This philosophy plays out in the fact that everyone across the firm is important and valued. As Debbie Charman, who is our longest-serving member of the team, with 38 years at CooperBurnett, says: “The firm has always had a ‘family’ feel to it; you’re not ‘just an employee’ and I am proud to still be part of the team.”
Traditionally, law has been a very hierarchical profession. If you visited a law firm in the 1980s, partners would be behind closed doors – probably on a different floor – and they’d typically have their own executive dining room.
Times have changed but some law firms remain quite tiered. Here at CooperBurnett, our approach is different. While we have a management team and there’s definitely a route of progression through the firm, we have a fairly flat structure and all the partners pride themselves on being approachable with an open-door policy.
This was something Associate Solicitor, Ayla Clissold, who joined our Residential Property team a year ago noticed at her first meeting.
“What struck me is how supportive and forward-thinking CooperBurnett is as a firm,” she explained. “This came across in my initial interview with Joseph [Oates] and Victoria [Sampson], as they were just so open and friendly.”
When we talk to newer members of the team, they are united in telling us what a friendly and welcoming team we are. The atmosphere is supportive and an absence of hierarchy defines the working environment. The firm’s management is communicative and welcomes feedback, which encourages trust.
Trust is absolutely key and this is built by supporting team members to be open with us and share any concerns, problems or questions they might have. This minimises risk. We’ve all made mistakes during our working life. Every single one of us has sent an email to the wrong person or made a bad judgement call.
Here at CooperBurnett, we encourage our team to feel comfortable asking any question – however ‘silly’ they might seem. And, if somebody makes a mistake, we’d rather know and work together to minimise the risk. It does all come down to trust.