Brækhus makes all employees co-owners of the firm

Starting from the new year, all employees at Brækhus will become co-owners of the company. “It is commendable that the partnership demonstrates both the courage and capability to think innovatively”, says managing partner Atle Carlsen.

Through a recent strategic process, the firm has set a new direction for the future. The strategy is sharpened, and the firm is transformed and modernised, all with the aim of providing customers with the best advice and the best customer experience. 

– Excellent customer experiences are primarily achieved by developing skilled, motivated, and engaged employees willing to go the extra mile for the customer, says Carlsen. 

For Brækhus, it has always been important to take care of the people in the firm. With our new People First strategy, we go even further to take care of our people and offer them the best professional development. All employees have been involved in the strategic process. We asked them what they believe is important to thrive at work. Good ideas were brought to the table, and we discussed, among other things, how a compensation scheme can be motivating and team-building. 

– This is how we came up with the idea of ownership for everyone. For us, this has a side to professional development and early involvement in the firm. We want to involve our employees early and give them insight into how the business is run. In addition, we want to hear their voices in important decisions. Therefore, we invite everyone to the general meeting where everyone has the right to vote. This will provide increased business understanding, motivation, and ownership, says Carlsen. 

– Involvement is central to the strategy. Brækhus is a medium-sized law firm, a family where everyone knows everyone. In a smaller environment, you get closer follow-up and more partner time. Here, you don’t become a ‘cog in the machine,’ but an equal member of the family. As a co-owner, you contribute to the family dynamic and are rewarded for it. Together, we contribute to the development of the firm, and all contributions will be rewarded. It can be seen as a team bonus or a ‘family bonus,’ if you will, adds Carlsen. 

By giving ownership to all full-time employees, we make ‘putting people first’ a reality.

Atle H. Carlsen, managing partner

In England, an increasing number of companies are opting for a co-ownership structure with the goal of improving productivity and work culture. From 2022 to 2023, the increase in companies choosing such a structure was a staggering 37%. In the legal industry in England, it is expected that the number of law firms adopting a co-ownership model will increase in the coming years. This coincides with a growing recognition that modern law firms must be both agile and place greater emphasis on factors such as leadership, technology, and collaboration to succeed in the future. 

In the Norwegian legal industry, the partnership model is the most common ownership model, but co-ownership is unique. 

“We must place greater emphasis on leadership, new technology, and collaboration to succeed in the future. Therefore, we have strengthened leadership in technology and are now creating innovative incentives that facilitate working as one team with a ‘one-team mentality.’ By giving ownership to all full-time employees, we make ‘putting our people first’ a reality. Brækhus is a challenger in the industry, and we dare to take unconventional choices. We have a strong sense of solidarity and a willingness to create a workplace with full transparency, early involvement, and where the voice of the employees is taken seriously,” says Carlsen. 

Atle H. Carlsen took over as managing partner at Brækhus in April 2023. Brækhus became one of the few law firms where the role of managing partner is covered by a full-time professional leader who is not a lawyer. “Another example of Brækhus daring to go its own way,” says Carlsen.