17 September 2019

Pinsent Masons in double innovation

Launch of two innovative programmes sees inclusive decision-making and virtual internships move up the agenda at Pinsent Masons.

By Dr David Cowan

Pinsent Masons Shutterstock

Pinsent Masons has launched the "Spark Board" to bring a new perspective to strategic decision-making at the firm. The Spark Board is tasked by Pinsent Masons’ global board with considering and presenting its views and solutions on a number of advisory projects as directed by the firm’s board.

Pushing boundaries

The Spark Board will be tasked with selecting a number of 'big picture thinking' projects of its own choosing and making recommendations to the board. The aim of the Spark Board is to support an inclusive approach to strategic decision-making, ensuring the firm’s main board benefits from perspectives from outside as well as within the partnership. The composition of the Spark Board will ensure that viewpoints from different generations, geographies and job roles are represented when the board considers different propositions. The Spark Board consists of eight individuals, all of whom are below the level of partner, legal director or director of business operations. The firm invited applications from across its global business for positions over the summer, receiving 130 applications from across its network of offices. Philippa Ward, a solicitor in Pinsent Masons' London corporate team who first raised the idea with the firm's management, says “The average age of the members of the firm’s two primary leadership committees, the board and opscom, is 20-30 years older than the most common age group of the people in our firm. The Spark Board was born from a recognition that, whether you are a lawyer, a fee earner in another discipline or a specialist in an area of business operations, you can offer a different way of thinking and alternative expertise on the big issues.” Richard Foley, senior partner commented, “As we continue to transition our business we know our decision-making needs to be informed by the widest possible range of talents within our business. If we want our business to work better we have to be prepared to push a few boundaries and that includes around key decision making.”

Virtual internship

Pinsent Masons has also launched a virtual internship enabling students to gain valuable experience of working as a lawyer within its business. The online course was developed by a team of lawyers to give students regardless of level of qualification, location or previous experience, a unique opportunity to undertake tasks typically managed by junior lawyers during the lifecycle of a transaction. The bespoke internship has been specifically developed by Pinsent Masons' lawyers to create an experience that mirrors historic matters. Launching in Australia, and as a 12 month pilot in the UK, the online experience enables a diverse range of talent to access the opportunities available to them at the firm. “Securing internships and placements at top law firms is highly competitive, and for some individuals coming from certain backgrounds or locations, they can feel even more inaccessible,” said Deborah McCormack, head of early talent.

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