(L-R) Awards host Andrew Ryan; Clare Robertson, learning and development manager and Sukhi Sanghera, learning and development assistant, Berwin Leighton Paisner; Natalie Hill, key account manager, Legal Week

Finalists: CILEx Law School; Dentons; Legal Technology Core Competency Certification Coalition; Osborne Clarke; Paul Hastings; Pinsent Masons; Reed Smith (highly commended); Stephenson Harwood.

Berwin Leighton Paisner bagged the training innovation prize for its programme to strengthen the technical skills of its business support staff, boosting their professional capabilities and improving the overall quality of the firm’s client services.

That meant creating a technical skills framework that identified knowledge gaps and training priorities, then providing workshops to meet those targets. The framework is also used as a benchmark to measure employee performance, allowing managers to assess technical competence against set criteria when carrying out appraisals and promotions.

Starting with its human resources department, the technical skills workshops included sessions on themes such as unconscious bias, evidence-based selection and employment contracts. Because there was no budget for the programme, the firm had to rely on volunteers to provide training, both internally and externally.

In one instance, it invited Macmillan Cancer to help the HR department understand how to support staff managing cancer at work. The training academies now extend to other business support departments, with plans to develop online resources that will allow staff outside the firm’s London office to participate.

“A really exciting and well thought-out programme, making use of internal resources first and enhancing cross-team and department relationships,” one judge enthused.

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