The Leadership Series

In this article Interlink Recruitment joins Darryl Cooke, Executive Chairman at Gunnercooke for an insightful Q&A. Gunnercooke is an inspiring and innovative law firm which places a high value on their culture and employees, who in turn provide great service to their clients. In this Q&A we find out more about their business model, use of technology and the future of Gunnercooke.


Q: As a “Challenger” firm, do you believe that operating with a Consultancy model has contributed to your great success?

A: I suppose the answer is that I don’t see the firm as a Consultancy. All Lawyers act as Consultants to clients. We are no different. We just remunerate differently. Our remuneration method leads to a better and closer relationship with a client, greater accountability and the opportunity for the Lawyer to earn more money more directly. Hence why 95% of our Lawyers will earn more than they previously did and many 2 to 3 times more. We see them as Lawyers and business men or women and treat them as such.


Q: How does Gunnercooke differ from the other “Challenger” firms?

A: It is hard to say. I am a big admirer of anyone who has taken this route. I think I would say that our experience gives us a major advantage. We have learnt so much along the way. For example we work really hard at our recruitment and onboarding process so that we set new Partners and Associates up to succeed which is why our revenues per partner are higher than anyone else’s in this space. The thing that I am most proud of though is intangible until you are in the firm and see it at first hand. That is culture. Culture in my view in traditional firms just happens, almost by accident but we have worked really hard to design our culture. I am not talking about bringing your dog to work but how everyone works together and supports each other. We have a culture book and are very proud of what we do in that area. I often say everyone can copy what we do but they can’t copy our culture.


Q: As on of the UK’s top 100 law firms, where do you see the traditional Partner Model heading, considering the success of Consultancy at Gunnercooke?

A: I really don’t know. Perhaps they should ask why Waterstones or Barnes and Noble didn’t establish Amazon or why Kodak lost the digital war having invented it. There are some amazing firms out there but they need to act quickly.


Q: We understand that you are a full-service law firm. Are there any sectors or industries your Partners are targeting for work?

A:  As you say we are a full service law firm but we are developing a number of specialist area where we see great opportunities.


Q: Are there any new practice areas or disciplines that Gunnercooke has recently expanded into?

A: We have recently set up a Football Law unit out of Glasgow and are also developing a legaltech solution in Eastern Europe.


Q: Following your recent growth into Germany and Scotland, do you have any plans to further your expansion into new international markets?

A: We are looking at both China and the US and hope to make announcements soon.


Q: How did you find expanding into Germany and Scotland during a period of remote working and restricted travel?

A: We have always operated a remote model as you know and it is our strength so it wasn’t a problem


Q: How has technology changed the way you work and helped to keep things uniform at the firm?

A: We are very keen on having leading IT solutions. We spent a lot of time looking across the legal market but were very disappointed at what we found. We have developed a ‘best in breed approach’ which is now coming to fruition. We have had the good fortune of having a number of our operating partners (ie ex Management Consultants or CEOs’) working at a very high level in large multinationals on IT solutions who provide a helpful steer and help us to continually introduce new and innovative IT solutions.


Q: What are the culture and values that you work to maintain across the firm?

A: Nudge is one of our strongest values ie we don’t tell people what to do but we try to persuade them to come with us. We call it putting fruit at eye level but not banning junk food


Q: How important is your marketing and social media strategy to create a uniform brand for your firm and Partners, across all locations?

A: I think one of our weakest areas has been PR generally. We are trying to address it. Social media is a key part of that. NPS is very important to us. That is a score determined by clients. NPS gives a score of -100 to + 100. The industry average is 19. World class is deemed to be above 80. Our score this month is + 93. That says everything about our quality and uniformity of brand.


Q: What are the three most important attributes for a Lawyer to have, if they want to join your firm?

A: A growth mindset, personal responsibility and personality


Q: We are aware that you are rapidly expanding, where would you like to see your firm in 2, 5 and 10 years time?

A: Good question. I think that this space will throw off two or three global leaders and we hope to be one of those – as soon as possible

From everyone here at Interlink Recruitment we would like to thank Darryl Cooke for taking the time to answer our questions. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to inspiring faces in the world of law and hope this Q&A inspires others with their legal future. We look forward to continuing to be a part of incredible growth of Gunnercooke.