Hedges Law, a boutique law firm based in Oxford, has become employee-owned. It joins a growing number of organisations turning their employees into custodians of the business for future generations.
The majority of law firms continue to be run as traditional partnerships and are also still largely owned by men, so by running her business as a limited company and being its sole owner, Hedges Law’s Managing Director Nikki Poole was already breaking the mould.
By moving the company to employee ownership, she is blazing a trail again. The 40 employees of Hedges Law are now part owners of the business through an Employee Ownership Trust.
“I first thought about employee ownership several years ago but until now it never felt like the right time to make the move,” says Nikki Poole. “When Covid-19 first hit last year, I really feared for the future of the business. With the world feeling as if it was coming to a shuddering halt in those first few scary months, I barely slept. However, the new world of lockdown and remote working rapidly became our new normal and before long we were ‘up and at it’. We quickly transformed ourselves so that we could continue to look after our clients. The team at Hedges has been absolutely incredible and as we powered through the pandemic, looking after the needs of our clients as they navigated their own crises, I knew the best way to say thank you was to take the step to move to employee ownership.”
Nikki initially joined Hedges Law 18 years ago on a nine month locum contract. Whilst raising two sons as a single mother, she has risen through the ranks to own the business and transformed it into a thriving, modern company – she puts her tenacity down to the many challenges she has faced in her life.
“I believe that every day is precious because I know how fragile life is,” explains Nikki, Managing Director of Hedges Law. “My birth mother died suddenly when I was just six months old, and when my own children were infants, I faced a life threatening illness and was given only a week to live. Having survived against the odds, when I came home after months in hospital, I found I had a new lust for life. Every day had to count. I wanted to build a working environment that created joy and promoted happiness. When I eventually retire from this business, I want to be sure that those priorities are retained and leave the business in terrific shape for the next generation. That made employee ownership the obvious next step for Hedges Law.”