Understanding the seniority and experience of the solicitor working for you used to be easy. Likewise, the promotion path towards the top of the tree was plain to see for young lawyers embarking on their career - from Trainee Solicitor, climbing up to Solicitor, then to Associate and, finally, to Partner. This meant that the traditional hourly rate charging structure was easy for clients to understand too: a Partner led the work, with assistance from an Associate and Solicitor (who together bore the brunt of the work), with the Trainee running around after them all.
How things have changed! Clients now need spreadsheets to track hourly rates, with each charging band representing a lawyer with just an additional year or two of experience. Along with this increased granularity of fees there has been an explosion in the number of job titles. Many firms appear to have confined the "Solicitor" to the bin - newly qualified lawyers are now Associates and above them are Managing Associates, Senior Associates and Associate Directors. It gets potentially even more confusing with Partners, as the differentials in experience tend to be hidden from clients - yet the hourly rates will probably be the same. A "Partner" might be relatively junior and being paid on a salary-only basis, or be part of the furniture and paid a substantial proportion of the firm's profit.
So, do you know what you are paying for? Does the "Associate" that you are paying a handome hourly rate for have five years of post-qualification experience, or five months? Value for money, or training subsidisation? Smoke and mirrors?
We want to be different, transparent and fair. We have no need to hide our lawyers' experience levels behind ever grander titles. Each and every Renew Legal lawyer has a minimum of ten years' energy sector experience gained in-house and within commercial law firms. This helps us keep things simple - we can just call ourselves "Lawyers". That way, you know exactly what you are paying for.