What is it like to work at BCL Legal? Paul Warbuton, senior associate, tells it like it is...

Perhaps it’s rite of passage for anybody who has recently been promoted at BCL Legal (had I mentioned I had been promoted?!) or perhaps it is my fabulously lengthy and intricate prose that prompted the directors to ask me to write an opinion piece for The Brief on what it is like to work for the firm. It could also be the willingness on my part to accept bribes to put my name to whatever I’m asked. Sadly, such willingness was not matched by a bribe so an honest appraisal it is....

At the risk of provoking a series of eye rolls and sighs from my colleagues at its continued mention (on my part), before I joined BCL Legal I was a solicitor for nine years and I was very fortunate to work with a number of great firms and people, so my assessment is driven by comparisons to my experience within private practice.

Without question, the day job is dramatically different which is in part down to the need for constant activity; whether that be communicating with HR, partners and candidates, co-ordinating interview processes, short-listing, running advertised campaigns and staying on top of market trends and movement. It’s a lot to cram into a day but what has always impressed me about BCL Legal (and which heralds right back to the day the business started) has been the constant level of investment to increase the speed and efficiency by which we can still deliver a quality hands-on service. That investment comes in many forms which has included IT infrastructure and improving the way we deal with the vast amount of information we handle – all of this allows me to focus my efforts without being overburdened with administration. It also ensures the business is at the forefront of the profession and delivers things that our competitors simply can’t along with adding value to our clients and candidates. By natural association, it stands to the benefit of my reputation in the market.

Critically, investment is not isolated to hardware but also encompasses the key aspect of the business: its people. Whether that be in the form of on-going training to involving everyone in the growth of the business and what plans are afoot. BCL Legal is made up of a diverse bunch of people but there is inherent value that comes from a range of views and input about where opportunity might lie and how best to approach it. The firm seeks out and values those views and growth is a collaborative affair, rather than one solely driven at director level.

Even now we are actively recruiting for additional consultants across Yorkshire, the North West, London and in our in-house team in reaction to foreseen growth. That said, it’s not just about ways to grow but also how to reward and promote internally. Even in the three years that I’ve been here, there has been real change in establishing clears lines and processes for progression – this evolution was also done in conjunction with everyone in the business.

As diverse as we may be, there is also consistency in our approach. As a lawyer, I had always tried to deliver a quality service and do so with a professional but friendly manner. My aim is the same at BCL Legal and this has always been positively encouraged. Building trust and respect takes time but without exception, everyone I work with is pushing in the same direction.

I have always favoured working in a collegiate manner and taking an interest in the business as a whole and – again - this is encouraged. It means that the dialogue and sharing of information between consultants is consistent and that we all have perspective on a national basis (not just limited to our individual geographical focus) which is of value to both clients and candidates.

Process and IT aside, it’s the people I work with who make the difference for me. Without seeking to invoke an all out “love-in” with the team, I have an enormous amount of respect and appreciation for my colleagues. On a daily basis, we share information on who is doing what and I value their input and suggestions. There is a collective approach and - in my view - this is a massive contributor to our successes. In truth, that extends to the business as a whole.

For more information on current opportunities please contact BCL Legal or call 0845 241 0933.