This year we have continued to create a truly client focused culture at Shoosmiths.
Following the results of our last client satisfaction survey, it is a priority for the firm to ensure our high standards for achieving client excellence are always maintained.
Much of our work this last year has been around ensuring we are able to continue to gauge client satisfaction through a number of channels and build on the work from the previous year.
Alongside our customer service questionnaires and Trustpilot reviews, we believe our client listening programme is a market leading offering. Our independent team have carried out circa 65 listenings this last financial year, with a range of clients across a variety of industries and roles. Feedback from clients has been carefully gathered and closely analysed to provide our people with a number of themes based on the feedback. Delivered in the client voice, these themes are shared firmwide and provide an authentic benchmark for our people to work against. They are also heavily utilised by our leadership team to identify areas for improvement and ensure our strategies are geared toward delivering visible change.
This year has seen a very deliberate shift to a culture powered by the creation and delivery of client excellence. The concept is simple – inspiring and delivering excellence in everything we do. Much of our work over the past year has been focussed on identifying the areas where we already excel, where we can improve and looking outwards into a range of other industries and markets to develop our knowledge in this space.
Partnering with clients
Social mobility is a key area of our ESG agenda. The access to career opportunities and development – regardless of background, ethnicity or circumstance is a genuine area of passion for our people. This year, we have been particularly proud to develop a number of legal internship programmes in partnership with our clients. We have supported Volkswagen Group with the creation and delivery of a ‘first of its kind’ internship, first launched in 2021. This internship is running again in 2022 and will be scaled up so more students can benefit from it. We are also collaborating with Shawbrook Bank on the development of a similar internship programme for the first time, scheduled for to launch in FY 2022-23. There are a number of other clients who we are in discussion with and look forward to supporting their efforts in the near future.
Without a focus on under-represented groups, there is a great risk of leaving behind individuals with great potential. All lawyers should be regularly asking themselves ‘what have I done to help those less-privileged than myself?
Conversations with Clients
We’ve moved away from technical legal updates and are now running a ‘Conversation with Clients’ webinar series. Clients join us as panellists on these online sessions to talk about non-legal topics that are pertinent to the in-house legal community. By involving clients who are experiencing these issues we are able to provide practical ways we can help our other clients. Recently the head of legal at Constellation Group (BCA) ran through team coaching and mentoring, the GC at Next covered AI developments to help IHL teams and the senior IHL at Volkswagen Group talked about their internship programme.
Bold enough to make big changes to benefit clients
This year, Shoosmiths opened its first ever international office in Brussels. As a truly national firm this was a big step. The decision was taken to meet growing client demand for European Union competition, regulatory and trade law advice. You can read more about this here.
Shoosmiths also took the step to enter into a joint venture with national collections, recoveries and enforcement business, Chartsbridge, to launch ‘Equivo’, a dedicated recoveries business providing end-to-end collections, legal and enforcement services. The combined business was brought to life to service all client needs and provide a seamless UK-wide recoveries service including in-house field and enforcement activities.
Examples of growing clients
Examples of new clients to Shoosmiths this year
Client case studies
Read about how we have supported our clients through complex and innovative projects, here:
McKay Securities PLC – Helping to deliver strategic real estate goals Shoosmiths has been supporting McKay to deliver strategic and sustainable real estate projects since 2007, a time during which our Shoosmiths account team has been able to build up a deep understanding of the McKay business and align our advice to their ambitions as a business.
Volkswagen Group (VWG) and Shoosmiths The VWG legal team has been working on some really interesting projects, including how they can be make an impact to improve diversity and promote social mobility. Shoosmiths provide VWG with a secondee who shared their passion and vision for new ideas and change.
Legal 500 – in 2022, 120 practice areas ranked, 33 ‘Top Tier’ rankings, 8 new rankings, 4 moves into tier one, including Insolvency and Corporate Recovery (West Midlands) and Employment (Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx). 29 rankings move up a tier. 51 partners ‘leading individuals’ and 25 partners ranked ‘next generation’.
Chambers and Partners – in 2022, 71 practice areas ranked, 18 ‘band one’ rankings, 8 new specialist rankings including Corporate / M&A Lower Mid-Market in Yorkshire, Intellectual Property in the Midlands and Real Estate in Northern Ireland. National leaders in 10 practice areas including Band 1 recognition in Employment, Information Technology and Real Estate. Individual rankings now stand at 138 - of 104 ranked partners 24 are band 1, and 23 ranked ‘Associates to Watch’.
Shoosmiths has also been recognised in this year’s Chambers and Partners guide for professional advisers to wealthy individuals and organisations with three ranked practice areas and 10 lawyers ranked in their High Net Worth 2022 Guide.
