the first firms – if not the first – to introduce a communities target, which this year is heavily centred around our ESG goals.
This year Shoosmiths also invested heavily in a pay review.
Other measures introduced include:
auto-escalation of employee contributions to the pension scheme
an electric and low emission car salary sacrifice scheme, providing colleagues with one of the cheapest all-inclusive ways to drive an electric car
discretionary awards to support our people, including a £1,000 Cost of Living payment for all colleagues and a 3% ‘Thank you’ payment in May 2022.
Colleagues are also encouraged to reward each other through our ‘Above and Beyond’ scheme, and in the last year more than 5,400 awards to 1,360 people were made.
Focus on performance and development
This year, we have introduced a framework and stipulation for quarterly conversations for every employee at the firm, supporting development. To support this, we also launched the continuous performance improvement toolkit, which includes a collection of conversation topics and prompts colleagues can draw upon to support their one-to-one conversations.
The Performance & Talent Development team has also introduced Speed Coaching, a process by which a qualified coach enables an individual at the firm to flourish by equipping them with the mindset, skillset and/or toolset necessary for them to be effective. This is available in 45-minute sessions for everyone in the firm.
The firm also launched ACE (Administrative Community of Excellence) – a collaborative network to support the careers and ongoing development of people in PA and EA roles.
Our people and culture strategy is centred around two core elements: building a culture of excellence and developing a strong employee proposition. To support our people and culture strategy, we need to both provide feedback and listen to our people – creating a culture of feedback. Employee feedback is the backbone of a culture of feedback.
YourVoice is one of our communication approaches which enables Shoosmiths to receive employee feedback by confidential surveys. Each survey collects feedback at scale, and we can analyse, learn and take action.
We partnered with CultureAmp for an engagement platform to support our employee feedback capabilities.
YourVoice means we can:
listen to our colleagues’ thoughts, feedback and insights in order to plan for the future
validate what we are seeing and hearing across the business
receive quantifiable metrics, which drive action
create a truly continuous feedback culture
The first survey launched through Your Voice was around Strategy and Values. Here were some findings:
Approach to hybrid working
We confirmed this year that our approach to hybrid working is here to stay.
The firm does not have a set number of days it expects everyone to work from the office but encourages teams to determine what is right for them to ensure they are working optimally with client excellence in mind.
We have supported the growth of the business by appointing strategic, lateral hires including two new corporate partners in London, Oliver Pilkington and Nick McCarthy, who make up the first Equity Capital Markets team at Shoosmiths. Dan Sharman also joined the firm as a tax partner. Patrick Duffy real estate partner also joined the firm, in addition to Jonathan Mills, dispute resolution and litigation partner.
The team also led the recruitment of our new Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Reid.
The firm also announced seven partners in its May promotions round. They were Kirsty Chalkley, Su Kemp, Lauren Miller, William Seymour (Real Estate), Aleks Bosch and Helen Burnell (Corporate) and Nick Vernon (Advisory Services).
The firm also promoted nine to Legal Director, and 22 to Principal Associate.
In addition, our emerging talent team partnered with Cappfinity to design and implement a new strengths-based online assessment tool for future trainees.
Strengths-based recruitment is about identifying the strengths that will deliver success in a role, then recruiting and selecting the people who have those strengths. This is great for the individual, doing work they love, and great for the employer, having team members who love what they do.
A success role analysis was conducted to define the key strengths of a successful Shoosmiths legal advisor and incorporated into a new online assessment tool with a view to developing a strengths-based assessment centre for in FY23-24. The assessment measures strengths and potential, making it more inclusive that traditional competency-based assessments.
In the last year Shoosmiths has honed its approach to innovation even further in the pursuit of excellence for its clients with the launch of new products, knowledge sharing and using technology to enhance internal operations.
The firm has drawn third-party endorsement and recognition for its efforts, which have placed Shoosmiths squarely as one of the legal sector’s great leaders in innovation.
‘Legal Practice in the Digital Age’ is a lawyer’s go-to companion for preparing for change and is written for senior lawyers, in-house lawyers and decision-makers within law firms/legal businesses.
Authored by Shoosmiths’ head of client strategy Tony Randle, CEO David Jackson and head of insight Paul Caddy, the book, which was launched in March 2023, began as a lockdown project and is essential reading for lawyers and firms hoping to thrive in the digital age and, for Shoosmiths, a tool for embedding innovation into the mindset of the firm.
