However, we are committed to introducing and improving support systems wherever we can see real benefits for our lawyers and our clients.
We have Professional Support Lawyers (PSLs) in every department. Their primary function is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our lawyers. The PSLs are responsible for our training, managing our know-how, helping to keep us up to date with legal and practice developments, and for maintaining our extensive bank of precedent documents. Their roles vary depending on the requirements of their particular departments. However, unusually amongst our competitors, all our PSLs have many years' experience as practising fee-earning lawyers, so they understand our needs and those of our clients.
We have long been admired by our competitors for the quality of the lawyers we produce. The Lawyer has described us as 'a breeding ground for some of the best lawyers in the City'. We believe that the best type of training is carried out at the coalface by partners. Our room-share arrangements facilitate active partner involvement, encouragement and support - personal coaching in the context of "hands-on" experience. On top of this, however, every department runs its own structured training programme, tailor-made to suit the particular requirements and experience of its specialists, as well as providing appropriate cross-departmental training.
We don't believe in spoon-feeding. All our lawyers are trained to use a precedent only as a starting point and not as a substitute for original thought and care. However, the firm's precedent library now comprises well over 500 documents. Heavy partner involvement in creating and maintaining our precedents helps ensure that they are user-friendly and up to date.
We believe that know-how databases are no substitute for shared experience. A 10-minute conversation with an experienced colleague will often be more instructive than half an hour spent searching an electronic know-how database. That said, we recognise the importance of knowledge capture and management and the increasing effectiveness of software solutions. As a result, we have built a state-of-the-art knowledge management system which is regularly maintained and updated by our PSL team, and is extremely simple and user-friendly. We also circulate a firm-wide weekly know-how update bulletin. Some departments also produce more detailed know-how updates to suit their own specific needs. Added to this, each department and specialist sub-group within each department holds regular meetings to gather, analyse and disseminate points of practice and recent legal developments.