Chambers and Partners ranked Shoosmiths8 Connected Services products Cia® and Matters+ as band one in their Global LawTech 2022 Guide.
Best Shared Learning with clients – Managing Partners' Forum Awards 2021
One of the ways in which Shoosmiths does things differently is our approach to the way we work – our working culture: an open, unstuffy atmosphere in which our colleagues are given the space they need and the support to thrive.
In 2021, Shoosmiths sought feedback from colleagues and clients on what successful hybrid working looks like. Having taken all comments on board, we continue to recognise the value of flexibility as well as the need to empower individuals and teams to make their own decisions.
We are committed to these new working principles and we also feel it is important that we spend time together.
With this in mind, as part of our investment into our people we have also invested into our spaces. Many offices have seen refurbishment and new spaces have been created, including our new London office. We also saw the launch of our new office in the heart of Glasgow at the Garment Factory. In addition we have also signed leases for new offices at Edinburgh’s cutting-edge Haymarket development, and at 103 Colmore Row in Birmingham, both of which have been well publicised.
Our new home in the City of London, No.1 Bow Churchyard.
The new office is a collaborative space for us to work together driving innovation and ideas, supporting our clients’ businesses.
Reward and Recognition
In May 2021, the firm rewarded staff with an additional four weeks’ pay amounting to a ‘thank you’ payment of 7.7% of annual pay.
We introduced the ‘Your Benefits’ portal to bring together details of an individual’s benefits in one place and allowing easy selection of voluntary benefits such as a Health Cash Plan or confidential health screenings. The Total Reward Statement shows the true value of the benefits package; not just salary and pension but discretionary benefits such as birthday vouchers, long service gifts, employee referral payments and awards from our employee recognition scheme, Above and Beyond (A&B).
Shoosmiths also increased the employer pension contribution to 5.5% for all members of the pension scheme and also increased life cover to a multiple of 8x salary.
Over the last financial year there were:
We are reviewing our approach to reward in FY 2022-23, which will include the introduction of a firmwide bonus scheme.
Recruitment and promotions
Shoosmiths’ profile in the market has grown even more in the last year and as a result the firm has welcomed 418 new joiners, including 20 new partner hires.
Learning and Development
The L&D team worked with senior leaders and clients to help create their strategic plans, as well as working with teams to shape the deliverables for those plans and helping them build trust and accountability. As we left the pandemic behind, developing manager capability was also a high priority.
If our colleagues are hosting a family or going through an application process to host a family, we offer two days paid additional voluntary leave to help with the time our people may be committing to make the necessary arrangements, or to help settle a new family into their household.
Best Operational Continuity – Managing Partners' Forum Awards 2021
This last financial year has been momentous for Shoosmiths in the area of innovation.
Shoosmiths8 Connected Services, a new business stream based on providing clever non-legal solutions to support clients’ needs was launched in March 2021 and in the 2021-22 financial year the firm sought to grow this proposition and launch new products tailored to help clients work smarter, faster and better in the new normal.
Alongside products such as AI contract review Cia®, two more new products, focused on Financial Services Compliance (the only consultancy model in the legal market for this type of work) and a product to support businesses with their Diversity & Inclusion agenda were developed and released.
The impact of this new offering is clear from the reception our products have received from clients, the engagement with colleagues and development of further products and the external recognition that this proposition is receiving.
We are proud that long-standing client Scania won Most Transformative In-House Team of the Year at the Legal Business awards in relation to their use of Shoosmiths8 product, matters+. We were also thrilled to have won Legal Technology Team of the Year at the same awards ceremony. Head of client strategy and Shoosmiths8 Connected Services lead, Tony Randle, was also listed in The Lawyer’s prestigious Hot 100 2022 list, which noted Tony for being a ‘leading figure in legal tech for years’ and described Shoosmiths as having ‘carved itself a reputation as one of the trailblazing firms in how it delivers quality service to its clients’.
Our innovative AI contract review service, Cia®, has been ranked band one in the Vendors: Transaction Management (Contract Analysis) in Chambers Global Law Tech Guide, while matters+, which allows in-house legal teams to track every instruction and team activity has also been ranked band one within Vendors, Business Management.
Shoosmiths is committed to a net zero emissions future with a target for its operations to achieve net zero emissions by 2025.
In November 2021, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) validated our near-term science-based emissions reduction targets across the entire value chain that are consistent with keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, namely:
reduce absolute scope 1, 2 and 3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions 50% by FY2030 from an FY2020 base year
increase annual sourcing of renewable electricity from 74% in FY2020 to 100% by FY2025.
We will annually report on progress.
