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Business & Economy

Forming close relationships that deliver real success

Where Head Wrightson’s sprawling works once made industrial superstructures that fuelled the growth of many a company, today, on the same footprint, The Endeavour Partnership is fashioning similar success for its clients. Melding business-focused support with a personal touch, Tees Valley’s largest commercial law firm’s services, which include its expert employment law, corporate commercial, commercial property and dispute resolution departments, provide clients with the advice they need to flourish. Here, Steven Hugill speaks to partner and head of employment law Stephen Elliott to learn more about that department’s work.

The working world is a vastly different place from what it once was.

Successive years of pandemic-inspired flux mean hybrid environments and increased digital connectivity have become the new default settings.

One element that hasn’t changed, though, is the value of direct human connection.

Neither has the importance of expert, business-focused support.

The two are crucial parts of the commercial success jigsaw.

And The Endeavour Partnership has long been piecing them together, its ‘business, taken personally’ strapline an entirely appropriate signature of its approach.

Based on Stockton’s Teesdale Business Park, on land where Head Wrightson’s famous engineering works once churned out a plethora of industrial superstructures, Tees Valley’s largest commercial law firm is continuing to provide clients with trusted guidance and innovative programmes that are fashioning growth and success.

A key thrust in its ongoing support is its highly-qualified and experienced employment law and HR team.

Led by partner Stephen Elliott, the department oversees the full spectrum of employment issues, from contracts and policy documents to dismissal disputes and tribunal litigation, absence management and performance issues.

Furthermore, its expert HR strategy supports clients on day-to-day matters, as well as larger projects, such as organisational restructures and business transfers.

Stephen says: “We can help with all the challenges a business can have when it deals with people, whether they be employees, agency workers, contractors, recruitment businesses, ex-employees or job applicants.

“And we offer solutions.

“Sometimes these are delivered in real-time when a problem has crystallised, and sometimes we build policies and strategies with clients to ensure an issue doesn’t arise.”

The latter, says Stephen, includes channels that are helping clients navigate their way through significant changes to two seismic elements of everyday business operations: immigration and GDPR.

He says: “Previously, if a UK business wanted to employ someone from France or Poland, for example, it was relatively easy. 

“But now it has to go through a Home Office process, so we have developed a specialist advice service to help businesses and employers get people here.

“We also help clients focus on employee information, making it clear what can be collected, what happens if someone wants to see data and what it could include.”

Another area where The Endeavour Partnership is leading innovation for organisations’ great benefit is through Navigate HR.

Set to a fixed fee, the package provides three support mechanisms – Helpline, Review and Update.

Helpline allows unlimited email and telephone access to The Endeavour Partnership’s expert employment solicitors, to discuss day-to-day employment law and HR-related issues, with Review offering a free health check of clients’ standard employment contracts, policies and procedures ahead of any work needed to bring documents up to date.

Update provides an annual review of an organisation’s employment contracts, staff handbooks and HR policies, and revises documentation to reflect law changes where necessary.

And it is all delivered, says Stephen, with a tailored, personal approach.

He says: “We make a big difference in the way we engage with people.

“When a business owner calls a number at 9am and doesn’t get a response until 3pm, the query or worry they have has sat in their head all day.

“But through developments like Navigate, people can pick up the phone, speak to our legal professionals and receive the answer or guidance they need quickly.”

The supportive and personable ethos is reflected internally too.

Standing proudly in the office of The Endeavour Partnership – whose vast client list includes Tees Valley Combined Authority, Teesside International Airport and Silverstone racing circuit – is a medium business of the year accolade from the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Business Awards.

The honour was handed to the firm, in no small part, for the swift manner in which it acted when lockdown struck two years ago.

Helped by technological investments in summer 2019, which were implemented to create a flexible working environment way before the trend became universal, the firm was able to switch to entirely online operations in three days, with staff receiving accompanying wellbeing support.

And such forward-thinking is mirrored across The Endeavour Partnership’s workforce.

The firm has long cultivated an environment that supports individual development, which, in turn, drives great staff longevity and means the fruits of their labours are directed back to the landscape in which they were nurtured.

Many members of its 60-strong team, such as notary public and commercial disputes team member Alex Smith, who became partner in 2016, ten years after joining as a trainee solicitor, have moved through the ranks.

Furthermore, a dedicated learning pathway for lawyers, as well as The Endeavour Partnership’s many business services professionals, ensures people have access to the training and qualifications they need to further their careers.

They include practice manager Jen Carulei, who joined in 2019 and received support to undertake a master’s degree in business studies, and marketing manager Lotty Reeves, who was put through a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification, having joined as a business administration apprentice in 2012.

“We are unique on Teesside because we offer access to high-profile clients and high-value work,” says Stephen, who reveals the firm is now taking applications for training contracts to commence in 2024.

He says: “It’s another of our USPs; we offer really satisfying, engaging, challenging work without staff having to go to a city, up the A19 or down the motorway.

“And we are a progressive firm – there are lots of people who started as fresh-faced young trainees that are now partners and owners of the business.

“We are very good at tapping into the talent that exists in Teesside and retaining it.

“Whether a person has come in on work experience or is a graduate from one of the local universities, we make a connection.”

Stephen adds: “People like working here.

“Our culture is empowering – partners put the business and its people before their individual needs, and that is a nice backdrop for anyone to come into.

“We are a firm that genuinely looks out for its people and wants them to succeed.”