A small family law firm, with offices in Clapham, Hammersmith, and Islington, has become the first UK company to appoint its own “fertility officer,” as it seeks to compete with larger rivals that have begun offering highly expensive fertility benefits.
London law firm Burgess Mee has named surrogacy law specialist, Natalie Sutherland, as its first ever fertility officer, with the aim of improving staff well-being.
Speaking to City A.M. Sutherland said: “The intention is to create an environment at work where employees feel supported, both in their career building aspirations and in their family building aspirations.”
In her new role, Sutherland will support employees with any issues relating to fertility and signpost them towards any potential solutions.
The appointment comes after City of London law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer last month offered its staff $60,000 worth of lifetime fertility benefits, as it agreed to cover the cost of services including egg freezing, IVF, and surrogacy.
The Magic Circle law firm’s offer saw it strike a deal with Carrot Fertility to offer a range of fertility services., after tech giants Facebook and Apple first began offering fertility benefits in 2014.
“We’re a very small firm so it’s really only the big firms that will be able to offer that type of benefit,” Sutherland said, as she explained that the new role will help Burgess Mee compete with larger rivals.
The comments come amid fierce competition between law firms to recruit and retain legal talent. The battle for talent has seen large US law firms and their City of London equivalents offer impressive perks and increasingly eye-watering salaries.
Sutherland explains that in the case of Burgess Mee, the offer of more personalised benefits allow the small family firms to throw their hat into the ring. “It’s a good way of showing that we value our staff,” Sutherland says.
Founded by in 2013 former Withers LLP lawyers Peter Burgess and Antonia Mee, Burgess Mee has just six partners, and a team of 19 solicitors. On its website, the firm says it offers “the same quality of service and advice as bigger firms in the City but at a lower cost.”