Setfords encourages collaboration in many ways. Each quarter, the entire company gathers (in-person and via Microsoft Teams) for what we call a ‘Town Hall’ meeting. This is an interactive event over breakfast, hosted in a lively manner, which delivers important company news and a mix of lighter updates, awards and rewards, and multiple contributions from all areas of the business, at every level. Feeding into Town Hall updates are different teams made up of groups of employees who meet more regularly: The Green Team – which monitors our carbon footprint; The Social Committee – which manages events and charity activity; The Diversity Team – focussed on inclusivity.
Setfords shares strategy and key company results with employees to maintain a focus on where the company is headed, and what the ambition is. The leadership, led by Co-CEOs Chris Setford and Guy Setford, work hard to maintain a high level of engagement around future goals. There is a very clear ambition of growing the business and continuing to lead where others follow in its segment of the UK legal industry, which creates positivity among employees and consultants and attracts new recruits. The company’s ‘superbrand’ objective has created a lively dynamic and means there is a clear, long-term goal everyone can visualise.
With a Diversity Committee that meets regularly made up of employees drawn from all levels, Setfords is able to maintain regular input when it comes to creating an inclusive workplace for everyone. The firm has recently completed a series of cultural diversity workshops, which were attended by every employee at Setfords. The objective was to ensure that Setfords is a safe space for people to feel they can speak up when needed in the knowledge that they are encouraged to do so and supported by the senior leadership team. Setfords has an ‘Allyship Promise’ which has been signed by our employees, led by our Co-CEOs Chris Setford and Guy Setford, who were the first to put their signatures to this document. The document contains a series of pledges covering respect, positive action to prevent discrimination and empathy.
Professional development has enabled Setfords to promote regularly from within, allowing employees who have joined the company in one role to develop and progress their careers with the business as they have grown, and as the company has expanded. Processes are well established company-wide that maintain regular reviews and feedback sessions with employees which identify areas for development and training. As well as professional development, Setfords has created a workplace where personal development is also key. We provide access to workshops on topics like mental health, the menopause and personal finance. We encourage people to take time to pause and reflect, supported by meditation sessions and a growing team of mental health first aiders. A fully-funded restaurant creates a strong social community and event space, and there is access to a free gym and personal trainer for everyone at Setfords.
Setfords has worked hard to create values that really embody the company’s vision and mission while also making sure they are embedded and understood throughout the company by everyone. We regularly recognise and reward people within the business who go above and beyond in their work and in their specific role or team. Reward and recognition are linked very closely with company values, so that they are seen to be lived and breathed in the day-to-day work that people do. Our regular group meetings reinforce these values, and in our internal commuications – such as regular newsletters and special events – and we always look for ways to tie activity to core company values.
2023 in particular has seen Setfords recognised by a number of external award schemes and accreditations that have highlighted how the firm has built an admired and cherished workplace. Setfords has empowered its employees and consultant lawyers to help create a much-loved, inclusive and and caring working environment. From confidential access to fully trained mental health first aiders, to inviting family members to come in to Setfords for lunch and see what we’re all about, there are many ongoing activities and events that have created a strong bond with employees. With dogs in the office on Wednesdays, craft workshops, meditiation sessions, a hugely popular book club, there is a lively social scene, as well as many opportunities for employees to get involved in supporting the local community and local charities.
Setfords has Co-CEOs – Chris Setford and Guy Setford. As the founders of the business, and also the architects of a new and disruptive law firm business model in the UK, Chris and Guy are passionate about the business and its long-term ambition to become a legal superbrand. Together, they lead the business and encourage and empower the senior management team to embody the company values and inspire these values in the teams they lead and manage. Highly visible and accessible within the business, Chris and Guy encourage direct communication with everyone in the company, while also maintaining a high profile externally in the legal industry and wider business community to promote Setfords’ unique proposition.
One of the most popular perks for employees and consultant lawyers is access to a fully-funded bistro. Called Unc’s Place (named after a late and much loved Setfords family member), the bistro delivers two food services five days per week; breakfast from 8am and then lunch, with snacks and refreshments available all day long. Food choices cater for all dietary options and there is an accent on good, healthy nutritional choices. Almost as popular is a well-equipped gym open from 6.30am until late and, additionally, a funded personal trainer who is available by appointment for one-to-ones and who also runs many group sessions. With respect to pay and benefits, Setfords is attracting lawyers (some 450+ to date) with its compelling offer of an attractive share of fees combined with working remotely and flexibly.
Founded in 2006, Setfords was the first full-service law firm in the UK to launch a consultancy model. Setfords has reinvented how lawyers work and how legal services are delivered. The firm’s model, which has consultant lawyers working on a fee-share basis, sets the benchmark for innovative ways of working in the legal industry. Setfords uses an innovative connect-and-work technology platform, combined with a market-leading support and a commitment to investing in staff development, enabling lawyers to provide outstanding service to clients. Setfords has grown into a multi-million-pound business with more than 450 lawyers, supported by 138 full-time employees.
Setfords Law Limited, 74 North Street, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Co-CEO Chris Setford and Co-CEO Guy Setford
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