Our carbon footprint data*
*Correct at time of publishing 18.07.22
Shoosmiths has reduced emissions where it is directly responsible (scopes 1 & 2). Shoosmiths’ scope 1 and 2 (market-based) emissions have decreased 56% since 2020/2021 and when compared against the 2019/2020 footprint, a 62% reduction.
The most significant change this year has been an increase in scope 3 emissions which has increased by 13% compared to the 2019/2020 baseline. Our planned 2021/2022 carbon reduction report will detail how we need to address emissions, in particular associated emissions with business travel, purchased goods and services, commute to work and home working.
The firm is an United Nations Global Compact participant – you can find the firm’s 2022 report, here.
Shoosmiths sponsored United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Network UK’s ‘Transitioning to Net Zero’ series of webinars which ran from July to October 2021 in the lead up to COP26. Each webinar related to a specific industry and covered Finance, IT, Built Environment, Energy and Utilities, Extractives, Retail, Manufacturing, Professional Services and Transport. Our chairperson Peter Duff, joined the panel for the Professional Series webinar.
Shoosmiths also spearheaded a series of its own ESG reports, sharing some of our own thinking, as well as that of our clients and other experts, on how consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance factors will increasingly impact the way we all do business. This series was spearheaded in FY21-22 and you can read these, here.
Our ambition is to build a diverse and ambitious workforce that reflects all backgrounds and talents and create a workplace that is supportive and inclusive, which recognises and nurtures talent, and has a strong sense of community. This approach underpins everything we do, and how we work with our colleagues, clients, and communities.
In this last year Shoosmiths partnered with ‘Getting on Board’, to encourage colleagues to develop their skills and contribute to their local community.
In June 2021, the Shoosmiths Foundation was launched as a grant making body working to help address societal issues, to empower sustainable change and to improve the lives of the people and the environment in the UK.
The Shoosmiths Foundation offers grants in three areas:
advance social mobility in the legal sector, and across the UK, in line with the Shoosmiths Social Mobility Action Plan. 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
Funding to the End Youth Homelessness Employability Fund will provide circa 2,174 hours of employability support from Employability Coaches and help circa 41 young people back into Employment, Education or Training (EET).
“Between October 2021 – March 2022, our target was to support 17 young people into employment, education or training using funding from the Shoosmiths Foundation. In fact, we were able to support 25 young people into education, employment and training. We also asked young people how they felt since engaging with the Employability Fund. 87% said they felt more confident and 85% reported feeling more positive about their future.” - Faye Edmondson, head of fundraising and communications, End Youth Homelessness
Funding to Street League will support 53 unemployed young people, living in some of the most deprived communities across Leeds and Sheffield, to gain qualifications they need to secure meaningful job opportunities.
“The two Street League teams operating in the Yorkshire region have made excellent progress to date and are seeing the fruits of the funding from Shoosmiths. Young people are accessing Street League’s Academy and building their confidence as they engage in daily physical fitness and develop their life skills and employability skills to prepare for the world of work. The qualifications they have achieved in English and maths have been an invaluable part of their development process to date.” - Nigel Mansfield, commercial director, Street League
You can find out more about the work of the Shoosmiths Foundation here and by watching our charity partner videos:
Supporting the Scottish Football Association with diversity in football
As of 2019 Shoosmiths has been engaged in a four-year deal with the Scottish Football Association (SFA) to support the training of at least 20 new referees and 200 new coaches in women’s youth and senior football by 2023.
“We are determined to increase participation levels from grassroots to the national team and show there is a pathway for women who want to enjoy their football and build a career in the game. That absolutely applies to coaching and refereeing, so it’s heartwarming to see the statistics. We still have a long way to go but we are moving in the right direction and that only makes us more determined to push on. Progression isn’t an overnight success story. It takes a lot of planning and even more hard work, but we’re also dependent on the support of dedicated partners like Shoosmiths – who have shown their commitment to the Scottish game. I hope – and believe – these numbers will only go one way and that’s something we can all be proud of.” - Fiona McIntyre, head of girls’ and women’s football at the Scottish FA
Volunteering case study
As part of our relationship with the Education Business Partnership (EBP) and in line with the firm’s Social Mobility Action Plan, colleagues in our Thames Valley office volunteer at events to help secondary school age children improve their interview skills and gain an insight into a legal career.
In so doing we are helping to develop the skills and ambitions of children, encouraging them to achieve their potential.
During the year activities included mock interviews, financial awareness and spotlight on careers events.
EBP has been bringing together education and business for over 25 years to inspire and equip our future workforce for tomorrow’s workplace.
“Working with Shoosmiths has been so valuable, Students have had some fantastic opportunities to hear about the law sector, how it works, how to find a role within that sector, Shoosmiths has been very keen to work with EBP and our schools.” - Lesley Stewart, developing skills team lead, EBP.
Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund
Now backed by 18 major law firms, including Shoosmiths, the Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund (SWSQF) has secured funding for a first cohort of 22 social welfare legal workers, selected from a competitive pool of applicants, to take the BARBRI prep course and qualify as solicitors. You can read more about our support of this initiative, here.
The firm has made donations to both the Disasters Emergency Committee and UK for UNHCR charity Ukraine Appeals. They remain on the ground in Ukraine, and neighbouring countries, and will continue to support those that have been forced to flee. The charities are in Ukraine and neighbouring countries meeting the needs of people affected by the conflict.
Diversity and Inclusion
Pay gap reporting
In March, the firm published its fifth pay gap report. As well as mandatory gender requirements, we have been voluntarily sharing ethnicity data since 2018.
This year we also introduced LGBT+ and socio-economic background data for the first time.
N.B. We regularly review data categories to enhance the quality of our reporting and for the last two years have published ‘White’ (rather than ‘White British’) and ‘BAME’. We want to make sure we are up to date on best practice and use of terminology so will continue to review and update our data categories (for examples when recognised alternatives to BAME are available)
In late 2021, Shoosmiths introduced new fertility and pregnancy loss policies, supported by intranet resources on our internal Wellbeing Hub. These pages feature signposting to the policies, how the firm can support, external resources, and personal experiences shared by colleagues.
Employees have also had access to a range of webinars on diversity, inclusion, and wellbeing topics and there have also been several sessions organised in collaboration with the firm’s employee-led inclusion networks, Balance, Proud and Embrace.
Topics have included ‘the challenges of colourism in the legal sector’, ‘leading by learning’, ‘breaking the bias’, and ‘intersectionality’.
Wellbeing webinars have proved very popular, including physio-led Pilates and sessions with The Sleep School. We also offered sessions on managing workplace mental health to line managers this year in association with Mental Health at Work.
We have been able to upskill leaders and managers in having conversations about mental health in their teams and have really enjoyed working with the firm’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Champions over this time, who show a real passion and enthusiasm for keeping the topic of mental health alive and active across the firm.
This last financial year, an election took place to determine the firm’s new CEO after Simon Boss announced his intention to step down from the position and on 1 May 2022, partner David Jackson took the reigns: David Jackson becomes Shoosmiths CEO
In this time Shoosmiths also announced its first GC in long-standing partner and former divisional head, Richard Follis (who took up his role on 1 May 2021).
The GC role was created to enhance focus on managing the increasing compliance burden required to support business activity and will take on the quality and risk responsibilities that currently sit with the chairperson. The GC will also formalise and build on the arrangements under which the firm’s own legal needs are served. More can be read, here: Shoosmiths’ personal advisory head to become UK firm’s first general counsel
The firm also appointed Vikas Shah MBE as a new non-executive director. Vikas joined the Shoosmiths Board alongside Monica Burch, who has been a non-executive director since 2018, and provides the Board with another expert external view to assist the firm’s strategic development. Vikas is an experienced entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist and visiting professor, with significant experience in the business-to-business sector and advises boards and coaches and mentors leaders working in large, complex, multi-stakeholder environments. You can read more, here.
Reciprocal mentoring aims to turn traditional mentoring on its head to open up a flow of knowledge and sharing of perspectives. In Shoosmiths’ programme, a more junior colleague takes the role of mentor and is paired with a senior leader as their mentee, the information flows are two way.
The Shadow Board mirrors the current structure of Shoosmiths’ senior management Board. Anyone working at Shoosmiths can apply for a place on the Shadow Board to review the same business topics that the Board regularly meets to discuss.
The Quality and Risk Directorate is responsible for giving business critical advice to the partners and employees and ensuring risks are identified and managed. The team is also responsible for ensuring compliance with new legislation, e.g., the extension of the Trusts Registration Service, the introduction of the Register of Overseas Entities. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) continues to be high on the agenda, the CEO and the director of quality and risk presented a webinar to all partners. The firm’s AML policies and procedures are regularly updated. We have recruited a head of risk management and a senior compliance manager to enhance the level of support available to the firm.
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.
The Shoosmiths financial year runs from 01 May 2021 to 30 April 2022.
Shoosmiths LLP is a leading law firm with 14 locations across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Belgium (Brussels). Clients include blue chip companies, leading financial institutions, public and private sector organisations and foreign owned corporates.
Our ESG (environmental, social and governance) aspiration is to be the leading law firm in the UK famous for its positive contribution to society. We work alongside likeminded organisations for a greater collective good and are keen to hear from organisations where we can collaborate and thereby escalate the pace of change.
Our international relationships have been built up over many years through membership of the World Services Group (WSG) and International Bar Association (IBA).