The book contains original and practical insights lawyers and firms need to survive and thrive in a complex age. It demonstrates how firms can embrace technological change, from taking a people-centric approach to technology and innovation, to entrenching forward-thinking new mindsets into their firm’s DNA. The book is filled with case studies and practical tips to give lawyers and their firms the edge they need and make the changes necessary for future success. It covers a variety of subjects highly relevant to the future of legal practice, including:
how lawyers can make improvements through smart legal tech
the new infrastructure, software and resources required for a hybrid world
the growing importance of data (how to mine it) and AI; and
how to attract and retain the best talent in the increasingly dynamic legal industry.
‘Business in the Digital Age’ is the accompanying podcast which launched shortly after the book and, with guests who are changemakers in various sectors, it explores how businesses can thrive in the digital age. Each podcast explores the trends that are making an impact, including:
‘Change3’: change itself is changing—and the pace, complexity and magnitude of it. We call this 'change cubed'.
The ‘data boost’: data is used much, much more. It’s the fuel which powers artificial intelligence in particular. And AI will change everything.
The ‘hybrid era’: this is the new 'how'. It's about how we work with our colleagues, and with our clients and customers. It's about knowing when to use tech and when not to use tech. It's how we work smarter, faster and better.
Guests so far have included:
Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief
Crown Prosecutor for NW England and Director in London, and former Chief Executive of the country’s Police & Crime Commissioners
Nadia Papamichail, Senior Lecturer in Information and Decision Systems at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester and fellow of the Alan Turing Institute
Lee Burkhill, Award Winning Garden Designer and social media influencer
Joseph Raczynski, a global leader in leveraging emerging technologies to improve economic competitiveness, equity, and business resilience.
The firm was also recognised as a leader in innovation in Europe by the Financial Times, which publishes research findings in an annual FT Innovative Lawyers Special Report. The report contains an index of 40 firms placed Shoosmiths at 24 in recognition of innovation within its suite of products within Shoosmiths EIGHT Connected Services, its leadership, its client advice and development of products.
Shoosmiths’ work was also recognised in a series of parallel shortlistings for the FT Innovative Lawyers Europe Awards. These were:
Designing the client experience – Shoosmiths EIGHT Connected Services
We’re thrilled to have been recognised in the FT’s Special Report for the unique innovations we have designed and built for our clients, people and the communities within which we operate.
This year’s rankings are a testament to the commitment we’re making to drive forward innovation as a firm and our pursuit of client excellence. They also set down a marker that we are here to trailblaze to push the legal profession forwards into a new era focused on innovative service delivery.
Notably the firm came in at Band 1 in Chambers and Partners’ inaugural Global LawTech 2022 ranking for its AI contract review tool, Cia® powered by ThoughtRiver.
This list of rankings serves as a snapshot of the leading technology developers and vendors, as well as the foremost Incubators & Accelerators and LawTech Consultants, guiding in-house legal teams and GCs to the best legal technology products and services.
Tony Randle, partner and head of client strategy, said of the achievement:
“We are thrilled to have been ranked for our Shoosmiths EIGHT Connected Services products. This clearly demonstrates that we are trailblazing in legal technology and leading the pack in terms of our products and their quality.
We are proud of our products and the teams behind them, and the way in which the products are brought to market swiftly. We believe in working smartly by teaming up with tech companies, allowing our lawyers to be lawyers. The result is expertly engineered products that save clients time and money, allowing them to work smarter, faster, and better than ever before.”
Developing new products - ESG 360
Shoosmiths launched ESG 360, a free online compliance audit tool to enable organisations to understand their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance.
Built around an online questionnaire, ESG 360 allows users to assess their general ESG performance or focus on specific aspects. ESG 360 users receive a personalised report providing red, amber or green ratings in relation to various elements of ESG compliance performance, alongside commentary and suggestions for improvement.
We launched ESG 360 following conversations with a number of clients who were struggling to get a good overview of their organisations’ ESG compliance performance.
ESG 360, which we are offering without charge, enables organisations to spot and home in on any areas of particular concern, signalling aspects of ESG where they may be at risk of non- compliance or falling behind best practice, as well as ways in which they can sustain and build on compliance in other areas.
Honing existing products
The Real Estate Division has continued to evolve its client-facing portal in the form of Live Working, which is part of Lease Infinity, one of the Shoosmiths EIGHT Connected Services products.
Live Working sites have continued to evolve to reflect client feedback and now incorporate even more bespoke relationship data which is fine-tuned to the needs of each individual client. Financial data, transaction summaries, real-time reports, team sheets and portfolio documentation are now all available in a single location, saving In-house lawyers, property directors and other key contacts even more time on a daily basis. Other law firms have asked to use our systems which has resulted in a number of co-hosted sites, boosting our co-counselling offering and streamlining our interactions with clients and their other advisors.
