Klein Hamilton News

EDF Energy Overhauls In-house Career Progression to Mirror Private Practice

Written By - Channon Sharples - November 18,2014

EDF Energy has overhauled the career progression structure in its in-house team in order to mirror private practice, prompted by demand from its in-house lawyers.

Legal head of nuclear new build Chris Hamill led the revamp this year after in-house lawyers responded to an annual internal survey with calls for clearer career development opportunities.

Hamill tapped a range of external law firms for advice as well as the EDF human resources and learning support teams and, came up with four grades, combining a range of private practice and in-house competencies.

The four levels map roughly on to the stages of development within a law firm, from junior to senior and combine private practice measures such as PQE with in-house legal skills such as influence.

UK general counsel Guido Santi said the system was designed to be a hybrid framework which would be flexible and combine existing values within the team with a new range of criteria. The company has incorporated the new assessments into its current process, involving a self-assessment round as well as grading.

The company said it was seeking to reward effective in-house behaviours such as communicating effectively with the CEO and translating legal issues effectively to other members of the senior management team as well as recognising lawyers’ technical expertise.

Hamill said: “People were saying they needed to understand career progression and it is something which can be less evident in in-house teams.

“We set out a new framework to align the structure for in-house lawyers to be something more akin to the development assessment that you find in bigger law firms,” he added.

The shift comes as EDF lauches a new panel review, aiming to put a new roster in place for three years instead of two and putting current UK panel firms Baker & McKenzie, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Pinsent Masons, CMS Cameron McKenna and Squire Sanders to the test (8 October 2014).