Building a successful team

November 11, 2022

David Salamons is a highly experienced Corporate & Commercial Partner at gunnercooke who specialises in the retail and leisure sector.

He has successfully built several teams over the years, including at niche law firms in London and as the founder of an international legal services group.

But gunnercooke offered him the opportunity to work in a positive, supportive and entrepreneurial culture, where he could develop a team that would thrive.

Here David discusses key considerations for those looking to build their own practice at gunnercooke.

A flexible team player

Many traditional law firms have large, rigid team structures with lawyers under constant pressure to increase billing to meet growing costs and sustain profit-per-partner targets.

At gunnercooke teams are built in a more flexible, client-centric way often around a fixed fee approach. This promotes collaboration, innovation and a focus on quality service not billable hours.  

“I love the energy of working collaboratively, I’ve always run teams but there’s a real generosity of spirit at gunnercooke. We’ve managed to bring in all sorts of talent and draw on the wider strengths of gunnercooke as needed.

“We have Harriet Collins, who runs the corporate side of our team under my supervision and we are bringing further people to support her as required.

“We’ve got Catherine Payne who runs property, and behind her we’ve got three or four people we bring in as needed. The energy builds every time we do it and I think the clients feel that.

“We’re as big as we need to be, and sometimes we’re just as small as we have to be.”

Working together remotely

Everyone at gunnercooke can operate remotely or base themselves in our offices across the UK and internationally – whatever suits particular lifestyle aspirations or client work.

Teams operate highly effectively on a predominantly remote basis, which was a founding principle for the firm when it was established in 2010.

“We’re mainly on Teams or Zoom the whole time and I oversee everything. Being physically present all the time is not necessary.

“We work together really well. I’ll speak to the team many times a day, everybody speaks to everybody else.”

Building a team

A scaling practice will ultimately reach the point where Partners need to hire to create the capacity and capabilities to continue their growth trajectory.

David regularly shares his insights with colleagues planning on hiring or going through this process, helping them explore key considerations as they continue to build.

“I’ll aways ask…Can they afford it? Do they have enough work? Do they have the necessary skills to add on?

“The most important one is… do the Partners that come in have personalities that mesh with yours and will the clients like them?

“My plans are to continue expanding the team into a number of niche areas.

“We’ve got a lot of work coming in at the moment and if you’ve got your fishing net out there to catch the work, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the people there to actually deal with it.

“What kind of people? Again, it will depend on their personalities.”

Finding like-minded people

David joined gunnercooke after a former colleague made the introduction to our Co-Founder Sarah Goulbourne.

It’s often the case that those who join simply require a conversation with a member of the team and they make the move… then wonder why they didn’t sooner! 

“21 people from my last firm came here!

“A former colleague asked if I wanted to join them for a meeting at gunnercooke and to meet Sarah.

“It was something to do with the way she spoke, it felt immediately like a warm, supportive culture.

“I knew I needed to join. I’m really pleased I made the decision, and it’s one of the best decisions of my professional life.”

Find out more about joining gunnercooke here