Innovation driving the pursuit of efficient operations at Shoosmiths
In FY22-23 Shoosmiths introduced DataPoint, an internal data capture innovation that can now analyse corporate transactional data in a far more meaningful way. The use of a collaborate site to do this is original, and as a byproduct has enabled our corporate team to deposit valuable information on a regular basis, which can be difficult to obtain due to time constrains. The new system is intuitive and easy to use.
The immediate result of this is the increase in the number of deals the firm can accurately record and the impact of this is then evident in Pitchbook and Experian league table results, where Shoosmiths was ranked first for deal volume in the UK by Experian, and second for venture capital deals in Europe by Pitchbook. Read more here.
Shoosmiths has the following near and long-term science-based emissions reduction targets which have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The SBTi is a global body enabling businesses to set ambitious emissions reduction targets in line with the latest climate science.
The SBTi validated targets are:
Overall net-zero target
Shoosmiths commits to reach net-zero GHG emissions across the value chain by FY2040
Shoosmiths commits to reduce absolute scope 1 GHG emissions 55.7% by FY2030 from a FY2020 base year
Shoosmiths also commits to increase annual active sourcing of renewable electricity from 74% in FY2020 to 100% by FY2025 through FY2030
Shoosmiths further commits to reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions 50% by FY2030 from a FY2020 base year.
Shoosmiths commits to reduce absolute scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions 90% by FY2040 from a FY2020 base year
The SBTi validated targets are in addition to a target that has not been approved by the SBTi which Shoosmiths announced in 2020, namely to achieve net zero for its operations (i.e., scope 1 and 2 emissions) by 2025.
We annually report on progress and will be publishing our 2022/2023 carbon reduction plan report soon.
Shoosmiths’ ambition is to build a diverse and ambitious workforce that reflects all backgrounds and talents and creates a workplace that is supportive and inclusive, which recognises and nurtures talent, and has a strong sense of community. This approach underpins everything the firm does, and how colleagues, clients, and communities work with each other.
Positive impact in our communities
The firm has supported 127 charities and organisations in the last financial year, with a total of £174,867 having been donated via firm donations or fundraising by colleagues.
In addition, Shoosmiths has provided:
2,164 hours for volunteering
1,933 hours for pro bono work
A total of 4,097 hours for supporting local communities.
Shoosmiths’ local charity partners during 2023/2024 are detailed here.
In October 2022, the Shoosmiths Foundation awarded £49,690 to the JERICHO charity Jump Start programme. This followed the charity’s successful application for a grant in support of our social mobility funding aim to advance social mobility in the legal sector, and across the UK, in line with Shoosmiths' Social Mobility Action Plan; there being a particular focus on charitable organisations which share our belief that ‘talent can come from anywhere’, and which align their interventions with local socio-economic analysis and need.
Since awarding the donation the charity has:
identified 30 potential beneficiaries for JERICHO Jump Start, including apprentices and survivors of modern slavery
recruited three new beneficiaries who will benefit from the project, undertaking assessments for suitability for the project and beginning conversations about aspirations and potential barriers
begun to put activities in place for two existing beneficiaries who are suitable candidates for Jump Start
begun to create progression plans with beneficiaries which ‘start with the end in mind’ and focus on their aspirations and the steps required to achieve them
begun to match beneficiaries with a member of core staff who will act as their Jump Start Mentor
started delivering weekly support sessions
The funding provided by the Shoosmiths Foundation allows us to really focus in a more intentional and sustained way on supporting our beneficiaries towards achieving longer-term work and life progression and fulfilment; we are very much looking forward to ramping-up delivery in the coming months and ultimately seeing the impact of the project on the people it is designed to support.
You can read more about the JERICHO Jump Start project here or learn more from JERICHO’s CEO Richard Beard about the relationship with Shoosmiths and what the grant has achieved here:
We continue to deliver against the firm’s Social Mobility Action Plan across our locations, including:
hosting interns from the EY Foundation in Glasgow
partnering with Access to Law and Aston University alongside client, Virgin Media 02, and CILEX; and
offering opportunities to coach a jobseeker though Business in the Community's Job Coaching Programme nationally.
We also engaged with Getting on Board to support colleague(s) who are seeking charity trustee positions.
This year the firm rolled out Inclusive Leadership to 40 partners and senior managers. This three-hour workshop gives leaders insights to their own leadership styles and how this can create a sense of inclusion for all and address unconscious biases in work allocation, promotion and hiring decisions.
Shoosmiths also introduced membership to Work Life Central for all employees and partners. This provides webinars, podcasts and support groups to educate, inform and inspire professionals in their family life, work life and wellbeing.
Following a successful pilot of Reciprocal Mentoring, the firm is proud to see this programme return, with 15+ pairings taking part. Partners and directors from senior leadership will be paired with more junior colleague representatives from our inclusion networks. For this cohort, we have expanded to include Mental Health and Wellbeing Champions for the first time.
