Pinsent Masons defines itself as “Approachable. Bold. Connected”. With commercial law firms moving away from the traditional law firm model to distinguish themselves, how do aspiring lawyers and clients know this is not simply a catchy collection of buzzwords?
Having spent three weeks at Pinsent Masons, I can confirm this is not an empty slogan.
The stereotype that commercial lawyers spend endless hours in the office is one that many law firms have been trying to disprove.
Pinsent Masons, as with other firms, does this by offering employees the opportunity to work from home one day per week. However, many law firms have a culture of presenteeism, where working from home is seen as ‘slacking’. At Pinsent Masons, using this day to work from home is considered the norm, and doing so entails no judgment whatsoever.
Additionally, if personal reasons mean you need to be in a different city within the UK, you can simply book a desk within another Pinsent Masons office and work there. Overall, the general culture is that as long as you complete your work to a high standard, it doesn’t matter which location you are working from.
Working in a commercial law firm can be stressful, but Pinsent Masons combats this through various mindfulness and social activities such as: yoga classes every Monday; a monthly book club which consists of surprisingly little reading and a lot of pizza and wine; casual wear Fridays and; end of month drinks.
Pinsent Masons has been commended as one of the most innovative law firms in Europe and retains this title by inviting employees to submit innovative ideas through the company intranet and apply for innovation hours to develop them. These may then be adopted on a firm-wide scale. This shows Pinsent Masons genuinely cares about the views of employees at all levels, and that there is no hierarchy where ideas suggested by non-partners are swept under the rug. There is also a wealth of innovative technology used to streamline processes. The most distinctive example of this is High Q, an extranet used by clients to view the progress of their case.
Pinsent Masons genuinely values its connection with clients. Many clients have a relationship team consisting of partners, associates and trainees from various sectors, which not only allows the client to access a diverse range of skills but also gives trainees significant client exposure. The use of SmartDelivery also improves the relationship between the firm and clients by providing an innovative suite of people, processes and technologies which is tailored for that client and gives them more for less.
Having a relationship with the community is also important to Pinsent Masons, as the firm does not view CSR as simply a ‘tick box’ exercise. For example, employees of all levels are encouraged to assist in a partner primary school once per month, which I also volunteered to be involved in during my Vacation Placement. Pinsent Masons also engages in a wealth of other CSR work, but this stood out to me as a regular commitment which refutes the typical ‘tick box’ exercise.
Overall, Pinsent Masons leads by example, ensuring their values at the core of every step they take.
Just as the second lockdown struck, so approached application deadlines for vacation placements. So, here’s an overview of how I got to know Pinsent Masons virtually.
Read about Taylor's experience of our Virtual Vacation Scheme
Anne Sammon is an Employment & Reward Partner in London. Anne has significant experience in tribunal and high-court litigation in areas including discrimination, unfair dismissal and whistleblowing.