IN an Australian first, Freehills is introducing a new executive counsel role providing an alternative career path for the firm’s senior lawyers.
The new role will play an adjunct-leadership function within the firm, with a particular focus on people and team leadership, legal and practice management, client relationships, and project management.
“We see the role as a vital key in ensuring that we keep our talented people, allowing a variety of options for career fulfilment,” Chief Executive and Managing Partner Gavin Bell said.
“We have spent almost a year undertaking internal and international research to identify a new distinctive role for those highly skilled individuals who want to progress from Senior Associate and make a meaningful contribution to the success of the firm, without taking on all the responsibilities of partnership.”
Mr Bell said that Freehills’ examination of other professional services firms showed that while there were some roughly equivalent positions in large commercial law firms overseas, there was no equivalent in any Australian firms.
“It is especially important to remain innovative during a downturn to position Freehills for the market turnaround,” he said.
“To offer the best legal talent it’s also important to recognise that we are competing as much internationally as in Australia.”
From 1 July 2009 the Executive Counsel role will become available, rewarding and recognising individuals who have excellent technical management and relationship skills. The role is separate from and additional to Special Counsel which recognises lawyers who have industry leading recognition in highly specialised legal areas.
The leadership and business management functions that the role will be responsible for will help practices run even more effectively, ultimately enhancing the firm’s exceptional service to clients.
Freehills will announce the first tranche of Executive Counsel in late June when new Partners, Special Counsel and Senior Associates will also be announced.