Shoosmiths increased its participation in the Pirical diversity benchmark to include gender, as well as ethnicity. This enables us to look more closely at recruitment, retention, and promotion data, and identify areas of focus, which form action plans. This analysis is reviewed at Board, where Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is a standing agenda item.
The firm continues to voluntarily report partnership, ethnicity, LGBT+ and social mobility pay gaps, alongside the mandatory UK gender pay gap reporting requirements. Annual pay gap reports can be viewed here.
The High Performing Women’s programme has run for three cohorts so far and the firm is currently reviewing the programme to ensure its focus on progression through partnership.
Introduction of The Parity Pledge to ensure balanced representation at pitches, awards, relationship teams and directories.
Awareness and support for the menopause continued to build from the policy work last year. There are now four qualified internal trainers in general awareness and line manager training sessions and a number of events were held in recognition of World Menopause Day.
The firm has also sponsored Law.com’s Women Influence & Power in Law conference and The Gender Index Report 2022, which had findings demonstrating that female-founders obtain disproportionately less investment compared to male-owned companies. The sponsorship builds upon Shoosmiths’ spHERe network, supporting female founders and venture capitalists.
Race & Ethnicity
The firm supported the Black Solicitors Network’s Grassroots Programme by facilitating a workshop for young people on Interviews and Commercial Awareness.
Shoosmiths also offered placements to five individuals through the #10,000 Black Interns programme and the firm’s work with Felix Diversity continued, including coaching sessions for trainees and recognition of Black History Month with firmwide webinars.
We continued to use our social media platforms to yield greater inclusivity and the firm marks celebrations across multiple cultures and faiths. ‘My Ramadan Stories’ was a series of personal stories and experiences shared internally and externally, created a large impact with high engagement.
The firm has been a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme for a number of years and, this year, members of the PROUD network and DE&I teams attended the Stonewall Workplace Conference, as well as completing training on LGBT+ Mental Health.
As part of our ongoing commitment to inclusivity, and to recognise the additional challenges often faced by trans and non-binary individuals, we published guidance on trans inclusion and transitioning at work and The Board and Partnership Council welcomed Global Butterflies for a session on trans and non-binary inclusion.
I am incredibly proud of our newest value “being ourselves” and I have always felt that Shoosmiths is a firm where we can all be ourselves and are valued for that. As we discussed in our recent board session with Global Butterflies, it’s important that we take active steps to assure particular groups of that inclusivity. I’m pleased to share these guidance notes to highlight that, as a firm, we are trans-inclusive, and that we provide a safe and supportive work environment for all colleagues.
Shoosmiths maintained its Disability Confident Level 2 status, and also focused efforts on neurodiversity during Neurodiversity Celebration Week, with access to new content available and eLearning. ‘Understanding Neurodiverse Employee Needs’ became one of the most popular courses on our online learning platform, Discovery.
In February, for Time to Talk, the firm’s Mental Health Champions invited The Jordan Legacy and Movember to host a panel discussion on mental health for all colleagues nationally.
External training sessions offered to the firm’s 45+ Mental Health & Wellbeing Champions through Mental Health at Work.
Shoosmiths continues to be a signatory of the Mindful Business Charter and regularly attends forum events to drive wider cultural change.
Particularly in the past 12 months, we have been focused on the financial wellbeing of our people due to the cost of living crisis, this is elaborated upon in our People section of the Impact Report. Shoosmiths is an accredited Living Wage Employer and reviewed its salaries in light of the recent updates from The Living Wage Foundation.
Shoosmiths’ employee-led networks, Balance, Embrace and Proud continue to gain momentum with membership increasing by 82% overall in the past 12 months.
The firm welcomed a new COO in Rachel Reid who joined from DLA Piper. She is responsible for the firm’s operational strategy and management, with all business services areas except finance reporting to her.
We have recently changed elements of our governance framework and clarified the purpose of our various Boards and committees, what they consider and setting standard agenda items to assist in driving business performance and governed decision making. Please see below for our structure.
The Board is responsible for enabling and delivering the firm’s strategy
The Executive Board is responsible for day-to-day management of the firm
The Shadow Board mirrors the Executive Board in that it is representative of both divisions and directorates. The Shadow Board was formed in 2021, through an application process that was open to the whole firm, and another group were appointed in 2023
Partnership Council ensures that the Firm is organised and structured in such a way that the Divisions maximise their contribution to the firm-wide objectives.
The financial statistics around turnover, profit and PEP in the last three years show healthy, organic growth, despite challenging economic factors and the global pandemic.
During this time, the firm’s financial performance has been strong.