Lucy Hargreaves, gunnercooke

Just three years ago Lucy Hargreaves joined law firm gunnercooke as its first People Development Manager with the aim of fostering a unifying, dynamic culture that challenged expectations of a law firm.

"Fostering a unifying, dynamic culture that challenged expectations of a law firm"

She arrived at a firm that had grown rapidly from a two-person start up to a full-service corporate and commercial law firm, with 200 partners and offices in London, Manchester and Leeds. Its innovative model enables lawyers to work all over the country, building up their own practices with core support teams based in Manchester and London.

While this gives partners the ability to be entrepreneurial and free from the constraints of the traditional law firm hierarchy, it also creates a number of challenges, not least the need for excellent central support and an effective way of bringing people together to bond.

Lucy came up with innovative and practical solutions. She introduced social network Yammer to encourage communication between partners. As many of the office based teams were relatively new, she established a lively social calendar with team building exercises. A weekly Big Breakfast was created, including Partner Question Time where a partner joins the office teams to describe their work, clients and home lives and the teams learn how they can improve their support offering.

In addition, there’s a weekly reward system for those who go the extra mile. And Lucy took the firm’s annual symposium up a notch, introducing inspirational speakers, flash choirs and even getting colleagues to learn the haka.

gunnercooke has increased revenue by 20% in the last year and Lucy has been a vital cog in its success. She has been promoted to Head of People and Culture. Net Promoter Score is +85 (compared to a legal sector average of +29,) while staff satisfaction in the support team is at 8.5/10. Her commitment has not only seen her recognised internally but now she can rightly add the Business Culture Ambassador Award to her accolades.