28. UK Law Firm of the Year-Article-201612071003

(L-R): Awards host David Mitchell, Stephens Scown’s Catherine Mathews, Michael Lowry, Carol Healey and Giles Dunning

Finalists: Brodies, gunnercooke, Harbottle & Lewis, Mills & Reeve, Mishcon de Reya (highly commended), Shoosmiths, Stevens & Bolton

Stephens Scown caught the eye of the judges for its investment in its local community, the establishment of an employee ownership trust and its ability to handle big deals.

The southwest firm, which has 50 partners and 190 staff across three offices in Devon and Cornwall, is led by managing partner Robert Camp.

Camp’s vision for the firm has been inspired by US department store Nordstrom – which has built a strong reputation for its working culture via widely shared customer service success stories – as well as John Lewis and its profit-sharing scheme.

Stephens Scown has introduced a similar scheme, which entitles all eligible members of staff to a fair share of the firm’s profits, and the firm’s efforts are clearly having a positive effect on its top line, with revenue up 18% during 2015-16 to just under £18m.

The award comes on the back of the firm’s success at the 2015 Legal Innovation Awards, when it was recognised for the development of an iPhone app that allows clients to view documents, keep track of costs, pay bills online, diarise key dates and contact their lawyers.

“This firm provides a model for the successful regional firm of the future,” said one judge.