Kingsley Napley sets out September office return as it moves to new London home
Top 100 UK firm abandons designated offices under flexible plan for Shoreditch headquarters
London firm Kingsley Napley has set out a September return-to-office plan for its lawyers and staff, allowing for a greater degree of flexible working in its new London headquarters, which opens for business this week.
The move takes the firm’s 70 partners, 231 fee earners and 133 staff members to the heart of Shoreditch where it will occupy six floors of Twenty Bonhill after 27 years operating across three office buildings in Clerkenwell. The new space was designed with collaboration and activity-based working in mind, the firm said, by allowing lawyers and staff to choose their work spaces according to their different needs.
Following the move, which will take place on a phased basis over the summer, the firm’s lawyers and staff will no longer have designated offices, and will instead have access to the premises’ shared spaces, private working rooms and pods, dedicated case rooms, silent libraries and collaboration areas.
In light of the pandemic, the new space will include ‘digitally superior’ conference room facilities designed to streamline at-home and in-office meeting experiences.
Linda Woolley, managing partner of Kingsley Napley, said the move will allow for a fresh start for the firm, allowing its people to come back together in a new collaborative environment after adapting to remote working conditions forced by the pandemic.
“The centre of gravity of Kingsley Napley will continue to be the office and we now have accommodation to be proud of which is right for the times, has room for growth and demonstrates our confidence in the future,” she said.
To coincide with the relocation, the firm will also be adopting a new brand identity, incorporating the phrase ‘when it matters most’ into its branding and communications, which the firm said reflects its commitment to helping its clients with challenging issues and situations with ‘deep personal significance’, especially as works to adapt to shifting client needs in a post-Covid world.
Under the new flexible working policy, the firm’s lawyers and staff will be expected to spend three days of the working week in the office — or the equivalent of 40-60% of their time calculated on a pro-rata basis — starting in September, allowing for the firm’s workforce to have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccination.
The firm signed a 15-year lease on Twenty Bonhill in 2019, and had already been planning a transition to a higher degree of agile working once it moved to its new premises, regardless of the pandemic.
On the return-to-office policy, Jemimah Cook, director of human resources at Kingsley Napley, said: “We now want to retain the option of flexibility for people, trusting them to make the decision about where the best place is to conduct their work on a daily basis, whilst at the same time recognising that there is a positive case for office attendance for team working, developing and supporting relationships, and sharing knowledge and ideas, as well as for training, learning, supervision and development.”
Cook added: “We have undertaken, and will continue to take, regular feedback exercises on our new agile working approach; however I am confident it will be supported in a way that works for everyone.”
Other firms recently announcing return-to-work policies for their UK workforces include Hogan Lovells and Clifford Chance, while Reed Smith, Goodwin Procter and White & Case recently outlined their office return policies for their lawyers and staff in the US.