Ray Berg (Osborne Clarke):“We have always had a very international flavor to our practice”

Ray Berg, the Managing Partner of Osborne Clarke’s UK office speaks to Leaders League about the impact of the Brexit and tells us what his firm is doing to keep pace with its Magic Circle competitors in the globalization process.

Posté le lundi, septembre 26 2016
Ray Berg (Osborne Clarke):“We have always had a very international flavor to our practice”

Leaders League. How have your roles and responsibilities changed from being the Head of Business Transactions Group, to being the UK Managing Partner?

Ray Berg. As Head of the Business Transactions Group I was in direct connection with the clients and I had day-to-day contact with them. My present role is different in that it is more global and gives me more collective responsibility. I am in charge of managing, leading and recruiting for the firm for the whole of the UK business as opposed to just one of the practice groups. I also have a very significant role to play in terms of the international operations. I still try to maintain a client-facing role, but this is now more along the lines of maintaining relationships with them and not executing deals like I used to. I get to spend more time with our lawyers now, understanding their needs and challenges, and it involves a lot more leadership and managerial qualities on my part. I am required to take strategic decisions on behalf of the firm, understand both the clients and the lawyers, and participate in activities like budgeting and reviews, which is not something that I had to do before.


Leaders League. Could you briefly describe your firm’s international future under your leadership?

R.B. We have always had a very international flavor to our practice. But our international strategy is really driven by our clients’ interests and where they need us to be so we can service them in the market they are in. Accordingly we recruit across the sectors, in order to maintain a consistent quality in our services. We have a very clear focus about what we want to do, which involves strengthening our international practice and this has been a continuous process. At the end of the day, all we want to do is create a diverse and enriching environment for our people so they can flourish in their respective roles in order to deliver the best services to our clients.


Leaders League. What are your views on the Brexit, and how do you think it will affect the legal sector in the UK?

R.B. It is clearly one of the biggest issues facing the UK at this time, and we have been watching the markets very closely. Nobody really has a clear idea of how the post-Brexit situation is going to pan out. Businesses in different sectors will be affected in different ways and we have been constantly trying to analyze the various possibilities using a section of our website that we developed solely for this purpose. One of our biggest hopes is that the economy doesn’t come to a standstill but rather keeps developing. We can only speculate as to what is going to happen in London regarding the future of all EU residents who currently work there. The good thing is that the change is not going to be instantaneous and one would hope that the government works towards making the biggest positive impact for all citizens and residents of the UK.


Leaders League. According to your UK Diversity Report published in 2015, women outnumber men as associates andin legal support, but only 20% go on to become partners. What can be done to improve diversity?

R.B. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is of paramount importance to us, and not just on the basis of gender. We recently appointed our first Diversity and Wellbeing Manager to ensure that we are able to convert our beliefs into practice and incorporate them into the system. Her job revolves around areas like work-life balance, female careers, underrepresented groups and people with disabilities. We are putting in place a series of programs to support the progression of female talent and recognize some of the issues and challenges that they face. It is an issue that all law firms in the city need to address and thankfully there is now a lot more importance being given to this subject. To me it’s about more than the statistics: people need to feel included and supported, and we at Osborne Clarke are working towards this every day.