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Happy workforce key to Gardner Leader’s growth

125-year-old law firm expanding fast and offers staff unlimited paid holiday scheme

Happy workforce key to Gardner Leader’s growth

Law firm Gardner Leader has announced plans to expand its offices in Newbury as it celebrates 125 years of doing business in Berkshire.

Since 2013, the company has more than doubled its revenue and now employs around 130 staff and 20 partners – including 70 people in Newbury and Thatcham alone.

Within this time it has also acquired two other law firms and has also just opened its fourth office in London.

And later this year, subject to planning permission being approved, it will expand into the former RBS branch building next to its current offices in the Market Place.

Managing partner Derek Rodgers believes that a happy workforce is key to the firm’s success.

Last year, the company followed in the footsteps of major international organisations such as Virgin and Netflix by introducing an unlimited paid holiday scheme following an internal trial.

Mr Rodgers says it has had positive results for the business and workforce alike.

He said: “We have grown a lot over the last few years and have been looking at different ways of bringing people in and being as flexible as we can.

“The people we have here are just fantastic, we’ve got a great team and it keeps on growing.

“In terms of the flexible holiday scheme, we do not count the number of days holiday people have had or are asking for and it has not resulted in a massive change.”

The firm is in the process of launching both a learning academy and mentoring scheme and last year became one of the first law firms in Berkshire to launch its own diverse and inclusive ‘Back to Law’ programme – helping lawyers get back into private practice after a career break and regain their confidence and skills.

Mr Rodgers, who started his career in the North East of England before moving to Newbury in 1995, said: “The one thing that stands out for me is there are a lot of young people working here now compared to when I joined, which is great and adds a whole different dimension.

“The industry has changed a lot in the time I have been here. The competition is tougher now, as is the regulation, so it’s important not to be complacent and always look at ways you can improve the client experience.”

The firm has won a host of awards in recent years, including two at the 2018 Newbury Weekly News Best in Business Awards.

Speaking about the firm’s success, Mr Rodgers said: “If you have got happy staff, you have got happy clients. That’s the way I look at it.”

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