One more thing
A candidate to become the next Managing Partner of Clifford Chance has submitted a 'vision paper' in which he claims the firm can become the "most vibrant, happy and uplifting place to work in the world".
Jonathan Kewley, 40, is the co-head of the firm's tech practice and appears to have drawn inspiration from his Silicon Valley clients. Each of the ten steps of his plan, which is written "from a joyful place", is punctuated with an emoji, and brims with the kind of weapons-grade enthusiasm more often associated with the launch of a smartwatch than a bid to manage a law firm.
His manifesto converts verbs into nouns in the style of a tech visionary, describing how the pandemic means "we are witnessing a historic moment of pivot" which "is also a moment of lift for our business".
According to Kewley, who is facing off against incumbent Michael Bates, the pandemic has meant "we've become happier", which may come as a surprise to anyone who's been depressed in their flat for two years, or died.
His focus on the upsides of Covid may be lost on associates enduring punishing hours in CC's structured finance team, but his ideas for the future will be welcomed as a conversation starter, at the very least.
Kewley argues that hybrid working has "allowed us to live a more blended, authentic life" and is the firm's "most powerful retention tool". He proposes a new mantra for the firm, "Flexible Forever", which is likely to appeal to young lawyers in favour of a better work/life balance and older colleagues seeking to stay limber.
US firms frequently tempt lawyers away from the Magic Circle with larger salaries and bonuses, but the CC partner has a plan to combat their raids. Happiness is "more than just money", and "this is where we take the battle to US firms", he writes.
"Happiness = Belonging", explains Kewley. "We're in a race to continue to pay more, but the real race should be to make people feel loved, and that they belong. How do you do this? We need more Magic Dust in this Magic Circle".
Kewley's 'Magic Dust' includes unique benefits such as "sponsorship for passion projects and hobbies" and books "sent to you when they're published by your favourite author", as well as team "micro-retreats" which happen "in cool places we might not have thought of".
"Think small changes which capture start-up energy", enthuses the partner, "All overseen by a Chief Happiness Officer".
Kewley concedes that "sometimes it is" about the money, and so the firm also needs to be able to award larger bonuses to star performers "to make US firms less immediately attractive".
Junior associates could benefit from "2 minute TED talks" which pop up on their computer screens, suggests Kewley, and the firm should also partner with Harvard Business School so every associate can be enrolled on a "mini CC MBA". That idea is punctuated with an explosion emoji, neatly capturing the reaction of partners when they're asked to fund a course to convert their workhorses into independent-minded entrepreneurs.
A Clifford Chance lawyer told RollOnFriday the manifesto was "hilarious" and "deranged", so it's already made at least one of them happier. Another source at the firm suggested that Kewley's vision was a positive example of how an open culture at Clifford Chance allowed space for different voices.
Standing atop his metaphorical desk, Kewley's vision climaxes with a stirring call for action that wouldn’t be amiss in an airline advert: "Let’s surprise, let’s delight, let’s dream. And then let’s watch our business fly higher than we ever possibly imagined".
Share the vision: