Mishcon boss Gold: How to grow a firm without losing culture
Natasha Bernal
The Lawyer
25 August 2016

Mishcon boss Gold: How to grow a firm without losing culture

Mishcon de Reya managing partner Kevin Gold explains how his firm managed to increase turnover by 170 per cent in eight years without losing its core culture ahead of speaking at The Lawyer’s Business Leadership Summit 2016.

Can you foster and encourage growth without disrupting your firm?

I think we have fostered and encouraged growth without disrupting the firm. In July, Mishcon de Reya’s average profit per equity partner (PEP) hit £1m for the first time. We have increased turnover by more than 170 per cent since 2009, when revenue stood at £47.3m. In that same time period, we have more than doubled the number of our people, and we continue to thrive.

Last year alone, we converted to LLP status, and moved into our Africa House office. Growth and consistency are not mutually exclusive.

Looking ahead, we are expecting even more change.

That’s why this year we’ve set out our 10-year vision. This was developed with input from all individuals across the firm in order to have a sustainable, well managed and profitable business. It is as much about what we want to preserve as what we want to grow, recognising that in an ever changing world we must adapt to remain relevant.

How do you maintain a culture when you are growing?

We have over 700 people now and we see growth as a very positive thing – we like to share in our successes as a firm. However maintaining our culture through rapid growth is one of the biggest challenges we face.

We are, and always have been, a values focused business – our core values are at the heart of everything we do and we live them in the day to day running of the business. We believe in diversity, respect, open-mindedness, innovation, integrity and frankness and have a constant appetite for continual self-improvement. And we love our people. By always being led by our core values, we are able to maintain the culture that has defined the firm.

Our graduate recruitment programme is specifically designed to attract people who will live the core values. It’s not an accident that on the list of core competencies we look for in a trainee “generosity of spirit” comes before “motivation” and “drive”. The graduate recruitment campaign and process is geared towards selecting the best people to forge the firm’s future, and we invest a lot of time and energy in getting this right. We know a Mishcon person when we meet them.

Once we find our people, we want them to feel valued and to stay with us, so we invest in them. In 2014 we were the first law firm to roll out an agile working protocol – part of Mishcon Works –enabling our people to manage their time in a way that suits them and their personal needs. Our flexible working scheme relates to a range of working practices and arrangements and can, for example, include part-time working, job sharing, home working, flexi-time, term-time working and annualised hours.

In 2014 we launched the Academy – our in-house place of learning – which has a programme of lectures, seminars and courses specifically designed to promote the potential of each individual. It was created to improve how we capture, develop and disseminate our institutional knowledge, and to champion our social impact work and lead new thinking. This is helping us to maintain our culture and to continue to prioritise the things that make us Mishcon.

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