Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 13, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why Lawson Lundell LLP was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2023):
- Lawson Lundell LLP supports a number of local charitable initiatives each year and encourages employee volunteerism with paid time off to volunteer (the equivalent of one full day)
- Lawson Lundell LLP provides maternity and parental leave top-up for new parents (to 100 per cent of salary for up to 17 weeks) and offers an option for employees to phase-in their return to work
- Lawson Lundell LLP supports employee efforts to take care of their physical and mental well-being, providing five paid sick days annually as well as a mental health practitioner benefit of up to $1,250 per year
Think globally, practise locally at Lawson Lundell
The advantage of being local is big. As the largest regional firm in Vancouver, Lawson Lundell LLP has made a concerted effort to better define the practical differences of what it means to work and grow at a regional firm versus a national or international one.
Accordingly, Allie Jackson, director of legal talent, says students coming into recruitment are increasingly aware of the opportunities and benefits the firm can offer and that’s been reflected in the quality of students it has been able to hire.
“Decision-making is focused on the people who are here or in our offices in Calgary and Yellowknife,” says Jackson. “That was highlighted during COVID when a lot of decision-making for other law firms came out of Toronto, which was suffering from COVID much more than British Columbia, so their summer programs were entirely remote.
“Because we operate locally and make decisions based on what’s going on here, we could invite students safely into the workplace over the past couple of summers. That was a big distinguishing feature that resonated with students.”
Lawson also recently increased the ratio of mentors to students and formalized the structure to better emphasize mentorship as well as general integration and connectivity within the firm. Additionally, the firm emphasizes its culture and collaborative working environment.
“We have a strong focus on building an effective and collaborative team of lawyers starting at the student level,” says Jackson. “We’re intentional about fostering a work environment where students see one another as colleagues and not competition. We really focus on that messaging in recruitment.”
Articling students move through four rotations at Lawson so they can understand the breadth of its business and work with a variety of lawyers, all with different styles, to get a real sense of what the profession entails. Summer students don’t rotate but have a self-directed experience exploring the firm.
“So much of being a lawyer isn’t learned in law school,” says Jackson. “The articling year helps students develop practice-management skills and sharpen interpersonal skills that they haven’t had the chance to implement in law school. A lot of what goes into a successful legal practice can’t be tested until you have the opportunity.”
Raj Sidhu, human resources director, says continuing training and professional development is the top priority for all staff members at Lawson, not just students and lawyers. How depends on their career stage.
“We’re a people-first firm so we try to customize the process,” says Sidhu.
“At each stage, individuals have different requirements and needs so we focus our opportunities based on those criteria. We also encourage promoting internally because we want to keep our best people and encourage their growth.”
That includes having a great education reimbursement policy, providing refresher courses on various technologies, having mentors, and buddies help newcomers. In a recent survey, the firm asked what all the folks at different levels on the support side wanted most. It then responded by developing a multitude of programs that directly addressed their needs. The entire staff signed up.
“We decided to do something different and roll out this training initiative from our Yellowknife office,” says Sidhu. “So we flew our training team there for the entire week so they could have in-person training for a change, while everyone else logged in virtually. The Yellowknife people were over the moon happy and the engagement was just phenomenal.
“I think this really exemplifies our culture and how we embrace training.
“We received great feedback and absolutely will do it again to stay on top of these training needs.”