Member spotlight: Stephens Scown

Stephens Scown, which has a diverse client offer including property, corporate, family, litigation, dispute resolution and private client services, became employee owned in May this year.

The firm employs more than 290 legal professionals based in offices across Devon and Cornwall.

Their move to employee ownership followed several years of planning and discussion on establishing an employee ownership model that reflects the culture of the firm; that every employee, in every role, plays a significant part in its success.

The scheme an indirect model, which means the company is wholly owned by an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), was necessary to satisfy the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority). The company is wholly owned by an EOT which benefits all staff, and features employee elected trustees.

The aim of the firm giving its staff an equal share of the firm’s profits is to give a powerful motivation for them to positively influence the growth and success of the business.

The employee ownership model is central to the firm’s values structure and compliments its commitment to exceptional employee engagement with the guiding principle that contented, engaged and valued staff deliver a better service for customers.

Throughout the process, plans were discussed and shared with staff from early stages of planning, right through to the final decisions, to ensure that employees were fully engaged and on board with the scheme. Sharing information and maintaining a constant, open dialogue with staff is something that Stephens Scown makes a priority.

Managing partner, Robert Camp (pictured), said: “One of the key benefits is that staff feel more engaged. It is particularly important that everyone feels part of the same team and pulls together.

“It makes no difference if someone is in a fee earning position, or a support role, their contributions to the firm are equally important, and now their share of the profits will be too.”

Stephens Scown is reaping the rewards as one of the first large law firms in the UK to create an Employee Ownership Scheme through greater staff engagement. It featured in the EOA Top 50 this year, which has further increased the company’s profile and alongside the firm’s transition to employee ownership has brought about a great deal of interest from clients and other professionals as well as considerable interest from people wanting to join the firm, in particular new graduate recruits.