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Clarke Willmott commits to a fully flexible future after a year of growth

Clarke Willmott has reported results from 2020/21, with revenue of £53 million up 2.5% on the prior year on the back of strong trading in the second half of the year.

Lessons learnt during the pandemic feature in the growth plans for the firm announced by CEO Stephen Rosser alongside these results.

“In unprecedented circumstances for the firm, our clients and the world as a whole, I am delighted with the excellent response of our team. Our culture has always been recognised as being highly collegiate and supportive, in 2020 this really came to the fore. There are many lessons from the pandemic, but the biggest for Clarke Willmott is the ability and willingness of our staff to adapt and to adopt new flexible ways of working, supporting each other and also our clients,” commented Rosser.

“Our future is one that sees us committed to growth. This will continue to be based on excellent service for our clients, delivered by a team of lawyers and support staff who will operate on a fully flexible basis. Other than for a few specific roles, our people will be encouraged to work where they can best deliver for our clients. If they want and need to be in the office, they can be. Equally if they can get their best work delivered by working remotely, then they will be supported in doing so if they wish.”

Throughout the pandemic the firm surveyed staff to understand the changing impact of home working and their future aspirations as well as the broader aspects of staff wellbeing. There were some key findings that are shaping the firm’s future approach. Highlights of the firm’s surveys include that:

  • In spite of the challenges of lockdown, over 70% of staff had enjoyed being able to work flexibly
  • Only around 10% of staff did not enjoy it primarily as a result of personal preferences for office based working and general challenges associated with lockdown
  • The majority of staff considered that they had been more effective working flexibly – this has been supported by the firm’s performance in the year
  • Looking to the future around 90% of staff have a preference for ongoing flexible working, ranging from working entirely remotely to two or three days a week in the office, as well as some flexibility in relation to working hours and days

“As we look to the future we have been turning our minds to further supporting our staff to deliver their best performance. In addition to general management support, we have provided a range of broader initiatives including wellbeing activities such as online yoga and Zwift cycling sessions, art club, cream tea events and a coffee club that connects staff members across teams and offices for an informal get together,” added Rosser.

The firm has also rewarded staff for their hard work with a 2% bonus for all staff in addition to the firm’s usual bonus and pay review processes, an additional ‘bank holiday’ to coincide with the easing of lockdown and gifts including a luxury hamper.

In a ringing endorsement of the approach taken by management of the firm, one senior fee earner wrote to the Board saying: “I only joined in 2018 but it was by far the best decision I ever made…Everyone in the firm is extremely forward thinking and it is nice to actually feel like my views matter to the firm.”

Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

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