Pinsent Masons is one of the powerhouses of the Midlands, an international law firm with its roots in the regions. The firm has many long established and successful partners within its ranks who have spent their careers building the firm’s reputation and client base. James Brewster recently sat down with head of Pinsent Mason’s Birmingham office’s litigation practice Andrew Herring to find out more about his career and what the firm is looking for in their associates.
Tell us a little bit about your career journey?
It is perhaps unusual to spend your whole career to date at one firm in an age of increasingly fluid recruitment in the legal sector. Especially where job hopping and portfolio careers are more commonplace than ever before. I’ve spent my entire professional career at Pinsent Masons and have been very fortunate that it has satisfied all my career aspirations to date. It has always been a very well managed firm and provides a great environment to nurture talent working with some of the brightest and best lawyers across our international network.
The firm has given me the opportunities over the years to develop a broad commercial disputes practice and a deep specialism in helping commercial victims of fraud recover their financial losses through civil fraud litigation. This experience has included client secondments, taking external leadership roles such as Chair of the Midlands Fraud Forum and representing clients in multi-billion pound litigation and in cases up to and including the UK’s Supreme Court – all whilst being based close to my family. The variety and quality of work has enabled me to develop my professional and business skills on my career journey from trainee solicitor to my current role as head of our Birmingham office’s litigation practice.
What has your experience been of working at Pinsent Masons? / How has the firm changed/grown since you joined?
Since joining in 2005, Pinsent Masons has grown hugely from a heavyweight regional law firm to the international law firm we are today.Offering services from 26 locations on four continents and employing over 3,500 people – the firm prides itself on its global reach and local strength. Undoubtedly, the types of cases we support clients with has changed as the firm has developed over this period. We now advise on some of the most complex and challenging disputes and compete with the largest global law firms.
What is the current recruitment strategy within litigation and where do you think you’ll need further headcount?
Our external recruitment strategy is designed to complement our internal strategy for developing and promoting talent internally. We invest in our teams and have a first-class training and career development programme that is closely aligned with Pinsent Masons’ sector-led strategy. In recent years, it is no secret that the buoyant legal market in London and wage inflation has placed pressure on law firm teams based outside London in the UK. We therefore often look externally to fill key positions at different levels in the team based on business need, to ensure we have the right bench-strength in all our locations and to help develop new specialisms to support our clients and grow our business.
How do you think the firm’s expectations for associates and senior associates has changed in recent years and how do you think this has impacted recruitment?
Whilst new ways of working and new technologies have changed some aspects of the job, the fundamentals for associates and senior associates have remained remarkably consistent over the years. Pinsent Masons places great emphasis on the quality of its lawyers, which is reflected in the firm’s very high representation of ranked lawyers in the UK legal directories when compared with other law firms. That said, we are looking to recruit the future leaders of the profession and we look to recruit people willing to go the extra mile, to learn new skills, be a team player, exercise good commercial judgment and have a ‘can do’ attitude.
Why do you like to use a specialist legal recruiter?
We have found that specialist legal recruiters are essential for identifying a diverse selection of candidates who meet our particular requirements. They can really help us to tap into talent pools which would otherwise be very hard to reach. Particularly at the senior lawyer level, a good relationship with the right legal recruiter can make all the difference in finding the special person who will be the right fit to join our teams and be a long-term success.