Kennedys bucks the trend as it presses ahead with salary increases and bonuses

We are very pleased to announce that our annual global salary increases that were postponed from May for non-lawyer staff and from September for lawyers, will go ahead in November.

The firm took the prudent decision to pause these reviews to allow the Board to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on the business. However, we have now taken the decision to press ahead and reward staff for their work.

The salary increases are performance based and apply to all eligible fee-earning and business services staff.

In June the firm reported record turnover of £238m for the financial year 2019/20, a 9% increase on the previous 12 months as we continued to execute our growth strategy. During this period we also launched Kennedys IQ, a separate technology driven company whose purpose is to be “Kennedys, without the lawyers”.

It gives me immense satisfaction and pride to lead a partnership which chooses to reward our staff during what is a challenging time for so many businesses.

Nick Thomas, Senior Partner

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The firm has prioritised job security for all staff as a primary objective over the last six months. We are one of only a few firms not to announce any redundancies, reduce staff hours, cut pay or place any staff on the Government’s furlough scheme during the pandemic. The firm also confirmed very early on that it would honour all staff bonus commitments this year.

Under lockdown, the firm also opened a new office – its 39th - in San Francisco by welcoming a four-partner team from Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP. We also moved offices in Melbourne in March.

The firm is also honouring all trainee and apprenticeship positions this year, with 27 trainees joining the firm this month and 11 apprentices joining in September, including for the first time two claims apprentices. Trainees will start their contracts via a virtual induction but will be welcomed to their new office locations from September as they begin to open up, subject to local Government guidance. Kennedys has one of the highest trainee retention rates in the market, with 91% this year.  

The pioneer of legal apprenticeships, our commitment to supporting and developing the next generation of lawyers has seen the firm recruit 84 apprentices in the eight years it has been running its apprenticeship programme – 75% of whom have remained with the firm.

In May, we also announced an alternative route to qualifying as a solicitor that allows UK graduates to begin earning immediately under the Solicitors Qualifying Exam being introduced next year. Just last week the firm revealed that over 2,400 students had already signed up to its new virtual work experience programme.

Nick Thomas, Senior Partner of Kennedys, says: “It gives me immense satisfaction and pride to lead a partnership which chooses to reward our staff during what is a challenging time for so many businesses. But the reality is that they’ve earned it and deserve it having demonstrated their ability to maintain productivity remotely, helped by our robust IT platforms. As a business we live and breathe by ‘doing the right thing’ for our people and our clients, and we will never lose sight of the fact that our success is down to our people.

“We make these increases partly off the back of an excellent financial year, but also with an eye on further success. We’re certainly not immune to the challenges of the pandemic, but we are a strong, well-run business and will proceed this year with a combination of cautious optimism and a focus on continued growth.”

During the pandemic, we also launched a number of new initiatives to enhance the experience and wellbeing of our people.

Managing Partner, Suzanne Liversidge says: “The Board have had people at the forefront of our agenda throughout the pandemic. And we’ve worked hard to maintain a strong sense of community and support through our culture and values.

“There’s been a real sense of ‘We’re all in this together’ and we’ve seen some amazing creativity and humour with our video series Kennedys@home whereby teams all over the world shared messages and photos.

“We’ve also run some terrific global initiatives including a series of webinars called Let’s Start the Conversation which draws upon the experiences of external guest speakers on a wide range of societal issues. Guest speakers have helped us explore a range of topics including broadcaster and Asperger’s champion Alex Manners on dealing with disability at work, writer and LGBTQ brand ambassador Finlay Games on gender transitioning and Rose St Louis of KPMG on diversity and Black Lives Matter.”

During lockdown the firm also launched a global wellness series, where staff are able to participate in virtual meditation and yoga sessions. Sessions are run throughout the day to reach people in all time zones and have been hugely popular.