The employment law team at commercial law firm, Howes Percival has been growing rapidly over the last few years. Within its Northampton and Milton Keynes offices, the team has recruited two new solicitors over the last 18 months. This article looks at their approach to recruitment and training and how that may assist other businesses in the region:
Recruiting the right people is critical to the success of any business. At Howes Percival this means ensuring that any new recruits are fully aligned to the culture, values and behaviours which have been embedded in its business.
“When recruiting for another solicitor to join our Northampton/Milton Keynes team back in 2019, we were keen to attract a range of different applicants and tried not to be too prescriptive about our requirements,” said Northampton-based partner, Graham Irons. “The key quality for us was someone with a can-do attitude with great people skills who will work well within our team and our client base. I am a firm believer that someone can learn their trade, so long as they have the required key academic credentials or experience, but it’s much harder to train someone to have a thirst for knowledge, a drive to develop and a proactive way of working.
“When we interviewed newly qualified Sobia Ahmad (who joined the team in September 2019) it was very clear she had all of those attributes. Since her recruitment we have invested a lot of time in training and supporting Sobia, which has been incredibly rewarding with her now working as a key member of the team helping us to deliver great service to all clients. And of course, she is winning new clients herself now, too!”
Howes Percival has a strong focus on ‘home grown’ talent and a very successful record of recruiting and retaining trainee solicitors. Indeed, many of those trainees are now partners, including Milton Keynes-based employment partner, Simon deMaid. Therefore, when it came to recruiting new solicitors into the employment team, the firm was able to take on two of its trainees, one to be based in its Norwich office and one in Milton Keynes.
Simon DeMaid said: “We put a lot of effort into attracting the best trainee solicitors on the market and our training programme is second to none. It is, therefore, a shame to lose trainees on qualification as we’ve invested so much time and effort in developing their skills and experience during their two years as a trainee. I’ve always believed the perfect blend within any law firm is a balance between home grown talent, who understand the firm and its culture, and external hires, who bring new ideas and fresh ways of thinking with them.
“It was, therefore, incredibly exciting to be able to invite our trainee, Alex Sims, to join the employment team in Milton Keynes as an Associate upon his qualification as a solicitor in September 2020. As he trained with us, we already knew Alex would be a great new addition to the team – he understands the way the firm works and knows how important our culture and values are to us. He is also incredibly hard working and has shown a real eagerness to help support the employment team and its clients across the region”.
Director Hannah Pryce works between Howes Percival’s Northampton and Milton Keynes offices and has now worked with the firm for over ten years.
She said: “From the moment I joined the firm, I immediately felt that my career was not just something that was important to me, but to the firm as well. Training and career progression has been actively encouraged at all times, with plenty of opportunities to build on my learning. As part of this, the firm has recently introduced an online learning management system, providing access to up to date, user friendly resources, meaning we can select those courses which best suit our learning needs at any time.”
The Employment Team has again retained its top tier status in the Legal 500 publication which rates law firms through peer and client feedback.
Graham Irons reflects that: “This is really down to having a great team and a focus on continual development with fast, practical and easy-to-understand advice at the core of what we do. Recruiting the right people and creating a culture in which they can flourish must be the key for any business.”
Howes Percival must be doing something right – in 2020 the firm was ranked in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list, which celebrates excellence in workplace engagement and is widely acknowledged as the most extensive research into employee engagement carried out in the UK.
To find out more about Howes Percival, call Northampton 01604 230400 or Milton Keynes 01908 672682 or visit www.howespercival.com