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Business & Economy

Putting our people at the heart of the EMG business

EMG Solicitors is a law firm moving forward at pace, with recent office openings bolstering an already strong market offer. Central to its progress too, though, is a values-based culture and programme of people investment, which is helping its employees thrive. Here, Ian Burke, the firm’s head of people and culture, explains more.


Award-winning law firm EMG Solicitors is no stranger to success, having grown turnover to £4.6 million, recruited 124 colleagues and opened four – soon to be five – offices.

Led by managing director Emma Gaudern, the business – which has bases in Durham, Newcastle, Darlington and Penrith – provides a range of legal services including Court of Protection (COP), Wills, trusts and probate, family, dispute resolution, residential conveyancing and commercial property.  

And with the addition of its Darlington team further consolidating its specialism for Court of Protection clients, EMG is now the largest independent COP team in the North East with 36 practitioners. 


A culture based on values 

While much of EMG’s success lies in its strong client relationships and commitment to delivering an exceptional range of legal services, the firm’s achievements also owe largely to its values-based culture and investment in people. 

It has built a great place to work, where colleagues feel valued and encouraged to be the best they can be, in an environment inspired by Emma’s vision to create a place of ‘joyful employment’.

Rather than mere words on a wall, living and breathing such values is important to EMG and its ongoing success, and is why they are fully embedded across the business. 

They weave through the firm as a common thread, and act as a heartbeat of the organisation, integrated into the recruitment process, where candidates are employed for their skills, as well as their cultural fit.

The principles are also adopted across the firm’s appraisal and promotional processes, helping create a culture of belonging and a friendly, modern and award-winning law firm, with its people and the ‘why’ of doing business firmly at its core. 

It also enables colleagues to protect and care for clients, their communities and each other. 

It’s a focus that has helped EMG attract and retain some of the best legal talent in the market, and win several prestigious regional and national awards. 

In fact, so central is it to EMG’s values, the business has its very own head of people and culture – Ian Burke.

He says: “We really are one big family at EMG, with our values of co-operation, courage, excellence, integrity and kindness being central to how we relate to both our colleagues and clients. 

“We believe if you get your culture and engagement right, you can achieve excellence. 

“We are proud to have an environment where people enjoy coming to work and gain satisfaction from being part of a team which supports each other while providing the best possible service for clients.

“Quality service is our number one objective, and we achieve this through training, investing in, listening to and providing an inclusive culture where everyone can be themselves.

“The very nature of our specialism in Court of Protection also aligns closely with our values and philanthropic approach. 

“For us, it is important to put something back into our communities; in 2019 we set up our own charitable fund, and we have since donated five per cent of our annual profits to many community groups and organisations. 

“Investment in our colleagues will continue to be an ongoing priority at EMG, with excellent benefits packages, colleague events, wellbeing initiatives, personal development and career progression all being integral to our colleague offering. 

“This has led to us gaining recognition in the market, high colleague satisfaction scores and being awarded the prestigious UK Employer of the Year: Silver at the Investors in People Awards 2022.”

Regular colleague events and training opportunities are available right across the firm, including wellbeing days and personal development initiatives in resilience, mental health and leadership.

Ian adds: “We know, in order for our colleagues to be their best, it’s important we support them as much as we can both personally and professionally and, of course, have some fun along the way. 

“To realise the potential of the business means realising that of our colleagues too. With our ongoing recruitment and growth, we will continue to invest in new and innovative development programmes, creating opportunities for all our colleagues.”