How WSP Solicitors is challenging Gloucestershire's legal market

For go-getting and dynamic lawyers looking for a challenge, WSP Solicitors offers many development opportunities with multiple areas of the business growing, as it shares its approachable, trusted and uncomplicated work ethos with a wider audience.

By Emma Luther  |  Published
WSP Solicitors has multiple areas of the business it wants to recruit for as it grows.
In partnership with WSP Solicitors  |  wspsolicitors.com
WSP Solicitors

WSP Solicitors is an independent legal practice, with offices in Stroud and Gloucester. The firm has been offering straightforward legal advice and support for over 250 years and provides a wide range of legal services for personal and business matters – from family law to residential and commercial conveyancing.

Stroud's WSP Solicitors has a host of opportunities for dynamic lawyers to join the business and really own their practice area with autonomy.

SoGlos finds out how this forward-thinking firm is growing and challenging Gloucestershire's legal market from the company's marketing and board director, Silas Miller — discussing everything from WSP's 'uncomplicated' working culture to its aspirations for the future.

What’s so great about working for WSP?

WSP really does have a great working culture, first and foremost.

As a director team, we really endeavour to make WSP about its people and ensure it is a great place to work. Our firm-wide employee survey in 2023 showed 100 per cent of staff are happy working at WSP and would also recommend us as an employer and law firm to family members and friends.

This stems from our WSP DNA, or our core values, which were re-defined by staff in 2023. These work both as a way we approach working with clients, but also how we have all committed to work together with one another.

We are all approachable, trusted and uncomplicated. We treat everyone as human and understand the commercial nature of the business we do and what that means to all of us.

We take a whole firm view at staff development and encourage opportunities for all staff, with 29 per cent of WSP staff currently being supported through some level of formal training, while many others are taking up ad-hoc and informal means of development.

Alongside this, we have a wellbeing team who look at initiatives throughout the year, as well as working with Isle Health for our Corporate Wellbeing Programme.

The firm has a great set of benefits including a financial bonus that all staff are eligible for. We offer flexible and hybrid working arrangements where possible, currently taken up by 70 per cent of the workforce; a corporate healthcare plan and life assurance scheme; Christmas savings club; as well as opticians plan, staff discounts on services, free parking and two large all-staff events each year.

Finally, through a variety of charity partnerships and associations, including the official charity partner of the firm, Young Gloucestershire, there are multiple opportunities throughout the year to engage in events and fundraising as a team or individual.

What are some of WSP’s key aspirations for staff development in 2024?

WSP has been able to help staff at all levels and disciplines, not just legal practitioners.

The legal profession has always relied on a process of providing training contracts, to grow and develop the next generation of lawyers. We are lucky enough to have just seen two trainees qualify into lawyers.

We have a pool of three trainees and three paralegals due to start training contracts in 2024, so the firm is really looking forward to celebrating more success here.

Looking forward: the staff appraisal process will be overhauled in 2024 with a focus on them being even more WSP DNA-values driven, to really drive home the behaviours and intentions the firm expects of all staff. There will be much better tools to set specific and tailored goals for staff to get the most out of the development opportunities available to them.

Finally, we want to grow and really challenge the Gloucestershire legal market. To do that, we must attract more of the right people.

So, we're really keen to communicate our value proposition to potential employees, as well as showcasing some of the fantastic opportunities we have available to grow individual areas of the business, for go-getting and dynamic lawyers looking for a challenge.

What are some of the proudest staff achievements over the last couple of years?

The average tenure of staff at WSP Solicitors is seven years, something we are very proud of. With many firms seeing just 3.3 years in some cases and staff turnover numbers continuing to rise across the legal sector, this really is a positive number, which the firm is committed to increasing.

As well as the traditional trainee route, the business has also supported many, now qualified, legal professionals through alternative routes such as via the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. Paralegals at the business have also been supported through specific paralegal qualifications to allow them to operate at a senior level in their role.

Non-legal members of staff are also afforded the same opportunities and the firm has put members of staff through qualifications at various levels via Chartered Managers Institute, Chartered Institute of Marketing and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Two of our proudest staff achievements in the last 12 months have been: Amara McCalla, who has been with the business her entire working career and has transitioned through legal assistant, paralegal and trainee to qualified solicitor in 2024. Also, Stacey Hyam who has been with the firm for 18 years, after starting as a legal assistant and then a paralegal. She also won the family law paralegal of the year at the National Paralegal Awards 2023.

What do staff say about working for WSP Solicitors?

From my perspective, WSP Solicitors supported me greatly to understand the legal profession, coming from a non-legal background. I was also supported to undertake my Level 6 Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and currently I am studying towards an MBA. In 2022, I became head of marketing and business development and was invited to join the board of directors as a shareholder in the business. The opportunities afforded to me at WSP Solicitors have been career-defining and I am now at the beginning of a hugely exciting journey as board director and co-owner of the business.

Newly qualified solicitor, Bethany Fielding, said: 'I have received exceptional support from the teams and professionals across the business, during my time as a trainee. Everyone I have worked with in the firm is team-spirited and willing to help anyone, clients or staff. I am looking forward to building my caseload and growing as a professional in a busy and exciting department at WSP.'

Conveyancer, Gemma Francis-Taylor, said: 'Having started with WSP in the admin team, I was soon recognised for my potential by the conveyancing department. I began my career as an assistant, working my way up through paralegal to where I am now as a conveyancer. WSP has supported me throughout the entire process, pushing me to reach my potential and assisting me with additional courses that can help me progress.'

Finance manager, Kevin Baker, said: 'WSP has always been supportive of my studies. Allowing me time off for studying and exams has really helped my professional development. There is a real bond between members of my department and the wider business, which creates a good atmosphere and working environment. Everyone is friendly and approachable from the directors down. It really is a great place to work.'

What kind of roles are you expecting to become available this year and why is fresh energy from new team members so good for business?

We have multiple areas of the business we want to recruit for and to grow. These all present amazing opportunities for dynamic lawyers to come into a business and really own their practice area with autonomy.

New ideas and fresh energy are so important to help us keep questioning our approach to the way we do business and the direction our services need to take.

We are going through a leadership transition as a business, and have our eyes firmly set on the future of WSP and ensuring we are taking as many people on the journey as we can!

The areas of the business we are really looking to add depth to currently are in corporate and commercial, where we have a small team looking to grow their recognition and work in the county as well as contentious probate, private client and civil litigation.

To view all our available positions and find out more about WSP Solicitors and our values, visit our careers hub at wspsolicitors.com.

In partnership with WSP Solicitors  |  wspsolicitors.com

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