Law firm offers rookies chance to become partners during their training contracts

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Fast track — or a gimmick?


As if bagging a training contract wasn’t exciting enough, one regional law firm is giving lucky trainees and staff members the opportunity to become partners in the business — and have a stake in its profits.

From May this year, trainees at Devon and Cornwall outfit Stephens Scown — the highest ranking law firm in the Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies to Work For list — will be able become part-owners of the firm under an ownership model most famously associated with retail giants John Lewis.

Though London media and private client firm Mishcon de Reya has flirted with the idea of introducing a programme like this, it’s Stephens Scown that has pipped them to the post — after the Solicitors Regulation Authority approved the South West firm’s bid to introduce the scheme. Managing partner Robert Camp told The Lawyer magazine (registration required) today:

It has been a slightly tortuous route but we’ve got all the approvals.

It’ll work like this: half of all profits over a minimum threshold will be shared out amongst all members of staff taking part in the programme, which will be administered via a separate limited company set up by the firm. Participants can expect to snap up an average bonus in excess of £2,000 this year — not bad for a recent grad. Trainee salaries at the firm are disclosed, but Legal Cheek understands that they are at the lower end of the spectrum for full service firms.

Traditionally, bagging the prestigious post of law firm partner is a feat achieved only by experienced lawyers well into their 40s or even 50s — though that’s not always the case.

Last month, Legal Cheek revealed that niche City outfit Bargate Murray had promoted a 27 year-old to partner level and a 29 year-old to managing partner level, both highly sought after positions not often handed out to lawyers of this age.

Stephens Scown — which hires five trainees annually — looks as though its gone one step further in its venture, with rookies potentially as young as 22 entitled to a slice of the business’s profits.